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Accounts v tax

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I’m wanting to ask perhaps a very daft question.  In the world of general practice, producing accounts (where I work anyway) is fairly outweighed by all the tax work and tax compliance yet we all hail as accountants.

Are we all just winging the tax work or are people qualified in ATT/CIOT too?

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By Paul Crowley
13th Oct 2021 20:50

No idea what you are asking, but the sole purpose of accounts production is to prepare tax computations.
If you do not do the tax you aint no accountant, Tax is an accounting disclosure and part of the double entry.

Unless you deal with FTSE listed companies, and do audit stuff. At that point you are allowed chinese walls
Or at least you were in the past.

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Replying to Paul Crowley:
Psycho
By Wilson Philips
13th Oct 2021 21:35

Paul Crowley wrote:
the sole purpose of accounts production is to prepare tax computations.

Nothing to do with compliance with company law, then?

BTW, I haven’t described myself as an accountant for years now.

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Replying to Wilson Philips:
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By Paul Crowley
14th Oct 2021 09:45

Outside of the company members only HMRC shows any interest in whether the accounts are correct
Companies house will accept anything with an acceptable date
No requirment at all for a sole trader to prepare accounts, just a tax return

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By David Ex
13th Oct 2021 21:23

Nicpnic wrote:

Are we all just winging the tax work or are people qualified in ATT/CIOT too?

I have no data but I suspect that the vast majority of practising accountants have no tax specific qualifications.

I’ve known plenty of people with no such qualifications who were good tax specialists. Equally, there are plenty of posters on here who appear to be giving tax advice without any grasp of really basic concepts. You assume they have no tax qualifications but who knows?

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By Matrix
13th Oct 2021 22:15

In my experience clients are looking for an accountant and not a tax adviser even if much of the work is tax compliance etc. So it is just a term.

However I would hope that those without a tax qualification aren’t winging it, accountants shouldn’t be charging the public for services outside their competency.

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RLI
By lionofludesch
13th Oct 2021 22:18

Routine tax work doesn't require a massive knowledge. Certainly not enough to warrant a specialist qualification.

Know your limitations and you'll be grand.

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Caroline
By accountantccole
14th Oct 2021 06:09

Depends on what experience you have. I trained in the accounts/audit team at Deloittes so wasn't allowed to touch tax there. When I moved to a smaller firm, I put myself through ATT to make sure that my tax knowledge was up to date. Haven't bothered keeping the qualification up to date

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By paul.benny
14th Oct 2021 09:03

Nicpnic wrote:
...

Are we all just winging the tax work or are people qualified in ATT/CIOT too?

I'm not in practice and it's a good few years since I qualified... but there was a fair bit of tax in my professional studies.

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By tom123
14th Oct 2021 09:28

Conversely, despite never working in practice, I added ATT to CIMA in recent years.

It is helpful when speaking to our external advisers, and means fewer audit adjustments may be needed.

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By Paul Crowley
14th Oct 2021 09:54

Knowing how to do the job correctly is what matters
A tax qualification tests tax knowledge at a certain date. Thereafter tax changes every year.
Tax cases at tribunals clarify or even change the law every week

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Replying to Paul Crowley:
RLI
By lionofludesch
14th Oct 2021 10:17

Paul Crowley wrote:

Knowing how to do the job correctly is what matters
A tax qualification tests tax knowledge at a certain date. Thereafter tax changes every year.
Tax cases at tribunals clarify or even change the law every week

That's right.

It's important to keep up to date.

You never stop learning.

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By Andy556
14th Oct 2021 10:52

Accountants only do work they are competent in. Tax is part of that but if things get complicated above our knowledge then we can bring in a specialist in the required area to help or just not carry out the work at all.
For example, doing a Trust tax return is a whole different scenario to a CT600. I could do CT600's all day long along with the majority of people on this forum but I would never even attempt to get involved with a Trust as I have no experience so I wouldn't be willing to charge somebody for a service that I'm not competent in

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Replying to Andy556:
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By David Ex
14th Oct 2021 17:14

Andy556 wrote:

Accountants only do work they are competent in.

That's what should happen. You don't need to spend long reading some of the questions on here to know that many accountants are acting a million miles away from their competence. It's quite shocking and, frankly, totally unprofessional.

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Replying to David Ex:
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By Paul Crowley
14th Oct 2021 21:21

The problems with any answers:
Any idiot can pretend to be an accountant
Bookkeepers overstepping their knowledge
All of us doing stuff for years that is or may be incorrect
Not all accountants and tax advisors agree

I read a shocking FTT in a recent taxation
Car provided to a director, payments for lease went to Dirs loan
Despite no cost to company being claimed, held as a BIK because contract was with company not director.

I tell ALL clients with companies that the company car is a bad idea
But then all but 4 of my clients are micro companies
Having said that if someone did do what the taxpayer did, not sure that I would have done

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paddle steamer
By DJKL
14th Oct 2021 11:12

It may be the professional exams are different these days but there were certainly a few bits of tax thrown into say ICAS in the 80s:

1. Every CA apprentice was a relevant graduate, the degree required some tax within same (In my case as a conversion graduate it was IT re individuals only)

2. You then sat the ICAS Prelim, three papers, Accounts, Maths Techniques (stats) and Tax (pass all one go, if not resit all)

3. You then sat Part 1, 4 papers , tax was one (Others auditing , Data systems, accounting)- again pass all one go.

4. You then sat part 2, from memory 8 papers (all passed one go), tax was one.

5. You then sat your TPC , a large case study with all aspects /skills used including tax.

In addition you may or may not have gained experience whilst working, I was drafting CT comps in year 2 re audit/accounts (albeit checked by others)

Obviously some people went on to do more with tax, my previous senior partner held the predecessor to CTA and had lectured in tax at ICAS (ICAS taught their own students in house), but then he also held a company secretarial qualification as he had been Company Secretary of a listed Investment trust earlier in his career.

Surely the point is once you get your first qualification you are capable of learning the other bits/the more niche bits yourself, as your career changes what you need to know changes, and these qualifications may be formal or you may often pick up the skills throughout your career as needed. (Lets face it, if say IHT was scrapped tomorrow and we went back to CTT, you would not all take new qualifications, you would take some CPD, read stuff, soldier on, you would build the later specific skills upon the basic building blocks of knowledge you acquired much earlier)

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By SteveHa
14th Oct 2021 11:40

I do tax work exclusively (including complex stuff, like IHT/CGT planning, company restructures/succession planning/exit strategy, trusts etc.) and I don't have a professional qualification to my name.

I do have 20 years experience in HMRC, and 21 years experience in practice, though.

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Replying to SteveHa:
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By Michael Davies
15th Oct 2021 10:21

Interesting.My career profile was similar to yours.I found however when I left HMRC,that my knowledge and experience as an Inspector didn’t really prepare me for working for a professional firm and I had to catch up very quickly.That said the basic HMRC “grounding” was obviously helpful.From my experience my HMRC Inspector training course was superior to anything I underwent when in the Profession;however I was only trained to perform a specific Tax District appointment and there were vast areas of tax not covered.
Like everyone else you build up your knowledge through experience,technical reading,courses,exams and mistakes!!!
I have always been led to believe that the Profession was seriously short of tax technicians.In my day recruiting HMRC staff filled the gap;today in an age of mass processing of tax returns by untrained tax staff,I doubt whether that is still the case.

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By Nicpnic
14th Oct 2021 20:31

Thank you everyone. My studies are many moons ago now and then a decade in industry must have just beaten any tax knowledge out of me. I understand much better now :)

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Morph
By kevinringer
22nd Oct 2021 15:06

I get what Nicpic is asking. My chartered accountancy examinations were mainly non-tax, and mainly irrelevant because I have not encountered in practice 75% of what I was examined on. In contrast the tax I needed for my exams has barely scratched the surface of what I have needed in practice. Most of my practice time is now tax compliance and tax planning and just being a chartered accountant is not enough. I'm constantly learning. The main danger of learning as I go is I don't know what I don't know which is where a tax qualification might put me in a better place. I have considered obtaining a tax qualification but life gets in the way.

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Replying to kevinringer:
RLI
By lionofludesch
22nd Oct 2021 15:14

kevinringer wrote:

I get what Nicpic is asking. My chartered accountancy examinations were mainly non-tax, and mainly irrelevant because I have not encountered in practice 75% of what I was examined on.

You're right. The most useful stuff in the syllabus was the tax stuff, followed by accounts. Elements of Financial Decisions ? Theoretical clap-trap.

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Replying to lionofludesch:
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By Tax Dragon
22nd Oct 2021 15:38

I'll grant you that some principles are more useful than others :¬)

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Replying to lionofludesch:
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By tom123
22nd Oct 2021 15:41

Now, if you want theoretical, I give you an accountancy degree:

"Management Accounting for Decision Making and Control"
"Inflation Accounting"
"Capital Asset Pricing Model",

No - I haven't used any of it in 25 years.

Same, really, for most of CIMA..,

I did do a net present value calculation last year, and discounted cash flow..

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Replying to tom123:
Pile of Stones
By Beach Accountancy
22nd Oct 2021 18:10

The way things are going you might be using "inflation Accounting" some time soon...

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