How to Know If an Accountant Is ‘Qualified’

Delegating the financial management of your business to an accountant is a necessity for businesses. Accountants analyze your financial stand and help you make better decisions. Anyone can claim to be an accountant, but that isn’t enough. Only qualified and insured accounts protect your business and are guaranteed to follow best practices.

Any accountant won’t do. As a rule of thumb, you should be looking for accountants with the right education, training, and license for your needs. Qualified accountants help your business grow and save you time. Unqualified accounts, however, put you at risk of hefty penalties.

Interestingly, anyone in the UK, including you, can legally start an accounting practice without relevant training. Many people have taken advantage of this lax requirements to become accountants, but it doesn’t mean they are qualified. It definitely doesn’t mean you can trust or work with them.

To get the best return on your investment, you need to know how to identify a qualified accountant and spot an untrained amateur. Here are some things to look out for when you want to work with a qualified accountant:

1.  Accounting Qualifications

Professional accounting institutions handle the accreditation of accountants in the United Kingdom and other parts of the world. These institutions provide academic training and testing as well as hands-on experience on the intricacies of accounting. Whether it’s for personal or business finances, you need to hire an individual that has passed all the right tests and has an accounting license.

Qualified accountants offer a Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII) clause in their contract to cover both their interests and that of the client. If the accountant doesn’t comply with your business interests or professional ethics, you can make an official report to their governing institute. The following are the top institutes and associated qualifications an accountant can have in the UK.

  • Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) – Chartered Certified Accountant (ACCA or FCCA)
  • Institute of Chartered Accountants in Scotland (ICAS) – Chartered Accountant (CA)
  • Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT) – Chartered Tax Advisor (CTA, ATII, or FTII)
  • Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) – Chartered Management Accountant (ACMA or FCMA)
  • Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICEW) – Chartered Accountant (ACA or FCA)
  • Chartered Accountants Ireland (CAI or ICAI) – Chartered Accountant (ACA or FCA) 
  • Association of Certified Public Accountants (ACPA) – Certified Public Accountants (ASPA or FSPA)

A qualified accountant can hold more than one qualification from multiple institutions. Holding many qualifications signifies that they have more knowledge, information, and experience to use for your business. Various qualifications may also mean they are experts in specific areas you may need, such as strategic planning, account management, tax advisory, international accounting, or business consultancy services.

The ethical code of conduct that qualified accountants have may well be their defining feature. You can rest assured that they will adhere strictly to applicable laws and regulations made by the government and licensing institute.

2.  External References

In accounting, the testament of experience references and reviews. Client references should be listed in an accountant’s work profile or CV for interested businesses to consider. Referrals serve as an indication of how acquainted they are with your field and needs.

One way to get accountants you can trust is through other people or professionals you already work with. To some extent, you can expect that they will offer good recommendations in your specific industry. However, there are a few things you may not be able to control, such as the price or proximity of the accountants they recommend.

FindUKAccountant offers you only qualified and experienced accountants, most of which have licenses from different institutions and are insured. We strive to create a safe environment for businesses to improve and flourish with ease. Our platform helps you to compare competitive quotes from these skilled professionals without the need to call around. We ensure that all we match you with professionals near you so your relationship is as smooth as can be.

3.  Transparency

Communication is a critical factor that contributes to how well you can trust an accountant for your business. Your accountant should be able to provide you with the best advice and tips for yielding optimum performance. These recommendations are the result of their analysis of your personal and financial data.

The best thing for a company is to have an accountant who uses their capabilities and skill to improve its financial security. All reporting and payments must be appropriately handled by the accountant promptly, without any slips. With accurate and updated financial information, you can chart a course for your business and achieve your goals.


Since it’s perfectly legal for any individual or firm to label themselves as accountants, it is even more expedient that you keep these criteria in mind when you want to choose an accountant.

Check the credentials of any accountant you have an interest in before entering into a contract with them. Instead of wasting time, and possibly resources, looking for an accountant, you can get a qualified and insured accountant or accounting firm you’re your business within minutes.

We match you with up to 5 local accountants that have a proven record in whatever you need. We thoroughly vet our accountants to save you that stress. All you need to do is select which professional best appeals to you, and you can start working with them. Our service is totally free to you, so there’s nothing to lose.

Disclaimer: We don’t take any responsibility for actions taken based on above information. Please speak to our consultants if you need more information. This guide was written specifically for FindUkAccountant clients. By necessity, this briefing can only provide a short overview and it is essential to seek professional advice before applying the contents of this article. No responsibility can be taken for any loss arising from action taken or refrained from on the basis of this publication. Details are correct at time of writing.