Does it really make a difference if your accountant is chartered?
After all, just so long as they’re taking care of your accounts, does it really matter?
The reality is, the implications of entrusting your financial affairs with an accountant that isn’t chartered can be enormous – in fact, it could prove the difference between your accounts being handled professionally, ethically and above board, versus you being implicated in fraudulent activity.
Still not convinced? Here are 5 reasons why you should be using a chartered accountant:
1) For advice you can rely on
Using a chartered accountant gives you the reassurance that the advice you are receiving is both accurate and informed. When it comes to your finances, you need to know your money is in safe hands – chartered accountants must comply with professional development standards, ensuring their knowledge and skills are always kept up-to-date.
2) They are regulated by professional bodies
Work with a chartered accountant and you’ll benefit from a professionally qualified individual that is bound by a code of ethics and professional standards. Not only will they have certain policies and procedures in place, including professional indemnity insurance, and complaints and disciplinary procedures, they will also undergo monitoring of compliance and quality reviews of their professional practice.
3) Backed up by experience
To qualify as chartered, your accountant will have had to carry out work for a breadth of different clients across a range of industries. Building acute business awareness and strong personal judgement, they’ll most probably have gained experience working with businesses that are high-performing to those under financial pressures. Choose a chartered accountant that specialises in your particular field or industry, and you’ll benefit from specific expertise that matches your scale and type of business.
4) Because integrity matters
Your accountant might be dealing with your personal and business finances, so you need to have confidence that they can be both trustworthy and discrete. Chartered accountants are bound by a code of ethics to uphold a set of professional principles, endeavouring to always put their clients’ interests above their own. Practising means demonstrating a commitment to maintaining and developing professional standards, so you know your financial interests are always put first.
5) More than just filing returns
Of course, you can use your accountant as much or as little as your own business demands – but if you need more than simply filing tax returns and keeping your records up-to-date, a trusted accountant can help you to grow your business and manage your risk.
WARNING: The consequences of using an unregulated accountant…
Unless chartered or qualified with another professional body, anyone can call themselves an accountant, even if they have no professional training or qualifications to back it up. So where does that leave you if your accountant makes repeated mistakes, has provided you with dodgy advice, or has even broken the law?
If you’re using an unregulated accountant you’re at greater risk of missed deadlines, indiscrete practice and mistakes on reporting – all of which can result in extra hassle for you and unnecessary mounting fines. Equally, it can lead to your company building a poor reputation, which can be just as damaging to your business in the long run.
But poor accountancy behaviour can also raise flags and unwanted attention from HMRC…and you might just find that you have become the victim of unlawful practice. False accounting fraud (when accounts are manipulated, destroyed or defaced to present accounts that don’t reflect their true value) is a criminal offence – and at worst, can result in imprisonment for those responsible. What’s more, not understanding accounting practices and standards isn’t an acceptable defence for fraudulent reporting, so you may be more accountable than you realise.
If you’re concerned about the way your accounts are managed or would like some friendly, no-obligation advice, get in touch with us here at Chippendale and Clark, we’d be happy to help.
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