Pierce makes two new hires

Leading Lancashire-based accountancy and business advisory group, Pierce has appointed two new recruits to strengthen the business.

Charlotte Haining and Paige Mason have joined the Blackburn based firm as Audit and Accounts Senior and Online Services Advisor respectively.

Charlotte, who has over eight-years’ experience in accountancy, started her career straight from sixth form college when she went into a trainee accountancy position.

Before joining Pierce, Charlotte was a Management Accountant at Euro Garages, prior to that she worked and trained as a Chartered Accountant at a Top 100 firm.

Charlotte said: “I’m delighted to join Pierce as they have got an excellent local reputation. I got such a good feel for the company at interview stage as everyone was so down to earth and friendly. My colleagues have been really helpful and have made me feel very welcome.

“I’m really looking forward to working with clients to prepare their statutory accounts and carry out audits on local businesses.”

Paige has just started her career in accountancy, prior to this, she worked at her family business in the plastic trade, which is a client of Pierce. She is currently studying for her AAT Level 4 in accountancy alongside her new role.

Paige said: “I wanted to be working in a full-time role to support my accountancy studies at night school. As Pierce are my family’s accountants, I knew it was a well-established firm and everyone I had every met from the business was really friendly, so when the job came up, I knew it was a great opportunity.

“As part of my role in the online services department, I assist clients with the help of accounting software, an area that has grown due to Making Tax Digital, as well as preparing accounts and VAT returns.”

Lisa Kennery, Director at Pierce said: “We are thrilled to welcome Charlotte and Paige to the Pierce team. Both will play a crucial part in the business and will help support our continued growth.

“Their experience, professional attitude and commitment to the role will make them both a great asset to our team.”

Pierce has 60 employees who cover all areas of running a business, including business development, corporate finance, forensic support, corporate and personal taxation services including wealth management and of course audit and accountancy services. We also provide a range of management and outsourcing services including firm secretarial, IT & software training, marketing, payroll and HR.

Pierce provides a funding lifeline to local disability employer Remexx

Accountancy firm Pierce has helped its client Remexx, which employs local people with disabilities to manufacture educational furniture, to secure vital funding required to keep the business running.

The business, born from the closure of Remploy Blackburn, currently employs seven people from the local area with disabilities to manufacture tables and desks for primary and secondary schools, colleges and academies.

Remexx was set up by former Remploy employees David Sussex and Peter Clarke and the duo have since been joined by new partner Mark Lomax of Lomax Office Furniture after Pierce introduced Mark to the business.

David said: “When we worked at Remploy, we could apply for government grants, however this funding has now been withdrawn. We still wanted to give local people with disabilities employment opportunities as we know how beneficial it is to them, but it has been a challenge to get funding.

“Thankfully the team at Pierce has been able to facilitate funding and introduce us to people who have provided grants for Remexx which have been absolutely vital to the business.”

Pierce has also helped Remexx by advising on year end timings, R&D credits and tax breaks and supply them with year-end accounts, management information and cash flow projections.

David added: “Pierce has really helped us since we established Remexx in 2014, but the thing that has been most invaluable is their advice. The team is knowledgeable, excellent to talk to and they have genuinely helped us to transform the business.”

Mark Walmsley, Associate Director at Pierce said: “Remexx is a fantastic business that not only manufactures top quality products, but offers an invaluable service to people in our community. We know it has been a real challenge for David and the team to get funding to keep this service running, so we’re really proud to have given them the support and contacts to achieve this.

“Remexx has a very strong business model in place and we look forward to continuing to support them as they seek to grow.”

David added: “Our main aim is to employ people with disabilities or complex barriers and provide them with opportunities and skills that they could not learn elsewhere. We want to spread these benefits ever further to make a difference to the lives of more people in the local community.”

 

Pierce client wins coveted wedding accolade

The team at Pierce is sending a big congratulations to client Stirk House after they were named Best Wedding Venue – Hotel in the 2019 Great Northern Wedding Awards.

Stirk House, a listed building which overlooks the Ribble Valley, beat nine other shortlisted hotels from across the north to win the coveted accolade.

In the past few years, Stirk House has invested £750,000 into the building to offer bespoke wedding packages at an affordable price, increasing the number of weddings they host per year from 18 to 180.

The award comes at a very exciting time for the luxury hotel as they are planning a renovation to the spa facilities as part of the hotel’s ambitious business plan.

Nadeem Hussain, Director at Pierce said: “Stirk House is an iconic local hotel with a fantastic staff team and they have recently invested a significant amount of money and time into their wedding packages, so it’s no surprise that they are now award-winning.

“It’s set to be a very exciting year for Stirk House as they embark on renovations to their spa, which will no doubt accelerate the hotel’s growth even further.”

The family run Clitheroe hotel enlisted the help of Pierce last summer to provide auditing, tax planning and advice on access to finance.

Local business catering for global and celebrity clients celebrates milestone

A Lancashire firm which supplies clients worldwide, including celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, with bespoke mobile catering systems, is celebrating over 40 years in business.

Darwen based Wilkinson Mobile Catering Systems has manufactured catering trailers and mobile vans for more than 3,000 customers since the business was established in 1978.

Its experienced and skilled manufacturing team, based at the head office in Darwen, builds trailers and converts a range of existing vehicles from Volkswagen camper vans to double decker buses into catering vehicles.

Their clients span the globe, reaching as far as Australia, and include iconic locations including Harrods, Manchester City FC and celebrity chef Jamie Oliver who used a converted mobile van created by the company in his Food Tube videos.

The family business has been supported by local accountancy firm Pierce for the past couple of years, who have helped the company manage multiple changes to payroll.

Angela Rawson, Financial Director at Wilkinson Mobile Catering Systems, said: “There have been lots of changes with PAYE and pensions in recent years. Pierce have taken the headache of that away from us and have seamlessly implemented those changes to the business.

“Pierce have a really skilled and friendly team, and they do all the gritty accountancy work for us, which we don’t have the skills for in-house including year-end accounts, management accounts, VAT returns as well as payroll and pension support.

“We’re so proud of our Lancashire roots, so having a local accountancy firm was crucial to us.”

Simon Diggle, Director at Pierce said: “It’s been a pleasure working with Angela and the team and supporting them as they go into their 40th year of business.

“Wilkinson Mobile Catering Systems is a very successful, innovative and high-quality business and we’re really proud to be working with a firm based in the heart of Lancashire who are working with clients on a global scale.”

Let’s get the Apprenticeship Levy working for Lancashire

Lancashire’s leading employers are being urged to share their unused Apprenticeship Levy funds with local companies to help bridge skills gaps and seize the economic benefits of training.

The plea for collaboration from local accountancy firm Pierce, comes as the first tranche of payments dating from the scheme’s introduction in April 2017, are set to expire in April 2019.

Companies that have not made full use of their Apprenticeship Levy credits, are also now able to transfer funds to any business whether they are operating either locally, in their supply chain or within their broader industry.

Currently, employers can transfer a total of 10% of their annual funds to as many businesses as they wish, with the amount increasing to 25% from April. Both companies need to be registered with the apprenticeship service in order to transfer or receive the funds.

The option of transferring funds was introduced following the lack of uptake to the levy. Last year, it was announced that 92% of the funds were not spent in the first year of the scheme.

Lisa Kennery at Pierce said: “The Apprenticeship Levy is a fantastic initiative but various complexities mean that not all companies are taking full advantage of it. Simply by collaborating locally and regionally to share money that is set to be lost anyway however Lancashire firms have a unique opportunity to spread the immense benefits of training and upskilling.

“Right now in our region, there are skills shortages in construction, engineering, manufacturing, IT, logistics and many more specialisms. The Apprenticeship Levy offers an excellent opportunity to get our regional workforce trained and upskilled, and our businesses poised to unlock future growth and investement.

“Lancashire is famed for its friendly, open way of doing business, so it would be fantastic if we could show the rest of the UK just how well we collaborate by using this opportunity to plug as many regional skills gaps and creating as many jobs as possible.

“SME’s account for 60% of all private sector employment in the UK, so the opportunity to transfer funds will not only add fuel to regional growth by stimulating all areas of the supply chain – it will enable smaller firms to offer apprenticeship schemes, or upskill existing staff.

“This will allow many more people in the local community to enhance their careers through training.”

 

Pierce FC wins football league following unbeaten spell

Employees at Pierce have swapped bookkeeping for goalkeeping as their five-a-side football team topped Blackburn’s Power League.

Team members Jimmy King, Jimmy Moore, Lewis Withnell, Adam Zinga, Daniel Burrows and Charles Hopkinson won the league following an unbeaten run in all 10 games of the season. Their win means they will receive automatic promotion to Division One next season.

Director Jimmy King was the team’s top goal scorer with 30 goals, closely followed by Audit and Accounts Senior, Jimmy Moore, who scored 28.

Organiser Lewis Withnell, Trainee Accountant at Pierce said: “We started playing in the league as a bit of fun, for team building and to keep fit.

“We’ve really enjoyed our first season and it’s the icing on the cake that we won the league after winning every game. We’re really looking forward to next season now and hoping we can have a repeat performance.”

Ben Smith, Director at Pierce added: “We’re really proud of Pierce FC’s achievements this season. We actively encourage our staff to keep fit and it’s even more fun when you can do this with your colleagues.”

Pierce supports local designer to create D-Day anniversary garden to be seen by the Queen

Pierce is delighted to be sponsoring its designer client John Everiss , to help create a garden for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show celebrating the 75th anniversary of the D-Day Landings.

The ‘D-Day 75 Garden’ will be created by the Chorley-based designer to celebrate the lives of the Normandy veterans. It will be seen by the show’s 2.1 billion global media audience and 166,500 show visitors including HM the Queen.

The garden will be on display at the show between May 21-25 before relocating to a permanent site in Normandy in time for the D-Day anniversary on June 6.

This year is particularly poignant as it will be the final year the charity behind the garden, D-Day Revisited, will send veterans on a pilgrimage to Normandy.

Ben Smith from Pierce said: “John is a really talented gardener and as soon as we heard about his latest project, we knew we wanted to get involved. We’re really proud that our donation will go towards supporting a local business creating a lasting tribute to the D-Day veterans.

 “We can’t wait to see the finalised garden and the reactions of the veterans and the Royal family towards this tribute.”

 

Businesses braced for payrolling changes

With Christmas and New Year celebrations now becoming a distant memory, businesses are settling back into work for 2019.

Without doubt, the main focus for businesses this year is Brexit, but the uncertainty around the deal is making companies feel unprepared for change.

However, there are some payrolling changes that will be introduced from April 6 which businesses can plan for now.

Changes from the new financial year include:

  • Changes to hours on payslips – employers will be required to provide the number of hours being paid on the payslips of employees who are paid according to ‘time worked’.
  • Payslips for all workers – currently all people in full-time employment receive a payslip, but from April it will also become compulsory for non-employees such as freelancers and contractors to receive a payslip.
  • Welsh tax rates – for the first time, a proportion of the income tax paid by 1.34 million taxpayers living in Wales will directly fund Welsh public services.
  • Pension auto-enrolment – presently under auto-enrolment, 5% of qualifying earnings are set aside for the employee’s retirement, of which at least 2% must be paid by the employer. In April, this will increase to 8% of qualifying earnings of which at least 3% must be paid by the employer.

 

  • National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage – the hourly rates will also increase:
  • For 25 year olds and over – an increase from £7.83 to £8.21
  • 21 to 24-year olds – an increase from £7.38 to £7.70
  • 18 to 20-year olds – an increase from £5.90 to £6.15
  • Under 18s – an increase from £4.20 to £4.35
  • Apprentices – an increase from £3.70 to £3.90
  • Termination payments – payments over £30,000 are currently subject to income tax and will also be subject to Employer National Insurance Contributions from April 2019.
  • Student loans – the Department for Education is introducing a new loan type, the Postgraduate Loan (PGL).  The threshold for paying back the loan in 2019/20 is £21,000, earnings above this will be calculated at 6%.

For more information on the changes to payrolling, email l.kennery@pierce.co.uk