Wenn Townsend Parliamentary Review Feature

Wenn Townsend were established in 1876 and have benefitted from the vast experience accrued over this impressive stretch of time. Operating as a general accountancy practice, they serve a varied range of clients, some of whom they have been working with for over 100 years.

Currently based in Oxford with additional offices in Abingdon and Cirencester, they have combined their historical pedigree with technological advancements to deliver the best service for their customers. Oxford Practice Development Partner, Tony Haines, elaborates on this illustrious history and shares his thoughts on what the future will bring.

140 Years of Experience

Our partnership was established in 1876 by Arthur Preston in Abingdon and we have now been providing accountancy services for over 140 years. To put this into perspective, the Institute of Chartered Accountants was established four years later, with Arthur Pearson personally involved in its conception. Throughout our long and accomplished history, we have always adhered to our central principal of providing our clients with the highest level of care and commitment. We strive to be proactive and efficient when dealing with the varied needs of the businesses we work with and it is the quality of service that has allowed us to prosper for so many years.

We are a multidisciplinary accountancy proactive offering a varied range of services to a diverse selection of clients. They range from sole traders to multi-national corporations and charities and we are committed to providing each of our clients with a tailored service, no matter their size. We offer assistance with auditing, tax returns, bookkeeping and payroll, alongside various other services. Although most of the businesses we deal with are located in the Oxfordshire area, we also support international clients. Our unceasing commitment has allowed us to retain some client for over one hundred years.

Our partner-led approach allows us to promote personal contact between ourselves and our clients, which also helps us to support our focus on tailored accountancy programmes. As well as being personable and adding a vital human element to our service, our partners possess a wealth of experience, which is essential to fulfil the needs of the businesses with which we work. We know what our clients want to achieve and we endeavour to help them to achieve it. We support them in fulfilling their medium and long-term goals.

The key to our longevity is undoubtedly our commitment to the quality of the staff we employ. This success is a result of our recruiting criteria and the attributes we focus on training throughout all members of the firm. This fundamental policy is central to our ability to deliver the excellence our clients deserve and expect.

At a glance wenn townsend chartered accountants:

• Administrative Partner and Practice Development Partner: Tony Haines
• Founded in 1876
• Based in Oxford, with two additional offices in Cirencester and Abingdon
• Services: General auditing and accountancy services
• No. of employees: 60

The Challenges of New Legislation

The key practice of legislation that will affect the accountancy sector is the implementation of the Making Tax Digital programme. In the lead up to this programme being instituted, we have been educating all of the businesses we work with on their new obligations and requirements. They rely on us to inform them of all developments within the sector. Many are ill prepared for these changes, so this new legislation has significantly increased our workload.

Alongside personal meetings, we have recently designed a simple but effective flowchart which we have sent out to our clients. This increases the efficiency with which we are able to inform our customers of these upcoming changes and includes all the information they require. This contains all of the information they require including whether their software programmes are compatible with MTD as well as a section on how we can assist them in becoming compliant. Our clients expect us to be proactive rather than reactive, so these measures are vital to keep ahead of sector changes. Our outsourced bookkeeping department is experienced in the transfer of paper records onto computerised systems. Alternatively, clients can transfer their entire bookkeeping functions to us and we can implement these changes in house. MTD will also change the frequency with which we have to submit the records of our clients.

Clearly, the biggest issue that our sector, and indeed all sectors must face is the uncertainty which surrounds Brexit and our exit from the EU. At the time of writing, we are still deeply unsure of the form that Brexit will take, and the type of uncertainty is very difficult to navigate. This issue is clearly more pronounced for our overseas clients and one of the largest companies that we work with have recently contacted us to ask for advice. Crashing out without a deal would be catastrophic for many of our customers.

To try to prepare our customers as well as we can, we advise that they draw up plans for every possible outcome. While this may be expensive and time-consuming, it is a far better alternative than being left unprepared. This preparation includes potential software changes and more general anticipatory measures. Much like our preparations for MTD, it is crucial that we are proactive rather than reactive and this type of active service helps to reassure our clients.

Our ability to plan for the future is significantly impacted by this uncertainty. Although we are devising multiple different short-term plans for coping with various Brexit scenarios, longer term planning is becoming increasingly difficult. Whatever the outcome, we know we will be operating I a changed business environment. Leaving an economic group that we have been associated with for such a long period of time will always lead to new challenges.

Having being continuously operating for over 140 years, we are not inexperienced with navigating a changing business landscape. We will continue to adhere to our founding principles while adapting to any new challenges that may arise and we are confident that we will be a fixture of the accountancy profession for many more years to come.

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