Chartered status creates a springboard for Pierce employee

An employee from Blackburn based accountancy and business advisory group, Pierce has gained the ICAEW (Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales) ACA qualification to become a Chartered Accountant.

Daniel Burrows, 22, from Blackburn has been studying alongside his role at the firm for the past four years after opting for this route over university.

The qualification will be a springboard for Daniel’s role within the audit and accounts team.

Daniel said: “When I was 18 I went to university but quickly decided that it wasn’t the right route for me. I found out about Pierce through a family friend and I jumped at the chance of having the opportunity to learn while I earn.

“To gain the qualification I had an exam every three months which was difficult to fit in around my full-time role but I had lots of support from my colleagues. One of my colleagues was six months ahead of me in my training so understood exactly what I was going through and gave me a lot of advice and support.”

Now he is a Chartered Accountant, Daniel will spend time developing his role within the audits and accounts team at Pierce.

He added: “The qualification is a springboard for my career and I now will spend time focussing on my role. I will split my time between accountancy work in the office and visiting clients to conduct audits.

“I really enjoy going out and meeting clients. I work on a broad portfolio of clients which includes companies in the manufacturing and textiles industries which I find really interesting.

“I’m delighted with my qualification and really glad that I chose this route instead of university. For me it worked really well as I have gained a qualification, had four years’ experience at work and haven’t got into debt.”

Linda Wilkinson, senior manager at Pierce said: “Daniel has worked extremely hard and has been so committed to his studies. The whole team at Pierce is so proud of him for gaining chartered status and it is very well deserved.

“He has a bright career ahead of him at Pierce and I know he will continue to thrive within his role. He is an exemplary employee and I know he will be supportive to future trainees going through their studies.”

Combi-Vans – Are they really cars!

For many years now the Combi-Van has been purchased by businesses with the additional attraction that it can be used personally to run the family around with only a small benefit in kind.

Back in August 2017 there was a court case between HMRC and Coca Cola where HMRC challenged the tax treatment of three Combi-vans. The outcome of the case was that two of the vans were to be treated as cars rather than vans for tax triggering significant benefits in kind on the employees who had the personal use of these vehicles. The outcome of this case was appealed by Coca Cola in February 2019 with no success.

HMRC do have a list of car derived vans and combi vans available through their website however this has not been updated since 2015 and seems to omit far too many vehicles including the Volkswagen Transporter.

Factors to consider include, but are not limited to:-

  • The vehicle’s primary purpose, bear in mind if there is no primary purpose it will be treated like a car.
  • The vehicle’s payload
  • Windows in the back with the second row of seats
  • Modifications to the vehicles including bulkheads

HMRC has conflicting legislation on the treatment of these vehicles for VAT purposes as they do for direct taxes which means you could still be able to claim the VAT on purchase however you may find you have a significant benefit in kind triggered by the high list price and CO2 emissions and you will lose out on the Annual Investment Allowance.

These vehicles are not treated like double cab pickups where HMRC`s guidance is much clearer, linking them to the one tonne payload.

Our advice would be not to enter into any agreements for a Combi-Van without seeking professional advice as the tax costs can be hefty.

Pierce employee drives career forward after gaining chartered status

An employee from leading Lancashire-based accountancy and business advisory group, Pierce has become a Chartered Accountant after gaining the ICAEW (Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales) ACA qualification.

Lewis Withnell from Chorley completed the chartered qualification after combining studies with his role at the Blackburn firm.

The qualification means that Lewis will develop in his role within the audit and accounts department by taking the lead on assignments and assisting other trainees’ development.

Lewis said: “Since I started my A-levels I knew that I wanted to become a Chartered Accountant. I was keen to get cracking so a month after joining Pierce, I started studying.

“At Pierce, training and study comes first which is such an unusual but fantastic approach that has been really beneficial to me. It has enabled me to focus primarily on my studies and qualifying as a Chartered Accountant.

“Whilst a lot of the studying is done independently outside of work time, our work diary is generally planned around our study days and we get time off for college and exams. We have an enthusiastic group of trainees and we share tips and help each other along when needed.

“We receive further support from our training manager and directors and we have regular reviews to discuss progress and our professional development.”

After gaining chartered status, Lewis’ next steps in his career is to focus on his development within the firm and help new trainees after being assigned a role to help them develop during the early stages of their training.

Lewis added: “My aim now is to concentrate on progressing in my current role and spend time on my hobbies of running and playing football. I’ve completed a number of 10km and half marathon runs, but next on the list is the Liverpool Rock ‘n’ Roll marathon in May next year, so long as I don’t get any more injuries!”

Jimmy King, managing director of Pierce said: “Everyone at Pierce is immensely proud to see Lewis gain chartered status. He has worked tirelessly over the past four years, so it is well deserved.

“We are very much looking forward to our other excellent trainees following in Lewis’ footsteps and adding to the number of qualified accountants and business advisers at the firm.

“Lewis is a really talented individual and he has bright career ahead of himself at Pierce.”

Pierce, which recently celebrated its 90th birthday, has 65 employees who cover all areas of accounting and business advisory services providing not only the critical numbers, but most importantly the advice that goes alongside them, whether it’s protection of assets, business consultancy, structuring, R&D and much more.

Pierce celebrates milestone 90th birthday

Blackburn-based chartered accountancy and business advisory firm Pierce is celebrating 90 years in business.

The firm was founded in Accrington in 1929 by Philip Fletcher Pierce after he completed his accountancy training at Richmond Terrace, Blackburn. Today, the firm is based in Blackburn town centre and employs 65 people in departments spanning accounts, audit, payroll, tax, corporate finance, forensic services, business consultancy, admin and secretarial and IT and online services.

The success and longevity of Pierce is largely down to the innovative nature of the business, following the footsteps of Mr Pierce’s forward-thinking. The firm was one of the first to introduce the electronic adding machine during the 1950s and in 1993 was the first firm in Lancashire to introduce a dedicated forensic accounting department providing litigation support to solicitors.

Significant milestones in the business include becoming a two-partner firm in 1947 when Mr Pierce’s articled clerk, George Douglass Whipp from the late 1930s became a partner. Consequently, the firm was renamed “PF Pierce & Co”.

The firm relocated to Blackburn in 1987 and four years later changed the business name to Pierce Chartered Accountants, before renaming to Pierce C.A. in 2004. In 1996 the business returned back to its roots and relocated to Richmond Terrace, where Mr Pierce had trained, before moving to its current location in Ainsworth Street in 2005.

Pierce has 65 employees who cover all areas of running a business and provides not only the critical numbers, but most importantly the advice that goes alongside them, whether it’s protection of assets, structuring, succession planning, business consultancy, R & D tax credit work and much more. Pierce prides itself on adding value to its clients and working and planning with them to reach their corporate and personal goals.

Jimmy King, Managing Director at Pierce said: “The strong traditions set by Mr. Pierce in 1929 continue to be nurtured by the firm today. His uniquely Lancastrian way of doing business is still the biggest characteristic of Pierce and something we still hold dear which is why we are still incredibly proud to operate under his name.

“Pierce built its reputation on solid foundations and has over the years successfully combined the best of tradition with the dynamics required to meet the challenges of the future.”

“Pierce welcomes and responds to the ever-growing demands of the business world and has a demonstrated commitment to developing its human and technical resources. We very much look forward to the coming years and to growing the firm further.”

Pierce prides itself on a high staff retention rate, with many members of staff being at the firm for in excess of a decade and the firm continues to develop its staff and grow its team. The firm has a strong focus on CSR to give something back to the local community and is currently participating in East Lancashire Hospice’s Corporate Challenge.

Events of 1929

  • The Wall Street Crash, the most devastating stock market crash in the history of the United States, happened in October.
  • The first Oscars award ceremony took place which lasted just 15 minutes and had 270 people in attendance
  • A pint of milk in the UK cost 13p
  • George V was on the throne and Queen Elizabeth II was just three years old
  • 69 years before the youngest employee Layton Smalley at Pierce was born

Pierce advises construction firms about major VAT changes

Local accountancy firm Pierce is warning construction businesses to be prepared for major changes to the sector as VAT reverse charges are set to be introduced.

The Blackburn-based business, is urging the construction industry to get ready for October 1, when new legislation comes into force, meaning customers receiving a service or goods under the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) will have to pay the VAT due to HMRC rather than the supplier.

Only individuals and businesses registered for VAT in the UK will be affected.

The implementation will bring challenges to companies. Invoices will need to change meaning accountancy software will need updating and it may bring cashflow implications.

Businesses in the sector need to identify where they sit in the supply chain and inform sub-contractors of the legislation as it’s likely they won’t be aware of it.

Staff responsible for VAT accounting need to be familiar with the reverse charge and how it will operate, as errors could prove costly.

If the VAT is paid in error to a VAT registered sub-contractor, it is the construction firm’s responsibility to request a re-issued invoice and obtain a refund from the sub-contractor.

Ben Smith, director at Pierce, said: “VAT reverse charges will have a really big impact on the construction industry.

“My advice to any firms would be to find out how it affects them, communicate with suppliers and sub-contractors so they are aware of the legislation, and ensure that all back-office processes are in place ahead of October. This may also include the need for some cashflow planning.

“Genuine mistakes could prove costly for firms and there is a lot of uncertainty about the rules for existing contracts. If companies have any doubts about the processes, they should seek professional advice.”

Update Sept 2019 : This has now been delayed until October 2020!


Pierce strengthens board with appointment of Simon Raine

Pierce Chartered Accountants has appointed former banker Simon Raine as an advisor to its board of directors.

Simon joins the Blackburn-based firm to strengthen the board and will use his 35 years’ experience in finance to help develop relationships with both new and existing clients.

Prior to joining Pierce, Simon was a member of the northern management team for Swedish bank Handelsbanken, where he oversaw 12 North West branches.

Simon said: “I’ve worked with Pierce for many years in my previous role and I’ve always been a strong advocate of the firm. They have such strong values, great local connections and a hard-working, intelligent team – which is a powerful combination.

“I’m looking forward to getting started in my new role and I am keen to build relationships with current clients as well as introducing new clients, to drive the firm to the next level.”

Tom Wilkinson, director at Pierce said: “Simon brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the firm and it is great to welcome him to our team.

“His banking related background will support our delivery of client funding requirements and assist greatly with banking matters.”

Simon is also a Board Advisor at BBS Law, Bridge Insurance Brokers and Together Money. A director at FRP Advisory and a non-executive director at the Jockey Club, Haydock Park Racecourse.