Individuals = 60

Ethos = 1

We believe that people are as important as pounds.

Our clients rely on our expertise to help their families prosper, their charities create impact, and their companies grow. But finances can be complex, especially when it’s not your day job.

It’s our mission to unscramble and demystify the complex, turning waffle into straight-talking common sense.

We’re a group of down-to-earth, knowledgeable experts, joined by a shared ethos: we take care of your finances, but we also care about you.

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How we can help you

How We Help 01

Strategic partnership and advice

We help our clients make important decisions and strategic shifts with well researched, personalised advice and support. From tax strategies and succession planning, to restructuring, and acquisition and mergers.

How We Help 03

Accounts, auditing and compliance

All organisations have responsibilities to meet, from submitting statutory accounts to complex compliance and auditing requirements. Our specialist teams are always up to date with the latest regulations and have the breadth and depth of expertise to give you total confidence.

How We Help 02

Day-to-day support

Whether you need a fully outsourced partner to help you focus on running your business, or ad hoc support when you need it, we have the skills and resources to help you. Payroll, pensions, bookkeeping, software support – all of our services are underpinned by our personal, caring approach.

Making it clear since 1876

Our firm was founded by Arthur Preston in 1876. Arthur was a founding member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, professionalising and shaping the accountancy sector we know today.

Arthur’s spirit of continually striving for better – not following the norm if it’s not right – lives on in us.

In 145 years we have seen it all; wars, recessions, booms, technological revolutions – not to mention a global pandemic. Our heritage is evidence of our adeptness to help our clients thrive and survive, whatever comes their way.

Early days

Arthur Preston started to practise in 1876 in High Street, Abingdon. JHH Wenn joined as an articled clerk in the early 1880s.

By 1885 the business had moved to 55 Cornmarket Street, Oxford where it remained until 1957.

 

Turn of the century

Preston retired in 1908 but continued to serve the community, including a three-year stint as Mayor of Abingdon. Joseph Wenn partnered with John Elsom and took over the company.

 

Pre war years

Elsom retired in 1920 and Ernest White became a partner of Wenn. White was a key figure in the firm, having joined in 1891.

Harold Gray joined as an articled clerk of Ernest White in 1925. The pair managed a combined service of over 100 years. Wenn died in 1933.

 

 

Mid century

James Townsend became a partner in 1947 but sadly died just a year later.

White retired in 1947 and Harold Gary took over the firm in partnership with Graham Watson. They remained partners until 1974, during which time they upsized to a former public house in St. Giles, where the Oxford office remains to this day.

 

 

Run up to the millenium

At the turn of the century some of our current partners were just starting their journeys with the firm. The rise of digital technologies led us to innovate and evolve the way we work, but our ethos and partner-led, personable approach have never been diluted by the technology we use.

Today

Wenn Townsend acquired Wallingford-based Colman Felton and Co in 2006 and Robert George & Co in Cirencester the following year as part of a period of growth for the firm. Since then, all three offices have enjoyed substantial development and continue to train and build a highly knowledgeable team.

During the past few years our refreshingly clear approach to accounting has guided our clients through changes in legislation and some very unpredictable economic hurdles.

People

Pluck, Deborah BwPluck, Deborah HoverRead more
Deborah Pluck FCAPartner
Haines, Tony Bw2Haines, Tony Hover2Read more
Tony Haines FCAPartner
Cole, Graham BwCole, Graham HoverRead more
Graham Cole FCAPartner

Deborah is an extremely knowledgeable accountant, having joined Wenn Townsend in 1980 and become Partner in 1989. She particularly loves working with schools, colleges and university partnerships, and with families in the agricultural world or with landed estates, getting hands-on with the practical problems they face. Deborah recently set up and ran an estate management reporting system to control a development/farming/property letting/woodland/leisure business; while in another case she rationalised monthly systems for a university partnership including payroll, pensions, budget preparation and reporting to the Charity Commission. Outside of work Deborah enjoys skiing, walking and cottage gardening.

Tony is a hugely experienced accountant, having joined Wenn Townsend in 1987 and become Partner in 1997. His expertise covers succession planning and reorganisation, and advising owner-managed businesses. Tony is deeply knowledgeable about regulations surrounding UK subsidiaries of overseas holding companies, food manufacturing, property and building, e-sales, and leisure. Recently he was able to help with the management buyout of a company where two owner-directors were retiring, and the incoming director was not able to secure necessary finance. As well as his role at Wenn Townsend Tony writes for the The Parliamentary Review, is an Ambassador for B4 Magazine, contributor to Radio Oxford, and representative for Oxfordshire Voice and ROX. Tony is a passionate (but retired) cricketer, as well as a golfer and rugby fan. He enjoys films, loves his dogs and is a ‘reluctant’ gardener.

Graham Cole is one of the linchpins of Wenn Townsend, having joined us in 1991 and become Partner in 1997. With a huge wealth of knowledge, he particularly enjoys advising on accounting and financial issues for endowed charities, charities funded by grants or donations, religious charities, and national membership organisations. His advice on financial issues including succession planning is highly trusted by companies in the computer, retail, construction and manufacturing sectors, and by Community Interest Companies. Recently he advised a charity on aspects of a serious reporting issue to the Charity Commission, and in another case investigated the accounting systems and processes in relation to a dispute within a group of charities. As well as being an eminent accountant Graham is a keen Aston Villa/Oxford Utd football fan, a Worcestershire cricket fan, and a keen chess player.

Bates, Stuart Bw2Bates, Stuart Hover2Read more
Stuart Bates FCA CTAPartner
Bahl, Ajay Bw2Bahl, Ajay Hover2Read more
Ajay Bahl BA BFP FCAPartner
Palmer, Lee BwPalmer, Lee HoverRead more
Lee Palmer FCA CTAPartner

Stuart joined our team in 1992 and was made Partner in 2002. An expert in his field, he enjoys working across a broad range of sectors and clients, including family businesses, start-ups, charities and personal tax clients. He is highly skilled at computerising clients' accounting systems (notably Sage and Xero) and overseeing clients’ IT requirements. Stuart recently took over a healthcare client, assisting with their monthly management accounts and reporting to an overseas group, filing monthly VAT returns, statutory accounts, corporation tax and R&D claims. Outside the office Stuart enjoys skiing, walking, cycling, kayaking, touring holidays in the family motorhome, watching motorsports, and being a closet Arsenal supporter.

Ajay joined us in 1990 and was made Partner in 2003, becoming a highly trusted member of our team. He particularly enjoys advising the not-for-profit sector including education and health charities, as well as assisting corporate manufacturing entities with overseas operations, overseeing audits of non-UK companies, and dealing with complex UK GAAP and International Financial Reporting issues. He recently completed the successful VAT registration for an exporter after 18 months of negotiations with HMRC, the client now receiving six-figure monthly VAT refunds. Ajay is a lapsed sportsman, keen sports viewer and Liverpool FC fan. He is also a Trustee of The Karta Initiative, a charity helping Indian students from poor rural backgrounds attend world-leading universities.

An outstanding accountant, Lee came aboard with Wenn Townsend in 2004 and swiftly made Partner in 2005. His real enthusiasms lie in holistic tax planning for families and private individuals, corporate tax work in connection with business sales and purchases, and share and business valuations. In one such case he advised on a share buy-back within a corporate group to allow the withdrawal of the controlling persons from the group business operations, addressing issues caused by the group holding insufficient distributable reserves. Outside work Lee enjoys travelling Europe, listening to music (and attempting to play guitar), cinema and theatre-going, and is an avid reader.