Don’t take experience for granted
When hiring most professionals you often take for granted that they are qualifies in their profession. How often do you check out what those letters really mean after their name, often as not we take things on face value, or hopefully I am just more naive than you? In the UK however, anyone can call themselves an accountant so it is really important that the person you choose to manage your business finance is the real deal, for which, yes, they do need letters to prove it.
In a nutshell, a qualified accountant is known as a chartered accountant but unlike professions like the family doctor’s MD, or a solicitor’s LLB, there are several acronyms for accountants.
What do accountants’ initials really mean?
The most common accountancy acronyms are:
- ACA – a chartered accountant, qualified by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales
- FCA – someone whose been a chartered accountant for a number of years to become a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales
- ACCA and FCCA – qualified by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants
- CIMA – qualified by the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants
Some accountants also advertise themselves as CCAB-qualified. CCAB is the Consultative Committee of Accountancy Bodies, which is the governing body for all the organisations above, as well as the Irish ICAI, the Scottish ICAS and the public-sector specialists CIPFA.
Some acronyms signify the accountant is particularly skilled in a certain area – for instance, CIMA focuses on accounting for business and Chartered Tax Advisers (CTA)s are tax specialists, trained by the Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIT) rather like Rose Duly and Sophie White here at Total Tax Limited.
Don’t leave it to chance
Adding up numbers is all very well, but some business finance jobs can’t be left to the local bookkeeper. Apart from the fact that by law you are required to keep proper accounts, if you choose to have an audit done, only qualified auditors can do the job. It truly is worth checking out your accountants credentials before they set to work as this will reassure you and will mean that you will not have to change them at a later date as your needs grow.