Accountants the professionals with a head for figures for your business

By: Sunil Punjabi

Accountants are an essential part of any business and whilst you can do without them in theory the reality is that you could find yourself in dire straits without their essential help. There's no doubting that if you have even a small to medium business that you will need the help of an accountant. An approaching end of financial year can strike fear into the hearts of many people but the blow can be softened if you have a good accountant on your side. So what can an accountant do for you?

The list of what accountants do is huge yet most people wouldn't even realise just how wide a scope they have with their job. Accountants don't just deal with finances and tax matters, they can give new businesses start-up advice, provide advice on raising finance. Along with that they can provide some advice on managing and running a business. An accountant can help you plan and manage your company's growth and if you have a turnover of more than 5.6 million you are required by law to have a formal audit of your company finances and an accountant can undertake annual audits for you.

Obviously within each of those things there is a multitude of different aspects, so as you can see it is probably wise to have your own accountant helping you with all of this. A word of caution about accountants, one thing you may not realise is that they do not have to be qualified and anyone can actually call themselves an accountant. Now that sounds fraught with possible danger but it's not a huge problem as any qualified Chartered accountant is recognised by the letters ACA or FCA after their name, and Chartered Certified Accountants will carry the letters ACCA or FCCA after their name.

Those letters alone won't explain what body an accountant belongs but ACA means they are a chartered accountant qualified by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales. FCA is a more experienced chartered accountant and also a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales. You also have ACCA and FCCA and these are chartered accountants, qualified by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. You may sometimes see the letters CIMA and that means the accountant is qualified by the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants. A few accountants also advertise that they are CCAB qualified and this is qualified by the Consultative Committee of Accountancy bodies which is actually the governing body for all of the accountancy organisations.

Some of the acronyms used actually signify that the accountant is skilled in particular areas, as an example CIMA would be an accountant that focuses on accounting for business. You will also find CTA which is a Chartered Tax Advisors and they are tax specialists, trained by the Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIT). In short check out your accountants credentials as you really do need someone qualified especially if you want to use their specialist knowledge. Many businesses employ the services of an accountant for many years and have a good relationship with them and that's exactly what you do need to make sure your business runs as smoothly and trouble free as possible. An accountant could be your best friend and get you out of all kinds of sticky situations with regards to your financial operations and for that reason a good accountant is worth their weight in gold!

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