What do I need to do to start offering services?

I am a newly qualified ACCA accountant but work in the industry and want to start independent work

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I am an ACCA qualified accountant, and now want to offer independent services to mainly self employed individuals to do their self assessment tax returns. I want to know where do I need to register with HMRC and what steps are required? 

I have looked into the HMRC website but the guidance is confusing. I haven't worked in a practice before and only worked as a financial analyst so not very familiar with the accounting practices. I have good knowledge of tax due to my studies and interest in the field.

Replies (10)

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By FactChecker
10th Jun 2024 21:50

Whilst I laud your enthusiasm and optimism, you are going to have to do a fair bit of research if you've never been in practice before. It's not like there's a one-page GOV.UK checklist of forms to fill and then you're ready ... so treat yourself like a project that you've got to understand/research and come up with a plan. That would be the time to start asking places like this about any problem you're having with a specific aspect.

BTW whilst what you need in order to offer services legally is obviously important - I trust you have a business plan? And of course a PC if you wish to retain the ACCA?

Personally I'd suggest you get a year or two in employment within a practice before launching yourself out there solo ... "I only worked as a financial analyst so not very familiar with the accounting practices" doesn't sound promising nor frankly sufficient. But it's your life, do some research and good luck.

Thanks (4)
By David Ex
10th Jun 2024 22:09

As fc notes, you can’t practise as an ACCA member without a practising certificate which, if you’ve not worked in practice, I suspect you’re unlikely to get.


PS The usual caveat applies about your checking your employer’s attitude to outside interests.

Thanks (1)
By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
11th Jun 2024 08:46

Your analytical skillset will no doubt lead you to the conclusion that the only practical route for you is to work for a practice for a few years: cut your teeth, learn the ropes, and make your rookie errors on someone else's time. Following which the ACCA might just like the cut of your jib.

Thanks (3)
By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
11th Jun 2024 10:16

You state:

"I haven't worked in a practice before and only worked as a financial analyst"

So why do you think you can offer your services to prepare tax returns?

Asking for a friend.

Thanks (6)
By David Ex
11th Jun 2024 10:28

Rehman wrote:

What do I need to do to start offering services?

The short answer is at least a couple of years working in practice.

If you haven’t already, spend some time reading the questions and answers posted here. That’ll give you a flavour of what being a practicing accountant involves.

Being a competent professional tax and accounting adviser involves much much more than exam passes.

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By HowLongIsAPieceOfString
11th Jun 2024 11:04

Good Lord.

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By tom123
11th Jun 2024 11:37

Beware of unknown unknowns.

I have 20+ years of CIMA experience in various industry sectors, and even added ATT in the last few years.

Wild horses would not persuade me to have a go at a plumbers personal tax return, or husband and wife limited company.

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Replying to tom123:
By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
11th Jun 2024 13:40

I act for several CA's in industry as they know enough to know what they dont know.

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By Dougscott
11th Jun 2024 21:53

I took the clever step of not qualifying in the first place - no practising certificate needed!

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By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
12th Jun 2024 08:35

On a separate tack, read up on law of tort and in particular tort of negligence. Did you cover that in your ACCA studies, or has it become an optional subject these days?

Where was I? Oh, that's right... in case you're unaware, negligence is broadly a failure to perform at the expected level. The standing of a tortfeasor has a bearing: for example, a chartered accountant would generally be expected to perform to a higher standard than somebody junior or part-qualified. And it's not just an act that can constitute negligence; an omission - a failure to do something - can also count.

See the danger? If you don't know the ropes, then you're going to have to get yourself the most tame, easy-going non-litigious bunch of clients on the planet; otherwise you're going to have everyone complaining, wanting a refund, suing for their resultant losses, and complaining to the ACCA. Like one of those Gordon Ramsay tv programmes where chef knows how to microwave but is otherwise in the soup.

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