It is a common misconception that all accountants are the same. Nothing could be further from the truth! Just as in all walks of life you have the good, the bad and the downright ugly! We explain here who can call themselves “accountants” in the United Kingdom.
Alarmingly the word accountant is not a protected term in the UK. This means that anybody can call themselves an accountant! Or for that matter a tax adviser or business consultant! The result is that many of the businesses that call themselves accountants are being run by people without any professional accountancy qualification. What is worse, often many of these firms and individuals are not regulated. That’s right, you could open up tomorrow as an accountant with no training, qualification or even professional indemnity insurance! Obviously, we don’t recommend that you do!
Many services offered by accountants don’t necessarily require registration/authorisation with a professional body. However, there are some activities that do, such as:
- Company Audits
- Many aspects of Insolvency work
Some third parties can ask for reports to be carried out by a qualified accountant, possible examples of these include:
- Reports on grants
- References for borrowing
- Reports for courts
We are sure if you were buying a house, you would want a qualified lawyer to handle your affairs, or similarly if you needed an operation, you would want a qualified doctor to carry out the procedure. So, for peace of mind make sure that you get a qualified accountant to look after your tax and business affairs.
If you are client of Harries Watkins Jones, you can be reassured that the directors of are both members of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) and also the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA). This means that they:
- Passed professional exams
- Have undertaken supervised training
- Have to continue to keep up to date with changes in tax and accountancy
- Are subjected to monitoring and quality control
- Have strict professional rules and ethics that must be adhered to
In addition, as the firm are Chartered Accountants there are detailed rules that must be followed examples include:
- Professional indemnity insurance requirements
- Handling client money procedures
- How clients are dealt with
When choosing an accountant ask them what qualifications they hold and who they are regulated by.