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I just wanted to say that without BKL I do not think my company would still be in existence.
Without the fantastic efforts of a lot of your staff but mainly Steve Hocking Robinson and Sue Latimer the whole world of Tax and accounting would have taken up all of my time leaving no time to run my business.
So many thanks and I look forward to many years more of having you on my side.
Director of Woodunlimited
A&O Imaging Services (UK) Ltd (“A&O”) is an independent service organisation that employs 34 people to maintain and service photo-processing equipment used by photo development outlets around the UK.
The company was established following a management buyout of the service and parts business of AgfaPhoto UK Ltd. All of the four-strong executive team were from the technical side of the business, with BKL providing financial advice.
Having initially helped the buyout team with the practicalities of separating out the business and setting up a new company, BKL remained on board as the company’s business advisors, financial back-office support and accountants.
While A&O’s business is thriving, the directors are now focussing on developing a sister company, Air Photo Ltd, a business that takes professional photographs at children’s nurseries. This venture is still in early stages, and the directors have once again benefited from valuable commercial and strategic advice from the team at BKL.
Under BKL’s ‘Business Challenge’ scheme, a half-day meeting was organised where the business plan was reviewed and tested by BKL partners Howard Graff and Jeff Hartstone.
The Business Challenge is designed to take business heads away from their day-to-day work to an environment with no distractions, so they can dedicate time to focus on the business itself. This means they can think out of the box by exploring new avenues of development, find out what other businesses in their position have done and benefit from the combined 50 years’ experience of the consultants, Howard and Jeff.
A&O has also benefited from the expertise of BKL Wealth Management’s independent financial advisors, who have arranged shareholder protection (life insurance) for the directors and re-brokered the company’s private medical insurance and group life insurance to obtain better deals. When A&O recently acquired a number of servicing contracts and the individuals working on the contracts became employees of the company, BKL’s Mark Ireland also advised on Transfer of Undertakings (TUPE) regulations, to ensure these employees received the same benefits as those per their original contracts of employment. This included advice on pension scheme benefits and legislation.
BKL’s specialist Human Resources team assisted Air Photo Ltd in drafting the company’s contracts of employment, contracts of service as well as their staff handbook.
Chris Gould (Managing Director) says “Initially, BKL were our accounts department and literally took care of everything. As the business has moved on, we now use Sage accounting software to enter the day-to-day data ourselves but BKL still look after our year-end accounts, and payroll.
“They also continue to provide advice to us on money management and tax, and they’ve got a great depth of knowledge in those areas.
“They are very honest in the sense that they do what they need to do, but don’t try to make out things are more complicated than they are and inflate the bills as a result.
“The support we receive from Myfanwy and Jeff really adds value to the business – whether it is day-to-day advice or more strategic planning, it is always good to talk to them and get their input.”
A&O Imaging Services (UK) Ltd
“I am really pleased that I moved to BKL and would recommend you to any clients/friends who I feel would benefit from your services.”
Robert Gerrard & Co Ltd
Serviced Offices – Property & Construction
“Working with Myfanwy and her team at BKL is always a pleasure, which is not often what you hear commercial accountants saying about their auditors. She always takes a very practical, common sense view of any issues that are raised, and can step back to see the realities of how they affect the business. She takes time to understand how the business operates and can then offer advice without compromising her professional integrity. I look forward to working with her for many years to come.”
Beaumont Business Centres Limited
Music, Media and Entertainment
“We launched our creative advertising company, Old Fat Gymnasts in 2011, with confidence in our work but without any real clue of how to manage our accounts. We enlisted the help of Berg Kaprow Lewis from day one and we’re so glad we did. Steven, Gerard and Marios have been professional and helpful with every issue that arose, as well as being patient and understanding enough to help us get our heads around the world of finance and make the most of our money. Highly recommended.”
Jo Forel and Pia Knight
Directors, Old Fat Gymnasts
As a small company, Blue and Green Limited likes to outsource as much as it can. By working with Berg Kaprow Lewis, this specialist publisher of business and technical information is able to benefit from a range of services tailored to its needs, including audit and payroll.
“As we are located in the depths of Kent, we could have used a small local company,” says managing editor Bryan Denyer, “but we wouldn’t have got the diversity of competence that Berg Kaprow Lewis has”.
“Whatever question we have, there will be someone there with the expertise. While Steven Hocking-Robinson is our main contact for general business advice, he can refer us on to other people.”
This successful relationship between the two firms goes back a long way. Berg Kaprow Lewis was recommended to Blue and Green Limited by the former owner of Millets, who had worked with the accountants and found them approachable – which is exactly what the publisher needed.
Mr Denyer explains why Berg Kaprow Lewis and Steven are particularly suited to the needs of his business.
“He is quite good at providing practical, nitty-gritty advice without all the theory. We just want to make it work for us and he does it well.
“We tend to run ideas for new products past him. For example, we have always used traditional media, and are now moving in to video and web formats. We wanted to employ web developers on a contract basis, and discussed this with Steven so he could advise on the best way, both for us and the tax needs of the contractors.”
Blue and Green Limited uses a factoring company, as Berg Kaprow Lewis advised them to get one. However, the publisher doesn’t need it from a financial aspect any longer, so now they use it for credit control.
The publishing company has also done a lot of work on improving its internal accounting systems. “BKL provided access to relevant resources, such as training,” says Mr Denyer. “We would need three or four companies to get all the services that Berg Kaprow Lewis provides; it really is a one-stop-shop.”
As a result, he has already recommended Berg Kaprow Lewis to other people in a similar line of work, including a PR company.
“People are tempted to go to a bookkeeping facility,” he says, “but, in reality, most people need more than that. That’s why I recommend Berg Kaprow Lewis – I think it is better for them to use a firm with a bit of substance.”
Blue and Green Limited
Word of mouth and reputation in business is invaluable. When Peter Christensen, the director of West Molesey-based Musik Produktiv UK Ltd was looking for an accountant, a friend recommended Howard Graff of Berg Kaprow Lewis.
As a result, Howard has acted as the online musical instrument retailer’s accountant for the last seven years. In addition to going over the accounts and making recommendations regarding the corporate structure, Howard was also particularly involved in the setting up of the company and where to domicile it.
“We talked to accountants on the mainland and in Europe,” explains Mr Christensen, “but it took them a very long time to respond. Howard appeared to have all the rules and regulations in his head, and so could give an immediate response, which I found very helpful.
“His familiarity with the complexity of the tax laws was very impressive.”
In fact, Mr Christensen is in the process of recommending Berg Kaprow Lewis to another company in the UK that he is an investor in.
“The company received very poor advice from a big name accountancy firm, which resulting in us having to stop a project that we had invested a lot of time and money into. This wouldn’t have happened if we had known of the tax difficulties involved.
“We are now discussing at board level using Berg Kaprow Lewis for future transfers of property off the balance sheet and into a Scottish partnership.
“The team at Berg Kaprow Lewis are very responsive and very quick, so I don’t have to wait a long time for answers. They are also very personable.”
West Molesey-based Musik Produktiv UK Ltd
Contractors and Freelancers
Jonathan Grinsted is an IT programme manager and director of Blue Horizon Consulting Limited. When you are a contractor setting up your own company, you need financial advice you can rely on.
That’s exactly what Mr Grinsted feels he receives from Berg Kaprow Lewis, with whom he has been dealing since he formed his company in January 2010.
Currently the firm takes care of his accounts – organising the VAT returns and assisting in the relationship with HM Revenue & Customs, as well as completing his tax returns this year. Berg Kaprow Lewis also provides financial consultancy on general matters, such as pensions.
“I benefit from the advice provided,” says Mr Grinsted. “I understand what is required when setting up and running my own company, and am supported in terms of my relationships with government organisations.”
Mr Grinsted chose to work with Berg Kaprow Lewis following a recommendation from a colleague who has worked with the firm for a long time and finds them very professional and very effective. Indeed, Mr Grinsted has already recommended Berg Kaprow Lewis to colleagues who are setting up businesses because of the quality of the support provided and the firm’s thoroughness.
“The communication by email and phone is very good and the team at Berg Kaprow Lewis are very available. They update you on any changes, such as the Budget, and the implications for you.
“Neil Graham, who I work with at Berg Kaprow Lewis, is a member of the Professional Contractors Group, so he has a very good understanding of the rules and how to follow them, as well as how to work within them.”
Blue Horizon Consulting Limited
Word of mouth and reputation are invaluable in business. When David Hughes was looking to establish his own IT consultancy, Micom Solutions Limited, he needed an accountant.
One of his colleagues recommended Berg Kaprow Lewis as he was impressed with the advice given on setting up a company, and Mr Hughes decided to work with them.
Berg Kaprow Lewis provides all the usual accountancy services, including taking care of the payroll. The firm was also on hand when Mr Hughes was looking to expand and open a second line of business. Berg Kaprow Lewis worked with him on the corporate accountancy side, providing the required advice and projections.
“I benefit from their expertise and knowledge,” explains Mr Hughes. “It would have taken me far longer to get where I wanted to go if I hadn’t engaged Berg Kaprow Lewis.”
Mr Hughes has already recommended the firm to colleagues looking to set up a new business or to change accountants.
“I think Berg Kaprow Lewis work with a lot of integrity, are very flexible and I trust their advice.”
Micom Solutions Limited
As a self-employed dentist, working as part of a larger practice with a mixture of NHS and private clients, it is important that Steve Maksymowych has an accountant who understands the specific rules and regulations surrounding his line of work.
Having arrived at Berg Kaprow Lewis almost by accident – after his original accountants were taken over several times, eventually becoming part of BKL – he is now very happy with the thorough service provided by Stuart Batkins.
Stuart takes care of his annual accounts, which requires specialist knowledge of the NHS’s superannuation scheme, as well as dealing with the fact that Steve has a mixture of NHS and private pension provision.
Steve said: “Stuart provides a very comprehensive service, providing a breakdown of all my expenses and costs, and telling me how my tax figure has been arrived at, rather than just what it is.
“I would be happy to recommend Stuart and BKL to any dentist who is just starting up or looking to change accountant.”
Philip Cooper enjoyed a long professional relationship with BKL, remaining with the firm for the whole of his working life.
When he joined his two-man practice in 1973, his fellow partner was already with one of the firms that subsequently merged to form BKL, and was happy to recommend them to his new colleague. Philip was happy to heed his advice and he remained with the firm, through various name changes, until his retirement in 2010.
As a busy professional, Philip’s priority was for an accountant who could sort out all of his financial affairs with minimum fuss or hassle for him.
He said: “I generally didn’t have that much contact with them on a regular basis – I would just hand over a big box with all my paperwork in and leave them to work out what tax I owed, flagging up any issues that arose.
“I was always very happy with the service provided by BKL and never had cause to look elsewhere. They have good specialist knowledge of the dental industry and were always easy to contact if I needed to talk to them, or to see in person if necessary.”
John Pascoe has seen his dental business change considerably over the years, moving from a sole practitioner to a two-man partnership, to his current practice with three partners and six dentists – and Berg Kaprow Lewis have been with him all the way.
He brought BKL on board at the start of his career in 1980, following a recommendation from a fellow dentist, and stayed with them when he went into partnership in 1984. BKL now do the accounts for the whole of his present practice, which was set up in 1990.
He said: “BKL take care of all of our personal accounts, the practice accounts and assist our practice manager with advice on issues including Sage accounting software and payroll.
“They have consistently offered help and support throughout the changes that have gone on in my work. We meet once a year to talk through how the business is doing, how much I should be spending and how to go about expanding, and I also know they are always available on the phone if I have any problems or questions.
“BKL are very approachable, always easy to talk to, happy to help if I contact them and have a good specialist knowledge of the dental industry. Having started off with them because of a recommendation, I’ve been happy to recommend them to other dentists over the years.”
Forestmead Dental Practice
Word of mouth and reputation are invaluable in any business. When Christine Malcolmson, Matron at the Hospital of St John & St Elizabeth, was looking for someone to provide staff training, Marjorie Hurwitz Bremner of Berg Kaprow Lewis was recommended to her.
“Marjorie was recommended because of her impressive style of training,” explains Mrs Malcolmson.
Marjorie provided customer care training to the employees at the private hospital, and was also due to carry out a case study with the hospice staff. Unfortunately, the consultant died just before this could happen, so Marjorie turned the situation around by offering a support session for the staff.
“As a result of this, we didn’t lose any members of staff,” says Mrs Malcolmson, “which was quite remarkable.”
“The feedback from the staff who took part in the training sessions has been excellent. They particularly enjoyed the exercise where they had to go into the town centre to see what businesses were doing. That is something that I can put into practice again in the future.
“I regularly recommend Marjorie to colleagues who are looking for similar training, as we were impressed by the training she gave, with the practical session being very useful.”
Hospital of St John & St Elizabeth
As the largest provider of Human Resource Management development in the country, Westminster Business School is passionate about people and committed to working with visiting lecturers who are experts in their field.
According to Dr Christine Porter, Head of Department for Human Resource Management, that is one of the numerous reasons that she chose Marjorie Hurwitz Bremner of Berg Kaprow Lewis to act as a lecturer on the Employee counselling, support and welfare module of the Masters course.
“I met Marjorie at a networking event,” explains Dr Porter, “so I knew she had expertise in the area of employment counselling. However, I also chose her for her personality – she is very enthusiastic and extremely conscientious.”
As the School has been designated a Centre of Excellence by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), the Masters course enables students to gain the knowledge requirement for Associate Membership of CIPD.
“The module went extremely well,” says Dr Porter. “The students all loved Marjorie and passed at a higher level than for anything else. In fact, over half of them got distinctions.
“Marjorie had credibility with the students and was very pleasant to work with, she was very professional and business like. We had a very productive relationship and still meet up one or twice a year to exchange views about the HR profession.”
Dr Porter would not hesitate to recommend Marjorie as “she is an expert in her area and extremely professional”.
Dr Christine Porter
Westminster Business School