For those who aren’t aware – did you know that anyone can call themselves ‘accountants’? The term accountant is not regulated, so anyone can refer to themselves as an accountant regardless of their background, experience, training or professional qualifications.
It is therefore vital that when choosing an accountant to partner with, you check their credentials. Ideally you ought to be using a Chartered or Certified Accountant – these will be highly trained and regulated, carry professional indemnity insurance and have the following letters after their name: ACA, FCA, ACCA or FCCA.
They are invariably more expensive than an unqualified accountant but could save you £000s in tax, avoid penalties and a damaged reputation. Numerous amounts of the serious cases of tax errors or negligent advice we try to rectify are by individuals/firms not under the umbrella of a professional body. As these firms are unregulated and often have no professional indemnity insurance there is often no recompense.
Here are some questions you should be asking prospective accountants:
- Are you qualified?
- Do you have spare capacity?
- Are you future proof?
- Have you set up a business lately?
And if you’re wondering exactly what the differences are between a qualified and unqualified accountants see the table below –
|Regulated by||ICAEW, ACCA or CIMA||Unregulated|
|Training||Minimum CPD requirements||No requirements|
|Professional Indemnity Insurance||Required||Not required|
|External Complaints Procedure||Through regulatory body||None|
|Information relied upon lenders||Yes||Some only|
Remember if it sounds too good to be true then it generally is!