The Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) has renewed its call for the government to introduce “mandatory membership” of a recognised professional body for anyone offering paid-for tax or accountancy services.
The news follows a survey which highlighted that many people were unaware that anyone can trade as an accountant or tax advisor without any professional or formal qualifications.
The association surveyed over 1,000 people who had used an accountant or tax advisor, working for either them or their business and found that almost six out of 10 people (59%) were unaware that anyone could trade without a professional qualification.
A further 57% of respondents said it should be compulsory for anyone offering paid-for tax or accountancy services to be a member of a recognised professional body.
Adam Harper, director of professional standards and policy at AAT, said: “It’s good to see that most people recognise the importance of having a good accountant, particularly during these challenging times for many individuals and small businesses.
“Unregulated accountants make up a third of the accountancy sector, yet two-thirds of agent-related complaints to HMRC are about unregulated advisors. As we enter a critical stage of the UK’s economic recovery, we are calling on the government to introduce this to boost consumer confidence and the reputation of the accountancy profession.”