Alex Cass – nomination for “Employee of the Year” award

Alex Cass joined Nicholsons Chartered Accountants on the 12th October 2015 through the apprenticeship scheme run by Lincoln College under the direction of Nigel Hullet.  

He started his career in the construction industry but soon realised that he didn’t enjoy the work. Alex wanted to go back to the subjects he enjoyed the most at school, these being maths and business studies.  After taking a step back and doing some essential research, Alex saw his future in accountancy and has excelled in this area ever since.

Under the apprenticeship scheme Alex worked for all the Directors at Nicholsons in general practice under the guidance of Rebecca Betts.  He completed his AAT Level 2 exams within the first year. 

Wanting to move onto the next step as soon as possible Alex found himself frustrated with the slow progress the scheme offered.  He wanted to move up to the next level as quickly as possible, so his only option was to leave the scheme and take the fast track route to complete his ACA certificate level. Jo Brown, head of training at Nicholsons, intervened and contacted the training body, the decision to push on with this was unanimous by the Board as they could all see his potential and didn’t want him to be held back in any way. Alex completed his exams within a year.

Showing such dedication to the business and commitment to his study’s, Alex was promoted from Junior to Semi Senior Accountant in September 2017.  Alex moved from general practice to work in Audit.   From here he also started studying for his professional level ACA qualification and has to date sat and passed the first exam, he still has another eight exams to take.  His aim is to have achieved this by July 2020.  

Alex has a small number of his own clients, but his main role is to support his manager Rebecca Betts in providing efficient audit services to a variety of clients. With his continued study’s he is well placed to offer help and give the right advice to Nicholsons clients. Alex works with a varied portfolio, covering the one-man band, through to multi-million-pound companies and charities.

Alex has grown into his role and has shown great commitment to both his studies and his work. He is very highly thought of by his colleagues and has a great future ahead of him the world of accountancy and audit.

 

 


Jo Brown celebrates 19 years at Nicholsons

Jo Brown joined Nicholson’s Chartered Accountants in July 1999 and now celebrates 19 years at the firm.  Jo is based in firm’s Lincoln office but is available to see her clients at the Market Rasen office whenever necessary.  

Qualifying in February 2008 with the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, Jo became an Associate in 2014 and a Director in 2016.  Jo works in general practice for businesses of all sizes and in a variety of sectors.  She has also become a specialist in dealing with travel agents.  No business is too large or small for Jo’s portfolio. She works with one man bands, right through to multi million pound companies and enjoys the diversity of dealing with this range of clients.  

Away from the office Jo loves to travel and spend her time relaxing by the pool with her family. She also enjoys entertaining family and friends, and often hosts a barbecue when the sun shines.  In the winter months Jo can be found enjoying a good drama on TV when it is too cold to go outside.  

If you would like to speak to Jo then please call her on 01522 815100 or email joanne.brown@nicholsonsca.co.uk

 

 


Fantastic prizes for our Charity auction – L.I.V.E.S and LNAACT

Thank you to everyone who has donated these fantastic prizes to our auction at our Charity Ball on Friday 14th September.  We want to raise lots of money for the charities we are supporting on the night – Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance and L.I.V.E.S

Live Auction

Dinner, Bed and Breakfast at the DoubleTree by Hilton – Kindly sponsored by the DoubleTree by Hilton

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A visit to the Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance base at RAF Waddington – An escorted visit for up to 4 people to the Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance Airbase. You will have the opportunity to meet the crew and have a tour of the operational base and the Helicopter.  Prize provided by the Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance

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Lincoln City Box for 8 people with pre-match food  – The box will be available for 8 people to attend the Lincoln City v Stevenage game on Saturday 16th February at Sincil Bank kick off 3pm – Kindly donated by Nicholsons Chartered Accountants *2 representatives from Nicholsons will be in attendance on the day as required by LCFC

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£50 voucher and one night’s accommodation at the Bronze Pig – You will receive a £50 voucher towards a meal for 2 people and one night’s accommodation on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday evening or for Sunday lunch and a stay Sunday night. – Kindly Donated by the Bronze Pig

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VIP Visit to the Red Arrows at RAF Scampton – This amazing package is for 2 people and will include a presentation by one of the Squadron officers, viewing the pre-sortie brief, viewing a display practice (weather permitting), observing a debrief, lunch with the pilots and a tour of the hanger with one of the engineers. Kindly donated by the Red Arrows Team

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Helicopter Lesson and Flight – A voucher for 100-minute trial lesson in a Robinson R22 at Central Helicopters in Widmerpool, Notts. This includes a 25-minute classroom brief and then hands on flight of about 75 minutes with an instructor

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A cookery lesson for 4 people at the Old Bakery Restaurant in Lincoln – This package includes a light breakfast, biscuits and coffee on arrival. You will be hands on cooking a three-course meal and a bread option which you will enjoy for your lunch.  Complimentary wines and soft drinks are also included in this package. You will have the option to choose your menu including Italian, Spanish and French.  This package will be available between Tuesday – Saturday. Dates and menu to be agreed when booking directly with Ivano at the Old Bakery Restaurant. Kindly provided by Ivano and Tracey from the Old Bakery Restaurant

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The Secret Garden – painted by artist Jean Smith

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Round of Golf for 4 people at Lincoln Golf Club – This package is for 4 people to play golf at Lincoln Golf Club, Torksey

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Lincoln City – pre-season summary

Jim Carratt, a senior accountant at Nicholsons, is an avid Lincoln City supporter and gives us a summary of the pre-season games.

New signings Harry Toffolo and Bruno Andrade made their debuts in a preseason that put Lincoln up against 3 Championship clubs.

With a number of trialists, a 3-1 defeat against a strong Norwich side which included an own goal from former city star Sean Raggett wasn’t too disappointing. A 1-0 defeat followed, with a goal from record signing John Akinde starting for the first time v Sheffield Wednesday – the away side bringing almost 3,000 fans.  Akinde looked strong with ever improving fitness and should be a great capture.

Another 1-0 defeat followed to newly promoted Blackburn Rovers but the re-signing on a season long loan of young centre half Scott Wharton lifted the mood.

A 4-1 win at Boston United, with Northern Ireland international Shay McCarten on a season long loan from Bradford City scoring on his debut.

The final friendly away at Scunthorpe finished a solid preseason against stronger opposition. A number of positive signings will give high optimism to the record number of season ticket holders in what we all hope is a promotion winning season.

Jim’s next report will give us a summary of the first part of the season.

 


Dismissal and pregnancy

What would you do if you had cause to dismiss a female employee and then you discovered that she is pregnant; something you were unaware of.

A woman is protected from dismissal for any reason which is “connected to her pregnancy, childbirth or maternity leave” from day one of her employment. In the event of her employment being terminated for any pregnancy related reason the dismissal will be automatically unfair and discriminatory and she will be able to bring a claim against her employer immediately as there is no qualifying period of service. This will apply to a dismissal that is directly attributable to an employee’s pregnancy and those reasons which are linked to either the taking of time off for antenatal care or absence due to a pregnancy-related illness or suffering a miscarriage. Women undergoing IVF treatment are also protected by this rule.

A recent case saw an employer dismiss an employee while not being aware of the fact that she was pregnant at the time. What happened in this case?

On 3 August 2016 the Really Easy Car Company (R) decided to dismiss Thompson (T) whilst she was still in her probationary period. This decision was reached due to T’s “emotional volatility” and her “failure to fit” in with its work ethic. A meeting was arranged for the 5 August where R intended to communicate this decision to T. On 4 August, the day before the arranged meeting, T informed R that she was pregnant – a fact the company had not been aware of beforehand. R decided to press ahead with the meeting arranged for the 5 August and T was dismissed. T subsequently claimed automatically unfair dismissal and pregnancy-related discrimination. The tribunal found in her favour and noted that T’s pregnancy clearly had a bearing on her behaviour. R appealed to the EAT.

The EAT overturned the tribunal’s ruling and held that where an employer decides to dismiss and is unaware of an employee’s pregnancy at the time the decision is made, the dismissal cannot be connected to the pregnancy. In other words, an employer cannot be expected to take into account a pregnancy that it did not know about.

In this situation our advice is to tread very carefully. Once you know an employee is pregnant it does not mean they cannot be dismissed – the employer just needs to be able to show that the dismissal is not connected to the pregnancy in any way. For example, if an employee is caught stealing, it is unlikely to be pregnancy-related behaviour.

This case above has now been remitted to a fresh tribunal which will determine whether R acted properly once it was informed of T’s pregnancy. I will keep you updated.

Head of Human Resource at Nicholsons Chartered Accountants Lincoln HR


Pension freedoms trigger new gender gap concerns

Keeping your pension invested in retirement has become a more popular option since the pension freedoms – but it appears men are getting a much better deal than women.

April 2018 research by Zurich UK discovered women who are in drawdown have 37% less annual retirement income compared to men, leaving them more than £47,000 worse off. This is largely due to the fact men in drawdown have an average pension pot worth £212,000, compared to £132,000 for women.

By selecting a 3% income yield, the average male pension could generate an annual income of £6,360, whilst a female pension would only command £3,990. To match their male counterparts, women would need to take greater risk with their money. But with only 32% seeking financial advice, they could find it difficult to make suitable decisions.

Source: www.financialreporter.co.uk/later-life/new-gender-drawdown-gap-leaves-women-with-37-lower-retirement-income.html


Penalties for Non-Compliance with Making Tax Digital

HM Revenue and Customs have now confirmed the penalty system that will be brought in for non-compliance with making tax digital. There has been much concern that the system is too complicated but HMRC appear to feel confident enough in the system to go ahead.

From April 2019 businesses who are required to be registered for VAT will also become required to keep digital records. Penalties for not keeping digital records will begin immediately on inception of making tax digital, although how this will be verified may remain to be seen.

The initial stage of making tax digital is the requirement to file VAT returns through a digital programme, for example Xero or Sage. The only change being that you will not be able to log into the Government Gateway site to submit your VAT return. There are currently penalties for not submitting VAT returns so in principle this is nothing new.

The penalties for not making your making tax digital submissions on time will be based on a points system. Each time a submission is a late a point will be allocated and once a total number of points is reached, the example being used by HMRC is four points, a penalty will be issued. The points will carry forward until a certain number of deadlines have been met, which will then wipe the point from the history. The points systems will be separate for each tax, although this may be subject to change before it is implemented. There is planned to be a year from Making Tax Digital becoming compulsory before the penalties begin, although like much of this legislation it is subject to change.

The new penalty regime for not paying your VAT on time (the date of which is not due to change) is not expected to start until 2020, with the current system continuing until then. Penalties will be based on a scale of how late VAT is paid after it is due and is equally planned to apply to corporation tax when it is brought in to the Making Tax Digital regime. There will be an additional late payment interest charge calculated, based on how late the payment is made after the deadline.

Contact a member of our team who can help you prepare for April 2019 when Making Tax Digital becomes live.                   Link to our team

Link for HMRC Information on Making Tax Digital

 

 

 

 


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