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But I thought all Accountants were the Same?

Certified Accountants, Chartered Accountants or Unqualified Accountants – what’s the difference?

How often do I hear potential clients say “but I thought all accountants were the same?”

This is usually just after they have discovered some particularly poor accounting advice, costly omission or mistake in their accounts or tax return. Or perhaps they have found out that their accounts are not acceptable to a bank or building society when trying to raise a loan or mortgage.

The Different Types of Accountant

There is a common misconception that all accountants and are somehow equally qualified. We operate principally within the Stirling and Falkirk area and even here accountants come in all shapes and sizes, many are only qualified to a basic standard and some are unqualified. Anyone can legally call themselves an accountant. Even qualified accountants come in many forms. At the top end – your Certified Accountants or Chartered Accountants, you can expect normally a graduate entry followed by at least four years study and an ongoing requirement to keep up to date. Other lesser accountancy and tax qualifications range from a limited number of exams to “ qualified by experience” to “qualified by paying a subscription ” or in a worst case scenario – no experience whatsoever.

As a business owner looking for your first accountant there are certain things which you can look out for:

Certified and Chartered Accountants will always say that they are. If no qualifications are shown on a website or letter head then almost certainly none exist.

Why cheap accountants are probably not cheap in the long run

The cheap accountants are usually cheap for a reason – they may be cutting costs by not being properly trained or by doing it on a casual basis. This may limit the range and quality of their advice.

Good accountants stay in business

How long has your accountant been in business? Good accountants stay in business – bad ones do not.

Arrange a face to face meeting and don’t be afraid to ask about qualification.

To find an accountant at the start of a business is just one of many important tasks done at that time. However choosing the wrong accountant can be fatal to that business.

For friendly professional advice from a Chartered Accountant in the Stirling or Falkirk area contact D & A Pearston.

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