What’s An Accountant?
Well in the UK the word ‘Accountant’ is Not Legally Protected unlike ‘Solicitors’ or ‘Doctors’ which means that anyone even without training or adequate experience can set themselves up in business and call themselves an ‘Accountant’.
So what does this mean for you the public?
Well there are a couple of principals that you need to bear in mind when you want help from an ‘Accountant’.
The first is You Are Legally Responsible For Your Tax Affairs And Your Accounts, NOT Your Accountant Or Tax Advisor. They only act as your agent and advisor, so if there is a problem then it’s you that’s legally responsible and accountable.
The second is Buyer Beware. It’s up to you to research and investigate who you are engaging.
It’s very difficult these days as there are many ‘accountants’ in the market.
Only certain functions are restricted to ‘professionally qualified accountants’; for example, individuals who operate in the areas of audit and insolvency must be registered, and only members of certain accountancy bodies are eligible for such registration.
These ‘professionally qualified accountants’ such as ICAEW Chartered Accountants are required to hold PI insurance and their quality, ethics and standards in all the work they do for the public are supervised by a governing body.
So if you are picking an accountant or tax advisor make sure:
– They are qualified to do the job
– You have some come back if things go wrong (do they hold professional indemnity insurance)
– Their firm is regulated by one of the main accounting bodies (such as the ICAEW, easy to check and do they have the logo on their website)
There is ONLY one ‘Chartered Accountants’ qualification in England & Wales and it’s members have the designation of either FCA (Fellow) or ACA (Associate). Their firms are regulated by the ICAEW and they carry the logo at the footer (can be red, black or white). Chartered Accountants are widely regarded as the premier brand in the UK
Remember it’s your money and reputation on the line NOT your accountants