WNJ is hiring

WNJ has a vacancy for a finance and admin assistant to join our team based at our office in Preston’s docklands.

The successful candidate will assist our office manager in the control of finances and the administration of the organisation – enhancing its efficiency and effectiveness.

We’re ideally looking for someone with experience within an accounts office, finance department or accountancy practice. This is a full-time (37.5 hours) permanent position.

The role

You will:

• Support the work of the office manager
• Set up accounts for new client and maintenance of existing client account records using IRIS software
• Produce Sales Ledger invoices
• Carry out the reconciliation of client receipts
• Produce and analyse weekly aged debtor reports
• Regularly and frequently review outstanding debts and credit control
• Use your experience and judgement in managing the effective collection of monies owed to the company to avoid bad debts with the ability to challenge in a non-confrontational way where necessary
• Produce client statements
• Undertake banking when necessary
• Draft Letters of Engagements for all new and existing clients
• Cover reception as required
• Work on ad hoc assignments when required

The role also involves assisting with the provision of an efficient and effective AML service, which includes:

• Assisting with the ‘on boarding of new clients
• Carrying out various customer due diligence checks
• Reviewing AML documents for existing clients
• Liaising with the partners of the firm regarding AML new client forms and ID documentation
• Being responsible for collecting and maintaining new and existing client , ensuring at all times the organisation complies fully with the stringent Anti Money Laundering regulations

What we are looking for:

• 5 GCEs at least to GCSE grade C or equivalent including Maths and English Language

Essential Skills or Knowledge:

• Must be able to utilise both oral and written communication to a high standard
• Must have the ability to formulate and maintain good working relationships both internally and externally
• Must have excellent attention to detail
• Strong organisational skills
• A good working knowledge of MS Excel and Word
• Be able to manage own workload and show initiative
• Flexible in approach to work

Confidentiality

It is expected that all WNJ employees will understand that our work is confidential and that personal details must not be divulged to members of the public. This obligation will continue indefinitely even after termination of employment.

To apply:

Please send your contact details and a full CV to Christine Garner:

CHG@wnj.co.uk

Brewery rises to the challenge

A family-run brewery came up with a successful home delivery service during lockdown – with demand for its beers coming from across the country.

Slater’s Ales is based in Stafford but has strong links to the North West. All of the family originally come from Preston and it still has many ties with the area.

Company director Vicki Slater says the business is now looking to invest in its own automated bottling plant as it looks towards the future.

She explains how the brewery had to come up with a new business model when lockdown struck and its hospitality outlets closed their doors.

Vicki says: “Pre-pandemic 95 per cent of our business was supplying pubs, restaurants and on trade customers covering the majority of the England and Wales.

“On March 19 we lost all of that. Overnight we had to come up with a new model for the company.

“We have always had a small online presence and over that weekend we could see the orders start to pick up. From that moment we knew where we had to go to ensure the business not only survived but thrived through the period.”

Every member of staff, including those working in its own bar, was put on furlough.

Vicki and head brewer and managing director Andrew Slater started to push the online options for home delivery on social media.

Vicki says: “The majority of home deliveries were sent out within 48 hours and we started to get orders for nationwide deliveries.”

The brewery used Preston-based InXpress to get its nationwide deliveries out the next day, an approach that ensured repeat customers.

Andrew started to slowly increase brewing capabilities and Slater’s started to brew different beers for bag in box and bottled beers. Its small hand-bottling plant at the brewery was in full flow most weeks.

Looking to the future, Slater’s says it is uncertain how long it will take the pub trade to recover.

In the meantime, it has taken the decision to look at funding options to create its own automated bottling plant to stop reliance on external companies.

It has also joined forces with Virgin Wines and its beers are now listed on the website with new brews are in the pipeline specifically for Virgin customers.

Vicki says: “We have learnt that, like many other businesses that faced a challenging time, change can be for the good and that it can bring its own rewards”.

If you wish to try Slater’s multi award winning ales for yourself the company has a special offer for all WNJ clients.

You can receive 10 per cent off all orders through October. Just use the code WNJ10 at checkout through the website www.slatersales.co.uk

WNJ IS HIRING

WNJ has a vacancy for a qualified accountant (ACA or ACCA) with strong practice experience to join our growing team of forward-thinking professionals.

This is a chance to join a leading, well-established and independent firm of chartered accountants with a wide portfolio of clients in all sectors of business.

At WNJ we pride ourselves on the quality of our advice and on our proactive, personal approach to meeting all our clients’ financial and business requirements.

Our client profile ranges from multi-million-pound turnover public limited companies and substantial family-controlled businesses to charities, professional practices, partnerships, sole traders and high net worth individuals.

This is a vacancy for a well-rounded Senior Accountant looking for career development. You must able to work on your own initiative and be eager to take on responsibilities.

The post is based in our office in Preston, Lancashire.

The role

You will:

• Be responsible for accounts preparation for limited companies, LLP’s, partnerships and sole traders
• Prepare management accounts, VAT returns and financial forecasts
• Need a rounded knowledge of all areas of taxation
• Be able to complete a set of accounts from client records to completion
• Discuss and resolve accounts queries with clients
• Prepare accounts files to high standard for partner/associate review
• Review work prepared by juniors and other team members

What we are looking for:

• Strong practice experience
• Excellent communication skills
• Good technical knowledge
• The ability to manage juniors and work on their development
• Experience with accounts software, including IRIS, Sage, Xero, QuickBooks
• Audit experience is not essential

To apply:

Please send your contact details and a full CV to Christine Garner:

CHG@wnj.co.uk

Furlough scheme: an update

Our newsletter on June 1, ‘Job Retention Scheme Flexible Furloughing’, highlighted that from July 1 businesses will be given the flexibility to bring furloughed employees back part-time.

The factsheet released by HMRC states: “From 1 July the scheme will only be available to employers that have previously used the scheme in respect of employees they have previously furloughed.”

The scheme will close to new entrants from June 30. From this point onwards, employers will only be able to furlough employees that they have furloughed for a full three-week period prior to that date.

The final date by which an employer can furlough an employee for the first time will be June 10, in order for the current three-week furlough period to be completed by June 30.

Therefore, if you wish to furlough an employee for the first time, or for a further three-week period immediate action must be taken in order to agree it with the employee in writing.

From July 1, 2020 the maximum number of employees you can claim for in any period cannot exceed the maximum number of employees you have claimed for on any claim submitted for a previous period.

Tributes to WNJ founder Michael Johnson

Tributes have been paid to Michael Johnson, one of the founders of WNJ, who has passed away at the age of 81 after a short illness.

Michael, who was once the youngest Chartered Accountant in the UK, was also a former director at Preston North End, chairman of the Preston Musical Comedy Society and president of the Preston Grammar School Association.

Preston-born and educated at the Grammar School, he founded his own accounting practice in the city after two years’ National Service, attached to the Grenadier Guards and based near Buckingham Palace.

That business was then merged with another firm of accountants to form Wallwork, Nelson and Johnson (WNJ) with his friend and business partner Doug Nelson.

Michael and Doug worked closely together and were instrumental in building up the large and respected firm of chartered accountants that is WNJ today.

He retired as a partner in early 2000 and enjoyed many years working as a consultant with the practice, only stepping down from working one day a week a few months short of his 80th birthday.

Michael was well known and respected across the city. He also held several positions over a 40-year period as a director, consultant and trustee of various businesses and charities in the local area.

He also had a number of leisure and social interests including football, golf, rugby, opera and musical comedy. Michael supported Preston North End for more than 65 years. And on the sports field he even played rugby at Twickenham on one occasion for The Guards.

Michael and his wife Barbara, who were married in 1959, have three sons: Ian, Stuart and Simon, eight grandchildren: Matthew, Natalie, Hannah, Isabel, Sam, Oliver, Joseph and Sophia and two great grandchildren: Emily and Alicia.

Today Ian is a partner at WNJ and Matthew is an associate at the practice.

Paul Woodburn, a partner at WNJ, said: “Michael was massively respected, not only for his dedicated work building this practice but also in the wider business community and for his support of community projects and charities.

“The impact he made on people’s lives has been evident by the heartfelt condolences and warm messages that have been sent to the firm’s office.

“His professionalism and knowledge was coupled with good humour and warmth. He will be sadly missed by everyone who knew him.”

Michael’s funeral service was held at Preston Crematorium and was attended by a large number of former clients and business associates, as well as family and friends.

Making re-enrolment simpler

Employers will be able to re-enrol their staff into a workplace pension more simply following the launch of a new online resource, according to regulators.

They say that while the vast majority are carrying out re-enrolment successfully, some are failing to complete the task correctly – which could lead to a fine.

The new re-enrolment tool has been launched by The Pensions Regulator as thousands of small and micro employers reach their re-enrolment dates in the coming months.

Its director of automatic enrolment Darren Ryder says: “Re-enrolment gives staff who opted out of their workplace pension a fresh chance to start saving so it’s an important task.

“Automatic enrolment has led to millions of new savers and we want to ensure this success continues. Our online re-enrolment tool will help employers continue to meet their legal duties so that staff continue to have the opportunity to save.”

Re-enrolment must be carried out every three years. Firstly, the employer needs to choose the re-enrolment date as this can be up to three months before or three months after the three year anniversary.

Then they must check whether they have any staff to re-enrol and must write to staff and inform them they are being put back into scheme.

They must then complete and submit their re-declaration of compliance. Official figures reveal that more than 176,000 employers have completed their re-declaration of compliance showing TPR how they have met their re-enrolment duties.

The majority of employers will not have staff to re-enrol, however they must still complete their re-declaration of compliance to confirm they have checked whether they need to re-enrol any of their staff, even if none were.

It is a legal requirement and the TRP stresses that failure to both assess and re-enrol eligible staff and make a declaration could result in a fine.

The launch of the new re-enrolment tool comes at the same time as new TPR research shows business advisers continue to play a vital role in helping employers meet their automatic enrolment duties.

The survey revealed that more than 92 per cent of accountants, payroll administrators and book keepers and 62 per cent of IFAs advisers assist their small business clients with automatic enrolment.

To discuss any aspect of workplace pension provision and enrolment please contact me on 01772 430000.

Giving Lancashire businesses a Boost

WNJ has underlined its strong commitment to helping Lancashire companies grow by joining the Boost & Co group.

Boost is Lancashire’s Business Growth Hub and as a member of the group we’re backing its important work across the county.

Since 2013, Boost has helped more than 5,000 Lancashire businesses to grow, creating more than 2,200 jobs in the county and adding £75m to the local economy.

Boost & Co is made up of private and public sector business support providers like WNJ, with specific services and offers that can help that growth continue.

Whether you’re a start-up, large business or somewhere in between, Boost can help get you the right growth support. It offers an invaluable service for growth-hungry businesses.

The project provides funded growth programmes as well as helping businesses navigate the best private and public sector business support available.

And the programme is delivered by specialists with a track record of supporting growth – of both start-ups and established businesses.

To start your growth conversation contact Boost on 0800 488 0057 or visit www.boostbusinesslancashire.co.uk

WNJ can also help you on your growth journey. You can read our Boost & Co partner profile here: https://www.boostbusinesslancashire.co.uk/boost-and-co/wallwork-nelson-johnson-wnj/

To start your business growth conversation with our team of experts, please contact me on 01772 430000.

Lift-off for aerospace R&D

A new £24million fund for collaborative research and development (R&D) projects is good news for SMEs in the aerospace sector.

The new funding opportunity was announced by Business Minister Andrew Stephenson at the Paris Airshow. And the aim is to help keep UK aerospace suppliers at the forefront of manufacturing in the country.

The announcement is of particular interest here in the North West of England. The region’s aerospace cluster is the largest in Europe and contributes more than £7bn to the UK economy, accounting for one quarter of the nation’s aerospace turnover.

This funding together with the support for training, innovation and energy saving through Boost Business Lancashire and UCLan should give business in the area an opportunity to develop, innovate and grow.

Through the programme up to £12m government funding, matched by industry, will be available as part of the Open Collaborative Research and Development (CR&D) competition, supported by the Aerospace Technology Institute Programme.

The Business Minister also announced the opening of the new round of the National Aerospace Technology Exploitation Programme (NATEP 3) to help SMEs develop innovate technology.

In his speech, Mr Stephenson said: “Innovation and R&D are crucial for the UK aerospace sector and I am delighted that we have today launched two programmes to support R&D for SMEs.

“Through our Industrial Strategy we are ensuring the UK remains a world-leader by boosting R&D activity, developing new technology and increasing the UK’s share of the growing aerospace market.”

Open Collaborative Research and Development (CR&D) is a £24m programme to support and accelerate industry investment focused on SME supply chain companies.

The competition seeks high-risk, high-impact projects that demonstrate future-thinking, revolutionary and disruptive solutions to UK aerospace challenges.

The call will open in October 2019 and potential applicants should now contact the Aerospace Technology Institute to discuss the preparation of their bids.

The National Aerospace Technology Exploitation Programme 3 (NATEP 3) is a £13.7m programme aimed at SME suppliers to help them develop their own innovative technologies to enhance their capabilities and increase their ability to win new business.

It is primarily aimed at SMEs that are new to R&D or are restarting R&D activity. The programme builds upon the successful NATEP 1 and 2 programmes.

The first call for NATEP 3 will open in September and companies looking to take part are encouraged to speak to trade organisation ADS.

Its chief executive Paul Everitt said: “Programmes like these are generating new R&D investment at every level of the industry.

“This investment is vital to boosting our international competitiveness and to developing the technologies of the future that will deliver improved fuel efficiency and significant reductions in the environmental impact of aviation worldwide.”

To discuss any aspect of funding or R&D support relating to your business please contact me on 01772 430000.

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 www.thebusinessclinic.org

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.