independent

Friday 18 August 2017

Ernest celebrates 40 years in accountancy business

Ernest Levingstone with his staff. From left: Breda Cashin, Paul Brennan, Chris Hearne, Catriona Tyrrell, Ernest, Pauline Lawlor, Olive Byrne, Mary Quigley and Rhona Levingstone
Ernest Levingstone with his staff. From left: Breda Cashin, Paul Brennan, Chris Hearne, Catriona Tyrrell, Ernest, Pauline Lawlor, Olive Byrne, Mary Quigley and Rhona Levingstone
Ernest Levingstone with President Mary Robinson

David Looby

Accountant Ernest Levingstone is celebrating 40 years in business this week.

Enniscorthy man Ernest has been at the heart of commercial life in New Ross over the years, playing an instrumental role in several projects, from the €250m bypass and new bridge, to a planned gas pipeline for the town's large businesses. He opened E. W. Levingstone & Company in New Ross on July 1, 1977 at 60 South Street over ACC Bank, before moving to offices over a bakery on the corner of Mary Street and South Street. Ernest ran the business with his wife Rhona and was soon joined by Breda Cashin, who is the office manager. He opened a business in Gorey in 1979 and an office in Waterford two years later. 'Initially when I set up business my main clients were farmers as they had to prepare accounts due to a change in taxation rules. There is a great hinterland here so the business took off well,' Ernest said.

He said the way in which accountancy work is carried out has changed dramatically. 'With computers and emails everything has speeded up and there have been major changes with legislation. There were no deadlines 40 years ago. Today there are constant deadlines and interest and penalties occur for clients (if they miss these deadlines).'

Ernest saw first-hand the devastating effects the recession had on numerous local businesses. He said the way in which accontancy work is carried out has changed dramatically. 'With computers and emails everything has speeded up and there have been major changess with legislation. There were no deadlines 40 years ago. Today there are constant deadlines and interest and penalties occur for clients (if they miss them). Self employed people pay their tax in a lump sum in October and their preliminary tax, as well.'

Ernest saw first hand the devastating effects the recession had on numerous local businesses.

'Some retailers no longer survived. They were under pressure from the banks and sometimes from Revenue. It was a very fast recession due to the collapse of the banks in America and builders getting stuck on projects. 'I think I am very lucky to have been qualified in the career I chose as that career has survived. Other careers were not so fortunate. There have been several recessions in New Ross such as when Albatros closed.'

Today Ernest, who has amassed numerous accountancy, taxation, life assurance, pension and Credit Union qualifications over the years, has clients across the south east, many of whom have been availing of his services for decades.

Ernest and his team prepare accounts for sole traders, partnerships and companies. 'We provide clients in Waterford and Wexford with a wider package of business advice and taxation consultancy that will help them manage and grow their business,' Ernest said.

He is joined by his staff Breda Cashin, Olive Byrne, Paul Brennan, Pauline Lawlor and Triona Tyrrell. The reception is always manned by either Mary Quigley or Chris Hearn in New Ross, and by Ann Dixon in Gorey.

As with every accountancy business, the months of October, November and December are chaotic.

Apart from running a busy accountancy practice, Ernest has been involved from the start in the town's commercial life.

In 1988, one year after the Albatros fertiliser plant closed, Ernest organised a meeting in conjunction with New Ross Lions Club, which led to the formation of the John F Kennedy Trust which operates the Dunbrody Visitor Centre.

When the South Eastern Health Board closed New Ross District Hospital in 1988, Ernest got involved in the effort to reopen the facility, becoming a director on the hospital board.

He is proud of the work carried out by the community hospital committee, praising the contributions of former councillors and local doctors. He has been involved in the financial side of things and the hospital reopened in 1989.

In 1997 as president of New Ross Lions Club he was awarded an International Presidents Certificate of Appreciation.

In 2004 he was president of New Ross Chamber of Commerce, along with being involved on the Chambers trade and enterprise committee for many years.

He also lobbied consistently for a second bridge for New Ross and was delighted to attend the sod turning on the bypass in 2016. Ernest said the bypass was originally due to be completed in 2006, adding that despite the 13 year delay in its construction, it will be positive development for New Ross.

Ernest is a member of the Economic Development & Enterprise SPC of Wexford County Council and he organised a meeting with large employers in New Ross to ensure New Ross got a gas connection from Great Island.

Ernest is very grateful for his portfolio of clients and looking forward, he said his team will continue to provide a personal service to all clients and as always will be willing to help them in any way possible.

Enniscorthy Guardian

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