The AAT is warning the UK’s SMEs to not use unregulated high street accountants and tax advisors and is urging the government to take further action into tackling this issue.
This advice comes after the publication of the AAT’s new survey of its members, which revealed that 77% of those questioned said they had experienced examples or seen evidence of lower standards of service from unregulated accountants.
The AAT is campaigning for a new legal requirement that anyone offering paid-for tax advice should be a member of a relevant professional body, as there is currently no requirement for anyone offering tax and accountancy advice to be appropriately qualified or to be a member of a professional body – this means that a third of the accountancy sector is effectively unregulated.
Adam Harper, Director of Professional Standards and Policy at AAT, commented, “Small businesses are vital to the UK’s economic recovery following the pandemic. Yet many of them are still on a knife edge in terms of their viability – and poor advice from an unregulated high street accountant or tax advisor could plunge them into a dire financial situation, potentially leading them to shut their doors altogether. With our members’ survey showing 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.”