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Regulation of unqualified "accountants"

Regulation of unqualified "accountants"

I am a Chartered Accountant but I often get compared to people who are not qualified but have set themselves up in business as accountants. I am regulated by the ICAEW. Does anybody know who is responsible for the regulation of unqualified "accountants"?


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By rossmcv
29th Feb 2016 12:57

HMRC for the most part

Thanks (0)
29th Feb 2016 13:01

They are only regulated by HMRC and that is for money laundering purposes.


Some occasionally flout their ICPA badge like it is a passport to qualification. The public don't know any different.

Thanks (3)
29th Feb 2016 13:13


 I know of three accountants in our local area who have dropped their letters and become members of the ICPA as they feel they get better value for their membership fees. I am a fully qualified ACCA member however, i am thinking of going down the same route. 

Thanks (3)
29th Feb 2016 13:19

Are we really going to have yet another thread about qualified v unqualified?

Thanks (9)
29th Feb 2016 13:19

And so..

it begins, though it must be a couple of weeks since the last qualified/unqualified megathread.

Before we delve yet again into the merits or lack thereof of the various institutes, could we consider that the question asked has been fully answered. No one asked about value for money of subscriptions the benefits of memberships or for anecdotal evidence over the uselessness of qualified/unqualified accountants. Anyone who wants to know that can run a search on Accountingweb and find opinions galore.


Thanks (4)
29th Feb 2016 13:26

and there will

always be someone who is cheaper and offers a poor service whether QBE or exams....

Thanks (2)
29th Feb 2016 13:31


HMRC  as mentioned regulate unqualified accountants for money laundering as mentioned above.

I would be very careful about saying a member of the ICPA is unqualified


Thanks (4)
29th Feb 2016 13:38

ICPA is a trade association.

I have come across people that trade as accountants that have never sat an exam but say they are qualified with ICPA.

For the record, I think the ICPA offers a lot for the money and offers more than the professional bodies do for small practices.
But it isn't a substitute for obtaining professional qualifications.

Of course, some members will be suitable qualified and a member of ICPA.

Thanks (5)
29th Feb 2016 14:06


SteLacca & martinscutt, great minds think alike (and at the exact same time) :)

Thanks (0)
29th Feb 2016 14:20


I'm rubbish at tax and an ICAEW member.

Lots of non-chartered accountants put me to shame on here with their tax knowledge.

Get a lower horse.

Thanks (6)
29th Feb 2016 14:23

Don't forget the self regulated

Still beat myself up but much cheaper.

Thanks (3)
29th Feb 2016 14:47

@OP - could you explain the difference between accountant (without quotes) and "accountant" with quotes? I assume that you mean that an "accountant" (with quotes) doesn't know how to do accounts? Or is it a euphemism for something else?

If you were to leave the ICAEW, would you become an "accountant" instead of an accountant. If so, perhaps ICAEW should send an official pair of de-chartered quotation marks to every member who leaves or is expelled, and that would clear up any confusion.

When one is referring to an unqualified (or self-regulated) accountant during conversation, does one have to sign the quotation marks with ones fingers when saying it, or is it acceptable just to sneer condescendingly when uttering the word?

What if somebody has a hat with the word ACCOUNTANT written on it (without quotation marks)? Would that be OK? If such a person took off the hat when it was hot, would they then be regulated?

As usual, a post that leaves far too many questions unanswered. Perhaps you should have trained with ACCA.


Thanks (4)
29th Feb 2016 14:55


Tim Vane wrote:

 If such a person took off the hat when it was hot, would they then be regulated?

Surely the act of removing or applying a hat is self-regulation, and particularly handy for body temperature regulation.

Thanks (2)
29th Feb 2016 16:30

If we vote to leave the EU

Then we'll have the freedom to regulate hats!  It must be worth leaving just for that.  We could regulate quotation marks too, that would just be the gravy.

Thanks (3)
29th Feb 2016 16:59


When the OP says that he is often compared to unqualified accountants I suspect he means that his clients or prospective clients are making comparisons and he sometimes comes up short and in the process finds that the competition is, in his words, unqualified.

It's worrying that having passed his exams over several years (albeit dumbed down exams) he hasn't got the knowledge to answer this question.

Where my clients have a comparison i.e. the client has, by definition, had at least one previous accountant, I find the comparisons are made on the basis of price, service including accessibility and ability to explain complex accounting and tax matters. The OP will find that the letters after his name will not be of any interest in the vast majority of cases.

If he is in practice he'll probably find after 20 or 30 years (as I did) that the continuing annual membership fee is a luxury which can be ditched.





Thanks (1)
29th Feb 2016 17:04


thomas34 wrote:

It's worrying that having passed his exams over several years (albeit dumbed down exams) he hasn't got the knowledge to answer this question.

I'm going to say it politely before someone says it impolitely:


Thanks (3)
By marks
29th Feb 2016 22:27

not everyone who is member of ICPA is unqualified

I am a member of ICPA as what you get for what you pay for is good value for money.

I am also a member of ICAS.

Thanks (2)
01st Mar 2016 10:47

I take pleasure

In breaking all the rules, knowing that no one will ever discover what I have done.

Self regulation wins every time.

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By CW2012
01st Mar 2016 11:04

Regulation of unqualified "accountants

The problem appears to be in distinguishing a good accountant and a poor accountant, I qualified decades ago but was for a while a member of the ICPA, I treated this like a trade organisation and made some good contacts. It appears from my experience that there really needs to be some regulation over who or what is an accountant, I have over the years received accounts from new clients which were prepared by their previous accountant and a number of these have been draw droppingly appallingly prepared, everyone was from an unregulated firm of accountants. My stock line when I see new clients is that when I visit the doctor I like to see someone who's been to medical school. Even taxi drivers have to have a licence.

Thanks (1)
01st Mar 2016 17:27

Well dodgy and chartered

Not my experience.  I am both qualified and ICPA, so no axe to grind.  By far the dodgiest guy around here in the last 5 years was Chartered.

See the link above.  And in a separate case, the same guy is on the record saying he "fabricated all of the numbers" for a filing at Companies House.

Going back 15 years, the dodgiest guy around here was a different Chartered Accountant who left the country at short notice not to return so far, my guess is that his collar would be felt if he did.

And let us not forget that of over 300 European banks to require Government bailouts due to sudden black holes in their balance sheets, not a single one had a qualified audit report.  But the vast majority were audited by Chartered Accountants, many of them on the governing bodies of the ICAEW and similar bodies abroad.

Really and truly, whilst the ICAEW contains so many well dodgy auditors at or near the top of the organisation, how credible can it be?

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