20 per cent VAT 2012 budget 50% return accountancy accountancy fees accountancy services accountant accountant B accountants accounting for dividends accounting records accounting software accounts accounts software administration annuity annuity rates Autumn statement avoid inheritance tax avoidance of tax avoiding inheritance tax bank lending basic personal allowance BCC big picture book keeping Bribery Act British Chamber of Commerce BS7858 budget budget 2011 Budget 2012 budgeting business business accounts online business advice business cash management business confidence business continuity business continuity management business continuity plans business cost management business efficiency business exit business exit planning business finance business friendly business funding business goals business growth business investment business loan business management business owners business performance business plan business planning business record keeping business records business sale business success business succession planning business survival business tax planning business tips bwe based account cash flow Cash flow forecast cash is king cash management Cash-based accounting cashflow chancellor chartered accountant chartered accountant Birmingham chartered accountants chartered financial planner chartered financial planner Birmin child savings children’s savings choosing an accountant client entertaining Cloud accounting Company Tax returns compliance industry contractors IR35 corporartion tax Corporation tax credit control credit control procedure cyber attack cyber crime cyber insurance cyber security cyber threats data security data security. IT security debt collection debt recovery despite some of the bad press over recent years director’s loan account directors loan directors pensions Directors’ loan account dividends doubl Dragon’s Den dragons den Economic expansion EIS email security employee data security Enterprise Investment Scheme enterprise zones entrepreneur Entrepreneur’s relief entrepreneurs entrepreneurs relief ethical hacker Everyone needs to finance their retirement and exit planning finance finance management financial advisor financial difficulty financial forecasts financial freedom financial goals Financial management financial plan financial planner financial planning financial planning checklist financial planning tips financial wellbeing FSTE 100 FTSE100 fund manager gifts global markets growth growth finance HMRC HMRC enquiries HMRC enquiry HMRC IR35 guidance HMRC tax enquiries HMRC tax enquiry home loans how to manage time ICAEW IHT income tax income tax r income tax relief income tax return independent financial advisor information security information security management inheritance tax inheritance tax planning insolvency Institute of Chartered Accountants investing Investment investment advice investment diversity investment in marketing investment management investment options investment philosophy investment planning investment portfolio investment risk investment strategies investment volatility investments investors IR35 ISO 27001 ISO 27001 benchmark ISO 27001 consultants ISO22301 ISO27001 IT security Jimmy Carr jobs keeping the books key perfirmance indicators key performance indicators KPIs kpi's late payment penalties late payment penalty fines late payments legal tax strategy management information management meetings management standards managing data security marketing investment miscalculated tax motivating staff national lottery new years resolution online accountancy online accountancy software online accounting on-line accounting online accounting software online accounts online tax return online VAT return outsourced accountancy outsourcing outsourcing accounts overtrading owner managers Parker Management Consultants partnership agreements passwords Pay off mortgage PAYE paying a dividend Payroll penetration testing pension pension contribution pension contributions pension fund Pension funds pension investment pension investment strategy pension scheme pensions pensions forecast per personal allowance trap Personal financial plan personal financial planning personal guarantees personal pension personal pensions personal tax return plumbers tax safe plan pre pack administration private pension profitable business sale R & D tax credits R&D tax credits recession red tape reduce tax remote working report on economy research and development tax credits retirement retirement planning risk risk return safest passwords Saga sareholder protection cover security of websites Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme SEIS selecting an accountant Self assessment self assessment tax return self invested personal pension selling my business selling your company shareholder agreements shareholder protection SIPP SIPPS small business small business owners small business tax small businesses small firms SME SME business management SME marketing SME tax planning SMEs social media policy SSAS start up start-up stock market succession planning tax accountant tax affairs tax avoidance tax breaks tax charges tax code tax disclosure tax enquiries tax enquiry tax evasion tax investigation tax investigations tax liability tax man tax mitigation strategies Tax planning tax planning advice tax planning schemes tax reduction tax reform tax relief Tax return tax saving tax saving strategies tax savings tax strategies Tax tribunals taxation tax-break time management time management skills top rate of tax tough times UK Bribery Act UK economy VAT increase vat return VAT rise VAT submission web based acc website security when to pay a dividend work-life balance Xero Xero accountancy software Xero accountants xero accounting xero accounts Xero accounts service

Avoiding unscrupulous accountants

Add to: Digg Add to: Del.icio.us Add to: Facebook Add to: Furl Add to: Google Add to: Live Spaces Add to: MySpace Add to: StumbleUpon Add to: Twitter
Thursday July 12, 2012 at 8:00am
Accountants have been all over the popular media over the last few weeks what with Jimmy Carr and headlines, like Rihanna sues former accountancy firm for 'defrauding her out of millions of dollars by charging jacked up fees'. Now I don’t claim to know anything about the music industry, or that particular case but I do know that in the UK we have some pretty strict rules and regulations for Chartered Accountants which means the kind of negligence and ‘jacked up fees’ claimed in this case shouldn’t happen.

It did set me thinking however. Whilst most people that go to an accountant aren’t 16 year old potential pop superstars (that’s how old she was allegedly when she first sought accountancy advice); they may not have much idea what to expect or what to look for in an accountant.

So, for what it’s worth Rihanna here’s what you should have been looking for when selecting an accountant

Suitable qualifications: anyone can set themselves up in their back bedroom and call themselves an accountant. You should look for a firm belonging to a recognised body like the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales (IACEW) and ideally you will want a Chartered Accountant, or at the very least someone who can demonstrate they have relevant qualifications. 

Sound advice in a language you can understand: on things like - how to structure your business affairs tax efficiently, what financial records you need to keep, which financial reports to use to run and manage your business as well as the more strategic tax and retirement planning advice you’ll need in times of growth. 

Experience in your sector: check they’ve worked with businesses similar to your own and that they understand what it is you do, what your goals are and that they can support you to achieve them. 

Clear explanation of fees: you don’t want any nasty surprises. Your accountant should advise you how much they charge for the work that they do, before they do it. 

Relevant expertise: in the case of someone like Rihanna I’m guessing she would have needed some complex tax planning advice as well as guidance on structuring her personal and business finances, so it’s likely she will have needed professional Financial Planning Advice as well as accountancy advice. Don’t assume your accountant can supply this. Whilst I’m dual qualified as a Chartered Accountant and Chartered Financial Planner there aren’t many that are. 

I don’t suppose many small firms have quite the same requirements as an international pop star, but the advice is still valid. Above all don’t assume an accountant will do a good job for you, do check them out. 

Andy Parker
Chartered Accountant and Chartered Financial Planner

Comments on this post:

There aren't any comments for this post yet. Why not be the first to comment?

Share your experiences:

Your Name  
(to appear with your comment)
Email Address  
(will not be published)
Comments:  
Human Validation Check  
In the box below, please type the characters that you see in the picture. This helps us to ensure a real person (and not a crafty computer!) is submitting this form.

Enter the code shown to the left:

Parker Chartered Accountants and Financial Advisors is the trading name for Parker Business Development Ltd (Registered No. 4116664), Parker Tax and Trust Ltd (Registered No. 06950353) and Parker Financial Planning LLP (Registered No. OC347027). Parker Financial Planning LLP is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. All companies are registered in England and Wales – registered office contact details here