Audit Manager appointed at Nicholsons

The Directors at Nicholsons are pleased to announce the promotion of Rebecca Betts to Audit Manager. Rebecca is based at the firm’s Lincoln office and is a member of the Audit and Accounts team.

After finishing her GCSE’s, Rebecca attended Lincoln College three days a week to do her AAT exams whilst also working for the NHS on the administration bank for 2 days a week. During this time she completed her AAT levels two and three.

Upon joining Nicholsons in April 2008, she continued with her training and completed her AAT level four before moving up to the next level. Rebecca took her first ACCA exam in December 2014 and took her final exam in March 2017 becoming a fully qualified accountant. Rebecca’s area of expertise is audit, academies and charities although she also has experience in working on accountants and personal tax work.

Commenting on her new role Rebecca said “I am pleased with my promotion and that my work has been recognised. Although I will still take an active role within the accounts team, my time will be prioritised towards helping us meet our auditing deadlines and client expectations.”

Rebecca will work alongside Directors Emma Murray and Jo Brown in managing the audit assignments.

Emma Murray, Head of the Audit and Accounts department, said “We are very pleased to have appointed Rebecca as Audit Manager. The team have helped and supported her over the time she has been with the firm, giving her to opportunity to develop the skills, experience and knowledge she needed to help achieve her goals. All the directors recognise the importance of developing and retaining our employees and our aim is to provide our clients with a consistent and recommendable service, which we are sure Rebecca will continue to do.”

Away from the office Rebecca likes to go travelling as well as shopping and socialising. If you would like to contact Rebecca call 01522 815100 or email


XERO launches new expenses feature?

One of the new features announced at XEROCON was a new expenses tool. It sounded pretty cool, so I was excited to be accepted on to the limited roll out to give it a go.

Luckily I had my London trip receipts to process, perfect. So jumping straight into it I opened the new XERO expenses app and selected the “+” button. By sizing up the receipt in the frame the app highlights it in blue, takes a picture and asks you to confirm you want to submit it.

As I was logged into XERO I selected the new expenses tab under accounts. The expenses screen already showed the items I had submitted with a note saying “processing”. A few minutes later I got a notification on my phone to say one of my expenses needed further info. When I opened it the details were missing of the account that it needed posting to. It was pretty easy to correct, and to add a label. Labels are a sub description. We post all travel costs to one account. The labels tool will help monitor the split between; taxi’s, rail etc. They are customisable too, which is great.

Now in XERO they can be reviewed, approved and paid.

This new feature really does look good. I processed around 15 invoices in 3-4 minutes and that was opening the app for the first time and checking what they looked like in XERO.

I’m confident that XERO expenses will be pretty easy to roll out across the business and with the ability to add other people’s expenses there shouldn’t be too much resistance. Once in we can approve & process them quickly and efficiently.

I’m also sure that I’ll capture more of my expenses as I’ll snap and submit, there and then. I can’t wait to try it next week when I meet my tech networking group.

Richard Hallsworth Lincoln Accountant and Business Adviser LinkedIn





LCFC – the season so far…

It has been a season of much anticipation, with the recent release of the DVD ‘Impossible Is Just An Opinion’ Lincoln City’s unbelievable achievements are still fresh in the minds of the fans.

Whilst the team at Nicholsons’ welcomed popular goalkeeper Paul Farman to the office with the National League trophy; the sale of season tickets were almost reaching 6,000. Team Nicholsons’ look forward to the season, ready to attend both home and away games.

New players arrived for the start of the season including former Peterborough ‘player of the season’ Michael Bostwick and the former loanee, Harry Anderson. Defender, Sean Raggett, was sold to Norwich and has been loaned back to Lincoln City until January. Hopefully the loss of a number of last years’ players, including Captain Alan Power and two goal Macclesfield hero Terry Hawkridge, will not hinder the team. The player’s pre-season warm up included a sponsored warm weather trip to Portugal and a game against Benfica.

The fixtures were out and the first match back in the Football league was a trip to Wycombe. With a hard fought 2-2 draw followed by a narrow 2-1 defeat at Rotherham set the team up for their first home match against Morecambe – despite chances aplenty, it finished 1-1. This was followed by a disappointing loss at Exeter, a home win against Carlisle, was a must – the 4-1 result was followed by another good performance against Luton (0-0). With 2 away games – Stevenage 1-0 down with 10 men and half an hour to play, the mighty imps turned it around winning 2-1 and with a 1-0 victory over Forest Green on Tuesday they were up to 5th.

Three local derbies followed, firstly a disappointing 1-0 home loss to Mansfield. Closely followed by a 4-1 away defeat to Notts County, a result that didn’t do Cowley’s team justice, as they were the stronger side until Billy Knott was controversially sent off at 0-0 after half an hour. This game was watched by over 4,000 imps fans, an unbelievable figure considering the average home gate was only around 2,500 2 years ago!

A 2-1 home win v Barnet and a 0-0 away Lincolnshire derby draw against Grimsby put the team in a mid-table position – a pretty good start to life in the football league having played a number of the more favourable teams.

Junior Accountant donates hair to Charity

Last night Aimee Harrison, let her sister cut off the length of her hair – it was all for a good cause though!

The Little Princess Trust is a charity that provides free real hair wigs to children who have lost their own hair through cancer treatment or other illnesses. Their aim is to provide children with wigs as close a match to their original hair as possible. If they cannot source suitable donated-hair wigs then they have to buy them and the cost of just one wig is on average between £350 – £500. In order to keep on supplying these wigs to children the charity relies on hair donations and fundraising, by people like Aimee, who decided to do both.

Aimee,  at Nicholsons Chartered Accountants said “I’d seen so many videos of brave young children (girls and boys) who had grown their hair to have it cut back up to their chins or shorter. This is where I first heard about the Little Princess Trust. I started researching the charity and found out just how much hair they needed and the impact it had on the children they help. I have had long hair since I could choose my own hair styles and have never liked having it cut.  At this stage I realised how much long blonde hair I had and decided to keep growing it. I knew it would take a few months before I had enough hair so I thought about fundraising in the meantime.”

Not only has Aimee donated her hair but she has raised over £235.00 for the charity.

Directors visit the Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance base

The directors from Nicholsons Chartered Accountants received a warm welcome from the team at the Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance when they recently visited the helicopter at RAF Waddington.

The Charity has taken delivery of a brand new state-of-the-art helicopter. Strategically placed in Lincolnshire, the helicopter can fly at 190 mph, getting to the further flung and more remote parts of the county within 15 minutes, delivering specialist critical care which impacts on the patient’s chance of survival and recovery.

Director, Emma Murray, from Nicholsons, specialises in the Charity sector said “Jane and the team at Waddington made us feel very welcome and gave us a better understanding of the essential service the team and helicopter provide.   We recognise the importance of supporting a local Charity and having the opportunity to go along to meet some of the people that are on the front line 365 days a year helps to inspire our fundraising for this worthy cause.”

Earlier in the year staff at the firm were asked to nominate a charity and then cast their votes. In a closely contested internal poll the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service received the most votes.  The firm has already carried out various fundraising activities and has more planned throughout the year.

Nicholsons Chartered Accountants has offices in Lincoln and Market Rasen. The firm has been serving local businesses since 1923.

Homeworkers – do you regularly work from home?

In terms of Health & Safety there is a difference between an employee who is a “homeworker”, and an employee who “works from home”.  So what is the difference and why is the difference so important?

A homeworker is an employee who regularly works from home and as a result they should be treated the same way as other employees. The homeworker would typically have their home as their permanent working base. Full risk assessments of all work activities must be undertaken, including appropriate Display Screen Equipment risk assessments by a competent person. Any hazards highlighted by the risk assessment process must be addressed so that the level of risk can be reduced as much as possible or “so far as is reasonably practicable”. Failure to follow this may lead to homeworkers being injured or suffering from ill-health.

An employee who “works from home” is someone who has their permanent place of work situated away from their home but, at times, just happens to undertake work at home. This is typical of the employee who takes a file home to read in the peace and quiet of their home, possibly in the evening after dinner.

To help identify the hazards associated with the “homeworker” it may be helpful to have a check list of all typically associated hazards and more importantly the appropriate ways of consistently controlling each activity and how to control or reduce risks to an acceptable level. You should ensure that your document only addresses “significant” hazards, i.e. any hazard that could, and more importantly is likely to, cause an accident or injury.

You may require the assistance of a competent health & safety practitioner.

When assessing the hazards, as with all risk assessing, you do not need to include activities that simply do not need to be there. However, keep in mind that if there is any chance of your employee being unaware of the safe way of doing something, then you will need to make it clear what the safe way is. As with any risk assessment, any control measure can only be to the level of “so far as is reasonably practicable”.

Listing every single hazard will be impossible; however, you should be able to document all “significant” hazards that are likely to be identified with your employee working at home. Please remember that you may have a list of generic risks associated with homeworking but as with all risk assessments you need to examine whether any individual, peculiar risks are present. The risk assessment should take into consideration the actual tasks that your homeworkers carry out on your behalf. I would recommend that these risk assessments are carried out in conjunction with the individual homeworker so that the requirement are fully understood.

Head of Human Resource at Nicholsons Chartered Accountants Lincoln HR


It’s all about turnover … 3 aspects to look at

I’m asked to interpret accounts a lot by clients. Either their own or somebody else’s, perhaps a competitor, customer, acquisition target or supplier. It doesn’t matter what the reason or how big or small they are, I always look at three aspects;

  • Are they growing revenue?
  • Are they profitable?, and
  • Do they generate cash?

Over the next 3 weeks I’m going to take a look at each of these in turn, starting this week with revenue, turnover or sales.

It’s important for a business to be growing, even if that growth is just to keep up with inflation, growth is healthy. So the first thing I look at is total sales and have they grown. If I’m lucky enough to have a few years of accounts I’ll look to work out the rate of growth. (Amount of growth divided by previous year’s sales x 100)

Take Qwerty Ltd, a small company with sales of £348,000 last year and £414,000 this year. The rate of growth is 18.97%. ({{£414,000 – £348,000} / £348,000} x 100)

Personally I like to see regular growth, but sometimes you see a significant increase in sales which can represent a step change in the business or may be a one off. It’s important to know which and so I start to ask questions. I also like to understand whether there is a cycle to sales. A time of the year where sales peak etc. Understanding this is vital as it helps plan activity and forecast cash flow and other resources that might be needed at either busy or quiet times.

Rapid uncontrolled growth can sometimes cause problems too as the cash needed to grow is more than the cash being generated. In this scenario “over trading” can eat through cash with disastrous consequences. As I always tell people, businesses ultimately fail because they run out of cash. That’s why “turnover is vanity and cash is reality”.

It’s also worth taking a look at the turnover note to see whether there is a geographical spread of sales. Turnover is usually split between the U.K., Europe and the rest of the world.

Analysing turnover is important, but it’s just the start.

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