Hebridean accountancy firm in finals of major accountancy awards

An accountancy firm on a Hebridean island is one of two finalists in the category of Independent firm of the Year - Scotland.

Nicolson Accountancy is run by husband-and-wife team Angus Nicolson and his wife Sue. He is a Chartered Accountant while Sue, a former director of Deutsche Bank and adviser to BT, is a member of CIMA.

The firm’s client base is unusual with about 20 per cent of their work being tax advice to individuals and companies operating in Norway. Their office in the Western Isles town runs Norwegian language (and Norwegian Revenue approved) payroll and accounting software. Their Dutch tax service is growing too.

Wth more than 1,000 clients ranging from island crofters to multinational companies including a £2 billion company which has grown out of the Azerbaijan Republic. With 600 smaller mainly-local clients, Angus has to regularly travel to islands like Uist and Barra to meet them.

The firm attracts international clients through search engine optimised (SEO) websites including norway-tax.co.uk and dutch-tax.co.uk. It also has a part-time office in Aberdeen and are looking to add more due to client demand.

With business growing at about 30 per cent a year, many clients are based on mainland UK. That spread has seen an islander walking in and delivering a tax return on behalf of a client in Norfolk. The client happened to be on the same ship as him.

The Nicolsons, who also have a young family, have three professional staff at their main office in Bayhead Street, Stornoway. They manage payroll and accounting services while the Nicolsons remain wholly responsible for the overall service delivery.

Angus said: “The nomination recognises the hard work of all the staff, who pull together to deliver an excellent service to all our clients. We think we were shortlisted due to the unusual and distinctive range of services we offer - as well as our unusual location.”

And Sue added: “As our client base grows, we are looking to expand our operations and to determine how best to serve all our clients.”

The British Accountancy Awards will be held in London next Wednesday, November 30.