Almost half of businesses have lost money due to poor accounting

After a turbulent year, with more uncertainty on the horizon, AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians) has captured views that sheds light on the risks that some businesses are taking with their finances with 42% of respondents to a recent survey claiming to have lost money due to the actions of their accountant or tax adviser.

Meanwhile, although one in three accountants are unregulated, this group are responsible for two-thirds of complaints received by HMRC. However, 45% of those surveyed shared that they had encountered a negative experience with their accountant or tax advisor, potentially challenging the wisdom of the trust they put in those they rely on for crucial advice and guidance.

The survey revealed that 69% of the businesses acknowledged that their accountant knows more about their finances than anyone else.  A quarter (25%) have overpaid on tax, with 17% also missing a tax deadline and 51% have subsequently had to hire a qualified accountant to correct the mistakes of a previous unqualified accountant’s work.

Adam Harper, Director of Professional Standards & Policy at AAT said, ““These findings underline the risks and higher costs businesses can face when appointing unqualified and unregulated advisers, with over half of respondents having to hire a qualified accountant to correct the mistakes made by their unqualified predecessor.

“Our survey has also shown that small businesses in particular are losing money through accounting errors. This is why AAT has repeatedly said the Government should legally require anyone offering paid for tax or accountancy services to be a member of a professional body, as happens in other professions.“This would provide much needed assurance to business owners that their accountant or tax adviser is suitably qualified and required to maintain their commitment to the highest standards of professionalism and ethical behaviour.”

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