Awareness drive needed to promote qualified accountants

Accounting firm representatives have called for the government and industry
bodies to do more to promote the industry ahead of unqualified rivals.

There are no restrictions on who can operate as an accountant and clients
often don’t appreciate the difference between firms which choose to operate
outside the main regulatory bodies and the undercut regulated firms with
qualified staff on price, they warn.

The UK200 Group has expressed concern at what it believes are an increasing
number of unqualified accountants offering substandard advice. It wants to
encourage the accountancy profession to do more to promote itself, and highlight
the benefits of properly-qualified professionals.

“The institutes – the ACCA and the ICAEW – need to do more to promote the
brand so we have a situation whereby just as most people wouldn’t use a travel
agent that wasn’t ABTA regulated, they wouldn’t use an accountant that is not
regulated,” said Jonathan Russell, managing partner ReesRussell and
vice-president of the Uk200 Group.

The group is also demanding government action to regulate or shut down
unqualified operators.

“The burden of regulation on small accountancy firms is now such that some
are seriously considering whether they want to be regulated,” Russell added.

Richard Trueman, managing director of Mitchells Accountants in Chesterfield,
said: “There are certain things unqualified accountants can’t do, but, at first
glance, there doesn’t appear to be much difference between a qualified and
unqualified accountant.”

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