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Did you know that there’s a difference between Accountants and Chartered Accountants?
Small business owners might not realise there is a difference, but it’s worth finding out what that is. It’s also good to know which services an accountancy firm offers and why small businesses need its services.
Here, we’ll unpack the difference between the two as well as outline what services to expect from an accountancy firm.

Accountants and Chartered Accountants

Anyone can have formal training to become an Accountant. But general Accountants have no professional accreditation. They will be able to offer services such as invoicing, preparing tax returns, analysing accounts and auditing financial information.
Accountants may have studied to foundation level through the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) or will have knowledge through years of experience.
If you need straightforward accounting advice and services, then a general accountant is probably enough. More complex or specialist needs will need the services of a chartered accountant.

What is a chartered accountant?

In simple terms, a Chartered Accountant is more highly qualified and experienced. Such accountants will have studied to a high level and are also members of professional bodies. This means following strict professional codes of conduct.
The professional bodies for chartered accountants include the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA). Our Founder and Managing Director, Mark, is a member of ACCA.
Thanks to their in-depth knowledge, Chartered Accountants can advise on complex or detailed financial matters. This includes:

  • Insolvency
  • Securing acquisition finance
  • Cash flow forecasting
  • Supporting commercial fraud litigation
  • Forensic accounting

When do I need a chartered accountant?

General Accountants offer sound advice on everyday matters such as invoicing and annual tax returns. But there might be times when using a Chartered Accountant is necessary, for example, when needing help with VAT.
If you are looking to acquire another business, you will need a Chartered Accountant to help you make a detailed financial plan before the acquisition. Without that in-depth knowledge, you’re unlikely to succeed in buying the other business.
Chartered Accountants usually cost more than general Accountants because you’re paying for their comprehensive knowledge and experience.

Do I need an accountancy firm?

In theory, you can look after all of your business’s finances yourself. But it takes up a lot of your time and there are occasions when the experience of an Accountant is essential, such as tax reporting and dealing with HMRC.

Accounting firms offer services such as bookkeeping, payroll processing, tax preparation and planning and advisory services.

Most accounting firms still charge per project or hourly rates. At Concept Accountancy, we offer fixed fee accountancy and tailor our services to suit you and your business. Every business is different, so that’s why you only pay for the services you need with us.We can offer the complete package of services because we employ trained Accountants and Bookkeepers and, as we’ve mentioned, Mark, our Founder, is a Chartered Accountant.

If you’d like to know more, then contact our team today. Fill in the form below for a no obligation chat about the services you might need.