As published in The Shopper January, 2011.
While still a student at Deep Creek High School, Chesapeake native Ameena Lewis mastered the skills necessary to prepare for a future career in accounting. The 18-yearold worked at her father’s accounting company throughout high school and after graduation from Old Dominion University with a Business Degree until her father retired in 2002. She has been in the accounting business for more than half of her life, and has worked steadily throughout her 12-year marriage, the birth of her three children, and is now going strong with her own business, Lewis Accounting & Tax Services, Inc. in Great Bridge.
“I run my business just like my Dad did, caring for each client as an individual,” Ameena says proudly. “We pride ourselves on having a lot of flexibility to serve them. Our rates are definitely reasonable, and clients can come in for a consultation without a charge,” Ameena notes. “We have clients who come in and need a lot of time. We don’t mind answering as many questions as necessary and will take the time to explain things. We want to make sure the client has a clear understanding of his or her account.”
She employs two part-time bookkeepers and tax preparers, who, between all three of them, have 45 years of accounting experience behind them. The three work together well, and enjoy the familiar camaraderie that is inherent with a small business. “We’re definitely a family-friendly business, and make sure that all of our clients are comfortable about our costs and the services we offer. Honesty is very important to us,” Ameena says.
When she first started her business in 2004, she had a handful of clients; seven years later, her client list continues to grow with more than 50 business and non-profit accounts and 200 individual clients. “Some of my clients came with me from my Dad’s business, so we’ve had them for years and years. It’s been fun to see all the changes in families, kids growing up, getting married. “When you’re the one whose signature is on the bottom line, you have to make sure that everything is correct,” Ameena adds. “Each account is treated with care and attention to detail. We have clients come in with a year’s worth of receipts in shoeboxes, brown bags, even Ziploc bags and we unravel the puzzle. We spend as much time as is needed to get everything in order, whether it’s for an individual or a business account.”
Much of Ameena’s business is generated by word of mouth, at least 95% according to her estimate. “One of the reasons, I think that people come back to see us is our consistency,” part-time bookkeeper Crystal Hinzpeter says. She has known Ameena since the two met at their children’s twin group at Children’s Hospital of the Kings Daughters.
“People like knowing that they’re seeing the same faces each year. We give them personal service; they know us, and learn to trust us. We are very careful with that trust. I think our clients know that we care about them,” Crystal says.
One of those many satisfied clients is Casey Tawfik, manager of Khames Jewelers on Great Neck Road in Virginia Beach. “We were referred to Ameena by another friend in the jewelry business about a year ago. We knew right away she was the right person for the job. She has the professionalism of a large practice with the personal attention of a family-owned business,” Casey says. “Her work is always on time and does 99% of her work remotely, which is ideal for our situation. She’s readily available at all times via e-mail or phone, and her assistants are always professional and personable. Her prices are very fair. I highly recommend Lewis Accounting, especially because her services can be customized to accommodate any size business.”
Malia Meng, bookkeeper and office manager adds: “We are extremely accessible to all of our clients. When a client calls, Ameena is directly calling them back or she’s the one who picks up the phone. I think clients value that part of our service.” Clients lugging in a stuffed box of receipts don’t faze Ameena or her staff. “I think of it as a challenge for me to untangle,” Ameena says with obvious excitement. “We definitely don’t shirk from the harder cases and enjoy getting people and businesses back on track with their taxes.”
Ameena offers on-site consulting and training for businesses. “I don’t mind going to the client, if that’s easier for them,” she says. “I am a small business, so I know the challenges that small businesses face. We can set-up small businesses with the right agencies, and get them on track right from the start. I try and make it easier for a client to be compliant — to start a company with the proper compliance regulations before there are any problems. “We also do consulting work for small companies who have their own bookkeeper on staff. On a monthly or hourly basis, I can review and evaluate the books to make sure that everything is in order for upcoming payroll taxes, estimated taxes or other financial paperwork. We also file incorporation documents for a business, help set-up QuickBooks software, and do payroll and all accounting services.”
Ameena reflects that owning her own business can sometimes be a challenge, especially during the hectic tax season when she often works 12-hour days. “Sometimes it can feel like Grand Central Station around here,” she says with a laugh. “Yet everything seems to balance out because it’s just part of doing what I love, and carrying on a family tradition.”
She’s readily available at all times via e-mail or phone, and her assistants are always professional and personable. Her prices are very fair. I highly recommend Lewis Accounting, especially because her services can be customized to accommodate any size business.CASEY TAWFIK - Manager of Khames Jewelers
Our Staff Has Over 40 Years of Experience
With the right tools and a team of professionals with over 40 years combined experience, we look forward to supporting you and/or your small business every step of the way. Our staff is knowledgeable about complex accounting principles and constantly changing tax regulations.
Helping Individuals and Small Businesses
We offer a wide range of services for individuals and small businesses. For individuals, we can work closely with you throughout the year preparing estimated taxes or answering any tax questions you may have. For small businesses, we can get you on the track from the very beginning whether it's by setting up a corporation, preparing your bookkeeping or your payroll or any other needs you may have. We will work with you to determine the best needs for your company.
Prompt, Professional Support
Our team is passionate about helping you succeed and reach your goals and as our client, you are the most important person in our office. As an experienced, personalized accounting firm, we have earned our reputation because of our genuine interest and concern for the needs of our clients. If you call us or e-mail us with a question or concern, we will do our best to get back to you right away.