Many business people take it for granted that their accountant is properly qualified. In fact, anyone in the UK can call themselves an accountant, and occasionally this causes difficulty when the “accountant” doesn’t know what they’re doing, or worse, is dishonest.
A regulated profession is one where it is restricted by national law to those holding specific qualifications. In the UK however there is no legal requirement for a person to have a qualification in order to carry out accountancy work.
It seems easy for a person to put letters after their name, perhaps by joining an organisation or paying a membership fee, but the recognised UK accountants’ qualifications require the passing of various examinations, and a period of work experience before a person is fully qualified.
The most common UK qualifications for high street accountants are as follows:
ICAEW – Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales
ACCA – Association of Chartered Certified Accountants
CTA – Chartered Tax Adviser (used to be ATII or FTII)
The Association of Accounting Technicians also has grown in recent years and members who have achieved this qualification may use the letters MAAT or FMAAT.
There is more information here: