The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) says that in 2013, most private sector businesses in the UK were SMEs (accounting for about 99.9 percent) and employed 59.3 percent of the workforce (about 14.4 million people). In addition, they generated 48.1 percent of the turnover produced by the entire private sector. The immense numbers that small and medium enterprises bring to the public only highlight their importance to the country’s economic growth.
A news article from Director of Finance Online published last May 23, 2014 discusses a research study conducted by accounting software company Clearbooks, and the ACCA’s growing concern about SMEs hiring underqualified accountants:
UK small businesses could be inadvertently damaging their growth prospects by paying accountants who aren’t even qualified, warns ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants).
The warning comes after research from cloud accounting software provider ClearBooks showed just 8 per cent of small businesses considered an accountant’s qualifications when choosing one.
Sarah Hathaway, head of ACCA UK, said: “Unlike solicitors and some other professional roles, the term accountant is not protected by law, so absolutely anyone can call themselves one, even without any training. Even those with minimal training in book-keeping or just one aspect of accountancy, will not always have the same rigorous qualifications and insurance as a chartered certified accountant. They will also be limited in helping the business grow.”
Given the magnitude of SMEs in the economy, it’s not enough for business owners to trust someone else’s recommendation that, say, their friend can do accounting on the side. If they do, they run the risk of paying for someone without the vital knowledge and skills that proper accountants in Bristol should have. Financial matters are complex and require commitment to understand and evaluate, because accounting errors may lead to unnecessary penalties and flawed business analyses.
ACCA’s reminder about hiring qualified individuals should motivate responsible businesses to seek the help of Bristol accountants who know their subject. These professionals are trained and fully competent in accounting fields and tasks like preparing monthly and annual financial statements, organising management reports, maintaining account records, and advising on areas of business improvement, among others.
They play a significant role in maximising profits and boosting revenue for business owners, so it’s critical to find someone professionally accredited. SME owners can check if firms are regulated by Recognised Qualifying Bodies (RQB) like the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, (ICAEW), the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and the Association of International Accountants (AIA).
(Source: ACCA Urges Check on Accountant Qualifications, Director of Finance Online, 23 May 2014)