Beware the market research call from HMRC

You might find that you get a call directly from the HMRC ostensibly on the grounds of “market research” even though you have appointed an accountant as your agent.

If you do get one of these call be cautious about what you say. Under normal circumstances HMRC are required to make representations to your agent regarding your tax affairs or issue a formal notice stating their intention to undertake an enquiry.

These market research calls appear to be being used as unofficial “fishing expeditions” to uncover reasons for undertaking an inspection. An inspection is likely to result in a cost in your time and professional fees so it is to be avoided if possible.

Lewis Smith & Co. does offer professional fee protection insurance but in the first instance we’d just like to keep you out of trouble!

Lewis Smith & Co. – Audit services for Dudley businesses

Supporting the Friends of Alfie Johnson

Alfie Johnson is a special little boy. He suffered from oxygen starvation at birth that left him with severe brain damage.

The Friends of Alfie Johnson was established back in February 2009 to help provide Alfie with specialist equipment and services to help him get the most out of life. Now they raise money to support disabled children right across the Black Country and so far they have raised more than £20,000.

Lewis Smith & Co. were delighted to show our support to the Friends of Alfie Johnson by attending the Summer Ball 2010 at the Copthorne Hotel earlier this month. The evening including performances from a variety of entertainers and culminated in a charity auction. The event raised over £7,000 in total!

Take a look at some of the pictures from the evening on the “Friends of Alfie Johnson” website (the Lewis Smith & Co. team are well represented) or take the opportunity to donate to this deserving charity.
Lewis Smith & Co. – Supporting the community in Dudley and the Black Country

Pay Less Tax seminar – Tuesday 3rd August 2010

At Lewis Smith & Co. we strongly believe that it is our duty to help clients maximise their income and reduce their tax liabilities. That’s why we have organised a free seminar, in partnership with specialist tax advisors Peak Performance Accountants’ Group, to look at some of the exciting new tax planning tools that are currently available.

The seminar is focused on helping company directors with earnings of £70,000 or more to discover more effective ways of managing their remuneration. The strategies that will be outlined have the potential to save up to 12% of payroll cost whilst retaining 80% of earnings.

The event is being held at The Sir Henry Newbolt Suite, Copthorne Hotel, Merry Hill between 9.45am and 12 noon: refreshments and a light lunch will be provided. There will also be opportunities both to discuss individuals’ specific circumstances with the tax support team and to network with other attendees.

Call Andrew Smith or Craig Beale at Lewis Smith & Co. for more information and to confirm your booking on 01384 235549 or email

Credit control tips for small business

5 Simple ways to improve your credit control

credit control Many of our clients are reporting a return to the bad old days of late or non-payment.

At best it can create potentially expensive cash flow problems and at worst it can result in your business becoming insolvent. So we have put together just a few simple ideas of how to minimise the problem based on our experience.

  • Consider using online credit rating agencies to get a credit check. This is an important step if the customer represents a significant percentage of your turnover.
  • Ensure terms and conditions are clearly displayed on contracts, order confirmations and invoices. That makes it harder for companies to claim they “didn’t realise” you were on 30 day terms.
  • Supply accurate information such as P/O number on invoices and provide a clear and detailed description of products or services. Unscrupulous companies will use mistakes or lack of detail as an excuse to query your invoice or just not pay.
  • Follow up your invoice if it hasn’t been paid on time. Neither the postal service nor email are completely infallible and you might find non-payment is a genuine mistake.
  • If non-payment persists (and don’t accept on-going excuses) then remember that you can threaten legal action and that you are entitled to claim interest on overdue payments under The Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998.

If you want to set up processes that reduce the likelihood of bad debt then call Lewis Smith & Co. on 01384 235549 or email


Lewis Smith & Co. – Our payroll bureau can save you the hassle of RTI compliance


Image courtesy of Stewart Miles/