Category Archives for "News"

A night at the Oscars – well, for me anyway

The lights dim, the audience settles into their seats, eager to hear the opening lines.

The tension is unbearable.

Sort of.

A dim rustle of sweeties is heard near the back of the room and the traditional coughing fit begins somewhere off to the right of the stage.

“Good evening everyone and welcome to the annual Accountancy Excellence Awards!”

*Crowd goes mild*. (we don’t really go wild in our industry – trust me)

Mercifully for you, dear reader, this is not something you will have to endure.

Fear not, I have bravely taken this responsibility on for you and can exclusively reveal that I did NOT win at the Accountancy Excellence Awards.

It transpires that I am not quite the BEST in the UK, just one of the best.

Like top 5!

So that’s actually pretty cool when you think about it.

Curiously, I think they may have made an accountant error. You see, the category was “Sole Practitioner” and that is indeed what I am, along with my trusty PA who keeps me organised.

You hire me, you get me.

You know, the former opera singer turned “Singing Accountant”®.

However, the winners (note the use of the plural) were, well, more than one.

Now, my abacus tells me that the sums don’t really add up but I’m genuinely not fussed.

I’m proud of making the final and any moaning would be sour grapes and we can’t have that.

However, grapes aside, I might be “raisin” it before I enter for 2024 to avoid the “current” affairs!

Titanic effort means Charing Cross Theatre will “rival” West End

Titanic effort means Charing Cross Theatre will “rival” West End - Performance Accountancy, written by Louise Herrington

Catching up on industry gossip during a small window sans self assessment returns, I was delighted to read in The Stage that London’s 265-seat Charing Cross Theatre has launched a new “orchestra pit”. With capacity for 19 musicians, the “fringe” venue says the move will allow it to rival the West End.

That remains to be seen but it is hugely welcome news to see this investment (MD Steven Levy says they spent £55,000 redeveloping the space). It is especially exciting for me because it brings back fond memories of a fabulous performance of “Titanic”, way back circa 2016 featuring a wonderful client of ours.

Hazy dream sequence aside, here’s the goss, according to The Stage’s Matthew Hemley;

“The Charing Cross Theatre’s new room will be used for the first time next month with the English-language premiere of musical Rebecca, featuring an orchestra of 18 and a conductor.

Matthew goes on to note that;

“It comes amid a backdrop of cuts to band sizes in the West End, with The Phantom of the Opera recently reducing its orchestra by almost a half, from 27 previously to 14 musicians.”

You can read the full piece by Matthew in The Stage here

Meanwhile, word reaches me that “Bronco Billy – The Musical”, will buck its way into Charing Cross Theatre for its UK premiere in January 2024.

I’m told that it is loosely based on the Clint Eastwood film.

Well, go ahead Billy, make my day!

Martin Lewis and Louise in pensions duet


Yes, after months of campaigning, negotiations, contract wrangling and carrier pigeon-powered correspondence it can be confirmed that the nation’s money mavericks are singing from the same hymn sheet.

Not really.

There were no pigeons and I offer zero financial advice.

However, Martin and I do both agree on this and it’s a belter of a tune.

Remember the Great Pensions Panic of Spring 2023?

Folk scrambling madly to check what they’ve paid into their State Pensions then flocking to the HMRC National Insurance portal thingy to top them up before they pulled up the drawbridge?


OK, you are forgiven but in a nutshell, our Martin (and Louise) were urging folk to go back and check your Ni contributions back to 2006. The reason being that if there are “gaps” you can go and fill them by topping them up.

Yes, it will cost you money but the end result would be a HUGE uplift in your State Pension when the time comes. We’re talking thousands of pounds for hundreds “invested” here.

Well….predictably, the HMRC website pretty much fell over so the deadline has now been extended to April 2025!


So you’ve got plenty of time to try and get through to the Future Pensions unit and sort out what you need to pay if you want to do any catch up years.

However, what you must remember is whilst they will tell you how much it will cost, you then need to decide whether you want to pay it or not.

I can’t really advise on that as I’m not a financial advisor.

If you do decide to pay, you must get an 18 digit reference number from the NI team or the Future Pensions team in order to make the payment. Whatever you do, do not come off the phone if you decide to pay until you have that number. Otherwise, you’ll sit in the queue again!

The one where the words “interest” and “tax” meet in the same headline

The one where the words “interest” and “tax” meet in the same headline, Performance Accountancy

It might sound like a contradiction in terms but I beg you pay heed to this seeming impossibility. DON’T forget to make your July Payment on Account if required!!!

Bringing it back to the headline, is it because “tax” is “interesting”?

Spoiler alert…no.

Is it because “interest” is “taxing”?

Well, yes.

Purely because if you read the following and do NOTHING about it before it is too late you might end up paying a HUGE amount of interest and even some fines to HMRC.

So what’s the problem?

It comes down to Self Assessment and Payments on Account.

Remember them?

They are the ones that are estimated by the good folk at HMRC after they peer into their crystal ball and miraculously conclude that you will earn the same amount of money this year.

They then “helpfully” ask you to pay half early doors.

Now it seems a pain to many people but it does make IF you are organised with your finances.

The problem is the whacking great inflation problem right now – you might have noticed it!

That means that if you are late….the impact of the interest you pay is far bigger than usual.

Like 7% and upwards bigger – never mind the fines.

So what do you do?

Check your online account and see how much you have to pay by the 31st of July. I recommend you set up the payment for a few days BEFOREHAND just in case something crumbles. Or…you could look at doing your tax return before the 26th of July. That will give HMRC time to reevaluate how much the July 2023 payment should be. Now…it will never go up, but it could go
down if your income has changed between the two years.

The accountant with SOLE has been given an encore

Scene – a suburban home in Berkshire. The early hours of the morning. The dawn chorus is warming up…

Cut to the bedroom (behave!). The Singing Accountant is restless, mid-dream.

“Me, again?

“An award nomination? Oh no I couldn’t possibly accept.

“I don’t like the spotlight. Leave that to my lovely clients. Oh maybe just a little bit then.

“Hmmm? What’s that? The Academy insists?

“Oh, not the Academy…the Accounting Excellence Awards.”

(Louise wakes up from fever dream)

So it appears that I may indeed have been overlooked by the Academy.

However, I have once again been singled out by my version of those fine folk, yes, the glitz and glamour of the accounting world awaits.

Regular readers may recall a similar storyline last year when I was reluctantly encouraged to toot my own horn.

This is far from my favoured scenario or instrument. I prefer the clarinet or even, as a classically trained opera singer, my own pipes!

However, the good folk at the Accounting Excellence Awards dropped me a line this morning to tell me that I’m one of the finalists in their glitzy annual event thingy!

To be shortlisted again is no mean feat and once again I’m in with a shot at the Sole Practitioner of the Year Award.

Last year I did vaguely threaten to sing my acceptance speech should I have triumphed.

That may not have been a wise move so for now, I will bow and nod graciously and sit calmly in the wings.

The question, as ever, is what to wear!

I debated the full Valkyrie costume with Wagner as my acceptance music last year.

Maybe this time something a tad more understated?

Any suggestions gladly considered!

Now, maybe I can sneak in a nap and go back to the Oscars dream again. Failing that, I’d take a Tony!

Don't Call HMRC, Performance Accountancy

Don’t even think about calling HMRC!!!

HMRC clearly need a break and that’s what came into place on the 12th June.  HMRC have closed the main self-assessment helpline telephone number (0300 200 3310) until the 4th September.

People trying to call that number will just be directed to online services where the taxpayer is supposed to be able to service themselves through the online tax account or general help guidance. I am quite sure that people would love to be able to do this and not be in a queue to speak to a person for 45min to up to 2 hours I have heard.

Of course, HMRC says it is to put resources on other lines and to open the post, but hey – look at the weather we are having at the moment. Of course, I could just be cynical – you know me !!!

The main useful number is the payment services line (especially as the July payment on account is due in 5-6 weeks) is 0300 200 3835 if you cannot pay in time or 0300 200 3822 if you need a time to pay agreement if the deadline has passed.

For the National Insurance Help Line (are you still trying to pay prior years’ NI), then the number is 0300 200 3500 – if you are back paying, then make sure you get a reference number to pay against.

For tax credits then the number is 0345 300 3900, but I think the webpage may have this wrong as most HMRC numbers start 0300 200

We have several helpful guides on our knowledge base including the use of the online tax account, so feel free to use it –

how to link personal tax a/c to self assessment

Is HMRC bringing down the safety curtain against making tax digital for income tax?

Is HMRC bringing down the safety curtain against making tax digital for income tax? Whilst there is no official announcement yet. We need to be prepared.

*Cue harpist and wobbly dream/nightmare sequence effect… *

Way, way back, HMRC and the Treasury decided to launch a campaign for making tax digital for all your tax records.

Fascinating stuff!

Remember that? No?

Never mind, that’s why you read this isn’t it?!

Anyway, Now, we’ve already seen that for those who need to charge VAT, they have to account for it quarterly, online.

Still with me? Here’s the REALLY INTERESTING part…

You see, the same was planned for self-assessment in terms of self-employment and rental income.

The final date we had was it was DEFINITELY going to go live from April, 2024.

However…hold the phones people… it seems like that might have changed.

Somebody inadvertently put a notice up on the HMRC website saying there’s been a delay until April, 2026.

Butter fingers!

It was taken down very quickly, but not before a few people (including yours truly) saw it and some (not me yet) started to post about it on LinkedIn.

Indeed, The Times did an article on it online at 8:05 PM yesterday stating that the plans now have been delayed until April, 2026.

“Great, thanks Louise, someone messed up. What does it mean for me?!”

Fair point.

Well, accountants and software companies have been busting a gut to try and get everything prepared to make sure clients can go LIVE on the system with digital records and understand what the Dickens (sneaky Christmas reference there guys) they’re doing from 2024.

Meanwhile, pain the backside apart (for the likes of moi) one might now expect a big sigh of relief from many in the acting and music profession.

Many are still just not ready.

Many do not want to do digital records or simply don’t know how to use software.

It was going to be yet another administrative burden on the self-employed.

Well maybe but…and it’s a BIG BUT…it is only a delay.

So what should you do?

Consider it a dress rehearsal.

You should still consider doing your accounts digitally NOW.

Take advantage of the breathing space but do still consider getting things up and running, whether using software or workable spreadsheets to get used to the fact that we will be going live with this.

We don’t KNOW when but it WILL happen.

As I scrawl, there’s no official press release that this is definitely going to happen.

It was only the joyfulness of somebody’s errant post on the HMRC website that kicked this off.

We are waiting for official confirmation but this is just a heads-up to say, “Yes, it might be put on hold or it’s going to be put on hold.” but don’t stop your preparations.

Does the computer still say, “No?”

No, it says “Soon”.

Don’t forget the July Income Tax Payment

Well, the 31st of July is fast approaching. Not long to go now. And you know what that means?


Oh, well, for those people that have to make a payment on account through their tax return for last year, then that is the 31st of July deadline. So you need to think quick sharpish, find out your paperwork, have a look at your online account and see how much you owe HMRC.

The 31st of January might fall on a weekend. So what does that mean? Well, it means you need to get your payment to HMRC by end of banking day on the Friday. What’s a banking day? Oh, I wish I was young enough not to know that. But the banking day is when the banks effectively close off transactions for that day. So you need to make sure if the 31st July falls on a Saturday or Sunday, you make the payment by 3:30 PM on the Friday.

If you don’t make the deadline, well, that’s fine. However, HMRC will charge you interest and they will also charge you late payment penalties. Yes, more of those nasty penalties can come and bite you in the rear. So those of you unfortunate enough or lucky enough, depending on how you look at it, to need to make a payment on account, make sure you get it done and it has to reach HMRC by the close of banking day on the last working day before the 31st of July.

There are other things on the knowledge base that can tell you and guide you to show you how much you owe HMRC ( and also how to pay HMRC ( . There are various different methods. Bank transfer is normally the best way, or through your own online government gateway.

So good luck, everybody. Hope it all works out okay. And for those of you that have already done your tax return for this current year, you may find that your payment on account has changed from when you did the previous tax return. It will never go up, but it might go down depending on your level of income.

Just to repeat, if you need to make the second payment on account, then the 31 st July is that date (or the Friday prior if the weekend).

Best go and pay mine. Now – where is that passcode.

Sole Practitioner of the Year Finalist, Performance Accountancy

Accountant with Sole!

It turns out that this accountant has SOLE baby!

Now, I’m not one to toot my own horn or trumpet my success, for a start, I was WAY more comfortable with the clarinet.

That was before my voice became my musical instrument of course.

However, the good folk at the Accounting Excellence Awards dropped me a line this morning to tell me that I’m one of the finalists in their glitzy annual event thingy!

So frankly, “Toot Toot”!

They’ve had a record number of entries this year so I’m actually rather proud of this and even though it makes me squirm a little to harp on about myself the team behind the scenes at Performance Towers have chorused all day about this, so here we are.

I’m in the running for the Sole Practitioner of the Year Award and whilst I have no clue how I will fair, I am somewhat tempted by the notion of singing my acceptance message if by some quirk of fate and fortune I was to scoop the top prize.

For now, I will go through my various costumes and see what might be fitting for such an illustrious event.

I suspect that most of the finalists will be in the standard accountant wardrobe of sensible dress (some of the men might too) but maybe I will go for the full Valkyrie effect and demand Wagner as my entrance music.

Dramatic? Diva?

Hell yes!

Bring on the spotlight!

Yours tootingly