Accountants are relied upon by businesses, sole traders and individuals to deal with a variety of financial matters.
Unfortunately, some who call themselves an accountant may not have the necessary skill to provide proper financial advice and services.
Regardless of their skill and qualifications, a professional who holds themselves out as an accountant has a duty to their clients to provide their services with reasonable care and skill. This is known as the duty of care.
Although the majority of accountants provide a professional, competent service, this is not always the case.
Sometimes, even the most skilled professionals can make mistakes which lead to the client suffering a financial loss.
The majority of accountants are regulated by one of two professional bodies, depending on their qualifications, and these bodies have formal complaints procedures.
Chartered accountants are regulated by the Association of Certified Chartered Accountants (ACCA) and Chartered Accountants are regulated by the institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW).
These complaint procedures aim to deal with the majority of minor accountant negligence issues and this may be the best first step.
However, if don't feel this option has not or would not settle your issue sufficiently, it might be time to consider official legal action.
As with all professional negligence cases, you will need to prove that the accountant breached their duty of care and that this has caused you a loss.
In the case of accountants, this means that you have been ordered to pay a fine or other money that you would not otherwise have had to pay.
For example, if your accountant files your taxes incorrectly and HMRC ask you to pay the amount of tax that you would have had to pay if the accountant had filed your taxes correctly, then the accountant has been negligent but they have not caused you any loss.
There are strict time limits to bring a claim for professional negligence against an accountant. That time limit is normally 6 years from the date of the negligence.
In some cases, if you do not find out about the negligence, or the damage that it has caused until a later date, you may still be able to bring a claim.
This means that if you believe that your legal professional has been negligent you should not delay in making an enquiry of our expert team, who will be able to advise you on all aspects of your claim.
Once we have assessed your claim, we can offer a number of funding options. We often accept claims on a no win no fee basis, where you only pay our costs if we win and which you can read more about on our funding page. We can also offer discounted fees and other funding methods where appropriate.
If we have to issue proceedings, we can also advise on minimising your risk by obtaining an appropriate insurance product to protect you from adverse costs awards.
Whether you are an individual or a business, Specters’ expert team has over 25 years’ experience in resolving professional negligence disputes. We believe in dealing with matters without the need for lengthy and expensive court proceedings and we will help you devise the right solution to your problem.
If you feel you have been the victim of poor financial advice, we invite you to get in touch with our expert team to discuss your options - you may be able to claim compensation for financial adviser negligence.
The professional negligence lawyers at Specters Solicitors has specialised in accountant negligence advice to clients for over 25 years.
We achieve successful outcomes based on flexible funding agreements, which range from no win no fee agreements to conditional fee agreements.
Whether your accountant is a chartered accountant in England or Wales and/or gave you the impression they are qualified to provide you with the necessary services, you may be able to bring a claim against them if their service has fallen below the expected standard (leading to financial loss).