Annual Quiz – Sold Out

Plenty of contenders for our Quiz Night crown

Lewis Smith & Co are sponsoring the sold out Friends of Alfie Johnson annual quiz nightThe Friends of Alfie Johnson charity trustees have announced they have sold all of the tickets for their fundraising Annual Quiz 2016.

This means means that over 50 tables have been booked with around 200 people taking part.  The charity is expecting the 2016 quiz to beat all fundraising records with money coming in from tickets sales, a raffle and proceeds from “Alfie’s Arms” – serving drinks and snacks.

There are quite a number of business entrants this year with TSB, Higgs & Sons, Thursfields, SuperFast IT and Arrowsmith Marketing all taking part.

As current holders of the coveted Annual Quiz Night trophy the Lewis Smith & Co. stance is “Come and have a go if you think you are smart enough.”

We’ll be reporting on how successful we have been after the event, which takes place on October 14th at the Dudley College of Technology.  To get an idea of the types of questions being posed at the Quiz why  not follow us on Twitter or Facebook.

Lewis Smith & Co. has provided informal support for the Friends of Alfie Johnson for some years. This year we are proud sponsors of the Annual Quiz Night.  The charity raises money to purchase specialised equipment or services to improve the lives of disabled children around the Black Country.

To find out more about Lewis Smith & Co. call 01384 235549 or email


Lewis Smith & Co. – Serving the Dudley business community for more than 30 years

Making tax digital

HMRC wants you to be software savvy

Although Lewis Smith & Co. supports a variety of accountancy software products (PC and Cloud-based) we understand many of you are perfectly happy using spreadsheets to do your accounts with.

The taxman, however, isn’t so keen.HMRC wants SMEs to use software to manage their accounts

HMRC has published a paper called “Making Tax Digital” (PDF download), which sets out its vision for the future. This very clearly states:

“…businesses will be required to use digital tools, such as software or apps, to keep records of their income and expenditure.  HMRC will ensure that free apps and software products are available, but many businesses and their advisers will choose to use commercially-available tax software packages.”

If you want to keep using MS Excel then you can do so, but you you might need to let us submit the final results.

Or you could get software savvy.

Lewis Smith & Co. recommends the web-based accounting tool Kashflow for its small business clients.  Kashflow provides everything you need to manage your accounts – if you want more bells and whistles then we are a partner for both Xero and Sage.

We can help you get started on Kashflow and manage the transition from your beloved spreadsheets. To get started just get in contact today and book an appointment.

Call 01384 235549 or email


Lewis Smith & Co. – Dudley accountants for 30 years



Advisory Fuel Rate for Company Cars

Changes on some engine/fuel bands

The suggested reimbursement rates for employees’ private mileage using their company car have been changed by HMRC as of September 1st 2016. The previous rate is shown in brackets.

 Engine Size Petrol Diesel LPG
 1400cc or less 10p 7p
 1600cc or less 9p (8p)
 1401cc to 2000cc 13p (12p) 9p (8p)
 1601 to 2000cc 10p
 Over 2000cc 20p (19p) 12p (11p) 13p

The rates can also be used if you ask your staff to repay the cost of fuel used for private travel but are not applicable to vans.

If you have any queries on how to handle reimbursements just give Lewis Smith & Co. a call on 01384 235549 or email


Lewis Smith & Co. – Supporting Stourbridge businesses for more than 30 years

HMRC targets salary sacrifice

Taxman goes after benefits in kind offered as part of salary sacrifice schemes.

HMRC targeting salary sacrifice schemeSalary sacrifice schemes are agreements between an employer and employee where salary is given up in return for a non-cash benefit.

The reduction in pay means that people pay less tax and National Insurance (NI), while employers also see a reduction in their NI commitment.

Initially schemes were used to offer benefits that the government encouraged; pension saving, employer-supported childcare and the cycle to work scheme.  However over time companies have taken advantage of the arrangements to offer attractive benefits essentially for free.

HMRC is now sufficiently concerned about the reduction in tax and NI receipts to have issue a consultation paper – “Consultation on salary sacrifice for the provision of benefits in kind” – which sets out proposals for revising the rules for salary sacrifice schemes.

The essence of the proposals is that only the core benefits identified above will be funded through the scheme.  Benefits such as gym membership or mobile phones can still be part of salary sacrifice but the tax and NI advantages will be removed.

The consultation is open until October 19th 2016, which gives you a short time to provide feedback.  If the changes are incorporated into the tax code as envisaged then there are implications to consider whether or not you currently use salary sacrifice schemes.

If you do use them then you might need to check employment contracts to ensure that you aren’t committed to providing benefits if tax savings are removed.

If you don’t use them then you may need to investigate a different way of offering benefits in future.

Lewis Smith & Co. will keep you posted on the status of salary sacrifice over the coming months.

In the meantime if you need advice on the implications of potential changes on your tax and NI position (personal or corporate) then get in contact with us today.

Call 01384 235549 or email to book a confidential, no-obligation discussion.


Lewis Smith & Co. – Providing accountancy expertise to Stourbridge businesses.


Friends of Alfie Johnson Quiz Night 2016

Lewis Smith & Co. is delighted to announce its sponsorship of a great charity fundraiser

Friends of Alfie Johnson Quiz Night 2016 sponsored by Lewis Smith & CoThe Friends of Alfie Johnson charity is well known for its efforts in raising money for disabled children across the Black Country.

The annual Quiz Night is one of their main fundraising activities of the year.  In 2015 the event attracted over 150 contestants and this year the charity is hoping to break the 200 contestant barrier.

As the current trophy holders of the quiz, and keen supporters of the charity, Lewis Smith & Co. has decided to offer its backing to help reach the new target.

Lewis Smith & Co. director Andrew Smith has thrown down a challenge to local businesses;

“Our team was way ahead of the rest last year.

So to paraphrase that famous football chant ‘Come and have a go if you think you are smart enough.'”

The event takes place on October 14th at Dudley College of Technology.  Teams are a maximum of 4 people with tickets at £10 pp, including fish and chips.

To book your team in email or phone 07863 145801 or 07766 262430.

We can’t promise to get every question right at the quiz but if you need to solve problems about tax contact us today.  Call 01384 235549 or email for assistance.


Lewis Smith & Co. – Accountants for businesses in Kingswinford.

Photography client is now a globetrotter

Martin Brent Photography. Keeping an Eye on Expenses.

Lewis Smith & Co. provide accountancy services for award winning photographer Martin Brent

l to r: Martin Brent, Andrew Smith and Craig Beale

The photographer Martin Brent may not be a household name (yet) but we guarantee that you are familiar with his talents.


Look at the photo at the top of this page and then the other pictures of Black Country landscapes around the website. These are all Martin’s work.

You have also seen his award winning photos advertising high-end brands like Adidas, Bentley and L’Oreal. Oh and Aston Villa.

Our association with Martin goes back more than 40 years – before Lewis Smith & Co. was even formed. Martin was actually at school in Stourbridge with Andrew Smith, one of our directors.

The professional relationship began 17 years ago as the demand for Martin’s talents boomed. He found himself in demand on assignments around the world. At that point he needed an organisation he could trust to deal with the complexities of the global advertising photography industry.

Picture of gold medallist Nicola Adams by photographer Martin Brent

Nicola Adams. Olympic Gold Medallist. Fly Weight 51kg


Martin says that Lewis Smith & Co. have been flexible enough to cope with the strangest tasks:

“Creating a photoshoot is the same as creating a film set where it has to look authentic down to the last detail. That means I can be in some remote part of the world buying everything from cutlery to bondage gear to get the right look.

I rely on the guys at Lewis Smith & Co. to make sense of it all and make sure I don’t do anything to upset the taxman!”

The need for flexibility is likely to be a key factor in our on-going work with Martin. He is responding to changes in the advertising industry, wrought by digital media technology, by increasing his repertoire.

Martin Brent photographic work for Chicago Town Pizza in Los Angeles


“The digital world is very much a visual world. Great photographs are still vital but graphics and video are increasingly important. I already work across different technologies to achieve the results my clients are after. The next step is to establish a production company to formalise that side of my work – exciting times are ahead.”

From a Lewis Smith & Co. perspective we welcome Martin’s continuing success; for one thing sorting out his expenses always provides us with some amusement. Fortunately, he has hasn’t yet thrown anything at us that we can’t deal with.

Andrew Smith says the company has worked hard to build a team that can tackle the diverse needs of its clients.

“Our small and medium sized business customers like the reassurance of the personal touch and our ability to sort out any issues that they encounter.

It’s a reputation that is driving the continued growth in our business. Growth that largely comes from referrals.”

london welsh training day. Photograph by Martin Brent

London Welsh training day

To see lots more examples of Martin’s photographic skills visit his website or follow him on Instagram. A selection of his art photos are available to purchase online at Eyestorm.

If you would like to discover how Lewis Smith & Co.’s range of accountancy and taxation services could help your business call 01384 235549 or email today.


Lewis Smith & Co. – Keeping your accounts compliant.

Annual Confirmation Statement

Remember to add “Person with Significant Control” information

need help completing your annual confirmation statementThe Annual Confirmation Statement was introduced on June 30th 2016 to replace the annual return to Companies House (AR01).  All private limited companies and limited liability partnerships must a confirmation statement at least once a year, even if the business is dormant.

Most of the information required is the same as on the previous annual return (i.e company name and registration number, details of company directors etc.).  Indeed the submission process has been simplified because if no changes have been made then companies only need to check and confirm details.

Person with Significant Control
For companies registered before June 30th the first submission of the Annual Confirmation Statement will require at least some update.  Information on any Person with Significant Control (PSC) must be submitted on the statement.  This information should already be held on your PSC register (a requirement since April 6th 2016), which was introduced in order to provide greater transparency over UK company ownership.

Companies House highlights the following categories of PSCs:

“For most companies these will be people who:

  • hold more than 25% of a company’s shares
  • hold more than 25% of a company’s voting rights
  • have the right to appoint or remove the majority of directors

There are two further, less common, options. These are:

  • any individuals who have the right to exercise or actually exercise significant influence or control are PSCs
  • where a trust or a firm meets one of the three statements above, any individuals with significant control or influence over that trust or firm are PSCs”

Dates and Costs
Your confirmation statement must be filed at least once a year within 14 days of your “confirmation date”.  The “confirmation date” is either the anniversary of company formation or the ‘made up’ date of your last annual return. You can submit your Annual Statement online for a fee of £13, which entitles you to multiple filings during the year. Paper submission costs £40.

Lewis Smith & Co. customers can be assured that we will handle all of the paperwork and ensure that the Companies House deadline is met.  If you want to handle the paperwork on your own then we strongly suggest that you sign up for an email reminder.  Companies House won’t penalise you for a late submission but they do send out scary letters reminding you it is criminal offence not to file.  If you simply don’t submit a confirmation statement then it is within the power of Companies House to strike your company off their register and enforce various penalties.


If you need any help with your confirmation statement or sorting out whether you have a “Person with Significant Control” to add then simply get in touch with Lewis Smith & Co. today.  Call 01384 235549 or email to arrange an appointment.


Lewis Smith & Co. – Starting a business in Pensnett? Talk to us today

Effective digital marketing – Facebook

Make the most of the new Facebook cover page

In the latest digital marketing article from Lewis Smith & Co. client Arrowsmith Marketing, the focus is on Facebook.

Arrowsmith’s Gareth Edwards says that Facebook has made a small but significant change to the layout of cover pictures (the large banner picture) at the top of company pages.

“Previously the profile picture and a row of tabs overlapped the cover picture.  That obscured the picture and made it awkward to add text to appear in the right places.

Now you have the full picture to show off something about your organisation and its products or services.”

making the most of facebook cover picture with CanvaIn the past creating nice looking graphics would have involved getting to grips with complex software like Photoshop.  Now there are free and easy to use tools that give everybody the chance to make their Facebook pages look great.

One of the best of the free tools around (there are paid for elements – but you won’t need to use them) is called Canva (

Canva has a variety of templates that match the size and proportions of pictures used on many different social media tools including Facebook.  It can also be used to create graphics for lots of other marketing uses as well.

All you have to do is is select a template, upload a photo if you want, and then add text, shapes and icons. Canva provides a range of free (or cheap) templates that have been pre-filled with attractive picture, text-boxes and icons that you can then edit.

Here’s an example of what can be achieved.

Facebook cover picture for The Friends of Alfie JohnsonLocal disabled children’s charity, The Friends of Alfie Johnson,  held its annual Summer Ball and raised a massive amount of money.  It was really important for the charity to promote the success and to say thank you to all of the people who helped out.

It was straightforward to upload a picture of the beautifully decorated function room and then add some relevant text.  The “Thank You” call-out is a free option and Canva boasts a selection of up-to-date fonts, which in this case were used to give a “friendly feel” to the message.  Colours were chosen to match those used in the charity’s logo.  As an added tip there is a Google Chrome (browser) extension called Eye Dropper that makes it easy to find out exactly what colours are used on websites.

One of the big benefits of the ease of use that Canva offers is that you can change your Facebook cover page in line with your marketing activity.  The Friends of Alfie Johnson Facebook page is now being used to promote its next big fundraising event, its annual quiz.

You can use it to show off new products, promote special offers or highlight new customers.

Remember Canva can be used to create graphics for use right across social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.  It also helps to provide a splash of colour and eye-catching information on blogs and websites.  Take a look at some of the news items on this site: the graphics are frequently Canva-produced.

If our posts about tax, compliance or business issues have raised a question your minds contact Lewis Smith & Co. today.

Call 01384 235549 or email to set up an initial discussion.


Lewis Smith & Co. – Tax planning and reporting experts.