It doesn’t have to be taxing!

With so many tax topics currently impacting on SMEs it is little wonder that business owners struggle to keep up.

That is the starting point to a special session WNJ is organising next month in conjunction with The Business Clinic.

I’ll be delivering the advice clinic ‘Don’t Let Your Tax Become Taxing’ with my colleague Steve Towler on Wednesday July 17.

Steve deals with tax consultancy and compliance matters here at WNJ, principally for owner managed businesses.

That includes corporate reconstructions and exit planning, as well as advising on income tax, capital gains tax and inheritance tax matters.

We’ll be looking to help business owners better understand their tax bill and plan for their tax liabilities.

The advice clinic is WNJ’s latest collaboration with The Business Clinic – a growing Preston-based community interest company set up to support businesses across Lancashire.

The Business Clinic delivers independent and thought-provoking strategy, skills and support to ensure healthier profits.

The organisation is run and supported by local business professionals like ourselves – who come from an array of different sectors and backgrounds.

They take part in surgeries and clinics giving businesses impartial support and advice and focusing on their strategy and development.

They include ‘peerworking’ surgeries that explore business opportunities and challenges and bespoke open clinics centre on business development and skills.

WNJ’s tax advice session will take place at The Business Clinic’s offices at Lockside Office Park in Preston from 6pm-8pm on July 17. To book your place online visit

And to discuss any tax matters in your business please contact me on 01772 430 000.

A secure approach to document exchange

WNJ is looking to further improve its communication links with clients through the adoption of the industry-leading Iris OpenSpace online platform.

Firms like Iris have developed specific, secure communications portals. It means sensitive information such as tax returns and final accounts can be sent without the use of email.

OpenSpace is a safe, simple and secure platform where we can share files and documents and our clients can electronically approve documents such as financial statements and tax returns.

Its key features are fast and secure document exchange. It is easy to use, there is no software to install and it is accessible from everywhere.

It also has the same level of encryption and authentication you would expect from online banking. You log in direct from the WNJ website.

There are numerous benefits that businesses can benefit from by using OpenSpace.

It will see the end of searching through emails or paperwork to file information. Once uploaded to OpenSpace, documents remain in your portal for you to access at your convenience.

When you upload a document your client manager receives notification that their attention is required.

You can also create and manage your own folder within your portal to enable you to organise your documents as you require.

The platform’s E-approval and E-signature allows you to sign and approve financial statements and tax returns with minimum fuss.

And its E-checklists are quick and easy way for you to provide us with the information we require to complete your Self-Assessment Tax return.

We can then upload it for you to digitally sign and provide your approval for us to file online with HMRC.

The use of these types of tools is growing. OpenSpace is currently being used by some 500,000 SMEs.

WNJ will be contacting its clients about the adoption of the platform. To discuss further please contact me on 01772 430000.

Cloud accounting – how we can help

Cloud accounting software is changing the way that businesses operate their bookkeeping functions.

With the imminent introduction of Making Tax Digital (MTD) it is important to consider whether this software could assist your business, not only allowing you to file your VAT returns but also enabling you to take advantage of numerous efficiency and cost saving benefits.

At WNJ, we have a dedicated team that can help and advise you and who are all cloud accounting specialists. We work closely with expert providers; Xero, Sage, QuickBooks and FreeAgent to give our clients the best solutions that suit their individual accounting needs.

We will set you up and train you to use all of the functions with confidence. And we can also provide a full or partial outsourced book keeping service.

To discuss cloud accounting benefits and determine which provider would be best suit your business, please call me on 01772 430000.

A FreeAgent boost for small business

Wallwork Nelson & Johnson (WNJ) is now an accredited partner of FreeAgent, with its MTD compliant software.

If you are a Royal Bank of Scotland or Natwest business customer, the good news is that FreeAgent is available as part of your business banking offering.

FreeAgent is cloud accounting software that makes it incredibly easy for you to regularly upload expenses, review bank transactions and save time on your daily processing.
Winner of the Software Excellence 2017 award for SME Accounts/Bookkeeping, FreeAgent also integrates with our processes so we have full visibility.

To view a demonstration on YouTube, please click this icon.

If you would like further information about FreeAgent, please contact me on 01772 430000.

A sad loss

Mervyn Coward, who was a Partner and later a consultant at WNJ, sadly passed away earlier this month following a short illness.

Mervyn, 69, from Fulwood, Preston, was a true gentleman and a popular figure whose long and valued association with WNJ spanned more than half a century. This speaks for itself, in that Mervyn was highly respected, appreciated and liked by staff, fellow Partners and his clients.

The heartfelt condolences and warm messages that have been sent to the firm’s office over the last two weeks have proved testament to Mervyn’s professionalism, wide knowledge and his particular fondness for a humorous tale of old times and new. Many staff and clients will recall happy days whilst accompanying Mervyn on audit visits across the country, when the evening’s entertainment and storytelling would make the time away from home little hardship.

Mervyn’s funeral service took place at St John the Baptist’s Church in Broughton.

All of our thoughts are with his wife Trisha and family.

Mervyn will be sadly missed.

Supporting a local Community Club

WNJ is helping to support Bamber Bridge football club as it looks towards another successful season on and off the pitch.
Often referred to as ‘Brig’ this community club is looking for more help from local businesses in its quest to rise up the football pyramid.

WNJ is the club’s accountancy practice and our advertising hoarding will be seen by supporters watching Brig at the Sir Tom Finney Stadium this season.
Bamber Bridge FC will start life in the EVO-STIK NPL Premier Division with an away game at Grantham Town on Saturday August 18.
Fans will get a chance to see the side in league action for the first time a week later when they entertain Workington on Tuesday 21 August, kick off is 7:45 p.m.

For all of the club’s 2018 / 19 fixtures, please click here:

Club fixtures

The club was promoted in May after emerging victorious in a tense play-off final against Prescot Cables, in front of more than 1,600 fans. The academy team also gained success by winning the league title and securing a place in the Under 21 League for 2018 / 19.

This year is also the 135th since a football club was first formed in Bamber Bridge, which is being marked with a number of promotional events.

Managing Director Alan Grant (pictured left) says: “Every year the club punches above its weight on and off the pitch, often facing opponents with seemingly limitless resources.
“The role-played by our supporters and local businesses in our successes to date cannot be overstated. Their backing has allowed us to continue to grow and as we move forward facing new challenges, we remain heavily reliant on their on-going support and generosity.”

“We hope to attract many more local businesses to help us and we are keen to maintain ‘the feel-good-factor’ that has seen our community get fully behind the club for many years.”
This family club has strong links with local primary and secondary schools and colleges as well as UCLan. It also has a strong relationship with Preston North End; Blackburn Rovers Ladies; Everton FC and recyclinglives.

The club actively supports many charities including Heartbeat, Baby Beat, St Catherine’s Hospice, Rosemere Clinic and Rainbow House.
Please feel free to contact Alan Grant on 07903 324688 or send an email to for any more information or to register your interest in getting involved in the club and to discuss ways to support its aims.

Promotions as WNJ looks to the future

WNJ has announced a string of promotions as the practice continues to reward talent and invest in the people delivering its leading services to a growing client base.
The move sees the creation of four new Associates, all dedicated to building even stronger relationships with WNJ’s clients as the firm continues with its own development plans.

Announcing the promotions, WNJ partner Michael Barker said: “The promoted individuals all have different specific areas of expertise and experience but they share our core values that deliver excellent client relationships and service.
“It is particularly pleasing that three of the four all came to this firm from college or university, showing that WNJ provides first-class training and development opportunities as well as long-term client relationships.

“We are delighted to announce their promotion to Associate level and wish them well in their new roles, which include developing our range of services to deliver even more to our clients.”

Each of the new Associates has gained valuable experience working with a host of businesses across different sectors, allowing them to build and develop the strong relationships WNJ is renowned for.

Meet our new Associates:

Chris Watson
As a qualified accountant, Chris joined the WNJ tax team in 2010 in order to follow his ambition of becoming a tax advisor. He qualified as a chartered tax advisor in 2013 and quickly progressed within WNJ’s tax department.
Chris works closely with a wide range of clients on their tax issues, ensuring they pay taxes efficiently and benefit from any tax advantages and exemptions.
In his new role he will head WNJ’s highly regarded, and growing, tax consultancy team, which is made up of dedicated professionals with qualifications of the highest calibre.
Chris is highly experienced in a range of work relating to both corporate and personal taxation. This includes corporate reconstructions, dealing with HMRC enquiries, inheritance tax planning reports, advising on property transactions, income tax and capital gains tax planning.
He is keen to provide all types of tax consultancy services to WNJ clients and for WNJ to continue advising in general and specialist tax matters.
Chris said: “I am very much looking forward to the new role as we look to grow our tax services and continue to provide the high level of customer service which our clients have become accustomed to. It is an exciting opportunity and I look forward to being a part of it”.

Matthew Johnson
Matthew joined WNJ as a trainee after completing a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History and Philosophy at Lancaster University in 2008.
He qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 2013 and, shortly after, was appointed to the role of manager in WNJ’s Audit Department.
Matthew also manages a portfolio of clients, ranging from self-employed individuals to privately owned businesses, specialising in strategic growth planning, corporate finance assignments and financial reporting.
He said: “I am delighted to accept the role of Associate at WNJ and look forward to helping the firm maintain its reputation for high quality, proactive service and advice.
“My new role will allow me to continue to focus on developing new business and expanding my portfolio of clients within the owner-manager and SME marketplace. I am excited by the future plans for our firm and by my role in them.”

Stuart Iddon
Stuart has been a member of the WNJ team for 12 years, joining the firm in 2006 after completing his A-levels in accountancy and business studies.
He qualified as a chartered certified accountant in 2006 and he gained fellowship status last year.
In his time at WNJ he has worked with a wide range of businesses, from new start-ups to fully established companies, providing help and advice on accountancy, taxation and audit issues.
His new Associate role at WNJ will see Stuart working in a corporate finance advisory role. And he will also be responsible for auditing and compliance within the practice.
Stuart, a keen cricketer, said: “The promotion to Associate is a great opportunity for all of us. I’m really looking forward to the new role and responsibilities.”

Donna Helm
Donna is another member of the WNJ team who has grown through its training and development programme.
She started work at WNJ on an ACCA training contract following the completion of her A-levels in October 1996. Donna qualified at the age of 22 and became a Fellow of the Chartered Association of Certified Accountants five years later.
During her time at WNJ she has worked in all areas of accountancy, including audit and accounts preparation, management accounts and cash flow forecasting. She has also had a role helping develop junior members of staff.
Donna’s new Associate role will see her spearheading the development of the cloud accounting team, helping and supporting clients as they prepare for the future requirements of the Making Tax Digital drive.
She said: “I’m looking forward to the new role and ensuring excellent client relationships and service, as well as getting involved in the personal development of staff at WNJ.”

Rewarding the very best in local sport

WNJ has once again helped recognised the people who make sport happen in the Preston area at a very special evening of celebration.
We sponsored the Secondary School of the Year category in the annual GLL Preston Sports Awards.

Pictured here on the evening are Left to right: Paul Crone, Louise Ashworth, Cllr Peter Kelly, Deputy Mayoress, Lutalo Muhammad, Deputy Mayor Cllr Trevor Hart, Peter Mason (Chair of Preston Sports Forum), Lord and Lady Shuttleworth and Jimmy Khan.

And we were delighted to hand over the award to the worthy winners, Ashton Community Science College, at the event held at Preston Guild Hall.

WNJ has helped support these annual awards for a number of years now. This year was the 13thevent and it has become are one of the highlights of the city calendar and a chance for the sporting community of Preston to come together.
They showcase the achievements of our local athletes as well as the army of unsung volunteers who dedicate so much time to their sports. As always it was a memorable and inspirational evening.

The event was hosted by Granada TV presenter Paul Crone and there was an inspirational speech from double Olympic medallist Lutalo Muhammad.
As a Preston-based business, we were pleased to sponsor one of the major awards of the evening, which recognises the hard work of local schools and their nurturing of our young sporting talent.
The awards are very-much community orientated and it is great to be able to support them as they recognise the thriving grassroots sport in the city.
As well as sponsoring one of the awards, we also hosted a table at the event and an enjoyable evening was had by everyone.
The event really highlighted all the great work been done locally in a massive range of sports and it really celebrated the unsung heroes who put in so much time and effort.

The event was opened by a spectacular display from the winners of Preston’s Primary schools’ dance festival St Mary and St Andrew’s Primary School.
Paralympic swimmer Stephanie Slater was presented with some flowers to congratulate her on her achievements in her career after the recent announcement of her retirement.
Longridge’s internationally renowned football freestyler John Farnworth, fresh from a ball-juggling walk up to Mount Everest Base Camp, was presented with the Pride of Preston Award.
And Marilyn Gregson was rightly recognised for her dedication, enthusiasm and involvement in disability sport through her voluntary role at Preston Panthers Disability Club for more than two decades.