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Money Advice Service - Advice Incorrect

Misleading advice that's meant to be impartial

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Browsing the Money Advice Service's website (with regards to things to think about when setting up a new business), I noticed this:

If you’re looking at hiring an accountant, make sure they’re registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)and a member of a relevant trade body such as the Institute of Financial Accounts (IFA)

To me this is worringly incorrect (apart from they have got the IFA name wrong!).  As I am registered with the ICAEW, and do not carry out regulated activities, I do not need to be separately registered with the FCA,and hence don't show up on the FCA Register.  This could deter potential clients from using a host of reputable accountancy firms.

Just want to confirm I'm correct before I take this further.

The link is here: https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/articles/thinking-of-starting-up-in-business

Thanks as always

Replies (4)

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blue sheep
By NH
22nd Jul 2020 07:40

As you say both incorrect and misleading, also extremely odd and suspicious that they should only point them towards the IFA, if you are going to suggest a professional body you need to include them all (unless of course there is some kickback they are getting)

Also as an accountant I am obviously somewhat biased but the question of "do you need an accountant" is not as they say "difficult", if I was offering a free non biased opinion I would be saying "most accountants offer an initial free consultation so we recommend you at least speak to one before you start so as to avoid making a complete balls up before you even begin"

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By Southwestbeancounter
22nd Jul 2020 17:51

That's dreadful but this might have something to do with their 'impartial advice' maybe?

"We are funded by levies on both the financial services industry and pension schemes."

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Pile of Stones
By Beach Accountancy
27th Jul 2020 16:03

Went onto the Money Advice Service website today as I was reporting the issue to my institute, and amazingly the advice has now changed to:

"If you’re looking at hiring an account, make sure they are a member of a relevant trade body. Such as the Institute of Financial Accountants (IFA) or the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW).

Accountants might also be registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). However, some accountants are exempt and are not required to be authorised by the FCA when engaged in some regulated activities."

So the advice has been improved - thank you to I assume an eagle-eyed person at ICAEW! However it's still a bit clunky, especially if you want to hire an account...

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Replying to Beach Accountancy:
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By Paul Crowley
27th Jul 2020 16:51

That is definitely one up to you, and implies someone does read any questions

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