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So can anyone become an accountant?

 Hi I have this burning question for quite sometime now but cannot find any reasonable source with a reasonable answer. 

I am an ACCA affiliate not yet finished my three years practical experience requirement, so bit short on expereince. I have extensive knowledge of both Personal and Business tax.

I was wondering can I register myself with HMRC as an agent to submit their self-assessment, CT600, partnership and P11D form etc?

I understand about the indemnity insurance but dont wish to advise anyone, however would for example not utlising losses effectively resulting in increased tax borne imply negligence? 

Just want to trying start my own business wanted to know the implication and how to workaround it if any?

Many thanks.


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Check with the ACCA

I have a feeling you would be contravening ACCA professional regulations.

Of course if you had no connection with ACCA and no knowledge or skills in relation to accountancy or tax then there would be no problem in you commencing self-employment as an accountant and tax adviser!


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Thanks David

Hi thanks David!


So basically ACCA has reduced my chances of  becoming an accountant then; rather than increasing it!  

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They havent reduced your chances - just delayed them until you are deemed competent.


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Competence is a strong word!

 Competence is a strong word!I like the way you dropped the word 'deem' in it makes it indefensible! Yea I agree having an ACCA membership would imply I am competent, however, competent in real life and competent in practice are two different things in my opinion!

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You say you understand about insurance but don't wish to advise anyone........are you thinking of starting with no PII?

My advice is get the necessary certificates and do it right from the outset.

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Therein lies the problem

"I understand about the indemnity insurance but dont wish to advise anyone, however would for example not utlising losses effectively resulting in increased tax borne imply negligence? "

I think this is a long standing point of debate in our sector, and the fact that anyone can call themselves an 'accountant' only serves to confuse the public on what they are accessing from us.

My (personal) opinion is that the role of an accountant is to use their skill and judgement in accounting and taxation matters to advise their clients on their possible best practice approach in a skilled and competent manner with enough information, communicated in a plain english but targeted manner to allow them to decide on their options. I think anyone who has no ambition to advise should not call themselves an accountant, regardless of professional qualification.

Just my tuppence worth.

PS; I presume you will be charging for your services? I would certainly advise you look again at PII cover, the reason professional bodies recommend it as a mandatory element of using their brand is that it is in the best interests of both the client and the practitioner.

I have no affiliation with ACCA, but as you have almost reached their finish line, why not just complete the process?

All the best.

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I think you are being very defensive, all people were doing was pointing out the rules of the institute - no one was saying you weren't competent

You need to speak to ACCA as if you start practising before you have the experience all the work you have done to obtain your qualifications would go to waste

If you do decide to go ahead you will need to register for ML with HMRC and you will still need some kind of PI Insurance if you are dealing with clients records


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Wasn't defending!
Thanks for all of your comments! I wasn't defending myself! I don't charge anyone for anything since I do not have any clients! The trouble is the difference between affiliate and member 3 years experience being the separating factor. I am unable to get those 3 years experience signed since I do not have a related job which will get me those PER. I did one of my family members self-assessment since I do know fair amount in this area so was wondering if I should do few accounts etc so I can become 'ACCA' eventually! When I say I didnt want to advise I meant I don't want to advise anyone to avoid the risk of being sued for wrong advise given!

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ACCA have tightened up on this ....

the post qual experience has to be gained within an accredited environment. They used to consider a broader measure of experience which could then be franked by providing 2 qualified accountant referees who'd had the opportunity to directly measure your competence. This seems to have gone away now which I think is a shame. There are many people who are operating in the practice market who perhaps have the ACCA qualification but can never use the initials because they perhaps came from an industry background originally. Lets face it, by the time you have done 5 years or more in practice you will have learned pretty much all you could have come across during the 'proper' accredited post qual training. It's just seems counter-productive that the door is forever shut if your aim (as a professional body) is to raise and maintain standards.

To the OP ...if you are really stuck then you could use your ACCA exam success to gain entry to the AAT Licenced Member in Practice scheme. You will still have to have PI insurance, mandatory CPD and to provide professional references but it might be a way to achieve what you want in the medium term. The scheme is recognised by most lenders for reference purposes and is an authorised MLR supervisory body.

You do not explain, however, why you are unable to get a suitable post qual job which would obviously be the place to start.

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No advice?

Dream are giving 'advice' the moment you talk to someone to whom you want to do business and even in circumstances where you do not (down the pub, talking to your mates for example).

If you are not prepared to accept this, consider carefully. 

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You should have a practising certificate to do a tax return. Just three years of exprience is not enough. A third party person should not rely on your work with  out a practising certificate.

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Easy guys, was just quering if anyone can call themselves accountant? I don't even want a practioner to be quite honest! Just wanted to know if i could do returns for people that approaches me rather than me having a practice! Chinese whisper comes in my mind being the problem here. Read before you type and utilise ur spare time more effectively!

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Hi Ashmm
Yes, the term 'Accountant' is not protected in the UK.

As an ACCA affiliate, you are not allowed to complete any work further than basic bookkeeping to TB level, and payroll. If you submit any return to HMRC, either yourself or pretending to be the client, then you are liable to disciplinary action. Practising without a PC is likely to get you severely reprimanded or admonished, and fined.

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Read before you type and utilise ur spare time more effectively!


Posted by ashmm on Wed, 23/02/2011 - 19:02


l think everyone did read - and used their spare time to give you sound advice & information. Unfortunately it didnt seem to be what you wanted to hear.


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Cymraeg David initially answered the questions asked so did the most recent user!
I never said I wanted to become a practice. I said if I can act at as an agent on behalf of someone I know really! I been doing my own return for the last three years.
Since I am an ACCA and haven't signed my PER off I was wondering if I can act as an agent for someone else. If u read David's comment which I think is right I could have done it if I wasn't associated with ACCA. I know at least three accountants without any formal qualification but practices.

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I think the cause of confusion is the word "practice".  If I give you my P60, tell you I have no other income, and pay you £10 to put that on a tax return for me then (if you do it) you are "in practice".

If it later turns out that I have other income which I have not declared I may sue you for negligence in failing to go through all the questions on the tax return with me.

I think most of the replies are using "practice" in that sense.

I think you are using "practice" to mean an accountancy business from which you derive your living.

Unfortunately the professional bodies would be likely to be of the opinion that you were in practice without a practising certificate and professional indemnity insurance as soon as you took my £10.


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