Don't be Reeled in by Cowboy Accountants

C Todd & Co are advising local businesses to take note of recent warnings regarding cowboy accountants operating across the region.

Qualified firms of accountants and business advisers believe small businesses are being put at increasing risk by bogus individuals who have no formal qualifications.

Chris Todd comments: "We often hear from new clients that they have had a bad experience in the past with an unqualified accountant, or that they are not fully aware of what constitutes a qualified accountant.”

The main point to consider is to be sure your accountant is a member of one of the main professional bodies, The Institute of Chartered Accountants, The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants or The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants.

This is easy to check. Ask to see your accountants current Practicing Certificate. This will then ensure your accountant is qualified and that you have the security of knowing that they are regulated.

It can also be useful to speak to your local business contacts to see who they use. A personal recommendation is the best endorsement for any accountant. Then, before meeting with a number of proposed firms, do some background work.

The warning comes following reported pressure from the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants for the Government to introduce a clear definition of the term "accountant" and who can use it.

Chris concludes: "Unfortunately anyone can call themselves an accountant and this can result in bad advice, costly mistakes or even unlawful accounts for local businesses."

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C Todd & Co, 7 Sutherland Street, Sheffield S4 7WG