NWN Blue Squared
Progressive accountants
with a friendly face

NWN has plenty of accountancy experience - we're also a nice bunch of people to work with

If qualifications make you an expert, then there are plenty of here at NWN Blue Squared’s offices. But that's just part of the picture.

Because our Directors and Managers know what’s required to build a business - some of them in the music, creative and leisure sectors - we can add personal insight to our clients’ accountancy issues.  As part of that process, we’ve often become their friends as well as a trusted part of their financial team.

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The Directors

Nick Lawrence

NWN's CEO, former band manager and international DJ, Nick has become a music industry 'mover and shaker' with an encyclopaedic knowledge of all the best vinyl.

Nick brought the Blue Squared name to the NWN marriage in 2010, having already established, grown and sold his own IT business. Working in the creative and music industry since leaving school, including setting up and running his own record label, he can name the drummers in (almost) every indie band since 1979.

When not working with creative clients or managing NWN’s marketing team, Nick can usually be found relaxing with an assortment of musicians, bands and rock managers or DJing a set in clubs around the world. When he remembers to go home, Nick lives in South London with his wife, twin sons and Flo the cat.

Ed Niman

One of the Ns in NWN Blue Squared, Ed is an accountant with serious business experience - including running a major record label - and an equally serious passion for football.

Ed helped build Nieman Walters Niman into the empire that is now NWN Blue Squared.  Ed grew up in Preston, becoming a Preston North End fanatic – or should we say 'sufferer' - before being dazzled by the bright lights of the ‘Big City’. He now lives in Greater London with his wife and three children and relaxes by playing racquet sports - tennis and badminton - safe in the belief that the only purpose of golf is to ruin a good walk.

Ed is also passionate about theatre, food and music of all kinds - having at one time worked for Mute Records - but particularly classical and blues.  His idea of paradise is fish soup and a good bottle of red wine served overlooking the sea to music from the Allman Brothers.

Howard Walters

A founding member of the NWN team, Howard brings many years of accountancy experience to the business, along with a heap of dramatic and creative passion.

The W in NWN, Howard has also worked tirelessly to grow the practice while managing to stay close to his many individual clients.  When not exercising his superbly dry sense of humour, he can be seen cycling around the local countryside or on the golf course near his home in Essex where he lives with his wife, three children and a cat.

Howard also likes to exercise his artistic side through watercolour painting and as a producer and front of house manager for local amateur dramatics.  Even his vocal folds get a work-out with Howard putting them to good use as a voiceover for talking newspapers for the blind.

Julia Houghton
Operations Director

Julia is an Aussie and proud of it. She's also exported a serious set of career credentials and now has the unenviable task of keeping NWN operating at full speed and driving for growth.

Having worked as a project manager for some of the biggest names in global banking, Julia headed for the cooler climate of the UK, joining UBS before moving across to the Third Sector.  She ran a city farm and developed the organisation into a major charity, admitting it was the hardest but most rewarding job she’d ever had – before joining NWN Blue Squared, of course.

Julia is the baking queen of Essex and keeps staff in check by providing all with her famous pavlova and fruity Tiramisu. When not at work she loves spending quality time with her husband and teenage daughter, or can be found walking her scatty Dalmatian dog in Epping Forest (“far more obedient than my husband”), enjoying a bike ride or shopping.

Julia has a passion for travelling and experiencing other cultures but does admit to missing the Aussie lifestyle – “who wouldn’t?” – and tries to get over to the other side of the world when she can to catch up with family and friends.

Peter Brill
Non-Executive Director

He may be non-executive by title, but Peter's media and marketing expertise is certainly being put to good use in raising NWN's profile in the creative industries.

The most recent recruit to the NWN Board, Peter's appointment was largely on the basis of his matching Directorial hairstyle.  Never short of something to say, Peter uses his voice to sing regularly in Bristol-based acappella group Original Sing, shout loudly at defenders when playing in goal, keep the peleton in motion if cycling up and down the hills of the South West, or cheer the many goals scored at Upton Park by West Ham or his son's local football team.

Occasionally Peter finds time to use his journalism and PR skills to run his own business, Net.Mentor, with his wife and co-Director Sheila, producing content for the web and media. Otherwise they can be found visiting their daughter in Taunton, or walking the stunning beaches in Pembrokeshire with Chip the mad Labradoodle.

The Managers

Tariq Ayoub
Client Manager

From completing accounts and returns, to putting the lid on complex tax investigations, Tariq is NWN's "Mr Completer" with some 30 years' experience in accountancy.

Tariq's role as an NWN manager is to prepare and complete accounts and self assessment tax returns, seal the details on P11ds and conclude tax investigations - as often as possible to the satisfaction of the client as well as HMRC. He also adds a little extra, expert polish to the hard work of his team - being a Fellow Member of the Association of Accounting Technicians, he can provide a glossy, shiny finish to any work that passes through the doors of NWN.

When he's not buffing up his role as "Mr Completer", he relaxes with a game of badminton or a bike ride in the area around his home in Goodmayes, Essex where he lives with his wife and children.  Alternatively he can be found watching cricket either on TV or at the local county ground, even making occasional trips to Lords and the Oval.

Jackie Da Costa
Business Support Manager - Music

When it comes to the music biz, Jackie has been there, done it, worn and sold the T-shirt. She is NWN's specialist in tour accounting and is used to working with A-list musicians.

Having started her career taking bookings at Power Plant Recording Studio, Jackie quickly made herself useful at The Sanctuary Group/Focus Business Management where she was Band Accountant. Further accountancy roles saw her working with a roster of glitterati including Maximo Park, KT Tunstall, Bastille and DJ Breach. She joined the NWN Blue Squared team in October 2014, bringing a portfolio of around 100 music-related clients including The Brand New Heavies, Roots Manuva, Hyperdub and Twin Atlantic.

Jackie has done some pretty unusual things in her time – usually for charity. There was organising a post-Glasnost gig for Children of Chernobyl in Moscow’s Red Square, complete with Russian infantry and artillery; or erecting the PRS Music Memorial for Marc Bolan on the site of his death in London. By way of relaxation, Jackie keeps fit so she can keep up in the mosh pits of most of the UK’s festivals.

Jackie has a soft spot for plants – she buys the ‘sad’ ones at Homebase to give them a good home – banana cake and animals, sharing her office with two Yorkshire Terriers, Dory and Dylan, two geckos and 12 hermit crabs all called Herman. There's also music producer/engineer husband, Phil (aka CrazyJoeCola), with whom she can watch Gary Oldman movies.

Wendy Martin
Payroll Manager

Definitely not someone to mess with, former police sergeant Wendy now marshalls the ranks and keeps order in NWN's Payroll Department.

As a police officer, Wendy worked in some of the toughest areas of the East End of London before a car accident brought her career in the force to a premature end.  Born and bred in Essex, Wendy took a maternity cover job at a small local firm of accountants. When the cover ended, she was asked to stay on and learn bookkeeping, VAT and payroll. After 18 years, the firm had morphed into NWN Blue Squared, with Wendy heading-up the Payroll team.

A woman of many talents, she also works with her ex-police officer husband, running a photography business.  When she’s not behind the camera, she’s designing the albums for weddings and their corporate customers.

Wendy is not shy about blowing her own trumpet – well, cornet actually - playing in the North East Counties Royal British Legion Band.  They can be heard as part of her local Essex Remembrance Day Service as well as giving concerts around the Home Counties.   As a stepmother and grandmother, she makes the kids a priority – “the centre of my universe” – and occasionally finds time for a bit of gardening…just to relax.

Danielle Mead
Accounts Production Manager

She may be a Disney geek, but Essex girl Danielle (TOWIE is not an option) is no Minnie Mouse.

Straight out of college, Danielle started working in practice in 2008.NWN spotted her true potential as an accountant in 2013 and she’s never looked back.Supported by the company, she completed her ACCA exams to become a fully qualified accountant in 2014.

Fiercely organised, Danielle’s in the perfect job to help keep the team running smoothly – a team she describes as “young and fun”…even the older ones.

But her biggest business pleasure is solving tax problems and helping clients understand their accounts. “I love being able to explain complicated accountancy issues and seeing a client ‘get it’ once we’ve worked on the problem.”

When she’s not travelling to the USA to visit Mickey and the gang, she’s off watching football – an ardent Liverpool fan, she’s one of the rare breed of girls that can explain the offside rule.

Jonathan Niman
Operations Manager

He may be passionate about history, but Jon's focus is very much on the future of accountancy. Keeping the NWN wheels turning and the team happy will be Jon's task for the next few years.

Born and brought up in North East London (don't mention Essex), Jon took himself off to the West Country to pursue his passion, History, at The University of the West of England.

But he was always likely to follow in the family footsteps and Jon is certainly excited about the future of the profession. "Accountancy isn't really about maths any more, it's about personality and the ability to relate to people on personal and business management level."

Jon should have no difficulty there. His big personality and friendly approach has already made him a trusted business advisor to a wide range of NWN clients since he joined the firm in 2010.

He's also inherited the family Arsenal gene.  When he's not sitting in his regular seat at the Emirates, he can be found getting to grips with the historical intrigue of TV dramas like Game of Thrones.

Costas Papathanasiou
Client Manager

Costas' experience spans more than 40 years in commerce and the accountancy profession, with the past 17 spent working with a wide range of NWN's clients.

Until 1998 Costas could be found in nearby Wanstead, working as a Partner Manager for another firm of Chartered Certified Accountants.  However, he was won over by Ed Niman's charm - and possibly his taste in music - becoming a Consultant Manager, initially for Ed's practice before it became NWN Blue Squared.

Costas is a very prickly character - but that has nothing to do with his personality.  In fact, when he isn't handling client accounts, he can be found at home with his vast collection of cacti and other succulents (that's water-retaining plants adapted to arid climates or soil conditions, for the uninitiated).

In fact, Costas doesn't just collect cacti, he spends much of his spare time as a qualified show judge or giving talks about them.  When not on the road, he and his wife spend time relaxing at their home in South Woodford.  If you're ever invited round, just be careful where you sit!

Chris Penny
Client Manager

Chris has risen fast through the ranks at NWN. Although a shadow of his former self, his big personality and passion for accounting more than makes up for his slim appearance.

Born in Kent  and bred in Ilford, Essex, Chris left school to work in politics before finding a job with an accountancy firm.  Being good at maths was a big help and, strange though it may seem, Chris felt accountancy was “more fun than banking”.  With five years’ experience under his belt he moved across the corridor from his first firm to join NWN.

Eleven years later, Chris has brought his own style – along with his great sense of fun - to the NWN office, although he is nothing but serious about his role as Client Manager.  His interest in tax law has also made him a useful man to know when it comes to helping clients reduce their tax bills. Chris himself has recently undergone a major reduction - having shed some 15 stones in weight (along with his hair and beard) - initially for charity, but now as a healthy lifestyle.

Music and beer have frequently played a major part in Chris’ life – sometimes both together. As co-owner of micro-brewery, Ha’penny, he not only gets to drink his passion but make it as well.  As for his favourite music event? “Apart from the Download Festival, it has to be NWN’s unXpected gig in 2013”.

Paul Tan
Audit Manager

Since joining NWN in 2012, Paul's sense of adventure has shone through, taking a leap from Senior Accountant to Team Leader and now Audit Manager.

Born and bred Edmonton, Paul's love of life is matched by his enthusiasm for accountancy and his abilities as a very quick learner.  When he's not developing his new role as Audit Manager, he can usually be found listening to every kind of music, or with his nose buried in a graphic novel or anime comic.

Keeping up with Paul can be a challenge - when he's not thinking figures at a million miles an hour, he's racing up and down a football pitch or jogging around the countryside near his new home in Hertfordshire.  He's also keen to explore further afield, with a passion for travel taking him around the world when he gets the chance. Wherever he goes, food is always a focus.

His energy will find soon find a new direction when his girlfriend and stepson will be joined by a new arrival - Paul's first child - in July.  A new auditor in the making perhaps?

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