In my experience, many people or clients don’t fully understand the various roles or activities that bookkeepers, accountants and Chartered Accountants undertake.
Whilst some activities are undertaken by all three, it’s important to note the key differences between them before choosing your professional advisor.
Bookkeepers (also known as accounting clerks or assistant accountants) often label themselves as accountants.
However, this doesn’t mean that they are qualified Chartered Accountants (or Chartered Certified Accountants or Certified Public Accountants in other countries).
Bookkeepers primarily record, process and report a business’ day to day business transactions. Typically, anyone can become a bookkeeper.
They don’t need to have passed any accounting qualifications and may “qualify” through experience.
Professional bodies, such as the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) or the Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CAANZ), require its accountants to complete advanced education.
Chartered Accountants typically undertake a minimum of seven years training and education before being allowed to call themselves one.
They must also complete a minimum number of training and professional development hours each year to maintain their membership. They’ll stay up to date with recent changes to tax legislation, the economy and general business environment.
Many accountants are not Chartered Accountants and do not need to comply with these standards.
Reasons to Choose a Chartered Accountant
The modern-day business environment is extremely competitive and fraught with risk. Engaging a finance professional is often seen as a key component of a business’ success.
It’s not mandatory to engage an unqualified accountant but they may lack the knowledge and experience to offer the best advice for your business.
A competent Chartered Accountant will be an asset and will help you and your business flourish. They’ll generally have more tax knowledge and understand the financial intricacies of running a business.
To maintain high professional standards and competence, they must continually meet high professional standards and are bound by a strict code of ethics.
This provides greater assurance that your business is in safe hands.
Trusted business partner
Your Chartered Accountant should be a trusted and valuable business partner. They possess the skills and knowledge to provide insight and to evaluate both financial and non-financial data and unwanted trends.
They’ll help you identify viable financial and business strategies by recognising changing demands in the business environment.
They will use this insight to recommend tailored solutions for your business. Offering you practical advice, they’ll help you meet the myriad challenges you and your business will undoubtedly face.