Tag Archives: south wales

Emerald Tattoo Emporium opens in Pontardawe

A new, high-end tattoo studio will open its doors for the first time this weekend in Pontardawe, offering a boost to the town. 

Emerald Tattoo Emporium will open its doors in what is a well-known building in the town at 6 James Street. The site was previously the home of West Wales Gun Co, which traded from the premises from 1969 for some 50 years.

The new studio has been launched by experienced tattooist Sam Fisher and will complement his existing studio, Emerald Tattoo Company based in Talbot Green, Pontyclun.

Emerald Tattoo Emporium will hold an open day on Saturday June 8, starting at 12 noon. Anyone is welcome to pop in and chat with Sam and other artists.

Sam Fisher said:

“We are very excited to be launching a second studio in what is a thriving town in Pontardawe. When I first moved to the area a year ago, this amazing building caught my attention as a perfect location for a tattoo studio. I was lucky that it became available, and we are delighted to be launching this weekend.

“Anyone is welcome to pop by for a chat and a drink. We are happy to discuss any concepts around tattoos or art, or simply chat about the history of the building.”

Kilsby Williams announces major Partner promotions

Tax and accountancy specialist Kilsby Williams has announced a major enhancement of its leadership team, doubling its partner group to 11 with six new internal promotions to partner.

Lucy Creese, Stuart Evans, Dafydd Ford, Rob Meredith and Kaye Morris have been promoted from within the firm’s fast growing Tax, Growth and Transactions departments, while Huw Sheppard from the Audit, Accountancy and Payroll teams completes the leadership group.

Simon Tee, managing partner at Kilsby Williams, said: “This is an incredibly exciting time for our business and we are proud that we are able to expand our leadership team with six outstanding internal promotions. We have been growing at a fantastic rate over the last few years and the capabilities and ideas our new partners bring will ensure we can continue to do so in the future.”

The announcement coincides with an exciting new brand identity and website.

The brand refresh has seen the firm retain the respected Kilsby Williams name and diamond logo, supported by a fresh colour palette and updated design across its new website with improved functionality, and at its Newport headquarters.

The website’s significant functionality overhaul now offers existing and prospective clients a seamless experience, showcasing the firm’s tax and accountancy expertise, case studies and thought leadership in a more user-friendly way. The new site allows the firm to better interact with its client base of entrepreneurs, local fast growth businesses, and national and international groups.

Simon Tee added: “With the continued use of the Kilsby Williams name, there is a classic feel to the new branding, representing the firm’s determination to stay true to its history and culture. These have been the bedrock of the firm’s success and made us a recognisable, trusted partner to our varied client portfolio for over 30 years.

“Whilst retaining our heritage, we have also developed a modern, forward-thinking new look that fully embraces the firm’s current evolution and growth as the largest independent firm in the region and improves our clients’ experience.”

Established in 1991, Kilsby Williams works with clients locally in south Wales, extending across the UK and globally. Their clients range from sole traders to international quoted groups.

Howden makes experienced appointment in south Wales as Welsh operation continues to grow

HOWDEN, the global insurance group, has welcomed Chris Harvey to its south Wales team in line with its continued growth.

Chris joins the team as commercial account executive, having previously worked in commercial insurance roles at Towergate and Jelf. Most recently, he was a director and shareholder at a Rhondda-based, rapidly expanding family-owned business.

In his new role, Chris will use his wealth of experience to assist commercial and corporate clients with all aspects of their insurances.

On his appointment, Chris said: “I am thrilled to have joined the Howden team in south Wales, at what is a very exciting time for the business’ Welsh presence. I was drawn to Howden due to its customer centricity.

“We are not restricted by having to place business with certain insurers, and every day is about going above and beyond to achieve the best result for our clients. Howden is very focused on looking after both its employees and clients, which is an important factor to me.

“My main goal is to help as many businesses in Wales as possible, with honest and friendly advice that makes their lives easier.”

Gary Stevens, Regional Managing Director, said: “Chris is already an invaluable addition to our Welsh team, and has shown exceptional skill at this important time in our growth journey.

“Chris’ board-level experience within a fast-growing business puts him in a great position to help our clients, and we are delighted to have him on board as we continue to build a solid community in south and west Wales.”

Paul Butterworth appointed Vice Chair of Regional Learning and Skills Partnership

Paul Butterworth, the CEO of Chambers Wales South East, South West and Mid, has been appointed as the new Vice Chair of the Regional Learning and Skills Partnership (RLSP) for south-west Wales.

Covering Carmarthenshire, Neath Port Talbot, Pembrokeshire and Swansea, the RLSP is dedicated to bridging the gap between education, skills, and regeneration. It aims to ensure that the skills provision is aligned with the economic priorities and opportunities of the region, as well as tackling the new skills landscape that is happening within the energy, construction, manufacturing and digital sectors.

As CEO of Chambers Wales, Paul brings a wealth of experience and a passion for the economic and skills development of Welsh businesses with him to the board.

As the voice of the business community with policymakers, Paul will advocate for enhanced skills training, infrastructure improvements and the creation of skilled jobs, all aimed at creating local economic growth.

Upon his appointment, Paul said: “I am determined to create a better and fairer business landscape for West Wales to ensure that the local economy has the best available skills development for future project development and the transition into the green economy and energy sector to ensure West Wales thrives.”

Jane Lewis, Regional Partnerships Manager at RLSP, said: “We are delighted to have Paul on the board. He will be instrumental in achieving our goals and look forward to the positive impact his appointment will have on the region.”

Boardroom leadership needed to manage AI risks and drive trust

  • Businesses urged to take steps to maximise the opportunities of AI and lay foundations for responsible use of new technologies
  • AI use in finance must be built on trust in order for it to succeed in rollout and application


Chief executive officers (CEOs) and chief financial officers (CFOs) need to build trust in artificial intelligence (AI) by taking steps in their organisations to manage the associated risks.


As AI plays a greater role in the accounting and financial reporting of businesses, CFOs and financial controllers will have to be confident about the adequacy of oversight and controls of AI systems.


In the first in a series of insights, AI monitor: trust, ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) urges finance professionals to ensure that AI governance and AI risk management is in place, beginning with:


  • Investing in AI literacy and skills development: finance professionals must invest in education and training to critically evaluate AI outputs, communicate clearly with key stakeholders, and make informed decisions.
  • Collaborating via cross-functional teams: finance professionals should actively engage with IT, data science, legal and risk management teams.
  • Developing an AI governance framework: beginning with critical uses, finance professionals should take steps within their organisation to establish clear policies, oversight and governance practices.


AI presents many opportunities to businesses such as providing more insights from a wider array of information sources, driving greater efficiency and better customer experiences. But it also poses a challenge to trust in accounting and finance reporting with new dynamics being introduced to the traditional trust mechanisms that underpin corporate accounting.


Alistair Brisbourne, head of technology research, ACCA, said: “Introducing AI is both about trust in the systems and trust in the people that we work with, and how we bring those two elements together.


“CEOs and CFOs need to focus on making the changes needed to harness the many potential opportunities but also retain trust. This includes upskilling to deal with the technology and introducing new knowledge into their organisations. They also need to focus on the governance, the oversight and culture required to allow different teams to work together effectively. It’s about bringing change management and governance together.”


AI monitor: trust highlights some of the risks of AI in accounting systems, such as:

  • Impacting decision-making without clearly explaining the rationale of the forecast or recommendation;
  • An over-dependence on AI procedures in auditing and assurance and a decline in use of human intervention and judgement;
  • Concern over AI bias or error in fraud detection, risk assessment and compliance monitoring;
  • Over relying on AI-powered virtual assistants which give inaccurate or inappropriate responses.


Lloyd Powell, head of ACCA Cymru/Wales, said: “In the AI era, the role of finance professionals is to focus on the outcomes driven by technology. Value lies in understanding how these outputs inform decisions and actions that drive business outcomes.


“As we recognised at a recent roundtable held in Cardiff, AI will change the finance function and there will be new roles as a result, but accountants will remain central to the success of Welsh businesses and organisations.”


In 2024 future issues of the AI monitor will explore talent, risk and controls, the relevance of effective data strategy, and sustainability applications.


Read Enabling trust in an AI-enhanced world


Visit ACCA’s website for more information.

Two south Wales storage businesses announce merger to drive growth and funding opportunities

CARDIFF based blue self storage Ltd (bss) and Maltings Document Storage Solutions (MDSS) have announced their merger to create a new entity branded as ‘Blue Storage Group’, while continuing to operate under the existing brands.


While both companies operate profitably and sustainably, the markets in which they operate are changing rapidly with the emergence of new digital technologies. Becoming a larger entity will allow greater investment in new systems and processes, and both companies to take advantage of new funding opportunities, grow operations and scale up geographically.


blue self storage is one of the leading container storage providers in the UK, providing storage services for homes, business, vehicles, and removal companies. The fast-growing company has facilities across the UK in Cardiff, Tyneside, Bridgend and a soon-to-be-launched Gloucester site.


Maltings Document Storage Solutions, based in Cardiff, provides reliable document storage and management solutions. MDSS has over 40 years’ experience providing its bespoke services in Cardiff and surrounding areas, with aspirations to expand further into England in the near future.


Chris Bryan, Managing Director of blue self storage, will assume responsibility for the strategic direction of the overarching entity that includes both companies, and Dean Daly will continue as Operations Director at blue self storage. Gareth Oram will also continue as a non-executive director of MDSS, with the day-to-day operations being steered by Commercial Director, Chris James.


Chris Bryan said “This merger will enable us to improve our current offerings, expand our services, and deliver better value to all our customers. While both businesses offer storage solutions to different industries, the infrastructure that’s required for both offerings are very similar.


“We have ambitious plans for Blue Storage Group; building on the recent opening of our Bridgend operation, we are currently finalising our plans to open a facility at Gloucester and have several other sites in the pipeline”


Gareth Oram added: “The merger represents a strategic move towards greater growth and efficiency. We believe that we will be better positioned to pursue opportunities and continue our aim to be one of the key innovators in what is a very competitive sector. Striving towards innovation, we have invested in the latest digital software and technology so that we can focus on consistent, high-quality service for all our customers, large or small.”

New Cardiff office for insurance group Howden

Howden, the global insurance intermediary group, has announced the opening of a new office in Cardiff, to support businesses with tailored insurance solutions.

Located at Regus House, Malthouse Avenue, in Cardiff Gate Business Park, the new office will build on the success of the recently inaugurated office in Swansea last month and Howden’s acquisition of Watkin Davies in 2020. The addition of a new Cardiff office underscores Howden’s dedication to becoming a prominent force in the commercial broking sector in South and West Wales. The expansion will be spearheaded by Gary Stevens, Regional Managing Director, who has outlined ambitious plans to position Howden as the foremost competitor in the region.

Gary expressed his enthusiasm for the expansion, stating: “I am very pleased to lead the opening of yet another office in Wales. An office in Cardiff was the natural choice for our expansion, and we are confident that by increasing our presence in South Wales by growing our team of advisors to 20+ enabling us to continuing to provide exceptional services to our clients.”

Under Gary’s leadership, the new Cardiff office is set to accommodate a team of six highly skilled brokers, who will work to uphold Howden’s commitment to excellence in risk advisory services, with more brokers set to join in the coming months. The team will play a pivotal role in driving the growth of Howden’s UK Corporate & Commercial pillar throughout 2024.

Gary added: “We’ve already made great headway in attracting a team of highly skilled brokers, and we anticipate significant growth throughout 2024. Our new Cardiff office, working closely with our Swansea operation, will play a key role in cementing our position as a leader in the South and West Wales commercial broking sector.

“We are very excited about our South Wales presence, and also becoming a Principal Partner of The British & Irish Lions for their forthcoming tour of Australia in 2025.”

Key promotion at industrial electronic repair specialist

One of the UK’s leading providers of industrial electronic repairs has announced a key promotion within its sales team.

Zach Taylor has been promoted from Account Manager to Regional Sales Manager, taking on the new position in February.

Zach joined the Bridgend-based business, which works with leading manufacturers and businesses globally, in December 2020 as a Commercial Management Trainee while studying for a degree in business.

He quickly progressed to an Account Manager role in south-west England and as the newly appointed Regional Sales Manager, Zach will now be looking after customers in Bath, Bournemouth, Bristol, Dorset, Exeter, Portsmouth, Plymouth, Salisbury, Southampton, Taunton, Torquay and Truro.

In his new role, Zach will meet with new and existing customers in the region, building and maintaining relationships to ensure they receive the best possible solutions and service from the firm.

Zach said: “Since starting at Kontroltek, the company has been very supportive of my progression and growth. I am excited to take on this new role and I am fortunate to visit businesses of all sizes in the south-west, with a variety of needs whether it be repair, supply or on-site engineer visits.”

Cath Demaid, Director of Commercial and HR, said: “Zach is a fantastic addition to our regional sales team. The experience and knowledge he has built since he started with us perfectly places him to provide an excellent level of service and expertise to our customers in the south-west region.”

Outside of work, Zach enjoys playing rugby and is the captain of local club Pencoed RFC, which Kontroltek has sponsored for a decade.

This year’s sponsorship includes an addition designed to enhance the game experience for both the Pencoed RFC senior and current U15s age groups. Kontroltek has invested in a Veo camera, a state-of-the-art technology that promises to transform the way the sport is played and analysed. The Veo camera enables detailed video analysis and performance tracking, offering players and coaches valuable insights to further develop their skills and strategies.

Zach said: “It’s a real privilege to represent both Kontroltek and Pencoed RFC. The Veo camera is a gamechanger for us with regards to how it will help our team improve and develop. Thanks to Kontroltek for their ongoing support of both my professional and sporting endeavours.”

Founded in 2011, Kontroltek specialises in industrial electronic repairs and supply nationwide employing more than 60 staff.

Kilsby Williams continues to grow with new appointments

Tax and accountancy specialist Kilsby Williams has strengthened its business services and tax teams as the Newport-based firm continues to grow.

Ken Vargis has been appointed as a manager in Kilsby Williams’ business services team. An assurance professional, Ken will be applying his significant auditing expertise to support the firm’s varied client portfolio.

Ken said: “I am elated to be joining Kilsby Williams at such a pivotal point in its growth. I am looking forward to working with new clients, and adding value to their business by providing robust services.”

Joining Ken in the business services team is Hannah Griffiths, a Swansea University accounting and finance graduate.

In her role as business services assistant, Hannah will be involved in the preparation of accounts for a number of clients and assisting with audits, while working towards the ACA qualification to become a chartered accountant and progress further in the firm.

In the tax team, Cardiff University graduate Luis McCarthy has been appointed as a trainee. He will support the team with the preparation of corporation and personal tax returns and will study towards the ATT and CTA exams to become a chartered tax advisor.

Ataf Salim, partner at Kilsby Williams, said: “We are focused on attracting the best accountancy and tax talent at every stage of their careers and are pleased to share the news of our latest appointments ranging from trainee to managerial level.

“As the largest independent firm in the region, it is exciting to grow even further and we know that Ken, Hannah and Luis’ work will strengthen our services.”

Established in 1991, Kilsby Williams works with clients from across south Wales, the Midlands and London, ranging from sole traders to companies in international quoted groups.

Veezu announces sponsorship of Pontypool United RFC

Veezu, the leading private hire firm in South Wales, is sponsoring Pontypool United RFC in a new partnership.


This sponsorship follows a series of partnerships Veezu has made with local groups in order to strengthen their connections and support its local communities as part of its Funded by Veezu programme.


Pontypool United RFC is one of the leading rugby clubs in Torfaen, welcoming more than 250 players, its teams span across under 6’s to under 16’s, youth and first team.


Funded by Veezu is an initiative in which local residents, charities and sports teams can apply for funding and grants. It was set up to improve the communities in which Veezu operates.


As the club’s official sponsor this season, Veezu will provide branded post protectors and new training tops for the squads.


Mark Jones, Chairman at Pontypool United RFC, said: “We are delighted to announce Veezu as sponsor and we are very grateful for their support. Looking after our club members is our number one priority, and Veezu has shown continuously how important the local community is to them.”


Nathan Bowles, Chief Executive Officer at Veezu, said: “We are delighted to be starting this partnership with Pontypool United, a local club that supports so many young people in the area. Being from New Inn myself, it’s especially exciting to be able to sponsor a team so close to home. I’m very much looking forward to the future of Veezu’s work with Pontypool United to see how we can continue to support the club.”