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Our People

Chartered Accountants

Damien Sissons - Director

Damien is a director who began his career with one of the 'Big four' accountancy firms, qualifying with them back in 1992. Having gained experience in industry he joined Waters and Atkinson in 1995, becoming a partner four years later. Damien develops and implements tax planning strategies for clients after first gaining a full understanding of their situation. He is available to provide specific technical advice and present this in a clear and focused way. He is also primarily responsible for the firm's statutory audit function. Since joining Waters and Atkinson, Damien has supported several local charities at board level and he is currently a trustee of Unique Kidz. Until recently he was a director of the Lancaster and District Chamber of Commerce.

Chris Gardner - Director

Chris is a director who qualified with Waters and Atkinson in 2009 after joining the firm following completion of his master's degree. He has a wide ranging role and meets with clients to discuss many different issues. Chris takes great pride from working closely with his clients and assists many people who are new to self-employment. He forms part of our tax planning team and is also available to work with businesses to develop cash flow forecasts and business plans. Chris has strong ties to the area and has excellent links with local professionals and institutions. Additionally, he was appointed as a director of the Lancaster and District Chamber of Commerce in 2017.

Practice Manager

Laura Yates - Practice Manager

Laura is our AAT qualified practice manager. She has experience in both industry and accountancy practice and is a recent and welcome addition to the Waters and Atkinson team. Laura is the main point of contact for clients large and small and is well known to the local professional community. She has an excellent working knowledge of the tax system and accounts preparation. In addition to this, she oversees the firm's internal systems, has a general management role and is responsible for training new staff. Laura can be consulted on bookkeeping and accounting systems and is an expert on making tax digital.

Tax Managers

Peter Ridley - Tax Manager

Peter has extensive knowledge and experience in the majority of tax matters and has been consulted accordingly by our clients for over 30 years. Peter feels as a tax advisor it is important to have a down to earth approach and speak a language that clients appreciate as he guides them through the various complexities of the tax system. He understands the internal workings and approach of HMRC and offers himself as a buffer between them and our clients.

Jo Bunting - Tax Manager

Jo joined Waters and Atkinson in 2016 following our acquisition of another practice where she also held the position of taxation manager. She has held a variety of tax related positions over the years starting with the Inland Revenue and taking in accountancy practices large and small. Jo excels at guiding her clients through the ever more complex tax system and has a diverse portfolio of personal clients. Jo brings invaluable experience to the firm and a fresh perspective when dealing with HM Revenue and Customs. She has widened the already broad tax offering and as part of her role prepares Research and Development claims on behalf of many of our company clients.

Audit Managers

Sheila Grundy - Audit Manager

Sheila arrived at the firm in 1981 straight from university having just been awarded her mathematics honours degree. She has held a variety of roles during her long career with us but now primarily works with our larger company clients, running their audits and advising on related issues. She also specialises in solicitor compliance rules working closely with these clients to guide them through this complex area. On a technical side she ensures our staff and clients are aware of changes to company law, accountancy practices and auditing standards. Sheila is available for consultation on such matters.

Nina Cummings - Audit Manager

Nina has a broad range of experience gained at Waters and Atkinson and also from past commercial positions. She has a varied and successful career history and strong ties to the area. An integral part of the team, Nina brings a fresh perspective from her time in commerce. Nina prepares tax computations and accounts for companies from a range of sectors and likes to gain a thorough understanding of clients she works with. She also performs a variety of audit work and has gained experience in a range of other areas within the firm.

Client Managers

David Brown - Client Manager

David has over 30 years experience advising and assisting family owned businesses and companies on all aspects of business life. He specialises in new start ups offering a guiding hand through the red tape procedures and requirements that never seem to simplify. David also oversees our accounts production system ensuring clients receive their financial statements on an efficient and timely basis. Always keen to increase his own knowledge David has of recent years become our Charity and Housing Association expert.

Matthew Threlfall - Client Manager

Matthew joined us directly from sixth form in 1991. Since then he has built up an enviable wealth of experience and knowledge whilst advising all types of businesses including sole traders, partnerships and companies. In particular his portfolio of clients very much appreciate his 'hands on' approach to solving the myriad of issues they bring to him. Matthew is responsible for our computer systems and frequently advises clients on such matters. Of late Matthew has built up a detailed knowledge of Making Tax Digital and an important part of his role is helping clients deal with it.

Diane Archbold - Client Manager

Diane has been working closely with clients for over 25 years. She takes great pride on providing them with peace of mind that all of their accounting and tax affairs are up to date and in order. She will prepare financial statements and management accounts depending upon each client's needs. Diane also undertakes a range of audit work for our company clients who require this service. Additionally, Diane takes a leading role in the training of new staff.

Laura Smyth - Client Manager

Laura is an experienced accountant who recently joined the team having previously worked in other practices locally. She is currently working with many of our SME clients who welcome her experience, ability and calmness. Much of the work she currently undertakes relates to company accounts. In addition to this Laura makes use of her expertise which takes in audit, VAT, personal tax and corporate tax.

Kelly Harvey - Client Manager

Kelly became part of the team in 2016 following our acquisition of another practice. In her previous position, Kelly was responsible for the preparation of accounts as well as being the main point of contact for many of the office's clients. She has very wide experience of preparing accounts businesses of all different shapes and sizes. Kelly works closely with her portfolio of clients to enable her to best understand their needs and offer them a friendly, personal service. Her clients are extremely loyal to her and her role and portfolio remain largely unchanged at Waters and Atkinson.

Charlotte Whitaker - Client Manager

Charlotte is an experienced accountant who joined the firm after working with other local practices for a number of years. She spends most of her time preparing accounts and tax computations for a range of businesses. In addition to this, Charlotte has an excellent working knowledge of the VAT system and of personal tax. She enjoys speaking to clients and getting to know their businesses and is rapidly building excellent relationships with them.

Theo Gardner - Client Manager

Theo joined Waters and Atkinson from Lancaster Royal Grammar School and is on the path to becoming a Chartered Accountant. He has chosen the AAT-ACA fast track route and his studies are progressing at a rate. Already, Theo has a wide range of knowledge and experience gained within the firm and is able to prepare and explain accounts for a variety of businesses of different sizes. Theo is well known to other young professionals.

Payroll and Bookkeeping

Angelika Nowak

Angelika primarily works in our payroll bureau where she prepares wages figures for a wide range of clients. She provides an efficient service, saving clients the time and worry that comes with running a PAYE scheme. Angelika has also gained expertise in a range of other roles within the office, building on knowledge acquired from previously held local commercial positions. She undertakes bookkeeping for several clients and supports the accounts production function within the office. Angelika is fluent in Polish and can guide clients through the process of becoming self-employed and the subsequent accounts and tax work in either English or Polish.

Debbie Ritchie

Debbie is a payroll specialist. She performs wages work for many of our clients and can be consulted on the full range of associated issues. Debbie is in regular contact with many of our clients who appreciate her friendly and practical approach. Prior to joining the firm Debbie managed the payroll of a large industrial business for many years and her experience in the field shows in the prompt and accurate service she provides.

Terry Wilkinson

Terry is a bookkeeping and VAT expert. She is known to many of our clients as their go-to contact for record keeping. She has a practical approach and is known as a problem solver. Terry has a wealth of practice experience, has in the past worked in commerce and ran her own bookkeeping firm for many years. She is adept with the main computerised bookkeeping packages as well as possessing an excellent working knowledge of the VAT system. She can be consulted about Making Tax Digital.

Andrea Prescott

Andrea is a specialist bookkeeper who has a variety of experience in both practice and industry. She works with clients both large and small, carrying out bookkeeping and VAT work for them. She is familiar with a range of different software packages and is available to assist clients with any changes made necessary by Making Tax Digital.

Practice Administrator

Michelle Parker - Practice Administrator

Michelle is an AAT level four qualified accountant who joined Waters and Atkinson in 2016. She has a wide range of experience and worked in industry before moving into practice. Michelle keeps the firm running smoothly by performing a variety of internal administrative and accounting tasks. She carries out a great deal of company secretarial work for our clients as well as undertaking bookkeeping and accounts work for a diverse mix of clients.

Support Staff

Katie Walling-Lewis

Katie is the friendly front face of Waters and Atkinson, being responsible for greeting clients in reception and answering the telephone. Her role also involves carrying out a range of administrative and secretarial tasks as well as generally ensuring the smooth running of the practice. Katie has recently been awarded an NVQ in Business and Administration, having originally joined us as an apprentice.


Will Ritchie Will Ritchie

Will joined Waters and Atkinson in 2018 from Lancaster Royal Grammar School where he took both A-Levels and Pre-Us. He is a general trainee and as such is receiving an all-round training in accounts, bookkeeping and tax and assists with many different tasks. Will is currently studying towards the AAT qualification.

Leo Jacksonleo jackson

Leo joined Waters and Atkinson in 2018 after completing his A-Levels at Dallam School in Cumbria. He is a general trainee and as such is receiving an all-round training in accounts, bookkeeping and tax and assists with many different tasks. Leo is currently studying towards the AAT qualification.

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