Lucy Pitfield joins Nicholsons as HR Consultant

Nicholsons Chartered Accountants is pleased to welcome Lucy Pitfield to the team.  Lucy has joined the firm as a HR Consultant and is working across both the Lincoln and Market Rasen offices.

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.

 

 

 


Coronavirus – where does your business stand?

Current situation – Covid-19

The COVID-19 virus is quickly spreading, and the government is continually putting measures into place to stem the spread. There are a number of risks posed by the virus that employers will need to be aware of and it is important to remember that employers have a duty of care towards their employees, to this end they must take reasonable steps to protect the health and safety of their workforce.

Symptoms

The symptoms of the virus are a fever and a cough that may progress to a severe viral pneumonia, causing shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. Generally, it can cause more severe symptoms in people with weakened immune systems, older people and those with long-term health conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease.

Government Guidance

If you develop symptoms no matter how minor, you should immediately stay indoors at home and avoid contact with other people.  You do not need to contact 111 or have a test for coronavirus if you are staying at home. If you have symptoms and live on your own you should remain at home for 7 days.  If you live with other people, they should stay at home for 14 days from the day the first person got symptoms.

In addition, the following link is useful for people to know whether they need to seek medical advice or self-isolate:

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

Travel

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-advice-novel-coronavirus

What should employers do? 

Employers have a duty of care towards their employees which includes not exposing them to unnecessary risk. In this case, that may include not putting them in a position in which they could become infected by the virus without taking all reasonable precautions.

This duty of care, where COVID-19 s is concerned, may differ depending on an employee’s specific circumstances, for example, if they are older or they have underlying conditions.

It’s important to remember that employees will be worried about the virus. In addition to having a duty of care to protect health and safety, employers also need to consider their wellbeing. Consider any wellbeing initiatives the company offers and remind employees of them, for example, an Employee Assistance Programme.

 Employers should:

  • Explain to employees that if anyone who has symptoms should not come into the workplace and we should encourage them to call 111 and follow NHS guidance.
  • Remind employees of the absence procedures they need to follow to keep the business informed and any alterations you may wish to consider during this time.
  • Continue to follow guidance provided by the Public Health England. Including providing employees with hand washing, paper towels and alcohol-based hand rub. Also having tissues around the workplace is a good idea.
  • Explain their entitlement to company or statutory sick pay. The Statutory Sick Pay for employees being asked to self-isolate is paid from day one as per the government emergency legislation on 5th March 2020.
  • For those employees that are worried, or are vulnerable with underlying conditions or who are pregnant, it may be possible to consider alternative working arrangements where possible.
  • Ensure all workspaces are kept clean including door handles and high traffic areas.
  • Have contingency plans in place if the virus is brought into the workplace. Ensuring you know if people are able to work from home, having contact details for employees and next of kin details, having the I.T infrastructure for office workers to work from home.
  • Preparing business communications to both your employees and clients should your business become affected and need to work differently.

If you would like more information on how to deal with any of the above issue, please contact Lucy on 01522 815205 or 07780 637999 or email lucy.pitfield@nicholsonsca.co.uk.

 

 


“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.