You wouldn’t let anybody look after your legal matters, would you? And would you take financial advice from someone you met in the pub? Hopefully not. Ok, what if you were ill, would you seek help from any Tom, Dick or Harriet? Of course not, you’d make an appointment with your doctor.
So, when you entrust someone to look after your business’s finances you need to make sure they are fully qualified and regulated. The point I’m getting at here is that solicitors, financial advisors, and doctors have to, by law, be qualified. Accountants on the other hand do not.
Anybody can call themselves an accountant, including me. I mean, I’m really good with figures, especially mental arithmetic but I have no relevant experience, technical expertise or qualifications, so trust me – no pun intended – you wouldn’t want to let me look after your books or file your tax returns.
Therefore, with the financial health of your business being of paramount importance to its survival, it is imperative that you thoroughly check any accountant you engage the services of to ensure they have the relevant qualifications and experience.
What could go wrong with an unqualified ‘accountant’
Just think of the disastrous consequences of using an unqualified ‘accountant’ when it goes wrong. You won’t have anywhere to turn to if you are not satisfied with their conduct, advice or service. Most unqualified accountants will not have professional indemnity insurance, so in the worst-case scenario your business could close.
There are even unscrupulous companies that offer immediate online accreditation for charlatans masquerading as accountants, so don’t be hoodwinked by a certificate and a few letters after their name. I hasten to add that these are the small minority, but it only takes one to cause a lot of damage to a business.
What is a chartered accountant?
A chartered accountant has studied and passed a comprehensive range of exams that cover subjects including financial performance, business analysis, financial management, taxation and auditing. This is in addition to three years of practical experience working in an authorised accountancy firm. All of this allows them the accreditation of chartered status.
Chartered accountants are highly qualified and experienced in their chosen profession and will be a member of one of the following professional bodies for accountants in the UK. The ICAEW – the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales; ACCA – the Association of Certified Chartered Accountants and CIMA, the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants. Reaching chartered accountancy status is in essence a benchmark showcasing the necessary skills, knowledge, experience and commitment to the financial and business sector.
Even after qualification, many chartered accountants will continue to study and sit courses to ensure that the advice they provide is accurate, relevant and up to date. They are also independently checked to ensure the highest standards of service to clients is maintained. And just as importantly to ensure they have sufficient professional indemnity insurance cover to compensate clients if anything goes wrong.
What does a Chartered accountant do?
Chartered accountants have the expertise to undertake a diverse range of financial and business functions. In addition to the usual accounting services such as VAT, payroll and tax returns, they can also advise and practice on more complex issues such as:
Choose one that suits your business
One final point worth noting is that once you have verified that your accountant is fully qualified, make sure they have experience of working with businesses of your size and in the same sector. The majority of chartered accountants will specialise in specific disciplines, such as audits, commercial finance or estate planning.
Thankfully here at Business Butler we have fully qualified and vetted Accounting Experts who can help your business. Just click here and select the one you want to work with.
Business Butler is an on-demand talent platform that connects users with a panel of vetted business experts who specialise in a range of business disciplines. To find your ideal expert please click here.