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The importance of working with a qualified accountancy firm

The right accountancy firm for you will depend on your specific requirements and what they can offer. One thing you need to be sure of, however, is their qualifications and experience in dealing with your company requirements. Astin Accounts Managing Director Lee Astin outlines the importance of working with a qualified accountancy firm

Which qualifications should I be looking for when choosing an accountancy practice?

It is very important you ensure the accountancy company you are working with is registered with a professional accountancy body such as ACCA or ICAEW. Without obtaining such a status and holding a practising certificate means not only may they not be qualified, they may also not be in a position to issue and sign an Accountants Report within a set of financial statements. 

How can I tell if they have the qualifications?

To check the credentials of an accountancy company, you can refer to the following links for ACCA or ICAEW (ACA). Using Astin Accounts as an example, if you search on the ACCA website then you will see it is an ACCA registered business:


Why is it important for me to choose a qualified accountant – what are the risks?

People often do not realise that anyone can set up an accountancy practice, regardless of whether they have relevant qualifications, experience, technical skills or insurance.

When choosing an accountant you want to be reassured that they have the necessary experience and qualifications to provide high-quality services. Another way to look at this is – would you go to an unqualified or unregulated doctor for medical advice?

At Astin Accounts, we have first-hand experience of taking on clients who were previously serviced by unregulated accountancy practices who also lacked in experience and the sorts of issues we have identified have been:

  • VAT issues such as VAT overpayments, incorrect VAT treatment on sales and purchases, not registering at the correct point in time, etc.
  • Only a minority of services paid for being performed
  • Non-submission of VAT or tax returns resulting in penalties (in some cases we have been able to overturn the penalties)
  • Incorrect management accounts produced which lead to poor decisions by the Directors
  • No Accountants Report included within the financial statements
  • Poor use of accounting systems and technology
  • Poor production and use of management information to make key business decisions
  • Incorrect or lack of technical advice 

Why do some accountancy firms operate without qualifications?

Unfortunately, within the accountancy industry anyone can set up an accountancy practice regardless of their experience or qualifications unless you are already attached to a professional body (as then you are restricted to follow their regulations).

This, therefore, opens the door to allow anyone outside of a professional body to offer their services and often at a reduced rate to other practices within the industry.

We have taken on clients who were previously serviced by unregulated accountancy practices at a reduced rate but in fact they were not providing the agreed services and as a result they have then turned to ourselves to end up paying twice for the same services.

It is for this reason you will always be able to find a cheaper alternative to a regulated accountancy practice but very often you get what you pay for.

Astin Accounts is ACCA-accredited. What does this mean?

This means that Astin Accounts is approved by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) as an accountancy practice. ACCA is an international organisation set up for professional accountants which has more than 48,000 students and 188,000 members across 181 countries.

Members of ACCA are highly sought after because the skills acquired during the course will provide them with the ability to apply accounting practices and implement procedures with skill and precision. Qualifying with an ACCA certification means that people can be comfortable that you have some of the highest ethical and professional standards.

What qualifications do the team at Astin Accounts have and why is it important?

Not only is Astin Accounts an ACCA-registered accountancy firm but also we hold accountancy qualifications within the team. I have been a qualified ACCA accountant since 2008 as well as also holding my Practising Certificate.

Holding a Practising Certificate means that I am authorised by ACCA to provide a range of general accountancy services to individuals and businesses, including business and tax advice and planning, preparation of personal and business tax returns, set up of book-keeping and business systems, providing book-keeping services, payroll work, assistance with management accounting help with raising finance, budgeting and cash-flow advice, business start-up advice and expert witness.



Sean Freeland, Client Accountant, has completed all of his exams and on-the-job training so will shortly be receiving his ACA qualification so is effectively now operating at ACA accountant level, pending paperwork.

Lee Greggor, Client Accountant, is currently studying towards his ACCA qualification which we hope he will be able to achieve in the next couple of years.

In addition to the qualifications held within the team, we also have a vast level of experience operating as Finance Director, COO, Head of Business Controlling, Head of Client Accounting and Auditor within a wide range of sectors including eGaming, esports, cryptocurrency, yachting, aviation, local trading businesses and property being a few examples.

Where is the best place to start my search for a qualified accountant?

When searching for an accountant it is very important to not only consider whether they are qualified but also to determine whether they have the right experience for your business.

To identify whether an accountant is registered with a professional body this is straightforward by simply undertaking the online searches noted above. It is also an easy process to check the credentials of an individual accountant by checking the following links ACCA and ICAEW.

It is not as straightforward to identify whether an accountant has the necessary experience to provide a high level service to your company but searches on LinkedIn or a request for their CV can often be helpful.

It is therefore very important to raise questions during your initial meeting (as if you are interviewing your potential accountant) of what experience they have servicing clients within your industry and a good question to ask could always be “How would you propose we set up the finance function and systems for my business?”.

Another good way to identify whether an accountant is right for your business is to request client testimonials so you can gauge a better understanding of the level of service being provided to clients of the business.

These responses could very easily help you determine whether they really understand your business and have the expertise to deliver what you require.