Wenn Townsend Chartered Accountants

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Wenn Townsend Chartered Accountants's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Wenn Townsend Chartered Accountants is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles


Highlighting best practice
Administrative Partner
and Practice Development
Partner Tony Haines
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 Preston personally involved in its conception. Throughout our long and
accomplished history, we have always adhered to our central principle 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 this quality of service that has allowed us to prosper for so many years.
We are a multidisciplinary accountancy practice offering a varied range of services
to a diverse selection of clients. They range from sole traders to multinational
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
clients for over a hundred years.
Our partner-led approach allows us to promote personal contact between ourselves
and our clients, which also helps 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 and thus realising their potential.
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.
»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
Wenn Townsend
Chartered Accountants
The challenges of new
The key piece of legislation that will
affect the accountancy sector is the
upcoming implementation of the
Making Tax Digital programme. Before
this programme is instituted, we are
educating all the businesses we work
with on their new obligations and
requirements. They rely on us to inform
them of all developments within the
sector. Most 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 includes
whether their software programs 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 that 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
this 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 in a changed
business environment. Leaving an
economic group that we have been
associated for such a long period of
time will always lead to new challenges.
Having been 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.
A team meeting at
the Oxford office
Our clients
expect us to be
proactive rather
than reactive, so
these measures
are vital to keep
ahead of sector


This article was sponsored by Wenn Townsend Chartered Accountants. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from The Rt Hon Theresa May MP.

The Rt Hon Theresa May MP's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By The Rt Hon Theresa May MP

This foreword from the then Prime Minister appeared in the 2018/19 Parliamentary Review.

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review. For Her Majesty’s Government, our task in the year ahead is clear: to achieve the best Brexit deal for Britain and to carry on our work to build a more prosperous and united country – one that truly works for everyone. 

The right Brexit deal will not be sufficient on its own to secure a more prosperous future for Britain. We also need to ensure that our economy is ready for what tomorrow will bring. Our Modern Industrial Strategy is our plan to do that. It means Government stepping up to secure the foundations of our productivity: providing an education system that delivers the skills our economy needs, improving school standards and transforming technical education; delivering infrastructure for growth; ensuring people have the homes they need in the places they want to live. It is all about taking action for the long-term that will pay dividends in the future.

But it also goes beyond that. Government, the private sector and academia working together as strategic partners achieve far more than we could separately. That is why we have set an ambitious goal of lifting UK public and private research and development investment to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027. It is why we are developing four Grand Challenges, the big drivers of social and economic change in the world today: harnessing artificial intelligence and the data revolution; leading in changes to the future of mobility; meeting the challenges of our ageing society; and driving ahead the revolution in clean growth. By focusing our efforts on making the most of these areas of enormous potential, we can develop new exports, grow new industries and create more good jobs in every part of our country.

Years of hard work and sacrifice from the British people have got our deficit down by over three quarters. We are building on this success by taking a balanced approach to public spending. We are continuing to deal with our debts, so that our economy can remain strong and we can protect people’s jobs, and at the same time we are investing in vital public services, like our NHS. We have set out plans to increase NHS funding annually by an average by 3.4 percent in real terms: that is £394 million a week more. In return, the NHS will produce a ten-year plan, led by doctors and nurses, to eliminate waste and improve patient care.

I believe that Britain can look to the future with confidence. We are leaving the EU and setting a new course for prosperity as a global trading nation. We have a Modern Industrial Strategy that is strengthening the foundations of our economy and helping us to seize the opportunities of the future. We are investing in the public services we all rely on and helping them to grow and improve. Building on our country’s great strengths – our world-class universities and researchers, our excellent services sector, our cutting edge manufacturers, our vibrant creative industries, our dedicated public servants – we can look towards a new decade that is ripe with possibility. The government I lead is doing all it can to make that brighter future a reality for everyone in our country. 

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review 
The Rt Hon Theresa May MP
Prime Minister