Chartered Accountants

Chartered Accountants

Charter Tax celebrates tenth anniversary

Charter Tax, Chartered Accountants, which has offices in London and Goudhurst, Kent, is celebrating its tenth anniversary. The firm offers accounting and tax advisory services to businesses and high net worth individuals within and outside the UK.

Charter Tax specialises in tax advice for non-domiciliaries living in the UK, in addition to a domestic service to support wealth and succession planning for owners of farms and estates. It is also licenced to carry out probate and estate administration work.

The founder and Principal of Charter Tax is Janet Pierce. Back in 2009, she had been a partner in a mid-size accountancy firm for a number of years but the usual partnership politics left her feeling there must be more to life. At a chance catch-up with a long-standing contact, Mike Cordwell, an interesting opportunity presented itself.

“He asked if I had considered setting up my own business and, being somebody who had built a trust company in the past, he said he’d be prepared to invest in a new venture, if I was prepared to run it,” says Janet. “I was flattered and while it felt a little risky to be leaving partnership life behind, his investment meant there would be money to cover set-up costs such as IT and a website, as well as provide initial working capital.”

In her previous firm, Janet had led the team responsible for international tax and VAT.

“I knew what I could offer was fairly niche and that I also had a good network of people who would refer work to me,” she explains. “I also came to an agreement with my previous firm to take an agreed list of clients with me, so I had a starting point in terms of creating a business.”

Like so many small businesses, Janet started out on her dining room table but always had plans to grow the firm. From the start, she also took an office in London, which proved invaluable for client meetings, and for presentation generally.

“From the start, I continued mainly working with non-domiciliaries and on fairly complicated international tax work,” says Janet. “At the same time, some of my clients were asking for me to also provide them with an outsourced FD service and so we quickly spread out into a more broad base of work, which is something we continue to offer clients to this day.”

The expansion into the outsourced FD work meant that the workload had grown enough to take on David Page after only a matter of months. Now a director at Charter Tax, he was then able to handle some of Janet’s accountancy and FD work, leaving her to focus on tax.

The growth rate was rapid, so the decision was made to take on premises in Goudhurst, which is Charter Tax’s Kent office to this day.

In 2015, the business had grown to a level where Janet felt it would benefit from the addition of another partner, so approached Mark Howard. With his focus on providing advice to families, farms, trusts and estates, Charter Tax has seen its local client base and members of staff grow. Today the firm numbers 32 people.

“Looking ahead to the next decade, I think we’ve still got room to grow,” says Janet. “I strongly believe that a business can never stand still and I am always looking to build the next generation of partners, which I believe we have in sight.”

Photo supplied showing from left to right: David Page, Mark Howard and Janet Pierce.

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Tracy Belton gains a distinction in STEP certificate

Tracy Belton, a member of the team at Charter Tax in Goudhurst, has passed the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) certificate, gaining a distinction. She works within the private client team at the firm, where she is mainly involved in the preparation of the accounts and tax returns for sole traders, partnerships and trusts.

“This work has led to my interest in trusts and estates and I wanted to find out more, as this area hasn’t really been part of my previous studies,” Tracy explains.

STEP is the global professional association for practitioners who specialise in family inheritance and succession planning. It works to improve public understanding of the issues families face in this area and promotes education and high professional standards among its members.

The team at Charter Tax not only helps families to understand the tax issues involved in passing wealth down the generations, and the best tax structuring mechanisms available to do that, but also works closely with each family to make sure that everyone appreciates the family goals, so they remain cohesive into the future.

“We always encourage our team to build their skills and are very proud that Tracy achieved such a great result in her exam,” says Mark Howard, a Principal of Charter Tax. “The service we provide our clients involving trusts and estates is an important part of what we do here at Charter Tax and Tracy’s additional knowledge in this area will be invaluable to the rest of our team and to our clients as well.”

Tracy Belton
Tracy Belton

Tracy joined Charter Tax in 2017 from another firm of accountants.

“I have always liked working with numbers, so always thought about being an accountant,” Tracy explains. “When I started work, my first two jobs were working in the accounts departments in industry. During this time, I completed the AAT qualification. Then, when I joined an accountancy firm, I studied for the ATT qualification as well.”

Tracy says she enjoys the variety of the work and the range of businesses she supports; she particularly enjoys the accounts for farming clients, as her husband works on a farm, so she has a good knowledge of how farms operate.

“From an employee’s point of view, I think Charter Tax is different from its competitors, as it has a relaxed atmosphere,” Tracy says. “Everyone works hard and we all pitch in when needed, but just by having our offices in the countryside makes me feel very relaxed, but focused too, as it isn’t busy or noisy.”

She adds: “I think our clients would say that they appreciate the knowledge and experience of our team and the consistency with who deals with their accounts and tax affairs.”

When she’s not at work, Tracy enjoys spending time with her two boys, who are aged five and three.

“They love being outdoors, so we often spend time going for walks or in the garden,” says Tracy. “In addition, my brother and sisters have children of similar ages to my boys, so we often get together and go for days out with our parents or spend time in the garden together.”

Before having children, Tracy enjoyed ballroom and Latin dancing, as well as clay pigeon shooting. She manages to find time for Zumba classes, but these take a back seat during harvest time, as her husband works long hours then until the winter.

“I am just enjoying life with my boys – time goes so fast and soon they will grow up and not want to hang out with mum, so I am making the most of it,” she adds.

Notes to editors:

• Established in 2009, Charter Tax, Chartered Accountants, which has offices in London and Goudhurst, Kent, offers a first-class accounting and tax advisory service to businesses and high net worth individuals within and outside of the UK.
• Charter Tax was formed by Janet Pierce (nee Paterson) and Mike Cordwell and has since grown to more than 30 staff, as well as taking on a third principal, Mark Howard, in 2015.
• The ethos of Charter Tax is to help its clients achieve their goals – be it private or family wealth structuring, moving into or out of the UK, successfully running their own business, achieving a corporate sale or undertaking a corporate restructuring project.
• Services are available for corporate and owner-managed businesses, private clients, international tax, VAT consultancy and family office, trusts and estates.
• The firm specialises in tax advice for non-domiciliaries living in the UK, in addition to domestic service to support wealth and succession planning for owners of farms and estates.
• Charter Tax is licenced to carry out probate and estate administration work.

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