Congratulations to Aimee Harrison, winner of this years “Apprentice of the Year” at the Lincolnshire Media Business Awards.
Aimee Harrison joined Nicholsons Chartered Accountants as an apprentice on 27th June 2016 through the apprenticeship scheme run by Lincoln College under the direction of Nigel Hullett. During the first couple of months at Nicholsons, she was assigned to work with Senior Accountant, Steve Robinson, where she gained valuable experience and a better insight into accountancy and the wider business world.
On the 8th September 2016, Aimee started attending Lincoln College one day a week to continue with her training.
Having decided on a career as an accountant, Aimee had already taken matters into her own hands and achieved her Level 2 and Level 3 AAT exams whilst studying at home. So for her it was a natural progression for her to attend college to take her AAT level 4 exams.
The AAT level 4 core exams were Financial Statements of Limited Companies, Management accounting: Budgeting, Management Accounting: Decision and Control and the Synoptic Exam. Aimee took her final exam for this level on the 29th June 2017.
Aimee also had to take another two options, however with her dedication she pushed herself forward and took three options, business tax, personal tax and external auditing; meaning that she would then be exempted from all further exams but one, in the first level of her ACA studies. Aimee felt these would help her with work in the office.
As part of her apprenticeship, Aimee has to complete a Level 4 Business Skills qualification consisting of 8 units; this will help her to develop skills useful when working in a relationship based business including presentation and communication, along with team work. This is a self-learning project which Aimee will do in the workplace and research additional elements that will help her have a better understanding of a business.
Not only with her commitment to studying before joining Nicholsons, but with her continued dedication Aimee has propelled herself through her year at Lincoln College by the achievement of an additional exam. Aimee knows that her commitment to her studies will have a huge impact on her chosen career allowing her to achieve her ambition and qualify as an accountant. Her commitment became clear when she received a certificate from Lincoln College for her 100% attendance over the last year as well as being awarded a merit with a pass rate of 84% for her AAT Level 4 having passed all her exams first time.
Aimee is committed to the business through her studies. She will start studying to achieve her ACA qualifications in September 2017 which will take her 2 – 3 years. By working whilst studying Aimee will be able to combine her on the job practical work experience with her studies. She is also Xero certified which means Aimee can advise and implement cloud based software for clients.
Seeing Aimee achieve her goals helps to raise morale within the team and to encourage recently appointed apprentices to take the same pathway. With each step Aimee’s results enhances the level of expertise the firm offers their clients. Aimee has been happy to get involved in a number of social events helping to organise them as well as participate.
Aimee is also a member of the Nicholsons Social Committee and contributes to putting forward ideas, implementing them and raising money for the firm’s charity.
Aimee will graduate from college in October 2017 and will continue to study towards her ACA qualifications through Kaplan. Her studies will be partly on-line and part self-study with Aimee’s commitment and motivation she may well complete her training well within the 2 – 3 years. Once qualified Aimee would like to progress with her career at Nicholsons, taking on more work and responsibility and becoming a senior member of the team.
d news from Nicholsons about upcoming events amongst other things.
November 22nd, 2017
When Chancellor Philip Hammond stepped up to the despatch box, he would have been acutely aware of the pressure he was under.
Some 24 hours before the Chancellor was due to open his famous red box, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) confirmed a wider deficit than anticipated for October.
Ahead of the Budget, business leaders had urged Mr Hammond to get to grips with Brexit headwinds and the UK’s productivity problem, while his party’s own MPs were demanding action on issues such as housing and social care – which many believed had played a major part in the shock loss of the Government’s majority in June.
There was personal pressure too. Some eight months ago, the Chancellor’s previous Budget unravelled at alarming speed (unpopular plans to increase National Insurance contributions for some self-employed workers were dropped within seven days). He could ill afford another flagship policy disintegrating.
All things considered, Mr Hammond had the difficult task of delivering a financial statement which was both radical enough to reset the political agenda and robust enough to avoid a repeat of the spring’s hasty u-turn. Could the Chancellor – whose fondness for figures has earned him the nickname “Spreadsheet Phil” – deliver?
Opening his address to MPs, Mr Hammond argued that the UK economy continues to “confound those who talk it down” and said that he was determined to invest in technological advances and seize the opportunities on offer.
He acknowledged that ongoing negotiations with the EU were at a crucial stage and with this in mind he would put aside an additional £3billion for Brexit preparations over the course of the next two years. He assured the House that the Treasury was drawing up plans for every possible outcome.
Outlining forecasts by the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), Mr Hammond said that the organisation was predicting that another 600,000 people would be in work by the 2020s.
Worryingly, the nation’s productivity has not improved and the predictions for growth have been cut substantially. The OBR now projects growth of 1.5 per cent this year (downgraded from two per cent in March). The forecast for next year is 1.4 per cent, and 1.3 per cent for both 2019 and 2020.
There was better news on borrowing, with Mr Hammond confirming that the forecast for this year is £49.9billion (£8.4billion less than had been projected in the spring).
And as regards the deficit, he said that the OBR figures suggested that the Government was on track to meet its target of reducing the deficit to below two per cent of GDP by 2020-21.
Ahead of the speech there had been no small amount of speculation that the VAT threshold for businesses was to be lowered.
But the Chancellor confirmed that the registration threshold will in fact remain at its current level (£85,000) for the next two years, shying away from a contentious change.
Mr Hammond did hint that he would be considering some form of reform and said he would hold a consultation as to whether the system could be altered to “better incentivise growth”.
In relation to business rates, Mr Hammond said he had listened to concerns from business leaders. With this in mind, he has decided to bring forward the switch from the Retail Price Index (RPI) to the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) by two years. The change will now take effect in April 2018 and is expected to be worth £2.3billion to businesses over the next five years. In addition, the discount for pubs (rateable value less than £100,000) is to be extended to March 2019.
In another boost for businesses, Mr Hammond announced that he would be allocating an additional £2.3billion for investment in research and development (R&D). The main R&D tax credit will be increased to 12 per cent.
These measures were described as “the first strides towards the ambition of our industrial strategy to drive up R&D investment across the economy to 2.4 per cent of GDP.”
Amid uncertainty over the impact of Brexit, the Chancellor also confirmed that the Government would be prepared to replace money from the European Investment Fund if necessary.
Mr Hammond said the Government was committed to supporting electric vehicles. Among the measures announced by the Chancellor were a £400million charging infrastructure fund.
As far as diesel cars were concerned, the Chancellor confirmed that vehicle excise duty for new vehicles that don’t meet the latest standards will increase from April 2018. The money raised will be invested in a £220million clean air fund.
£30million will be made available to enhance digital connectivity on the trans-Pennine route and councils will be able to stake a claim to £1billion for high-investment projects.
A new rail card for commuters aged 26 to 30 will enable around 4.5million travellers to get a third off rail fares.
To cheers from his own benches, Mr Hammond confirmed that Stamp Duty would immediately be abolished for first-time buyers for homes worth up to £300,000 (and on the first £300,000 of properties up to £500,000). There are hopes this will stimulate a slowing property market.
There was good news for the majority of air passengers, with the announcement that from April there would be a freeze on short-haul air passenger duty and long-haul duty for those in economy. The measures will be funded by increasing taxes on private jets.
The threshold for the basic rate of income tax will rise to £11,850 in April 2018, with the higher rate threshold to climb to £46,350.
An increase to the National Living Wage, set to take effect in April, was also confirmed. It will rise from £7.50 an hour to £7.83.
Duties on beer, wine, cider and spirits will be frozen, although tobacco tax will continue to rise at inflation plus two per cent.
More money is to be made available to the devolved administrations (£2billion for Scotland, £1.2billion for Wales and £650million for Northern Ireland). As had been trailed beforehand it was confirmed that both Police Scotland and the Scottish Fire Service would be made exempt from VAT going forward.
Facing increasing demands to address the growing strain on the health service, Mr Hammond outlined plans for an extra £10billion in capital investment over the course of this Parliament. There was also a commitment to make additional money available to improve pay levels for NHS workers.
The introduction of Universal Credit has come in for considerable criticism in recent weeks, with many opposition politicians urging the Government to pause roll-out of the changes.
Mr Hammond acknowledged that many Britons were facing a squeeze on their finances and, in an effort to address the controversy, confirmed that £1.5billion would be spent on efforts to make the system more generous.
The Stamp Duty announcement has stolen the headlines, but the Chancellor announced a number of measures apparently designed to show he was taking problems facing the property market seriously.
The Chancellor admitted that young people were concerned about their prospects. While he said there was no “magic bullet” to fixing some of the problems, Mr Hammond gave a commitment that £44billion would be made available over the next five years to address some of the major problems.
It was also announced that councils will be given powers to charge a 100 per cent premium on council tax on empty properties. This is something which a number of local authorities have been lobbying for.
Hard on the heels of the Paradise Papers controversy, the Chancellor said that HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) would redouble its efforts to tackle offshore tax avoidance. This strategy is calculated to raise £200million a year.
Ahead of any Budget, the media often speculate about whether the Chancellor will pull “a rabbit from the hat”; announcing an audacious policy decided to win favour with voters. The Stamp Duty changes certainly fit the bill and are likely to dominate the headlines in the days ahead.
As far as businesses are concerned, there will no doubt be relief that the changes to the VAT threshold which had been rumoured in advance of the speech failed to materialise.
Critics may say that the Budget otherwise erred on the side of caution, with an emphasis on prudence over particularly radical announcements.
And the Treasury will no doubt be mindful that the OBR forecasts, which suggest the economy is rather weaker than was thought back in March, could mean that challenging times lie ahead.
November 14th, 2017
Building relationships and ensuring consistency is a core value at Nicholsons. Retaining a great team is a way that we can achieve this and therefore it’s fantastic when we can celebrate big milestones. Elaine Faithhorn joined Nicholsons in October 1987 and is therefore celebrating 30 years of service.
After working in London, Elaine came to Lincoln from Kent and joined as an assistant to the IT Manager. At this time the firm only had one computer however, after two years Elaine took over the firm’s internal accounting function when her colleague retired and has continued to work in the same department dealing with company bookkeeping, time and fees Ledgers, payroll and basic HR matters ever since.
Having seen many changes over the years from the time when clients accounts were typed out using a typewriter with carbon paper to now where they are sent digitally via the firms portal, from using software such as Wordcraft to Word, Lotus to Excel and from Sage to Xero. Elaine has had to adapt to the changes and has enjoyed attending courses to update her skills.
In 2004 Nicholsons moved from Newland in the city centre to their present out of town office at The Point on Weaver Road. The move to the new offices brought with it a different working environment, a light and airy open plan office with modern facilities.
Richard Hallsworth, Director said “Elaine has been a valuable member of the team and having her experience and knowledge is a great asset to everyone here. We are very keen to retain our employees and provide regular opportunities for training. Our congratulations go to Elaine on achieving 30 years at the firm”.
When Elaine is not at work she enjoys travelling, playing golf – both here and abroad. Coming from a large family Elaine also enjoys getting together with her family.
September 29th, 2017
Marketing Manager Linda Clark celebrates her first year at Nicholsons Chartered Accountants. Linda joined the firm in September 2016 to oversee the marketing department.
With well over 100 people attending her first event, the firm’s Farming Forum, Linda has continued to enjoy many more successful events such as the Lincolnshire Show, planning and organising the Finance Management Forums, a range of business seminars and Charity events.
Linda says “It has been a busy year as there has been a lot of planning and preparation to do to start building on projects to raise the profile of the firm. We have been involved in some great local marketing initiatives including the Knights’ Trail and the sponsorship of Lincoln City Football Club. With many events behind me, I am pleased to say that I am looking forward to implementing the plans we have made for the next year.”
Inspiring Leadership and the Finance Management Forum are just two events being organised for the autumn, but are there many more ideas in the pipeline. Nicholsons is looking forward to delivering its marketing plan and working in partnership with other businesses.
Richard Hallsworth, Marketing Director at Nicholsons says “When Linda joined the firm our objective was to raise our profile. With the positive feedback received, we are confident that we have achieved our aim. This year our marketing plans will be more targeted, to deliver a comprehensive range of business services to our clients to help them run their businesses successfully. “
The Firm is planning a “Small Business Conference” on Thursday 8th March 2018 at the Drill Hall and will once again run their annual Charity Badminton Tournament, also in March, raising money for the Lincs Notts Air Ambulance.
In her spare time Linda likes travelling, DIY and gardening. She is also Secretary to Newark Wine Society and Flintham & District Ploughing Match and Show.
September 14th, 2017
(Pic) Our 2016 Seniors Training cohort with Directors; Jo Brown and Richard Hallsworth
Training and development is important and we invest heavily in developing our team.
Training and development is a key theme in our strategy. As qualified finance professionals we sign up to annual continuing professional development that keeps us up to date with the latest changes. Over the last 2 years we have developed our own in house training for seniors in our team. This training has been designed to bridge the gap between their professional technical training and the advisory work they do day to day with clients. It’s been incredibly rewarding seeing their confidence grow and team members of our first cohort have really pushed on with their careers and have already progressed into new roles.
A key element of our training programme has been inviting other professionals into the office to lead workshops. This has two aims; (1) it helps extend our teams network of contacts and (2) gives them access to the latest thinking in different areas.
This week we were delighted to invite David Burgess from Clydesdale & Yorkshire Bank into the office. David gave a great presentation on how banks review funding applications and we spent time discussing how we can assist in the process by working with clients to draft more informative business plans and create financial forecasts and projections that add to the narrative of the application. Another key area discussed was working capital and its interaction with cash usage. These were both areas we had spent time discussing at previous sessions and it was fantastic for the team to see how some of the theory is applied in real life, another goal of the programme.
Helping me deliver the training programme has been Jo Brown who looks after our training and professional development strategy. As we talked through this weeks session, something we do after every workshop, we also talked through how we move our team forward beyond our programme and we’ve got some exciting plans for 2018 and beyond! As Jo reminded me “learning is a continuous journey!”
August 22nd, 2017
The Annual Summer BBQ Networking Event organised by the Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by Nicholsons Chartered Accountants & Business Advisers is a key summer event in the business calendar in Lincolnshire.
Featuring guest speakers, a tempting array of bbq food, warm weather and a lovely summer setting, this year’s event was certainly not one to be missed.
The sell-out event was held at Lincolns very own Doddington Hall, and attracted over 100 delegates from a wide variety of sectors across the county.
After an impromptu downpour in the morning, the sun came out in the afternoon and provided a warm sunny setting at Doddington Hall– perfect for an afternoon of firing up the BBQ.
Guest speakers included Richard Hallsworth from Nicholsons and Chair of the Chamber Board, Ursula Lidbetter who both shared unique insight and updates regarding both businesses.
“Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce is a vital platform in helping to support and connect local businesses, and we are very pleased to have sponsored their key summer event at such a lovely location”.
After the talks and a bit of networking over a glass of bubbly, the main event was served. A spectacular selection of Lincolnshire produce hot off the BBQ including Lincoln red beef burgers, glazed Lincolnshire sausages, hot mini potatoes, salad and a delightful selection of tray bake goodies.
Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce would like to thank all guests for attending this annual event, and hope to see more members and non-members next year for an afternoon out of office.
Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce is the trusted ‘go-to’ place for honest help and friendly support, for hundreds of businesses across Lincolnshire. Lincolnshire Chamber has been supporting and assisting the growth of Lincolnshire businesses for over 100 years.
See you all next summer.