When looking for an accountant, you will come across ones who are chartered and those who aren’t so why should you choose a chartered accountant? When comparing the different services and fees on offer, you may be inclined to think that as long as they do your accounts, does it really matter if they are chartered or not?
What’s the difference anyway?
Anyone can set up an accountancy practice, regardless of their experience and qualifications. As a result you could be trusting your finances with an accountant who just doesn’t have the experience to handle your affairs professionally and crucially, doesn’t have to abide by standards of conduct or comply with a code of ethics if something goes wrong.
It’s important to choose a professional you can trust when it comes to your accounting and taxation, reassured that they have relevant experience, qualifications and are regulated to ensure everything is above board.
You wouldn’t choose a doctor for medical advice who wasn’t qualified, who hadn’t kept up to date with training and who wasn’t regulated, would you?
5 reasons to pick a chartered accountant
Chartered accountants are regulated by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), meaning they are bound by a code of ethics and professional standards:-
• They must be qualified and keep up to date with continued professional development.
• Their professional practice, compliance, policies and procedures will all be reviewed and monitored regularly.
• All advice they provide to clients has to meet the highest professional levels, appropriate laws, regulation and standards.
• All members of the ICAEW comply with their Code of Ethics, to maintain high ethical and professional standards.
• Chartered accountants must also follow principles and standards of behaviour on professional conduct relating to tax.
• ICAEW Chartered Accountants are expected to meet their broader responsibilities to society as well as providing high quality independent advice and services to clients.
• Qualifying as an ICAEW Chartered Accountant doesn’t happen overnight. Extensive formal training – with ICAEW-approved firms and training providers – is necessary to develop technical knowledge and practical skills, which must be kept relevant and up-to date with continuing professional education.
• 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 as a chartered accountant means demonstrating a commitment to maintaining and developing professional standards, so clients know that their financial interests are always put first.
In order to qualify as chartered, an accountant will have to have proved experience of a breadth of clients across multiple sectors. This depth of knowledge allows them to specialise in particular industries, meaning they can provide you with invaluable technical knowledge as part of their service.
Qualifying as an ICAEW Chartered Accountant is demanding. Accountants must undergo extensive training via ICAEW-approved firms and training providers. This comprehensive training provides technical knowledge and practical skills all of which must be demonstrably maintained. All members of the ICAEW comply with their Code of Ethics, to maintain high ethical and professional standards.
4. They can provide a greater range of services should you need them
At first you may just need an accountant to help you with your self assessment tax return. In time, you may need to consult about business planning, correct company structure or advice on applying for funding for your business or need help providing self employed evidence for a mortgage application. An experienced and trusted accountant should be relied upon to provide professional business services and a discrete personal service, helping you to grow whilst managing your risk.
ICAEW Chartered Accountants offer a broad range of professional advice and services related to accountancy, audit, insolvency, investment business, probate and tax and for individuals, businesses and other organisations such as charities and Trusts.
5. Conduct and performance in the event of a complaint
Choosing to go with an unchartered accountant may mean you are left high and dry should you have any cause for concern over the way they have handled your tax affairs or issues with their conduct or standards of service.
With a chartered accountant, you can be assured they are regularly monitored on their conduct and performance by ICAEW. Should something go wrong with a chartered accountant, all ICAEW Chartered Accountants in public practice are required to have professional indemnity insurance cover of up to £1.5m and many firms will have far greater cover.
If you want to select a finance professional you can trust who are supported by a professional body you can depend upon, consider Pursglove & Brown Chartered Accountants & Business Advisors.
We have been providing business and personal accounting services for over 25 years so have a real breadth and depth of experience in our teams. There isn’t much we haven’t seen during that time so whatever your question, why not get in touch on 01244 400315 or email [email protected]