ONE of Britain’s oldest independent accountancy practices has been taken over after more than 130 years in business.

Wheatley Pearce in Poole has been bought by another firm in the town, ClearSky Accounting.

Wheatley Pearce was established in 1881 by Colonel Wheatley, a founding member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.

The company, based at Winchester Place in North Street, has a portfolio of more than 350 small and medium sized businesses.

It will move to ClearSky’s premises at Coy Pond Business Park.

Co-owners Ken Butcher and Greg Bemment will stay on full-time.

Mr Butcher said: “Greg and I are extremely excited to become part of the ClearSky success story.

“Crucially, this is a positive change for our clients. ClearSky’s services and areas of expertise complement ours, so the businesses we work with will now receive even better and more extensive support than they already receieve.” Mr Bemment said: “These past years have been fantastic, and now Ken and I are looking forward to the next chapter in our careers.

It’s great for our clients and us that we are only moving a mile or so down the road. It really will be a case of business as usual, but with the added benefit that we will now be able to offer our clients access to a wider range of services.”

ClearSky Accounting, part of ClearSky Business, is the company’s 87th biggest accountancy firm in terms of fee income.

It employs more than 40 accountants and support staff.

Its acquisition of Wheatley Pearce follows its takeover of Dorchester-based Lofts & Co last October.

Daniel Mepham, accounting and business development director at ClearSky, said: “Wheatley Pearce is a prestigious accountancy practice with a long and proud history that stretches back more than 130 years. “It has a proven track record of providing strategic and pro-active advice to entrepreneurs, start-ups and growing businesses, which is why it’s a perfect fit for ClearSky.”