Selfemployed or Limited Company ( Bookkeeper/Accountant)

(22 Posts)
Focused123 Wed 12-Oct-16 15:07:11

Hi guys,
please advise. Do I have to a member of any accounting BODY ( ACCA or MAAT) to trade as a bookkeeper or run a limited accounting company?

Once I have done the courses and gotten the qualifications

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Focused123 Wed 12-Oct-16 15:14:07

Do I have to be

OP’s posts: |
Badbadbunny Thu 13-Oct-16 15:53:51

courses and gotten the qualifications

What courses and qualifications?

There are no restrictions as to who can operate a book-keeping or accounting business, so you don't even need to do any courses or get any qualifications.

BUT, if you are a member of, or associate/trainee of, an accounting or book-keeping body, you have to follow their rules as to what kind of work you can do. ACCA and AAT both have restrictions as to what their members can do without a practicing certificate/licence.

Me2017 Thu 13-Oct-16 19:24:09

Not as long as you do not mislead anyone about the qualifications you have.
So you could not say "qualified accountant" or "accountant" or 20 years of book keeping services if that were not true.

However you might well get it very wrong and be sued for every penny you have if you to not have the skills to do the job so I would be very careful if I were you. You wouldn't want your local carpenter or plumber or cleaner doing heart surgery on you would you?

Badbadbunny Thu 13-Oct-16 20:11:20

Unfortunately, anyone really can call themselves an accountant. It's not a protected word/profession.

Focused123 Thu 13-Oct-16 22:14:58

Thanks so much for your comments, I am about to begin my AAT and have been under the impression that I had to be MAAT before I could practice alone. Whilst I would not start up a business until I have gained some work experience and know what am doing as well as getting insured, I am relieved to know that it might not take as long as anticipated before I am self employed/Sole trading.

Thanks again.

OP’s posts: |
Badbadbunny Fri 14-Oct-16 13:18:44

The AAT rules will dictate what kinds of work you can do whilst you're a trainee member and then you'll need some kind of practising licence from them once you've passed their exams.

It's the rules of the body that dictate what you can or can't do. If you do work you're not allowed to do, they can (and usually will) discipline you and maybe expel you from their body.

If you're not a member of any body, then they have no power over you and you can do what you want as you're not answerable to them.


Me2017 Fri 14-Oct-16 16:22:53

Exactly. So for example I am a solicitor. If I were not I could provide legal services to anyone even if I had no GCSEs - I could offer contract amending service or something like that.

However if I were training to be a solicitor I would have to follow the rules of the relevant body in addition to the general law. For solicitors for example you have to be a qualified solicitor amnd have practised after that for I think three years before you can set up on your own as a solicitor.

dodobookends Fri 14-Oct-16 16:30:10

I've been a self-employed book-keeper offering a service to small businesses for about 15 years and don't have a formal qualification, so no, you don't have to wait until you are fully qualified to start a business. You will definitely need work experience in the 'real' world first though, preferably within several types of business (accountancy practice and commerce/industry) so you get an overall picture.

Focused123 Fri 14-Oct-16 16:55:35

Thanks dodobookends. I would certainly feel more confident and at peace in my work with some " work experience in the 'real' world first". Its the last profession you want to dive into without knowing what you are doing.

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dodobookends Sun 16-Oct-16 12:47:44

Absolutely - take bank reconciliation. You've learned what one is and done it 'in theory'. Until you have to do them in real life, you have no idea what to do when the EPOS payment from the card people doesn't agree with the till receipts, the manager takes cash out of the bank and then doesn't give you the receipts for what they've spent it on, the payment to a supplier bears no relation to the outstanding balance on the P/L, how to reconcile exchange rate differences when a customer pays you in a foreign currency and charges have been taken off as well, the list goes on. Not to mention that when you start the job you are taking over from someone else, and the opening TB doesn't agree with the stat accounts that were filed...

Womble75 Sun 16-Oct-16 12:54:22

I'm training to be a certified bookkeeper at the moment. I do it for our family businesses, but want to branch out and offer to others and go limited.
Lots of useful information on the above site.

pinkunicornsarefluffy Sun 16-Oct-16 12:59:09

You won't be able to get Professional Indemnity Insurance until you are a member of a professional body such as AAT.

I am a FMAAT, I worked in general practice for over 20 years before setting up my own business. I am licenced by AAT to do certain things and not others.

As others have said, anyone can advertise as an accountant/bookkeeper without being qualified or regulated.

If you are not a member of a professional body, you will have to register with HMRC as a bookkeeper for Money Laundering Regulations. You should also register with the ICO for data protection if you hold records about clients, which you will need to do under Money Laundering rules about getting ID etc.

Me2017 Sun 16-Oct-16 15:13:07

Professional indemnity insurance would hnot then be a legal requirement but might be wise if you have a house your creditors might sue if you cock something up and you are not operating through a limited company you could liquidate.

Ta1kinpeece Sun 16-Oct-16 16:02:56

I'll be really boring here
I'm FCCA qualified
the way to make money long term in accountancy / book keeping is not down to qualifications
its down to experience
before starting out on your own, do at least 5 years working for others

I do not advertise n any way shape or form
I pick my clients
and my turnover goes up each year
and my MLR paperwork is simple as everybody is face to face referrals

the real money is in "adding value" not "doing books"
once you have done enough work for other people you will find your niche

Ta1kinpeece Sun 16-Oct-16 16:04:19

NB Doing tax returns without PII is a mugs game as HMRC have a 20 year call back (which I have seen exercised)

ClashCityRocker Sun 16-Oct-16 16:25:10

Yup no way would I touch any tax work without PII.

Although to be honest I would be uncomfortable touching tax work on the back of AAT alone without a decent whack of experience behind me. AAT is quite basic-level stuff and with tax, you don't know what you don't know.

But yes, experience is far more valuable than qualifications IMO - although I have ACA and CTA, which provides a good, solid knowledge base, my real strength lies in real-life experience built up over a long period of time.

I suspect we are going to see big changes in the accountancy sector with the advent of MTD and many potential clients will be able to handle basic-level compliance themselves. The focus on 'adding value' rather than compliance work (which is what AAT focuses on really) will only increase over time.

I would suggest writing to local firms of accountants and offering your services. We get most of our juniors through speculative letters and fund AAT and ACA for successful applicants.

ClashCityRocker Sun 16-Oct-16 16:42:06

Also, if you're looking at the bookkeeping side, you will also need to be au fait with the software used - Sage, Xero, Quickbooks etc. Just something to bear in mind.

I dont get involved in that side anymore, but I can tell you some horror stories about Sage when used by someone who doesn't really understand it!

Ta1kinpeece Sun 16-Oct-16 16:51:46

Oh goodness we sound like the merchants of doom but I utterly reiterate what Clash is saying

as my ID on lots of sites has said for many years

Counting the beans = £1
Knowing which beans to count = £99

qualifications are nothing against experience

dodobookends Sun 16-Oct-16 16:55:34

GIGO ClashCityRocker ?!! I turned up at one place to find thousands of transactions in the suspense account because someone hadn't set up the stock pricing & discount parameters properly. I made my excuses and left grin

I don't have indemnity insurance, which is why I don't touch tax returns or payroll with a bargepole, and only prepare the figures for VAT returns but don't actually do the submissions.

gillybeanz Sun 16-Oct-16 16:59:01

Bookkeepers and accountants are completely different.
I do the bookkeeping for our Ltd Company.
I wouldn't know where to start as an accountant though, so pass the books to the accountant.

dodobookends Sun 16-Oct-16 18:15:37

Agree - people with a knowledge and understanding (and experience) of both are few and far between.

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