Good advice will help you through

BUSINESSES across Comet country are continuing to turn to professional financial advisors to guide them through the economic crisis and help them take advantage of the recovery as it starts. The Beds, Bucks and Herts Society of Chartered Accountants is ur

BUSINESSES across Comet country are continuing to turn to professional financial advisors to guide them through the economic crisis and help them take advantage of the recovery as it starts.

The Beds, Bucks and Herts Society of Chartered Accountants is urging businesses to check that the accountants they're working with have the appropriate qualifications for the jobs they are being asked to do. It has suggested several steps for businesses to help them.

The first thing to check is whether or not your accountant is a member of a recognised professional body such as the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW). Members of the ICAEW can call themselves chartered accountants. To gain the qualification, they will have completed a rigorous training programme as well as having passed several tough exams. They also have to ensure they keep their technical knowledge and skills up-to-date through a continuous professional development programme.

Maureen Lamburn, president of the Beds, Bucks and Herts Society of Chartered Accountants and partner at Lamburn and Turner, Wheathampstead, explains: "When appointing an accountant, it's important that businesses appreciate that the support and advice which qualified chartered accountants are able to provide is backed up by the extensive resources of their professional body, the ICAEW. This includes access to in-depth technical expertise and advice."


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When taking on an accountant, in addition to checking out their qualifications, the ICAEW has identified seven simple steps to making a successful appointment.

These are:-

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1) Check in advance whether they have experience of your sector and type of business;

2) Tell them what you are planning to do and check whether they offer the services you will need;

3) Contact between three and six firms and arrange to meet at least three of these;

4) Establish who at the firm will be dealing with your work - it may not be the person with whom you are meeting;

5) Ask to speak to existing clients - references are always important;

6) Establish what the fees will be and when they are payable;

7) Once you have appointed a chartered accountant, ensure you receive an engagement letter from them setting out the terms and conditions of your relationship. Make sure you are happy with this before proceeding.

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