Media & Entertainment
The entertainment and media industry is constantly evolving. New technology provides consumers with the opportunity to view content wherever they are and on a variety of devices. And they have strong opinions about what they will and won’t pay for.
It’s important for media companies to be au fait with new technology and platforms and embrace and integrate them with more traditional methods of operating in order to meet the needs of today’s consumers.
Companies must look at their current business models and adapt and develop them to create revenues from the digital world. To finance these investments, they must review how they position themselves in the marketplace and identify new sources of funding.
Media & Entertainment
Microbudget under the microscope
Those on the periphery of the industry are told pre-sales are dead, minimum guarantees are shrinking and the only way to go is to make a film for the cost of a packet of cigarettes, with little hope of making a significant profit.
Those at the top are going bigger and bigger to pull in the crowds and those in the middle are torn between the two. However, dig a little deeper and you realise there is still a place for mid-range good quality product. An Indie distributor recently told us pre-sales aren’t dead, they’re essential. Quality product is declining so if distributors want it they have to get in early.
As the landscape of film funding continues to change, the biggest challenge for independent filmmakers is to pick a side. Do they go big, go small or go home?
The myth of micro-budget is that it’s the key to making money. Make it cheap, sell it high. However, we all know cheap budgets won’t necessarily equal quality and audiences might go for the odd Paranormal Activity or Blair Witch Project but generally you’re up against the studios for a space in the multiplex. As an independent producer there’s no denying budgets are shrinking and we all have to tighten our belts a little, but if we do away with a budget completely how do we survive?
Making a product for less than its worth is a fundamental part of business, but business is all about making a profit down the line and paying those responsible. If everyone sets out to make micro-budget movies how long can those people last? Who is paying the crew’s mortgage when they’re working for a tiny share of profits they might never see? Starting out as a runner on a low-budget set and learning a few tricks of the trade is one thing. Being the DOP and being paid nothing is quite another.
Industries aren’t built on a free economy and if micro-budget becomes the only route for indie filmmakers, the film industry could just turn into one giant sweatshop, even if the clothing still looks good.
Media & Entertainment
Lights, Camera, Action! What’s in it for individual investors?
Tax relief for investment in films by individual taxpayers was drastically restricted several years ago, due to HMRC concerns over its use for tax avoidance and HMRC is currently contesting some film partnership income tax relief claims. Specific relief for expenditure on films is now only available to corporate film-makers. The only route for individual inactive investors to obtain income tax relief for investing in the production or exploitation of films is now the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS).
The EIS will not be affected by the proposed capping of income tax reliefs from 6 April 2013 and it offers individuals income tax relief on qualifying investments of up to £1m annually, in addition to potential capital gains tax and inheritance tax exemptions, and deferral of other capital gains. Improvements to the EIS effective 6 April 2012 will also help EIS companies attract investors and raise higher amounts of capital. The changes include:
• An increase in the maximum amount a company can raise in a 12-month period from £2m to £5m which may see a revival in the use of EIS single film companies
• An increase in a qualifying company’s gross assets limit from £7m to £15m
• An increase in the maximum number of full-time employees in a qualifying company from 49 to 249
• The disregarding of loan capital in determining the extent of an investor’s interest in a company
• Enabling EIS shares to carry preferential rights to dividends, providing their amount and dates of payment are not dependent on a decision by the company, shareholder or any other person.
However, the use of the EIS in relation to film production still requires great care, in particular:
• An EIS film company cannot just provide funding, it must actively produce or exploit films and its directors should be suitably qualified to do so
• The qualifying conditions for all EIS companies were tightened in the Finance Act of 2012 with the introduction of new anti-avoidance rules. Under these ‘disqualifying arrangements’ provisions, EIS status will not be granted to a company which exists mainly to deliver either a tax mitigation product with little or no commercial purpose, or tax-advantaged finance for an entity or project which would not itself qualify. It is not yet clear how these new rules will be applied in practice.
• The requirement for the company to trade for at least three years could be problematic for a single film company which completes production in one or two years
EIS companies can also no longer grade through an underlying partnership, acquire a subsidiary or buy shares from an exiting shareholder. However, a qualifying EIS company which produces a qualifying British film, can benefit from the enhanced corporation tax relief as well as delivering the personal tax benefits for its EIS shareholders – perhaps one of the best win-win results available under current UK tax legislation and well worth considering for a suitable project.
Commercially marketed EIS film funds are also available, which spread risk by investing in a number of films, so tax-efficient film investment opportunities still do exist for more sophisticated investors, subject to the usual health warnings!
Healthcare & Nursing Homes
Healthcare is a rapidly changing sector
Providers and commissioners of healthcare face the multiple challenges of rising public expectation, an ageing population, advances in medical technology and a continuing drive to achieve greater efficiency in the delivery of public and private services.
With an in-depth knowledge of the sector and a comprehensive range of financial consultancy services, we are able to advise our clients on the key issues facing their organisations. In essence, we act to solve their problems and enable them to accomplish their goals.
Healthcare & Nursing Homes
For most Care Home owners, the tax pressures continue to grow with the increase in VAT and a big hike in National Insurance rates, cutting the take-home pay of many employees whilst increasing the cost to employers.
However, there is still a glimmer of light for many Care Home owners with unclaimed tax breaks. These tax reductions, in the form of capital allowances, offer potential savings for owners who have bought, extended or renovated their care homes. If you are paying either income tax or corporation tax on the profits of running a home, you may be able to eliminate your next tax bill or even generate a substantial tax refund.
The tax savings arise by claiming allowances on fixtures that form part of the property. Whenever a home is bought, and whenever money is spent on refurbishment, opportunities arise to claim tax relief on part of the cost. These claims are often overlooked in practice, because the rules are complex and because many accountants fail to appreciate the potential value or simply misunderstand the way the law works.
Money saved varies from property to property and depends on many factors. However, the rules have been more generous since April 2008 and a rule of thumb says the tax breaks can reduce the real acquisition or construction cost by about 10 percent. It doesn’t even matter if the property was bought many years ago, or was in a poor state of repair when it was acquired, as any claim is normally based on replacement rather than market value.
The last Budget contained another surprise announcement: the tax authorities may seek to restrict those claims where property was acquired some years ago. We have no details yet of how any restrictions will apply, or from when, but one theory is that restrictions may apply for claims made from April 2012. For many owners, this really may be the last chance to unlock valuable tax breaks before the opportunity disappears forever.
Engineering & Manufacturing
An in-depth understanding of key industry issues is central when delivering a wide-ranging service to our engineering clients.
Our engineering portfolio includes customers in the aerospace, glass, jewellery, automotive, motor sport and clothing industries. Drawing on experience from our comprehensive engineering client base we are able to offer a broad range of assurance, advisory and tax services to companies in the engineering sector.
We continue to build on this platform by meeting with our engineering clients, discussing their issues and helping implement winning solutions.
Engineering & Manufacturing
Winning the war for talent
The world continues to change and blue chip customers impose ever more pressing deadlines, expecting suppliers to deliver whilst at the same time making products and processes more environmentally friendly.
As orders increase the work force has a direct impact on its company’s ability to respond. The rate of redundancies starts to fall and as industry begins to recover, recruitment shows signs of growth. Manufacturing companies are now reporting hiring new workers for six consecutive quarters.
Recruiting and retaining the best people is essential, but competition is fierce. The biggest issue facing industry is a war for talent; both against competitors and other industries often offering ‘seemingly’ more attractive career prospects
Companies must take steps to ensure that their key people are fully engaged and do not leave in search of better opportunities.
Management needs to ensure their people have the tools and motivation to perform as required, developing the leaders of tomorrow to ensure sustainable success.
At ER Grove, we help our clients to improve their appeal as an employer; attract, motivate and retain the right employees; measure the contribution they make; manage major change programmes and ensure that those changes happen; benchmark employees against those of competitors; manage HR issues proactively and more.
Not-For-Profit sectors continue to face changes in their accounting and reporting requirements as a result of continuous development in the regulatory environment. It is therefore essential that they consult specialist advisers to assist them.
In addition to the standard audit, accounts, tax and VAT requirements, there is a need to understand the latest developments in governance and trustee responsibilities. Advice and expertise from reliable advisers will ensure that you overcome all challenges and fully exploit the opportunities presented to you.
Drawing on experience from our comprehensive not-for-profit client base we are able to offer a broad range of advisory services to our clients in the charity and not-for-profit sectors.
New Charity definition for tax purposes to be introduced
Charities will have to adhere to a new definition of the word to qualify for tax relief and exemptions under new Government measures designed to combat fraudulent tax claims.
The measures, announced as part of the last Budget Report, would include a ‘fit and proper’ test for trustees and key employees of new charities, while existing ones will have to follow the same procedure if they change the person in their organisation who submits tax returns or makes gift aid claims.
Guidance will be published on how HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) will conduct the tests and which trustees and officials they will apply to. Any person HMRC considers likely to exploit charity tax relief for non-charitable purposes will fail the test.
In addition a new Charity Application Form will have to be completed by all new charities as well as existing ones claiming Gift Aid for the first time or filing a tax return.
A new online form, known as Form R68 will be used for Gift Aid claims. The form automatically works out the period of the claim and the amounts claimed.
There will be additional obligations upon charities sending funds overseas to ensure this money is spent correctly, with appropriate checks having to be carried out before any funding is sent.
Farming & Agriculture
With the agricultural world facing complex challenges, profitability is a key issue for this sector
Local services underpin living villages and the future vitality of rural communities is dependent upon them. Yet markets are becoming more volatile and tax is becoming more complicated. We are experienced in the issues faced by farmers or rural based businesses.
Farming & Agriculture
Planning for succession
Buying a farm today is expensive limiting the opportunity to purchase to a privileged few. In the last 12 months farmland prices have increased by 15.5%. For many the only opportunity to access the industry is via County Councils who, as budget cuts bite, are selling off their tenanted farms.
Within the farming industry, family succession planning remains largely inadequate, often leading to family disputes. Many older generation farmers are struggling to inspire their children into farming, some even discouraging them from continuing long-standing family traditions.
They have doubts over the future of the farming industry and believe the immense amount of time and effort required outweighs the modest income generated. Today many smaller farms struggle to generate sufficient income to support more than one family or generation at a time.
Audits & Accounts
ER Grove & Co are Registered Auditors regulated by the ICAEW. We undertake statutory audits of all sizes for a variety of organisations:
- Small and medium enterprises
- Pension Schemes
Our audits will:
- Deliver prompt reporting to management and shareholders
- Provide an audit service tailored to specific business and industry needs
- Add value to your business
- Suggest improvements relating to systems and procedures
- Highlight problem areas and reduce business risk
Our experienced team provides a broad range of accounting services for all businesses, regardless of size and complexity.
Services provided include:
- Statutory accounts preparation
- Specialist accounts preparation including
- Pension schemes
- Service charge accounts
- VAT return preparation and submission
- Monthly or quarterly management accounts preparation
- Budget and cash flow forecasts
- Ad hoc accounting support
During the preparation of accounting services we aim to:
- Present the information in a timely and transparent manner
- Examine key ratios and comparisons relevant to your business
At ER Grove we’ll ask you about your organisation’s aims and aspirations and help you to achieve them, whilst reducing your tax burden. Whatever the size of your business, we’ll work together with you to help you manage your tax affairs and achieve a balanced position.
For UK tax-paying organisations who want to manage their tax obligations efficiently, ER Grove provides solutions to meet individual business needs. Our corporate tax service will bring many benefits to your company, including:
- Reduce overall tax on your business
- Ensure tax compliance
- Benchmark effective tax rate against competitors’
You can be safe in the knowledge that your tax returns will be prepared and sent in a timely fashion with no penalty worries.
We help individuals with creative and constructive tax advice and planning.
We develop a clear understanding of your needs, then apply our skills and years of experience to maximise opportunities and minimise risk.
Inheritance Tax Planning
Whatever your decision regarding inheritance tax it shouldn’t be a worry or a burden. What you need is jargon free, easy to understand advice to ensure more of your inheritance goes to your children or grandchildren and less to the Exchequer.
Administering your payroll can be time consuming, diverting energy and resources from the core activities of your business. The task is made all the more difficult by the growing complexities of taxation and employment legislation, and accompanying penalties for non-compliance. Our highly professional and experienced payroll team can relieve you of this burden by providing a comprehensive and confidential payroll service.
By using ER Grove to administer your payroll, no matter how small, savings will be made.
- Employee payslips
- Monthly summaries
- Departmental reports
- Dealing with leavers and starters
- PAYE returns for the revenue
- Assistance with automated payment set-up to your employees
At Year End
- Employer Annual Return P35
- Employee Summary P60′s & P14′s
- P11D & P9D benefit and expense returns
- Release your staff and resources to work on higher value activities
- Remove your staffing issues and overheads such as training, holiday cover, etc
- Reduce your hardware and software costs
- Improve security and resilience
- Increased peace of mind
- Improved confidentiality
- Unlimited help and support for you and your employees from highly experienced payroll specialist staff
- Governed by UK legislation including Data Protection Act and covered by Professional Indemnity insurance
We don’t just understand the numbers – we understand the challenges you face in running your business. Our consultancy advice and services will help you deal with your concerns.
Our expertise is constantly evolving to respond to our clients’ changing needs. Our aim is to support you in designing, managing and executing lasting beneficial change. Over time what we do is closely linked with helping our clients to improve the way they operate, innovate, reduce costs, manage risk, nurture talent and grow faster.
We draw on our own expertise and help our clients leverage staff performance by providing training and in-house seminars.
Budgeting & Forecasting
With cash a key feature in strategic decision-making, optimising cash management is increasingly important for businesses. E R Grove works with management to gain an understanding of the cash flows in and out of the business and recommend enhancements, where appropriate.
We can take care of all of your company formation needs. We can register a new company for the following types of businesses:
- Limited Companies
- Limited Liability Partnerships (LLP)
- Community Interest Company (CIC)
- Check whether the company name is available and legal
- Provide a Certificate of Incorporation, Statutory Records and copies of the Memorandum and Articles of Association
Our company secretarial services include:
- Providing your business with a Registered Office
- Maintaining Statutory Register
- Preparation and filing of Annual Returns
- Preparation and filing all other Companies House forms, e.g. appointment of a director
Credit checking your customers or suppliers can protect your business from bad debt and late payment. By understanding the credit status of those you deal with, you can be better informed to make decisions on the way you conduct your business.
We can check:
- Credit rating score (out of 100)
- Approved credit amount
- County Court Judgements (CCJ’s)
- Average days of late payments
- Current directors
- Summary balance sheet
We can carry out company searches at Companies House and provide clients with details of other companies.
This information includes:
- Date of incorporation
- Registered number and registered office address
- Memorandum and Articles of Association
- Current directors and directorships
- Change of name history
- Copy of the latest Annual Return and Accounts
- List of outstanding charges on the mortgage register
“We are committed to becoming the best (not the biggest) firm of Chartered Accountants & Business Advisers in the Black Country. ER Grove has an office in Halesowen serving clients within the West Midlands and beyond.”
Who We Are
Our team aims to provide a swift, practical and informed service to clients in whichever area of tax, accounting or business advice they seek
ER Grove offers proactive advice to businesses and private individuals. We have been established for over 80 years and have developed a wealth of experience in many sectors of industry.
In an increasingly competitive and complicated world, the tax and accounting laws of the UK and elsewhere impact more and more on individuals, businesses and organisations on a daily basis.
Our different specialists work together to help our clients minimise their tax position and maximise their wealth, generally assisting and supporting them in the general growth and development of their business.
Meet The Team
Not just bricks in the wall
Our personalised service is provided through a blend of qualified Accountants and Business Advisers reinforced with a knowledgeable and experienced team of support staff.Our knowledge of tax and business development whilst utilising the latest computer technology available means we offer an efficient, practical and logical approach, enabling us to achieve your needs with maximum skill but with minimum time and cost.
We place great emphasis on the quality of our advice and our level of personal service.
We are committed to client service
- Continuously look for ways to help you make improvements; work in partnership with you at every stage of your business to ensure that we identify opportunities and risks; provide tailored solutions and meet your personal and business objectives.
- Ensure that management information is up-to-date, relevant and summarised; enabling us to identify problems early and minimise your tax position.
- Ensure that you know your tax liabilities in advance to help your cash flow
- Provide you with friendly, efficient and effective service whenever you deal with us
- Be honest and give you the facts, even if they are not always what you want to hear.
To meet these commitments we will
- Return your draft accounts within 30 working days of receiving all of your Year End financial information. This means you are not waiting for months for what will then be out-of-date information.
- Provide a reply to your telephone calls on the same working day, to your emails or faxes within 24 hours and to your letters within 7 working days. This means you are assured of a prompt and effective response to your needs.
- Provide you with 24/7 access to a qualified accountant 365 days of the year.
- Extend our office hours from 08h30 to 17h30 with no interruption during the day for lunch
We are committed to helping you understand the information we provide you
- Provide you with tailored reports, going beyond the traditional financials and helping you to understand the opportunities and risks of your business.
- Benchmark your business so that you can tell how well you are performing against the industry average.
- Bring to your attention key improvements and recommendations and assist you to implement them.
- Present the information in easy to understand layouts, making the accounts more interesting and not just another statutory form.
- Explain your accounts in plain English.
We are committed to a fairer fee policy
- Agree fees in advance.
- Charge fixed fees so that you are able to budget for costs.
- Clearly explain the services that you are being charged for.
- Never send you ‘surprise’ bills.
- Offer alternative ways to pay and help spread the cost.
E R Grove June 2013 Tax Update
Thanks for your support! Update on E R Grove’s Cycle Challenge
Manufacturers’ Roundtable; Second Meeting
Which way is Paris? E R Grove’s Charity Cycle Challenge
Accountants E R Grove appoint new director
E R Grove May 2013 Tax Update
Real Time Information (RTI) E R Grove update
Spring Budget April Tax Update
Chancellor pledges support for an ‘aspiration nation’
Delivering his fourth Budget statement to the House of Commons, Chancellor George Osborne pledged his support for ‘aspiration’ and vowed to continue to face the UK’s economic challenges ‘head on’.
Confirming widespread concerns over the bleak economic outlook, the Chancellor announced that the Office for Budget Responsibility had slashed the official growth forecast for 2013 from 1.2% to 0.6%. However, despite acknowledging that dealing with the deficit was taking ‘longer than hoped,’ and that borrowing would climb to £114bn this year, the Chancellor was adamant the Government was ‘slowly but surely fixing our country’s economic problems’.
Heralding his Budget as a mandate for those who aspire to ‘work hard and get on’, the Chancellor unveiled some significant measures aimed at supporting businesses and individuals, with headline announcements which included an additional reduction in the main rate of corporation tax, bringing the tax down to 20% from 2015, and a much-anticipated increase in the income tax personal allowance, which will see the threshold reaching the Coalition’s £10,000 target in 2014, a year earlier than originally planned
ALL THE KEY POINTS Read More
E R Grove March 2013 Tax Update
How to Franchise your Business
Roger Wild of Strategic Franchise Solutions provides an insight into the complexities of franchising your business as a route to expansion Read More
E R Grove February 2013 Tax Update
Chancellor’s Autumn Statement December 2012
On Wednesday 5 December the Chancellor delivered an Autumn Statement in which he said there would be no net tax rises. Along with this, the Office for Budget Responsibility updated the forecasts for growth (1.2% for 2013, rising to 2.8% by 2017) and borrowing (to fall from £108bn in 2012/13 to £31bn in 2017/18).
Here are some of the highlights:
• The cancellation of the previously proposed fuel duty increases
• An increase in the Annual Investment Allowance to £250,000 for 2 years from January 2013
• The main Corporation Tax rate is to be cut to 21% from April 2014
• A further increase for personal tax payers of £235 in the personal allowance for 2013/14 over that previously announced
• A reduction in the annual allowance for pension contributions from £50,000 to £40,000 from 2014/15
• An increase in the Bank levy is forecast to raise £515m for 2013/14
Below are more details: Read More
E R Grove December 2012 Tax Update
E R Grove November 2012 Tax Update
E R Grove October 2012 Tax Update
E R Grove September 2012 Tax Update
The Future of British Film – It Begins with the Audience
The Creative Industry Strikes Back!
E R Grove August 2012 Tax Update
E R Grove July 2012 Tax Update
Pension Reform – are employers ready?
ER Grove June 2012 Tax Update
Bosses warn skills gap is holding back growth
ER Grove May 2012 Tax Update
Spring Budget April Tax Update
“This Budget supports working families and helps those looking for work. It unashamedly backs business. And it is on the side of aspiration: those who want to do better for themselves and for their families.”
Delivering his third budget on Wednesday 21st March the Chancellor, George Osborne, made headlines by announcing cuts to the 50p top rate of income tax, saying it was uncompetitive and would fall to 45p in 2013. Defending the decision he stated five times as much would be raised from the wealthiest by other tax and anti-avoidance measures being brought in.
Further headlines included a rise in the threshold at which people start paying tax to more than £9,000, a new 7% rate of stamp duty for properties worth more than £2m, a softening to the new rules on Child Benefit and confirmation that the scheduled 3p rise in fuel duty in August will go ahead.
ER Grove March 2012 Tax Update
ER Grove February 2012 Tax Update
ER Grove January 2012 Tax Update
The Autumn Budget Statement
Despite warnings this week that the UK was likely to slip back into recession, Chancellor George Osborne has said that the Office for Budget Responsibility’s (OBR) latest annual growth and borrowing figures do NOT predict this happening. However he added, the figures do show that the bust was deeper and had an even bigger effect on Britain than first thought.
SME’s access to equity finance eased
Small businesses are set to be able to access equity finance more cheaply and effectively with early changes to European regulatory measures.
Capital allowances loophole closed
The government has bought forward the closure of a loophole that allowed businesses to accelerate capital allowances claims for plant and machinery and obtain advantageous early tax relief.
New guidance issued on distance selling
The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has launched a new online resource to help businesses comply with the law when selling goods and services at a distance, such as website or mail order sales.
Retailers warned over online security
Businesses have been urged to do more to protect customers’ data after hackers were able to access the payment details of thousands of customers of cosmetics and toiletries retailer Lush.
Taxpayers hit by HMRC hold-up
Around 500,000 people who complete self assessment tax returns will have to wait longer than normal to find out how much tax they have to pay, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has announced.
Businesses asked for views on tax and NI merger
The government is asking businesses for their views on integrating the income tax and national insurance contributions (NIC) systems.
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Sep Properties Limited
Sep Properties may not be a household name but its clients certainly are. Since the Dudley-based company was founded by the late Sukhinder Singh and his wife Harjinder in the early 1980s, it has built up an impressive, multi-million pound portfolio of properties, with tenants including Barclays, Kwik Save, Lloyds TSB and Somerfield.
As with any company, a priority for Sep Properties is to keep its finances in good shape – a priority which has led to a successful collaboration with ER Grove and director Steve Lomas.
The relationship began around six years ago, when Sep Properties needed expert advice on accounting issues, to complement the service of an existing accountant who dealt with its tax work.
Palminder Singh, the company’s commercial portfolio director and the son of Sukhinder and Harjinder, says: “ER Grove has provided extra expertise and a fresh pair of eyes.
“As a result of ER Grove’s input, we are more efficient and have streamlined the business, for example by bringing in an in-house bookkeeper. Now we produce our accounts within six months of the year end, which we prefer, because in that way things don’t get left until the last minute.
“We particularly like the continuity of working with ER Grove. In a large firm, there’s a high turnover of staff, but ER Grove handles our work much quicker, because we always deal with the same people and we don’t have to explain things to them.
“When I need to speak to Steve, I’ll pick up the phone and I talk to him at least once every six weeks or so, just to run things past him.
“I know I can rely on him for an honest answer – if something is or isn’t possible, he will tell me straight.
“ER Grove is a good, conscientious firm of accountants. We have built up a really good working relationship and I am pretty happy and content with that.”
MJ Sections Limited
John Harding has come a long way since he and late business partner Malcolm Jordan began Netherton-based MJ Sections.
Back in 1979, they were starting from scratch, with just £4,000 behind them: today, John is chairman and Malcolm’s son Paul managing director of a leader in the precision cold forming and fabrication of a range of metals, supplying prestigious aerospace clients including Airbus, BAE Systems and Rolls Royce.
John says three key ingredients are crucial in business: “Hard work, determination and luck – and unless you get all three together, you won’t succeed.” Expert accountancy advice also has a crucial role to play and that’s where ER Grove’s Steve Lomas comes in. It’s a sign of the strength of their working relationship that John says: “He can ring me at any time – and I don’t usually give my mobile number to people.”
After 12 years in the RAF, John rejoined civvy street in 1974 and took up the offer of a post as works manager with a Wolverhampton company which produced rolled sections for the aerospace industry. Five years on, he and Malcolm were both seeking a new challenge and the opportunity to buy a rolling mill led to the launch of MJ Sections.
After their first accountant died, John and Malcolm switched to a leading Birmingham practice but decided to move on when they felt the firm wasn’t really interested in businesses of their size. John admits he can’t quite remember the process by which they came to ER Grove but more than a decade on, the relationship is thriving.
As well as providing support with services including quarterly management accounts and audit, John knows he can rely on a swift response from Steve on financial and business issues. For example, when MJ Sections had the chance to buy a Coventry company to which they had been sub-contracting a particular process, within an hour of a call to Steve, he was in Coventry meeting the owner and his accountant.
Steve brought the accounts up-to-date to establish its current position in just two days – something the seller’s accountant said would take weeks – and a sale agreement was drawn up within a week.
John says: “Steve is very professional, very reliable and he doesn’t let anything go, which is the kind of accountant you want. He plays a proactive role in key decisions and we have the kind of honest relationship where there’s no offence if we don’t take his advice. I value him from both a business perspective and as a friend.”
Creative and Brand Ltd
Compatibility shouldn’t be underestimated in any relationship, especially the one between a business and its accountancy firm.
When the accountant for design and branding agency, Creative and Brand Ltd, was just meeting their requirements, finance director, Matt Wood, knew it was time to find another firm who could perform beyond their current needs.
Following a recommendation from a trusted source, Mr Wood and his fellow directors met with Nick Thomas, managing director of ER Grove. They were so impressed by Nick’s fresh attitude to how to do business that they moved to ER Grove.
“Nick reviewed the business and suggested improvements,” says Matt Wood. “ER Grove has a similar attitude to Creative and Brand, so there is a synergy. I appreciate their proactive approach.”
The accountancy firm takes care of the general annual accounts and monthly payroll, as well as delivering Sage support on a quarterly basis. They also do the accounts for other companies related to the design agency.
Additionally, ER Grove provides a business consultancy service, acting as a sounding board for new ideas. “If we want to go in a new financial direction,” says Mr Wood, “we talk through our ideas with Nick, and then decide whether to go ahead or not.
“Someone once told me that a good accountant should save you more money than you pay them for their services. ER Grove provides us with suggestions on how to pay our tax and the best ways to move our business forward.
“I would absolutely recommend ER Grove and have already done so to other businesses of a similar size in the same industry. I have been nothing but impressed with the firm and their proactive approach.”
A flexible and understanding approach is something that shouldn’t be underestimated in any relationship, especially the one between a small business and its accountancy firm.
This is exactly what Bruce Arthur, director of Arthur Associates, feels he receives from ER Grove.
The accountancy firm helped with the start up of the graphic design, advertising and marketing consultancy over 10 years ago, and now takes care of the periodic audits, quarterly VAT and payroll, as well as being on hand to answer any specific questions that arise.
As Arthur Associates has a large customer based in France, there are foreign currency implications, which ER Grove helps with. This situation also results in a number of VAT questions being asked.
The accountancy firm put Bruce Arthur in touch with an external VAT expert who has helped to solve these issues.
“We are a small company,” says Mr Arthur. “We need the flexible approach ER Grove offers, and are also pleased to have access to the directors and their level of knowledge and expertise.”
Mr Arthur has already recommended the accountancy firm to other people within the creative industry. These companies usually tend to be small and need the same flexibility and depth of understanding that Arthur Associates get from ER Grove.
“They are a very friendly company with a lot of sound knowledge and a good breadth of understanding of both accountancy and the needs of small businesses. I can depend on them.”
Brand and marketing agency ArthurSteenHorneAdamson is used to dealing with big names.
The Cheltenham-based firm’s clients include the British Film Institute, BUPA, the Global Angels charity, Gadgetshop and clothing chain Mackays, and its growing reputation was highlighted with success in the 2007 Cream Awards and Roses Advertising Awards, both of which recognise talent within the industry outside London.
Setting up shop well away from the glitz and glamour of London’s marketing and media worlds clearly hasn’t stood in the way of ArthurSteenHorneAdamson since its foundation in 2003, although many of its clients are based in the capital.
So long distance relationships are a way of life for the agency, not only with customers but with its accountant ER Grove, based 50 miles from Cheltenham in Halesowen, West Midlands.
The agency’s relationship with ER Grove’s Steve Lomas is so crucial to the business that he is effectively considered to be part of the team and even features on ArthurSteenHorneAdams own website in a gallery of staff photos.
Founding partner Marksteen Adamson explains: “He is a man who understands business and the challenges involved. He is incredibly proactive, and his input has helped us to shape this business.”
The relationship began when the agency was looking for an accountant in its earliest days and a life insurance advisor working with the parents of Louise Adamson, Marksteen’s wife and fellow founding partner, recommended ER Grove.
ER Grove provides the agency with traditional accountancy services, like annual accounts, audits and tax advice, but it is the added value of Steve’s business acumen that Marksteen particularly appreciates.
He says: “We meet once a month, talk regularly in between meetings and we don’t have our quarterly board meetings without him – he is effectively our financial director, and invaluable in strategic planning.
“We will say to him: ‘This is what we are planning to do’ and he will explain the financial impact in every way, on our cash flow, our overheads and our bottom line.
“He advises on how best to use our money and helps achieve bespoke solutions that are not only perfect for us, but are also ethical – and we really like him for that.”
“Sound advice, backed up by practical support”: that’s the verdict on the service ER Grove provides to KWB, the Midlands’ leading independent firm of office property specialists.
Since the company was launched in 1989, it has built up a portfolio of blue chip clients – including insurance giants Morley and the Prudential together with property owners such as the Duchy of Lancaster – for its office property management, acquisition, lettings and sales services.
With around three million square feet of property across the greater Midlands region on its books, it’s a thriving business, with a forward-thinking ethos.
For the last eight years, KWB has found a perfect accountancy partner in ER Grove.
It’s so successful an arrangement that KWB’s John Bryce says: “We have never had a situation that suits us better than the way it works now.”
ER Grove looks after a wide range of KWB’s accounting needs, including producing monthly management accounts, cash flow forecasting and management, comparison of accounts to budgets, profit forecasting and monitoring of debt collection, along with any overflow of work from KWB’s own in-house finance team.
ER Grove director Steve Lomas also attends a monthly KWB meeting and John describes him as “effectively a finance director”.
John particularly values the ER Grove team as a sounding board for future development. He says: “We’re a pretty dynamic company with plenty of ideas – ideas that we can bounce off ER Grove. We’ll say ‘What do you think’ and they’ll work out the cash flows and other financial implications and discuss the deal in a realistic way.
“Not only do we get sound advice, it’s backed up by practical support. We’re a much more efficient and dynamic company as a result of working with ER Grove.”
V Morton & Sons Limited
For more than a century, bereaved families have turned to V Morton & Sons Funeral Directors – known to everyone as Mortons – at the most difficult times of their lives.
This family company, operating from three Birmingham offices, in Northfield, Rubery and Cotteridge, prides itself on a personal service delivered with care and attention to every detail.
A team of around 20 dedicated staff work alongside company owners Grant Morton, Miles Morton and Derek Case.
ER Grove has just completed its third audit for the business, and although the working relationship is still a very new one in terms of Mortons’ history – the business was founded in 1898 – company secretary Alison Wright is happy with the way this is progressing.
Alison joined Mortons 11 years ago, after working for the company’s previous auditors. The business subsequently changed to another audit firm, who were based in Wolverhampton, but decided to switch again when, as Alison explains: “The service and support we were getting wasn’t quite what we needed.
“We were keen to move to someone more local and a business consultant working with us at the time suggested ER Grove, and as a consequence we met with Nick Thomas and Steve Lomas.”
Since Mortons and ER Grove started working together, the two businesses have built up an excellent relationship, based on personal contact. Alison also believes that ER Grove has a better understanding of the issues facing Mortons, as they have a client base of similarly sized smaller companies.”
As well as the audit and annual accounts, ER Grove provides advice and support on issues including VAT and tax planning, and although Mortons’ payroll is handled in-house, Alison values being able to liaise with ER Grove’s payroll team when queries arise. Nick also attends key events, such as the company AGM and the annual meeting with the bank.
Alison says: “We are able to approach them with any questions we have regarding the business and we’ll always get an answer – maybe not immediately, but only because it might involve some research. The personal touch is something that isn’t always there when you deal with a bigger firm.
“I know that if I ask Nick to contact me, he will, and that’s also a good reflection on the efficiency of the people who work with him. The ER Grove team is both on hand and hands on, and that suits us very well.”
Qcom Outsourcing Limited
In these difficult economic times, outsourcing is proving increasingly popular as companies look to keep overheads down and service levels up.
Droitwich-based Qcom Outsourcing Limited offers specialist technical support, including installation, repairs under warranty and consultancy for IT manufacturers, distributors and resellers across the UK and Europe.
It offers customers the benefits of enhanced service and a flexible business model that can be up or down-scaled rapidly according to market conditions. Even in the recession, the company is growing at an impressive rate of 17% per annum.
ER Grove has provided accountancy services for the firm since 2003, ensuring their tax returns and accounts are completed correctly, as well as being on hand for any advice which may be needed throughout the year, particularly in relation to the company’s continued expansion programme.
Qcom managing director Neil Anderson said: “As a long-standing customer of ER Grove we have found their help and advice invaluable in helping our business continue to grow.
“Whether in the areas of tax compliance or business advice, I consider them very much a key strategic partner of our business.
“I have benefitted from their move to the digital economy and I appreciate their close, personal approach. I would recommend them strongly.”
For more information visit the Qcom Website.
AD&C Group Ltd
When it comes to aluminium, there’s little that AD&C Group Ltd doesn’t know. The Birmingham-based business, established in 1992, provides a complete range of services for aluminium component production, from design and die casting to fabrication and powder coating.
Through its Alsure sister company, AD&C also produces scaffold safety products, including bolted stair units for safe access in compliance with the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and guard rails for scaffolding towers.
Operations director David Austin explains: “For many years, we had the same accountant. His practice was subsequently sold to another accountant, but following the move, we felt they weren’t giving us a very good service.
A key part of the way AD&C works is to provide the best possible service to its customers and it looks for a similar approach from its professional advisers. Early in 2008, that led to a search for a new accountant.
“By chance, we received a marketing call on behalf of ER Grove and we decided to talk to them and another firm. We were impressed with ER Grove and felt they looked at business in very much the same way we do.
“The other firm we considered wanted to break services down, meaning we wouldn’t be dealing with just one contact for everything. We were looking for someone we could build up a good relationship with – we thought we could do that with ER Grove and that they could provide the services to cover our needs.”
ER Grove now supports AD&C with services including end of year accounts, directors’ pay and personal tax.
The firm has also advised on issues relating to property purchases and pensions and its involvement in the business is highlighted by the fact that ER Grove sits in on AD&C’s quarterly board meetings, while David knows that if ever he needs ad hoc advice, he can just pick up the phone and be sure of a prompt response.
Just as it has affected thousands of other businesses, the economic downturn has had an impact on AD&C, whose key markets include the construction and brewery sectors, but the company has taken steps to strengthen its financial position and, with a major London Underground contract in the pipeline, future prospects are looking good.
Whether times are tough or more upbeat, good accountancy support is essential for any business and that is what AD&C has found with ER Grove, with David recommending them to other contacts.
When it comes to accountants, Brenda Croft knows what she likes: people who talk her language. That’s one of the reasons she enjoys working with the ER Grove team.
For the past 25 years, Brenda has worked as bookkeeper at KG Washford, a small specialist precision engineering firm based in Redditch. Established over 35 years ago, the company’s workforce are manufacturers and design toolmakers for jigs, fixtures, fittings and so on, including prototypes and development specialists.
KG Washford’s accounts have been managed by ER Grove for over 20 years, and during that time Brenda has enjoyed a relaxed and productive relationship with the firm.
Brenda deals with KG Washford’s payroll and day-to-day bookkeeping, producing monthly management accounts, while ER Grove prepares more detailed quarterly management and year-end accounts. They also advise on personal tax issues for the directors.
What Brenda particularly appreciates is ER Grove’s accessibility. She says: “If I have a question I know I can email or phone them and they will be quick to respond with an answer or solution.”
Churchill & Blakedown Golf Club
William Wordsworth once said of golf that it was “a day spent in a round of strenuous idleness” and Churchill & Blakedown Golf Club offers an ideal setting to spend such a day.
The club, which dates back to 1926, has an enviable location in the heart of the Worcestershire countryside, with stunning views from both course and clubhouse, and is kept running smoothly for its 420 members by a small team of six; managing secretary Peter Bailey, a steward, three green keepers and an administrator.
As managing secretary, a post he has held for seven years, Peter looks after issues including health and safety, general administration and finance and he works closely with ER Grove, the Club’s accountants for the last six years.
Peter explains: “Our previous accountant, who had just a small practice, was retiring at the time and we needed to look elsewhere. As part of that process, we interviewed ER Grove, who had been personally recommended by two Club members and decided to appoint them.”
When he took up his post, Peter had quickly realised that the club’s internal financial systems, which relied on manual accounting and an early form of computer spreadsheets, needed updating.
He explains: “I have been involved in running a number of large businesses and knew from experience that we needed the current records and checks in place. Working with ER Grove, we implemented Quickbooks accounting software and now have a system that works very, very well.”
ER Grove checks the club’s accounts each quarter and, although it does not require an annual audit, conducts a more detailed year end check and verification of the accounts. The club has a complex position where VAT is concerned – it receives some VAT relief, pays some VAT at full rate and some at partial rate – so ER Grove also carry out a quarterly review of its VAT records to ensure everything is in order.
“We have a very good relationship with ER Grove,” Peter says. “The team is extremely helpful and if I need to know how to do anything, all I have to do is ask. For example, we do all the wages on our system but when we had a new member of ground staff recently, we had a payroll query and were able to contact ER Grove for advice. They are also able to access our system remotely, which is useful.”
Peter is currently preparing to step down from his post, which means that he will once more be able to enjoy a round or two at the club, and he can retire in the knowledge that his successor will inherit sound financial systems and an excellent working relationship with ER Grove.
Deacon Products Limited
When David Connop set up Deacon Products to manufacture metal goods more than three decades ago, he chose ER Grove as his accountants from day one.
The company is now run by sons Bruce and Jon and has seen many changes since it began trading in 1973, but one thing remains the same: ER Grove are still company accountants.
Managing director Bruce jokes: “We just can’t seem to shake them off!”
Deacon Products has a workforce over around 20, based in Rowley Regis and Bromsgrove, West Midlands. They produce a wide range of metal products, mainly chain and wire rope, for customers ranging from sole traders to large companies, chiefly UK-based but also for a few customers in North America, Europe and Ireland.
ER Grove carry out the company’s annual audit – payroll is handled in-house, along with preparation of the year-end accounts – but are also an invaluable source of advice and information.
Bruce says: “They are our first port of call if we have a problem, whether that involves tax, VAT, wages or other financial issues.
“We’ll just give them a call as and when we need advice, so we might not speak to them for months, then talk to them twice in a week. I know I can pick up the phone at any time and if they can’t help instantly, they always come back to me quickly.”
The company has expanded in recent years, buying CSB Lifting and Marine Products in Rowley Regis in 2000 and wire rope specialists Scarlet Oak in Bromsgrove in 2002.
Both trade in their own names as part of the Deacon Products group.
Bruce explains: “Effectively, ER Grove held our hands through the whole process, guiding us and advising on the most effective and beneficial way to manage matters such as tax and the writing off of goodwill.”
Having the expertise of the ER Grove team behind them is reassuring for Bruce and Jon: their “very friendly and approachable” ethos makes it easy to do business together.
Bruce sums up: “They know the history of the company. They know who we are and where we come from. A lot of businesses don’t build up working relationships that go on for years and years – there’s a lot of chopping and changing in today’s business world.
“We may be old fashioned, but we believe in staying with the people who give us good service. That’s what ER Grove does.”
Traffic Safety and Management Limited
It was a matter of chance that brought Leigh Turbill and Martin Sheridan together with ER Grove – but seven years on, it’s a relationship that is still going strong.
Leigh and Martin had met in Halesowen to discuss setting up the business that became Traffic Safety and Management Limited. As they left the meeting, they found themselves opposite ER Grove’s offices and as, Leigh explains: “We knew we would need an accountant, so we just went over and had a chat.”
Now ER Grove provides a range of services to the thriving business, based in Earlswood, Solihull, including quarterly management accounts, annual end of year accounts, payroll matters and financial projections. The firm’s expertise was also useful in handling a VAT inspection, which went smoothly.
Since Leigh and Martin launched the business in 2000, it has grown significantly. Traffic Safety and Management – which sets up construction projects, including roads, bridges and buildings, ready for the main contractors to start work – started out with a team of three and a turnover of around £1,000 a week. Now it has a workforce of 40 working on contracts all over the country and an annual turnover of around £2.5 million.
ER Grove’s advice and expertise has contributed to that success: one example is a pricing tool that the firm’s Steve Lomas developed with Leigh, for more accurate costing of projects. The tool means that Traffic Safety and Management know when it is worth quoting for a job and when to turn work down, increasing profitability.
Leigh sums up: “It really helps to have ER Grove on our team. I speak to Steve at least once a week and we’ve just agreed to start meeting once a month. I always run our business ideas past him.”
We are currently seeking high calibre individuals who wish to pursue a career in accountancy. If you consider that you have the necessary skills to become part of our successful team please send your CV, together with a handwritten letter, to Steve Lomas at our Halesowen office.
Training, Learning & Development
Studying for professional qualifications is likely to be a big part of your first few years at ER Grove & Co
Professional Studies We’ll Support You Through
Becoming a chartered accountant
AAT – Association of Accounting Technicians
Where: Stourbridge, Halesowen College
Length: Level 2, 3, 4
ICAEW – Institute of Chartered Accountants England & Wales
ACCA – The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants
Where: Birmingham University
Length: 3 Years
Ways In Which We’ll Help You Learn & Grow
What you can expect from us
- Training & Mentoring
- Feedback & Reviews
- A great work environment
What we expect from you
- Hard Work
Please feel free to contact us using any of the options found below.
Grove House, Coombs Wood Court, Steel Park Road, Halesowen, West Midlands, B62 8BF