Stay Vigilant Before Consulting an Unqualified Accountant

beware advice from unqualified accountants

Before you take advice from accountants, make sure they are qualified enough and legally authorised for it.

According to a report of a survey by the IFA – Institute of Accountants it was stated that people scam others by saying they are ‘accountants’ without possessing relevant qualifications.

The results of the survey stated that merely 18% of people knew ‘accountant’ is a protected professional title. It can only be used by people who possess relevant degrees, certifications, or diplomas and are properly registered under the respective law.

The Institute of Accountants (IFA) chief executive, Mr John Edwards, stated that anyone could claim to be an accountant and start their business.

According to the IFA chief executive, the ratio of these types of scammers is relatively low, but small businesses are more prone to getting scammed by these unchartered accountants. Small businesses often get fraud advice and are open to the risk of inaccurate financial guidance.

He further added that risks have been increasing in the last few months. Even qualified professionals are trying to meet the evolving legislation and latest business schemes. The fake ‘accountants’ operate freely without expert guidance and professional supervision.


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Exploring the Effects of Hiring Incompetent Accountants

The word accountant is a professional title awarded and protected by the laws of the United Kingdom. Many small business owners hire the services of accountants’ considering them qualified and experts in the field, to seek guidance in financial and accountancy matters. However, they might not know they are fake ones until it’s too late.

According to the IFA chief executive, the worst impact of hiring an unqualified or fake accountant is that they can lead businesses to commit scams or financial fraud. The business could face outcomes like heavy fines or even closing the business at once.


Tips to Protect Your Business:

Here are a few tips that can be followed to know whether the accountant you are hiring for your small business is qualified and a member of the concerned organisation or not.

Here are few steps that can be taken to hire competent Chartered Accountant:


Inquire About their Qualification:

Before you hire anyone, ask about their qualifications. For instance, ask about what their exact qualification is and whether they are fully qualified or not. An accountant can hold various qualifications in the UK, including;


  • CA – Chartered Accountant (Ireland, England and Wales):

These accountants use FCA or ACA after their name. They are members or Fellows of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales – ICAEW or Institute of Chartered Accountants Ireland (ICAI).


  • Chartered Tax Adviser:

These accountants use CTA, FTII or ATII after their names and are members of the Chartered Institute of Taxation – CIOT.


  • Chartered Certified Accountant:

Uses ACCA or FCCA after their names and fellow or member of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants – ACCA.


  • Chartered Accountant – Scotland:

They use CA after their names and are members of the ICAS – Institute of Chartered Accountants in Scotland.


  • IFA Tax Adviser:

IFA Financial Accountants or tax advisers are fellows or associates of IFA – Institute of Financial Accountants


  • Chartered Public Accountant:

The professionals use FSPA or ASPA with their names and are fellow or associates of ACPA – Association of Certified Public Accountants.


  • Chartered Management Accountant:

They use FCMA or ACMA with their names and fellow or members of CIMA – Chartered Institute of Management Accountants.

Many accountants in the UK hold more than one qualification, so if someone writes FCA and FTII with their names, it means they are a member of ICAEW and CIOT.


Inquire About their Membership with the Account Body:

Second, on the query list should be about the membership with the accountancy body. Ask whether they are a member of just one professional organisation or more.


Check the Membership with the Relevant Professional Organisation:

The good thing about the accountant professional body is that you can check membership details yourself. Once they tell you which professional body they are attached to check it by;

  • Contacting the relevant body and speaking to the membership department
  • You can also check by looking into an online directory of members.
  • Seek testimonials for track record:

The last thing on our list is to ask them for references of satisfied clients. It will help you decide whether they are good enough for long-term hiring or if you have to run away.


How Do You Find a Competent Accountant for Your Business?

Competent and qualified accountants can be found online on several websites, including:

  • Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)
  • Institute of Financial Accountants (IFA)
  • Chartered Accountants Ireland (CAI)
  • Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT)
  • Institute of Chartered Accountants in Scotland (ICAS)
  • Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW)

Or you can contact Accounting Firms UK and find the right match for your business. Here, you will find an expert and qualified chartered accountants team that will handle your accounts with satisfaction.


Disclaimer: The information provided on AccountingFirms.co.uk is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as financial advice. Always consult with a professional accountant to ensure compliance with UK laws and regulations.