Meet the supplier: Harries Watkins & Jones

Based in South Wales, this "no gimmicks" accountancy firm outlines the benefits of starting a business in Cardiff and the services it has to offer...

Name: Neil Harries
Company: Harries Watkins & Jones Ltd
Address: 1a Charnwood Park, Bridgend CF31 3PL
Website: www.hwja-accountants.co.uk/accountants-cardiff
Key services: Annual accounts and tax return completion, tax advice and planning, VAT, PAYE, Audit, Book-keeping, IR35 and personal service companies advice.
Founded in: 1973 (incorporated in 2002)

Who are you?

We are a friendly and professional firm of Chartered Accountants. We aim to provide expert advice and cost effective solutions to our clients’ accounting and taxation needs.

Tell us about your firm. What makes you different from the rest?

We don’t do gimmicks or give a hard sell.

We believe in providing quality professional advice in relation to our clients’ specific needs. We understand that no two clients are the same, so we listen carefully and tailor our services accordingly.

In addition to being Chartered Accountant we are also accredited accountants by IPSE – the membership body supporting contractors, independent professionals and freelancers, enabling them to succeed in business.

Who are the key members of your team?

If you contact us for a no obligation meeting you will meet one of the firm’s directors, Neil Harries or Chris Jones. Harries has a wide portfolio of clients and oversees the firm’s service to them. In particular, his area of particular interest is saving clients’ tax and helping them to develop their businesses.

Jones trained and qualified with a large South West Wales firm, where he gained experience in the accounting, tax and audit needs of the small to medium-sized businesses. Jones also has extensive knowledge in computerised accounting systems. He is able to advise on a wide range of accounting, taxation, audit and computer software issues relating to owner-managed businesses.

What size of business do you work with best?

The majority of our clients are either family-owned businesses, professionals or personal service companies.  Some are just starting out whilst other have been in business for many years.

We seek to build a long term relationship with our clients and see the relationship as a partnership. We have acted for many clients right from start-up to business sale or retirement!

What services do they use you for most?

This very much varies from client to client as we tailor our services to meet our clients’ needs. Generally, our more popular services are the production of accounts, completion of tax returns, payroll operation, VAT compliance and taxation advice.

How much of what you do could businesses do for themselves?

Obviously this will vary from person to person and business to business. There are fundamentally two reasons why clients use us; either because they lack the skills and experience to do it themselves and/or it makes more sense for us to do it.

In relation to the latter many of our clients consider it  more beneficial for them to be spending their time working at what they do best in their business other than inefficiently carrying out accounting and tax compliance tasks.  In addition, of course, we offer peace of mind, with our clients knowing that their accounts and taxation affairs are being looked after by qualified and experienced professionals. Having said that, the majority of our clients maintain their own accounting books and of course skills and experience vary (some of our larger clients directly employ qualified accountants).

Give us three common problems/scenarios that your firm solves – and what you do:

  1. Start-up advice, we are able to advise on the advantages of the various trading styles such as limited companies, limited liability partnerships, sole-traders and partnerships. We can also assist with registering for VAT, PAYE and other taxes. We offer guidance on record keeping and what expenses are allowable for tax.
  2. Personal service companies, we are IPSE accredited accountants (formally PCG). We give specialist tax advice to contractors, freelancers and the self-employed.
  3. Tax investigations – we represent clients under investigation by HMRC. We explain the process and deal with HMRC on our clients’ behalf.

Tell us about one of your clients and what you’ve done for them:

A potential client contacted us when they were selected for investigation by HMRC.  We understood that this is a potentially worrying and difficult time for them.

We were able to guide them through the process, deal with HMRC on their behalf and eventually negotiate a settlement that they were pleased with. In addition, we were engaged to prepare future accounts and tax returns elevating the concern and doubt that they had been prepared correctly.

Are you expensive? Tell us more about your pricing structure:

We don’t do gimmicks, we simply offer a friendly professional service for a competitive fee.

It is a general misconception that all accountants are the exactly the same. Nothing could be further from the truth!

Just as in all walks of life you have the good, the bad and the downright ugly. Alarmingly, the word accountant is not a protected term in the UK. This means that anybody can call themselves an accountant or, for that matter, a tax adviser or business consultant!

The result is that many of the businesses that call themselves accountants are being run by people without any professional accountancy qualification. What is worse, often many of these firms and individuals are not regulated. You could open up tomorrow as an accountant with no training, qualification or even professional indemnity insurance! We are sure if you were buying a house you would want a qualified lawyer to handle your affairs, or similarly if you needed an operation you would want a qualified doctor to carry out the procedure.

So make sure that you get a qualified accountant to look after your tax and business affairs.

How long have you been based in and around the Cardiff area?

The firm has a long history and has been based in South Wales since the 1970s!  It has been in its latest form as Harries Watkins & Jones Ltd since 2002.

What business resources in Cardiff would you recommend?

There are many resources available to businesses in Cardiff such as:

What are the top reasons for a start-up business to set up in Cardiff?

  1. Good transport links via the M4 and railways.
  2. There is an abundance of affordable commercial property.
  3. Readily available skilled workforce.
  4. Expanding and vibrant city.
  5. Cardiff is a great place to work and live.

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