Financial matters can be fiendishly complicated, whether in the realms of business or managing personal wealth. Once money matters reach a certain level, it makes sense to hire the services of an accountant, both to maximise the efficient use of resources, and to make sure that all regulations and tax laws are fully met.
Anyone can call themselves an accountant, and indeed, basic bookkeeping is a task that anyone with a decent head for figures can undertake. However, for a professional to describe themselves as a chartered accountant, a significantly higher level of training, expertise, and certification is required, and this greatly increases the value of the services they can offer, both for commercial and personal clients. So what distinguishes a chartered accountant from an ordinary one?
Training and Experience
A chartered accountant will generally have completed a degree in a relevant subject, followed by an academic post-graduate qualification, and finally will have worked in a mentoring setting for at least three years. This training period of at least seven years in total means the depth of knowledge they possess goes far beyond plain bookkeeping, the filing of tax returns, and so on. They will be well versed in the intricacies of the local tax regime, and will also have greater knowledge of the aspects of accountancy which relate to business, investment, financial planning, and other advanced specialities.
Keeping Up to Date
A chartered accountant will also keep their knowledge of financial regulations up to date. This means that not only will they be able to ensure compliance with all legal obligations, but will be able to optimise a client's affairs to reduce tax liability, for example, or to ensure that any changes in regulations are dealt with as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible. When failure to comply with legalities can attract considerable fines, this ability to stay on top of the changing regulatory environment is vital.
A good accountant like Linghams Chartered Accountants can be of great benefit to a company or private individual, organising their affairs to make the best use of their money and resources. The flip-side to this is that a poor accountant can do great damage, not only in terms of poor financial management, but in possibly attracting fines or other punishments if legal obligations aren't met. A chartered accountant, in order to continue describing themselves as such, must sign up to a strict code of ethics, and agree to be subject to disciplinary procedures if these are not met. Further, the quality of a chartered accountant's services will be reviewed on a regular basis, and if a high level of competence and professionalism isn't found, their licence to operate can be withdrawn.
All this ensures that when you hire a chartered accountant, you can be confident of receiving only the best service and the most effective advice.
Although a chartered accountant's primary focus will be on figures and financial regulations, their training will also ensure that they have a rounded knowledge of overall business strategy, and can be valuable partners when it comes to driving your enterprise forward.
Finally, a chartered accountancy company is required to have a certain level of insurance in place for in the unlikely event that things go wrong. If, as a result of incompetence or oversight, your chartered accountants' actions lead to loss, then the insurance will cover the necessary compensation. There is no requirement to hold this insurance for an unregulated accountant, but the high level of training undertaken by chartered accountants means this indemnity is called upon extremely rarely.
Running the financial side of a business or managing personal wealth is a complex task, but there's no need to take on the burden yourself. A chartered accountant can deliver the benefits of their financial expertise, while their chartered status guarantees that their competency and professionalism will be beyond question.