The guide draws consumers’ attention to the lower standards of service and protection and the higher risks of using an unregulated accountant and presents examples of malpractice, incompetence and dishonesty witnessed by AAT members shared from a recent survey.
The survey, conducted in April 2021, found that 77% of AAT members had witnessed lower standards from unregulated accountants, while 68% stated these incidents had “affected” clients.
The association has therefore been advocating for compulsory memberships for people offering accounting services which in turn would guarantee that all accountants are properly qualified, have undertaken regular Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and hold Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII).
Adam Harper, director of professional standards and policy at AAT, said: “Our members have shown us the widespread impact that unregulated accountants can have on small businesses.
“We need the Government to take decisive action on this issue now. However, their current proposals that would require unregulated accountants to hold professional indemnity insurance simply do not go far enough.”
He added: “Mandatory membership of a relevant professional body for anyone offering paid-for tax and accountancy services would put accountancy on a par with professions such as nurses, architects and solicitors. This would cut the number of agent-related complaints to HMRC and reduce money laundering and tax evasion issues.”