“In the Spotlight” Senior Accountant Rebecca Gulley

Rebecca Gulley is celebrating 22 years at Nicholsons Chartered Accountants after joining in 1998 as a junior accountant.  She is one of the most respected Senior Accountants in the firm and is based at the Lincoln office; Becky also sees clients at the Market Rasen office.

Over the years Becky has seen many changes and has continually developed her skills and through many exams has gained her MAAT and FCCA status. Becky’s expertise is VAT, Instrastat and P11Ds, working mainly for sole traders, partnerships, Ltd Companies and charities.

Becky says, “Learning new things keeps the job interesting and as they say – variety is the spice of life.”

Until recently she supervised the bookkeeping team and was involved in the monthly/quarterly management accounts preparation as well as the VAT returns. Today, although she has moved on, she keeps her hand in by doing a regular set of management accounts and a handful of VAT returns.

Becky’s days are now filled with preparing annual accounts and tax returns as well as supporting clients with their Sage 50 accounts queries.  Becky also does VAT Health Checks for clients who need a little extra support in that area.

Making Tax Digital is one of the biggest changes in recent times in VAT accountancy and Becky has been helping clients make that transition.  The next challenge is ensuring that affected clients are aware of the new Domestic Reverse Charge for the Construction Industry coming into force from 1 October 2020.

Becky was born in Lincoln and cannot imagine living anywhere else, she is still to this day wowed by the Cathedral.

Out of work Becky and her husband enjoy going for walks and watching all the latest action/sci-fi films.  Becky enjoys crafting, although she says she is not very artistic, she still likes giving it a go.

If you would like to talk to Becky please give her a call on 01522 815100.

How to manage salary and bonus conversations

Talking about money with your employees can be uncomfortable. Even when you have good news for an employee, discussing pay can be difficult.

An employee’s performance is inextricably linked to their salary and bonus. However, discussing the two together can lead to the employee focusing only on the conversation about pay. As such, managers should discuss performance in a separate meeting prior to any discussion about pay or bonuses. This ensures that both conversations are heard clearly by the employee, and expectations can be managed, prior to any conversation about compensation.

When a salary and bonus conversation gets tough, it is often because an employee is not getting the information they need or the manager feels that they can’t answer certain questions. Managers need to have key information to hand such as pay scales for the various roles across the business, details regarding potential for pay increases or promotions and any other key information such as company performance and how this has affected the salary and bonus figures this year etc.

If a salary and bonus conversation is not going well, managers should spend more time listening to the employee in order to understand where they are coming from, what their concerns are etc.

There is often a lot to be gained by managers who are curious when it comes to having tough pay-related conversations. For example, they might learn that an employee feels that their job has not been correctly benchmarked against competitors or the wider market.

More often than not, a challenging conversation around salary and bonus will require a follow up meeting, giving managers an opportunity to come back with more facts and secure a positive outcome with the employee.

Lucy is our HR Consultant and give you more information and advice, call her today on 01522 815100.

Local accountants raise money for St Barnabas Hospice

The team at Nicholsons have been raising money for their charity of the year 2019, which was St Barnabas Hospice and have raised £9,085.85 for this worthy cause.

St Barnabas Hospice was chosen by the team at the end of 2018 as their charity of the year for 2019.  Everyone is invited to nominate a charity of their choice.  The nominations received are usually because a member of staff has been involved with a particular charity in one way or another. Once the nominations are received, they take a vote to decide the firm’s charity of the year.  The fund-raising activities start at the beginning of each year.

Gail Green, a Director at Nicholsons, says

“We feel it is important for the team to have a say and asking for nominations gives everyone the chance to put their favoured charity forward. This year it has been a pleasure working in partnership with Caroline and her team at St Barnabas Hospice, and we are delighted to have raised so much money to help them maintain this vital service across Lincolnshire, especially as I have personally benefitted from the services offered by the charity.”

The firm’s social committee take on some of the responsibility with the fund-raising activities they run throughout the year.  The two main people involved are Gail Green and Marketing Manager, Linda Clark. Gail and Linda have both been working closely with Caroline Swindin from St Barnabas Hospice.

At the beginning of the year, some of the team took up the invite from Caroline to visit the facilities at the Hospice on Cardinal Close in Lincoln. A visit to the hospice helped put the needs of the charity into perspective, how it helps local people and what is needed for it to continue to serve the communities across Lincolnshire.

“It has been a pleasure to work in partnership with Nicholsons and what a fantastic amount of money they have raised for the Hospice! We couldn’t be more grateful. This money could help to fund 73 nurse visits to patients living with a life-limiting or terminal illness, who are being cared for at home. We look forward to hopefully working together again in the future and wish them the best with their new charity partnership.” – Caroline Swindin, Corporate & Community Lead at St Barnabas Hospice.”

The team at Nicholsons have had a busy year participating in lots of fund-raising activities from cake baking, dress down days, summer reading book sales, spring cleaning your home, afternoon tea (very well received!), a quiz night and the office tuck shop.

The main fund-raising event for the firm was the annual charity ball held at the Hilton Hotel in Lincoln last October, which raised £7,700 from ticket sales, an auction and a raffle, with thanks to Colin Young and Melvyn Prior, who both helped to raise the money.

One of the more unusual fund-raising activities was the empty crisp packet initiative.  The firm joined the Walkers Crisp Packet Scheme and became a drop off centre for any branded empty crisp packets.  These were sent in 8kg batches to TerraCycle, who in turn convert the weight to points, and then at the end of the year the points earned are converted into money and paid over to the charity. We are waiting for our fund-raising figure from this and will add it to our total.  It has been well supported by several organisations in Lincoln including the University of Lincoln, Lincolnshire Chamber, Lincolnshire Police and local schools sending in their empty crisp packets.

Nicholsons Charity of the Year for 2020 is the British Heart Foundation and the team have already started raising money for this worthy cause. Watch this space for further details relating to our plans for 2020.



Alex Cass – from apprentice to senior auditor and accountant

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 has now been promoted to Senior Auditor and Accountant.

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 Ellis.  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. 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 studies, 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 four exams and has five more exams to take.  His aim is to have achieved this by November 2020.  

Alex has a small number of his own clients, but his main role is to support his manager Rebecca Ellis in providing efficient audit services to a variety of clients. With his continued studies 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.

If you would like to talk to Alex or a member of the Audit Team, please call 01522 815100.




Aimee Harrison – from apprentice to accountant

Aimee Harrison joined Nicholsons Chartered Accountants in 2016 on the apprenticeship scheme through Lincoln College.  Aimee has come a long way since joining the scheme and continues to study to achieve her goal to become a fully qualified chartered accountant.

After gaining her AAT qualification in August 2017, Aimee then moved on to her ACA qualification. By working whilst studying she has been able to combine her on the job practical work experience with her studies, this helped her to achieve first time passes on her exams. She will sit her final ACA exam in July this year.

Aimee works on a variety of accounts for sole traders, partnerships, limited companies and charities as well as VAT returns, corporation and personal tax. Aimee is a member of the Xero team and has recently attended Xerocon. She is on hand to provide advice and training for clients on Xero and connected apps such as receipt bank.

She is based in the Lincoln office but also works from the Market Rasen office once a week.

When not at work Aimee is training for a half marathon she is running in March for WWF and is planning on entering for the London Marathon in 2021. Aimee is also a keen baker, testing out new cakes and bakes on her colleagues in the office during charity cake sales.

National Apprenticeship Week 3 – 7 February 2020

National Apprenticeship Week

This year we see the 13th National Apprenticeship Week take place from 3 to 7 February. Here at Nicholsons we understand the importance of the apprenticeship scheme and see this week as a time to celebrate. We are proud of what our apprentices have achieved and will be showcasing the success they have enjoyed at Nicholsons.

So, what is an apprenticeship?

Apprenticeships are structured training programmes which give you a chance to work towards a qualification. They help you gain the skills and knowledge you need to succeed in your chosen industry. Getting into employment earlier means there’s lots of potential for you to progress in your career quickly.

What is in for the employer?

An apprenticeship encourages employees to think of their job as a career and to stay with the company for longer, which reduces recruitment costs. Offering an apprenticeship to an existing member of staff shows that you see them as an integral part of the workforce and are happy to invest in their future.

An apprentice gains experience through a wide mix of learning in the workplace, formal off-the-job training and the opportunity to practise new skills in a real work environment. Apprenticeships benefit employers and individuals, and by boosting the skills of the workforce they help to improve economic productivity.

What are the benefits for the apprentice?

The qualifications deliver practical finance training, professional standards and essential business skills and earn whilst you learn. Apprenticeships offer a mixture of on and off-the-job training, giving apprentices the opportunity to learn and develop the skills and experience that work best for your business.

Apprentices have the same employee rights as anyone else, except there is a pre-planned end to that employment – stated in the apprenticeship agreement. Although apprentices will be training during the scheme, they should receive a regular wage and be entitled to holidays, fair working hours and rest breaks.

Why should you take on an apprentice?

Taking on an apprentice can help you improve the range of skills you have within your organisation. It also encourages you to look at the way you do things because you are passing on your knowledge and expertise to people keen to learn the trade or business, enhancing your own skill development. Successful apprentices regularly become loyal, long standing members of staff rising through the ranks of the firm with little disruption to operations. So don’t be discouraged from taking on an apprentice.


HR Consultant joins local accountancy firm

Nicholsons Chartered Accountants is pleased to welcome Lucy Pitfield to the team.  Lucy has joined the firm as a HR Consultant and will be based at their Lincoln office, she will also be available to see clients at the Market Rasen office.

Bringing with her a wealth of experience and knowledge gained from supporting SMEs from a variety of industries, Lucy, who has a very pragmatic commercial approach to HR, will be able to offer help and advice to local SMEs on a wide range of HR issues when needed. Having owned a medium sized company with 50 employees, which delivered training, she is also in a position where she understands the pressures of running a business.

Lucy says, “The team here at Nicholsons has made me very welcome and I am looking forward to working with our existing clients and bringing new clients on board”.

In the meantime, Lucy is busy working on new retained HR packages which will be launched from April 2020, these will include the entire employee lifecycle from recruitment to termination and everything in between.

Away from work Lucy enjoys travelling, eating out and providing her four children with new experiences.   In her spare time Lucy enjoys learning new things, listening to audio books and volunteering on the Lincolnshire CIPD committee.

If you have any employee queries (whether you are a current Nicholsons client or not) please feel free to get in touch with Lucy on 01522 815100.