The Impact of Professional Negligence from an Accountant
Posted on 9th January 2021 at 10:10
Whether you’re a sole trader or a larger business employing a number of people, having a good accountant is vital. The problem is anyone can set themselves up as an accountant nowadays as there’s no legal requirement in respect of the title (as there is with a solicitor or architect, for example).
It is therefore very important that you check your accountant’s credentials before you engage them. Ensure that they are a member of one of the following bodies:
Association of Certified Chartered Accountants or ACCA
Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales
You should also check they have professional indemnity insurance to cover themselves if there is any claim.
Even if someone is properly qualified, however, that doesn’t mean they won’t get things wrong. Professional negligence is where the person you hired has not performed to the appropriate standard and it has caused you financial loss. It could be as the result of an oversight or simply not being thorough enough in their processes.
This can take a variety of forms:
They might have given you erroneous or incomplete advice about tax schemes.
When doing your tax return, they may forget to tell you about entitlements you have and allowances that would reduce your final bill.
They may be involved in valuing your company or another business you are thinking of buying and get it wrong.
They may suggest investments which end up costing you money because you weren’t fully informed of the risks.
They might simply have made mistakes when preparing the books for your company that have led to either a prosecution or a substantial fine from HMRC.
Any professional indemnity claim has a time limit. This means you have to make your claim within 6 years of the initial negligence. This can be extended under some circumstances though it is very rare in the case of accountants’ negligence claims. It Is important to take legal advice as soon as you believe that negligence has occurred.
The Cost of Taking an Accountant to Court
If you have lost money because of your accountant, the last thing you probably want to do is spend more on legal advice. It might just be easier to find yourself a new accountant and start again. The good news is that, at DSM Legal Solicitors, your first consultation is free which means you can talk through the issues with a qualified solicitor and find out what your next step should be.
We also provide a 'no win, no fee' service. That means you don’t get charged any legal fees until the claim is successfully concluded. We then take a percentage of the final pay out which the court awards or which is agreed as a settlement by the accountant’s insurers as an out of court deal.
Professional negligence doesn’t just apply to accountants. It can happen with solicitors, health care professionals, estate agents and architects to name just a few. If you believe that you have been the victim of professional negligence and that you have a claim, contact DSM Legal Solicitors today on 01925 937070 to see how we can help..
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