• Startups
  • August 03, 2015

Choosing the right Accountant for your Business

By Lawbite Team

Talk to a Lawyer Free Legal Help
article

Did you know that not all accountants are professionally qualified? The term 'accountant' is not legally protected and as a result anyone can call themselves an accountant, regardless of training, qualification or experience.

A qualified accountant has completed a professional qualification, usually a combination of exams and work experience, and is a current member of a professional body; they are a trained professional.

When looking for an accountant for your business, you should find out what qualifications they have. You can check directly with the professional body they are a member of and most bodies will be happy to confirm whether an accountant is a current member or not.

What an accountant calls themselves and what designatory letters they use can tell you what body they are a member of. You can find a a quick guide to the titles and the designatory letters of the main UK accountancy bodies on the AIA website here

Whilst there are more costs associated with being a qualified accountant, such as membership fees to a professional body and professional indemnity insurance, this does not always mean that you will be paying higher fees. Unusually low fees should always be met with caution.

Using a professionally qualified accountant means you are putting your business in safe hands. AIA members, and other qualified accountants, have committed to a professional qualification, and are required to undertake Continuing Professional Development to ensure they are up-to-date with changes in the profession.

Furthermore, AIA members in public practice must have professional indemnity insurance to cover the risk in the unlikely event they give you bad advice or are negligent in handling your affairs. On those rare occasions when something does go wrong, you can lodge a complaint with AIA, and we can begin disciplinary procedures.

Members that are supervised by AIA under the Money Laundering Regulations 2007 are also subject to our Quality Assurance process, which means that we monitor practices to ensure that our members are maintaining the high level of skill and professionalism expected of them. Other professional bodies will have similar monitoring schemes in place.

Like the members of most professional bodies, AIA members are bound by our Constitutional Documents and Code of Ethics, as well as the Professional Conduct in Relation to Taxation (PCRT) guidance. This guidance, written by professional bodies for members working in tax, sets out the hallmarks of a good tax adviser, and in particular the fundamental principles of behaviour that members are expected to follow. The guidance has been recognised in the courts as ‘setting the standard’ for use by all tax advisers in the UK.

This is intended as a brief guide to help you make an informed decision when selecting your accountant, but you should thoroughly research other advice on the topic, as well as any potential candidates for the role!

Nicola Perry, Association of International Accountants (AIA)

In closing

Nothing in this article constitutes legal advice on which you should rely. The article is provided for general information purposes only. Professional legal advice should always be sought before taking any action relating to or relying on the content of this article. Our Platform Terms of Use apply to this article.



Related Articles

Read more of our latest blog posts, featuring all the latest legal news, analysis and opinion from our expert lawyers.

blog image
  • By Lawbite Team
  • October 13, 2021
Three Tips For Managing Boardroom Conflict

Disagreements are a normal part of business life. In fact, often it is the differences of opinion that can result in everyone looking at a particul...


Startups
blog image
  • By Lawbite Team
  • October 13, 2021
How to structure a family business

Family businesses have been the mainstay of the UK economy for centuries. However, given the emotional relationships involved, clearly setting out ...


Startups
blog image
  • By Lawbite Team
  • October 13, 2021
How To Appoint A New Company Director

Appointing a new company director is more complex when compared with onboarding an employee. There are several steps you need to take to ensure com...


Startups

LawBite can help you

LawBite is on a mission to provide business legal advice that is easier to access, clearer to understand and much cheaper. Our on-line legal advice platform can quickly connect you with expert business legal advice. Our friendly, highly qualified business lawyers, solicitors and mediators will give you the guidance and reassurance that comes from customised legal advice for small and medium sized business.

Whether you are bringing or defending a legal claim, outsourcing work, want a business contract review to ward off disagreements, talk to an expert trademark lawyer, resolve a contractual dispute with methods like mediation and arbitration, or getting your new company set up and on the right footing with a robust shareholder agreement and GDPR standards, we can help you succeed.

defend a claim

Talk to a Lawyer

Book a Call
defend a claim

Essentials Plan