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Chartered v's Licenced accountant

What can a Chartered Accountant do that an AAT Licenced Accountant can't do?

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I'm writing something that aims to show the differences in what services can be offered by Licenced Bookkeepers, Licenced Accountants and Chartered Accountants. I've got the AAT list of tasks that can be undertaken by Licenced Bookkeepers and Licenced Accountants but am struggling to add much to the list for the Chartered Accountants. All I've found, via an online search for tasks only a Chartered Accountant can do, is External Auditing and Specialist Tax Advice.

Can anyone help me make the list longer, please? 

Replies (31)

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By Matrix
21st Sep 2020 20:56

Charge more?

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By Rweaver
21st Sep 2020 21:06

Get more correct?

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By Richard Grant
22nd Sep 2020 07:13

.

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By Biggsy2020
22nd Sep 2020 06:56

Everything better!

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By Sandnickel
22nd Sep 2020 07:03

As far as I know (haven't looked into it recently), you are correct in your assessment. It used to be that mortgage advisors & other professionals only accepted chartered signatures but I think most now accept AAT.

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By AWeb72
22nd Sep 2020 07:24

Charge a lot while getting a junior to do the work.

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Sarah Douglas - HouseTree Business Ltd
By sarah douglas
23rd Sep 2020 10:38

I suggest you take a look at want licensed bookkeepers ICB can do to get a fairer picture. The Institute of Certified bookkeepers as I believe AAT bookkeepers have restrictions.

Update: Re Posters Further info
However you will have to have passed the relevant qualifications with ICB to practice at various levels. You cannot just switch from AAT. In relation to MLR and HMRC it is cheaper to register for your MLR with ICB then HMRC and you have their support which is excellent.

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Replying to sarah douglas:
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By CHRISTINA GORHAM
22nd Sep 2020 09:40

You are correct that AAT restrict what their licenced bookkeepers can do. I'm thinking about swapping to ICB for the flexibility. But for now, I need to communicate clearly what I am allowed to do via my AAT registration.

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Replying to CHRISTINA GORHAM:
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By Paul Crowley
22nd Sep 2020 11:03

So this is not an article?
Surely you should only say what you have the experience to do?

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Replying to Paul Crowley:
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By CHRISTINA GORHAM
22nd Sep 2020 16:25

To clarify.

I am writing an article aiming to show the different services that people with different titles can provide. As I am licenced by AAT, I have chosen to focus on the different services I can and hope to provide v's chartered accountants, knowing you are able to do far more than I.

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Replying to CHRISTINA GORHAM:
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By Cheshire
22nd Sep 2020 16:30

Who is the target audience?

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Replying to Cheshire:
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By CHRISTINA GORHAM
22nd Sep 2020 16:44

Small businesses. I want to do their bookkeeping and then be able to refer them onto local accountants in a way that justifies the higher hourly rate. I'm also hoping to take my L4 when business picks up but still expect to need to refer client on to accountants and want to be able to do so in a clear and succinct way that they won't complain about.

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Replying to CHRISTINA GORHAM:
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By Cheshire
22nd Sep 2020 17:24

So you are working on the AAT bookkeeping licence only?

There is a reason that they restrict what you can do.

If you de-camp to ICB or IAB then you will need to give up your AAT licence. You might be ok with that, but what is the point of then gaining level 4 with them instead of just moving your training across to another body. But still at the end of it, are you really ready to be let lose on teh public without experience?

With AAT and higher bodies, you cannot have your cake and eat it. You follow their rules or leave. If you want to leave, forget ICB and IAB and just go with HMRC for AML.

But, I digress, for your 'advert' - just state what you are licensed to do. Do not try to justify the higher rates of other people.

When you get to actually talk to potential clients then you just say where you can go up to/restrictions and that you are purely a bookkeeper. That they will need an Accountant for the Accounts or tax advice/xyz. What you can and will do will aso then be backed up in full in your LOE.

Anything you try to put together for eg a website will likely confuse folk (your turn of phrase) or just put people off using you as a bookkeeper. Better to focus on what benefits you can bring to them.

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By Paul Crowley
22nd Sep 2020 08:35

Any such list is pointless as it is the experience and aptitude that determines what people can do.
Auditing is regulated
Insolvency is regulated
Nothing else is that most accountants do is regulated
Where did you get' Specialist Tax Advice' from? CIOT would disagree.

Whatever you are writing I suggest you desist as it will be wrong

BUT there are other reports that require a full accountancy qualification

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By DJsy
22nd Sep 2020 08:50

It depends.

A "good" chartered accountant who genuinely keeps their CPD up to date will *probably* produce more technically correct and compliant accounts when things get tricky. That is not to say there aren't excellent AAT accountants but the qualification is far less technical. AAT themselves say you should consider doing ICAEW after you finish (granted this is sponsored): https://www.aatcomment.org.uk/career/why-you-should-seriously-consider-m...

There are also "bad" chartered accountants who fluff their CPD with "reading technical papers" for an hour a week (which is a lie) and attending a 2 day conference once a year where they play with their iPhone for the whole time and who probably haven't even read the current accounting standards. These are generally the more dangerous accountants who give poor and very often outdated advice but think they know what they're doing.

Qualifications and professional bodies are one piece of a much bigger puzzle. Get references and testimonials before choosing. Ask to view your accountant's CPD record and for details of their practice's compliance framework.

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Replying to DJsy:
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By Paul Crowley
22nd Sep 2020 09:01

Christina is writing an article, not choosing an accountant
But your comments would make a better reference point.

The difference is a Chartered passed the difficult exam. The others did not. Tells us nothing about competence today.

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Replying to Paul Crowley:
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By DJsy
22nd Sep 2020 11:00

Good point!

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By Calculatorboy
22nd Sep 2020 09:08

Chartered accountants can talk to one client on the telephone and prepare accounts for another client at the same time.

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Replying to Calculatorboy:
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By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
22nd Sep 2020 17:00

According to their time-sheets, you mean?

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Replying to I'msorryIhaven'taclue:
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By Paul Crowley
22nd Sep 2020 17:07

When articled, 40 years ago we used to call them Lie sheets

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By Wanderer
22nd Sep 2020 09:14

What exactly are "Licenced Bookkeepers" and "Licenced accountants".

Surely there is no requirement whatsoever to have a 'Licence' to do this work and AFAIK none actually exists in the UK.

The AAT bangs on about being an 'AAT licensed Bookkeeper / Accountant' however surely this is just empire building and confuses people that these are required for anyone to offer services to the public.

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Replying to Wanderer:
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By [email protected]
23rd Sep 2020 12:44

I disagree.

If you are qualified and want to practice as an accountant you need a practicing certificate. I was a qualified ACCA with fellow status but when I applied for a practicing certificate in the 1990's it was declined. I was forced to resign my membership, join the AAT and apply for their practicing certificate for me to fulfil my ambitions. I continue to practice proudly as an AAT licenced accountant and have never looked back.

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By bernard michael
22nd Sep 2020 09:32

Moan about ICAEW

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By CHRISTINA GORHAM
22nd Sep 2020 09:46

Thank you everyone for your replies. I will emphasise in the wright up beside the table that while AAT Licenced Accountants are allowed to offer many of the same services as Chartered Accountants, they do so at a much lower level and you (the client) would be wise to seek a Chartered Accountant for more complex business matters. I will also include the need to check the CPD status of whoever is employed in order to guarantee their skills are up to date.

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Replying to CHRISTINA GORHAM:
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By Paul Crowley
22nd Sep 2020 10:57

The Chartered who is in practice MUST declare CPD compliance to their governing body annually.
You would be doing your readers no benefit to suggest they can do a better job of testing CPD compliance better than the Chartered bodies do.
I suspect someone coming in to my practice for a rent account and tax return preparation but deciding that he wants to see my CPD records first may put my back up.
Because he would need to do that every year if he thinks it has any relevance.

How can a potential client check CPD status?
Easy check whether the accountant has a practicing certificate from the Chartered body
NOTHING can Guarantee that an accountant is up to date

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Replying to Paul Crowley:
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By DJsy
22nd Sep 2020 11:05

I disagree. The professional bodies do a pretty poor job of monitoring CPD.

We are regularly asked by prospective clients for our CPD records and plans for the next year, as well as other quality metrics on our firm. Granted more on corporate clients, but it's not a stupid thing to ask.

If I was a client I'd be asking. So many old school accountants out there who don't have a clue about current standards.

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Replying to DJsy:
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By Paul Crowley
22nd Sep 2020 12:56

Never been asked
Now checked with 2 out of 3 former partners and again they say, never been asked

I have been asked whether I have dealt with specific business type, but that is experience not CPD

Will not be asking Solicitor if he has dealt with flat purchase and mortgage, and definitely will not be asking him to prove CPD

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Replying to CHRISTINA GORHAM:
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By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
22nd Sep 2020 11:59

CHRISTINA GORHAM wrote:

Thank you everyone for your replies. I will emphasise in the wright up beside the table that while AAT Licenced Accountants are allowed to offer many of the same services as Chartered Accountants, they do so at a much lower level


Isn't it rather confusing to hold out accounting technicians as accountants?
I understand the difference between a dental technician and a dentist, and would be peturbed if the former were to hold himself out as the latter. Ditto for opthalmic technicians describing themselves as opticians or healthcare technicians as nurses.
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Replying to I'msorryIhaven'taclue:
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By CHRISTINA GORHAM
22nd Sep 2020 12:17

I'm using the language used by my accounting body.

This sort of confusion is why I decided to make the table comparing what each qualification allowed the holder to do. I wanted to make it clearer for my clients so they would know who to go to for each service. I'm hoping that by emphasising the difference in depth of knowledge and training I will be able to mitigate the lack of difference in services offered.

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Replying to CHRISTINA GORHAM:
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By Andy556
22nd Sep 2020 13:35

CHRISTINA GORHAM wrote:

Thank you everyone for your replies. I will emphasise in the wright up beside the table that while AAT Licenced Accountants are allowed to offer many of the same services as Chartered Accountants, they do so at a much lower level and you (the client) would be wise to seek a Chartered Accountant for more complex business matters.

I know lots of AAT licensed accountants that prepare work to a much higher level than some chartered accountants I know.

It would be wise to seek someone based on experience in the field of the complex business matter. An AAT licensed accountant or a chartered accountant could have absolutely no experience in the business matter, do your research and find the professional experienced in the sector. Even someone qualified by experience who does that work day in day out but no formal qualifications would be better than a chartered accountant with no experience.

Don't just assume you'll get a better job done by someone based on their title

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By johnt27
22nd Sep 2020 10:15

Don't forget there's DPB licencing as well

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