Client Success Update. Impact Metals

Impact Metal Services: Making an impression online

Impact Metals aluminium stockholder client management accountingIt’s time to celebrate another good news story about one of Lewis Smith & Co’s established clients, Rowley Regis based Impact Metal Services Ltd.

In 2008, as the financial crisis hit the Black Country’s traditional business hard, the company was close to going under. Eight years later Impact Metal is achieving success with some clear management thinking and innovative sales and marketing.

The company has become a leading supplier of aluminium sheets and extrusions with in-house finishing capability including anodising, powdercoating and polishing.  With a key focus on architectural door furniture and roller shutter components it is benefiting from the ongoing, but uncertain, improvement in the economy.

With growth being somewhat hesitant, close scrutiny of financials has become key, according to managing director Chris Potter:

“I asked Lewis Smith & Co. to give us quarterly management accounts.  It gives me the financial picture I need to make decisions about hiring people or investing in new equipment. It also means I get unbiased guidance from Craig and the team – very helpful”.

Lewis Smith & Co provides management accounts to Impact MetalsWhile Chris has shown healthy caution in financial matters, the resurgence of the company’s fortunes is down to some clever use of new technologies.

Impact Metals were amongst the first in the industry to offer an ecommerce facility for aluminium sheet and extrusions. They then added an eBay store to enhance their digital presence.  Chris believes it’s a strategy that has helped to increase orders and enquiries:

“We know that the challenge is to get in front of people so that we can show them what we do.  Making some of our basic products available to buy online gets attention, and some sales.

It also opens a conversation with the people who need someone to fulfil a different requirement or a bigger one.”

Lewis Smith & Co. director Craig Beale says that Impact Metal’s provides a clear example of how it is possible to combine prudence with progress:

“Accountants sometimes get accused of dragging businesses back. We see our role as giving clients as much information as we can guide them along the path safely and successfully.”

Find out more about Impact Metal’s aluminium sheet and extrusions, and roller shutter components online.

To find out how regular management accounts could help you manage business performance call 01384 235549 or email today.


Lewis Smith & Co. – Stay in control with our management accounting service

Xero Software Partner

Xero in the Media

There’s been lots of media activity around the Xero cloud accounting software package recently.

So it’s a good time time to remind everybody that Lewis Smith & Co. is a qualified partner for Xero.  We ‘ll help you set it up so that you can run your business more efficiently. Xero allows you to reconcile bank transactions, pay invoices, create purchase orders and pay bills, amongst other things.

xero online accounting softwareUsing Xero allows Lewis Smith & Co. to support you more effectively too.  Whether you want regular management accounts prepared or simply annual compliance work, we can access your accurate, up-to-date data.

Xero is ideal for small and medium sized business.  For start-ups and micro businesses we also support KashFlow, which provides a cut down version of the functionality.

All you need to use Xero is an internet connection. It’s easy to move to Xero from Sage or Quickbooks and you can even get a 30 day free trial.

Find out today how Lewis Smith & Co. can help you use Xero.

Call 01384 235549 to arrange an appointment or email us at


Lewis Smith & Co. – Why not try our Xero-based bookkeeping service?

Effective Digital Marketing – Search Console

Are you using Google Search Console?

business benefits of googles search consoleIn the first of a series of articles on improving the impact of your digital marketing Gareth Edwards, from longstanding Lewis Smith & Co. client Arrowsmith Marketing, wants to highlight this useful free tool from Google.

Less well known than Google Analytics, Google Search Console (previously known as Webmaster Tools) is a must have tool for anyone who gets sales or enquiries from a website.  It is billed as a tool for webmasters, the people who look after content, SEO, security and hosting, but some of the detail is essential to anyone responsible for sales and marketing.

Essentially Search Console provides insights into what Google sees and thinks about your website.  There is a lot of information available so I would like to focus in on just 5 of the most relevant to the non-techies amongst you.

  • Security Issues – Google can detect if your site has been hacked or if there is any malware. It will send you an email alert too so you can sort the problem before customers see them.
  • HTML Improvements – Problems with the code on your site will be flagged up.  Especially useful are the reports on meta descriptions and title tags, which are key elements of SEO (more details in future articles).
Search Console Search Analytics http


  • Crawl Errors – This highlights pages on your website that Google has a problem reading. If Google has a problem then so will people coming to your site, and it might effect your search ranking too.
  • Links to Your Site – Having links from good quality sites is another must for high ranking in the search results. Search Console tells you where links are coming from and what your most popular pages are.  Internal links are important too and so there is a report that features this too.
  • Search Analytics provides details on which search queries are being used to find your site. It tells you both which queries result in a click and the queries where your site featured in the listings (an impression) but not clicked.  When you know what people are looking and how the site current behaves then you can do something about.  For instance changing meta descriptions so your listing stands out or creating a new web page to focus on a query.


If you go to the Google Search Console page there are instructions on how to set it up on your site.  If you already have Google Analytics set up then it should be easy otherwise you may need to add a bit of code to your site.  It’s an easy job (therefore free or cheap) for your website developer and straightforward if your site is built with a content management system such as WordPress.

The Lewis Smith & Co. website has Search Console implemented and I use it regularly to make sure the site is functioning correctly and help the digital marketing process.  It’s an important part of understanding business performance.

If you need help understanding how your business is performing talk to Lewis Smith & Co. today about their management accounting services.  Call 01384 235549 or email to set up an initial discussion.


Lewis Smith & Co. – Accountants for Halesowen businesses




Client Success Update. Superfast-IT

Superfast-IT Growing Super Fast

Superfast-IT support in STourbridgeLongstanding Lewis Smith & Co. client Superfast-IT is showing no signs of stopping as it moves into its 14th year of trading.

The Stourbridge-based IT Support company specialises in providing effective computer system management to organisations with 5 to 100 computer users.

In the early days that might have meant “a man in a van” paying a visit to your premises. Nowadays the company offers advanced a remote monitoring and maintenance capability, which means that they may have identified and fixed a problem before you have even noticed.

The big growth area for the business at present is helping people improve their IT Security, as Managing Director, James Cash, explains:

“Although people are aware of threats such as viruses, spam and hacking they don’t think it is going to happen to them.  You might be surprised how frequently problems occur, but of course they don’t get reported.”

IT Support for Birmingham companies from Superfast-IT

Superfast-IT has responded by enhancing both its technology and consultancy offerings. From James’s perspective IT Security requires a twin-track approach:

“We can make major improvements to security by implementing anti-virus packages, firewalls, application updates and back-ups, for instance.  At the same time we help clients develop and implement security policies and procedures to close both internal and external loopholes.”

Lewis Smith & Co. has met the challenge of Superfast-IT’s growth by offering new services. In particular, we draw up monthly management accounts to keep Superfast-IT right up-to-date with business performance. It means the company can see what’s working and make immediate changes if required.

James says this is a key part of his growth strategy:

“Having regular, accurate financial information means that I can quickly see where the opportunities for investment are. Lewis Smith & Co. are playing a key role in keeping Superfast-IT on track. “

You can contact Superfast-IT to discuss all of your IT Support and Security needs by calling 0121 309 0090 or using the enquiry form on their website.

To find out how regular management accounts could help you manage business performance call 01384 235549 or email today.


Lewis Smith & Co. – Management accountants for Stourbridge businesses

Tax Free Savings Income

Grab a Grand

interest free tax allowanceJust a reminder that a tax-free allowance of £1,000 is now available for the interest that basic rate taxpayers earn on their savings.

Higher rate taxpayer earning between £43,000 and £150,000 are eligible for a £500 tax-free savings allowance.

People with income in excess of £150,000 a year will be taxed in full on their interest income.

The changes to the tax-free allowance mean that banks and building societies will pay interest gross from 6 April 2016.

If you are unsure how this affects your tax position then talk to Lewis Smith & Co. today.

Call 01384 235549 or email to arrange an appointment


Lewis Smith & Co. – Accounting services for Stourbridge businesses

Image courtesy of Stewart Miles/

Budget 2016

Small Business Highlights

Impact of the Budget 2016 on dudley businessThe 2016 Budget got underway against a backdrop of economic uncertainty and suggestions from many commentators that Chancellor George Osborne is facing a black hole in the public finances.

It isn’t always easy to pull the facts from the rhetoric but here is Lewis Smith & Co’s list of Budget announcements that most directly affect the small business sector.

Fuel duty
Slightly surprisingly but very welcome was the news that fuel duty rates will be frozen through the next tax year.

Stamp Duty
It was confirmed that there will be a 3% increase in Stamp Duty for buy-to-let properties and second homes above £40,000 from 6th April 2016.

This applies to companies and individuals.

The way stamp duty on freehold commercial property and leasehold premium transactions is calculated will change. Currently, these rates apply to the whole transaction value. From 17 March 2016 the rates will apply to the value of the property over each tax band.  According to HMRC this means that buyers of commercial property worth up to £1.05 million will pay less in stamp duty.

Business rates
Of particular interest to many Lewis Smith & Co. clients is the news that small business rate relief will increase from 50% to 100% on a permanent basis.

If your business property has a rateable value of £12,000 or below you will receive 100% relief. If your business property has a rateable value of £12,000 to £15,000 then relief will be tapered.

A further bonus is that the measure of inflation used to calculate business rates will be switched from the retail price index (RPI) to the consumer price index (CPI) from April 2020. RPI includes housing costs, which has inflated the rate.

Corporation and Capital Gains Tax
Corporation tax will be reduced to 17%, from 20%, by 2020.

From April 2016 the basic rate of capital gains tax will br reduced from 18% to 10% while the higher rate will fall from 28% to 20%.

Class 2 NICs scrapped
Class 2 National Insurance Contributions (NICs) for the self-employed will be scrapped from April 2018.

That means if you are self-employed you only need to pay Class 4 NICs as and when your profit exceeds £5, 965. Class 4 NICs will be reformed so self-employed people can continue to build benefit entitlement.

New Tax Free Allowances
There are two new £1,000 allowances designed to support the on-line, sharing economy.

The first allowance is for part-time business owners who sell goods or provide services – occasional selling on eBay or child care for instance.

The second covers income made from property that you own such as letting out rooms on airbnb.

Personal Tax
There was a reminder that the tax-free Personal Allowance will increase to £11,500 in April 2017 while the higher rate threshold will rise to £45,000 at the same time.

A Lifetime ISA will be launched in April 2017 allowing adults under 40 to save up to £4,000 each year and receive a 25% bonus from the government.

Money put into this account can be saved until you are over 60 and used as retirement income, or you can withdraw it to help buy your first home.

The total amount you can save each year into all ISAs will also be increased from £15,240 to £20,000 from April 2017.

Unsure What This Means for You?
As always the “devil is in the detail”and the impact of the Budget on your business and personal finances will be influenced by a range of parameters.

If you need help sorting it all out why not speak to Lewis Smith & Co.

Simply call 01384 235549 or email and set-up a free, no-obligation discussion today.


Lewis Smith & Co. – Local accountants for West Bromwich businesses.


Photo courtesy of M.Holland under Creative Commons license

KashFlow Accounting Software

Kontrol Your KashFlow?

kashflow-accounting-softwareYou may already know that Lewis Smith & Co. were the first qualified partner for the Xero accounting package in the Black Country.

Now we would like to introduce a new piece of technology to our toolkit.

KashFlow from Iris is designed for small businesses who need help managing their accounts but not all the bells and whistles.

It’s a web-based tool, which means you don’t need any special hardware, take back-ups or go through complicated installations.

The starter version KashFlow will help you with;

  • Banking
  • Quotes and estimates
  • Invoicing
  • Customer and Supplier data
  • Purchase tracking

Further functionality is available to you as your business grows and you can share data directly with us.  That makes it easier for us to provide services to our clients and means you can get help at the touch of a button.

Here’s the best part.  Qualifying clients who use KashFlow will get their fees paid: by us.

Find out about the benefits of using KashFlow today.

Call 01384 235549 or email and make an appointment.

Dividend Allowance Advice

There’s No Single Right Answer

dividend allowance allowanceWe provided a reminder recently about the forthcoming change to dividend taxation.

The new Dividend Allowance is likely to make a difference to many small business owners.  How big that difference is and whether it is positive or negative is highly dependent on your specific circumstances.

It is already clear that the new rules provide some flexibility.

  • There are opportunities to transfer shareholdings to spouses and civil partners for instance.
  • Higher rate tax payers with children aged 16 or over can use discretionary trusts to offset some of the tax liability.

For many small business owners the key to minimising total tax liability lies in the way that the Dividend Allowance affects other areas of the tax and benefits system, particularly if you receive Tax Credits or Child Benefit payments, or have other dividend income.

They best advice that Lewis Smith & Co. can give you at the moment is “Let’s talk”.

Why not book a short appointment with us to discuss your circumstances.  We’ll be able to tell you very quickly whether more detailed tax planning is required.

Call 01384 235549 or email today.


Lewis Smith & Co. – Accountants for Midlands manufacturers.