An accountant, like many professional people such as a solicitor or surveyor, has a duty of care to their clients. This means they have to perform their role with reasonable care and to a reasonable standard. An accountant is seen to be acting negligently when they fail to perform to these professional standards that are required of them. The result of this is that the client can suffer either damage or loss. If you find yourself in a position where your accountant has acted negligently, it is important to understand the options open to you. In this article, accountant negligence – how to sue an accountant, we take a look at the options open to you if you find yourself in this position.
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For a free initial discussion on how we can help you deal with a professional negligence claim against an accountant, get in touch with us today. We are experienced in dealing with all forms of professional negligence and we will review your situation and discuss the options open to you in a clear and approachable manner. Early expert legal assistance can help ensure you avoid the stress of dealing with these issues on your own. Simply call us on 0345 901 0445 or click here to make a free enquiry and a member of the team will get back to you.
So what actually amounts to negligence?
If your accountant makes a mistake whilst representing you and for that mistake to amount to negligence, the accountant must have done the following things:
- Made a mistake
- Breached their duty of care to you as a client
- As the client, you must be able to show that if it wasn’t for the accountant’s mistake, you would not have suffered the loss.
- Suffered a financial loss.
If your claim against your accountant succeeds, the accountant will have to pay damages that would put you in the position you would have been in had the negligence not taken place. The advice that accountants give can be critical. There are heavy fines and penalties for those who do not comply with HMRC deadlines or make errors. It is also worth noting that it’s the business owner who is responsible and pays the financial penalty.
It is important to remember that for any accountant negligence claim to be successful, it must prove that there has been a loss and that the accountant breached their duty of care to you when carrying out your instructions.
Examples of Accountant Negligence
Accountants can be responsible for a range of errors, including:
- failure to follow procedures.
- missed deadlines.
- giving incompetent advice.
- failure to conduct a proper audit.
- failing to detect fraud.
- incorrect share valuations.
- negligent tax advice.
- making data entry errors.
- failing to correctly categorize income and expenses.
- failure to submit tax returns on time.
In legal terms, there is a difference between what is considered to be negligent advice and what is just poor or inadequate advice. Many people suffer from poor service but in most instances, this doesn’t amount to negligence.
Why it is important to use a specialist solicitor
If you have suffered loss as a result of a negligent accountant, such claims are usually complex and take time to resolve. Further, it is highly likely that your accountant’s insurer will use an experienced professional negligence solicitor. Consequently, it is vital you receive the right legal advice to ensure you have the best chance of being successful in your negligence claim.
It’s worth noting that anyone can call themselves an accountant. So, it’s advisable when you are seeking accounting advice to use a recognised professional. The majority of accountants in England and Wales are either accredited by the ACCA (Association of Certified Chartered Accountants) or the ICAEW (Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales)
Both the ACCA and ICAEW have a complaints procedure designed to help you make an initial complaint if you feel one of their members offered you poor advice or you’re not happy with the service provided. This approach is mainly for poor service rather than negligent advice. However, it is worth following this process.
Are there time limits for solicitor negligence claims?
You must be in time to make a claim, this is known as the ‘professional negligence limitation period’. There are different time limits for different types of claims, but usually, there is a time limit of six years to bring a claim from the date the negligence occurred. However, if the negligence does not come to light until a later date there are circumstances where this can be extended.
How much can you typically receive if you are successful in making a claim?
The value of your claim against an accountant is like all professional negligence claims; it varies greatly depending on many factors including your personal circumstances, the value of your loss, and the negligence on the part of the accountant.
How we can help
We have a proven track record of dealing with negligence claims against accountants. We will guide you through the process and ensure all checks are carried out swiftly and efficiently and we firmly believe that with the right solicitors by your side, the entire process will seem more manageable and far less daunting.
How to Contact Our Commercial Litigation Solicitors
It is important for you to be well informed about the issues and possible implications of a professional negligence claim. However, expert legal support is crucial in terms of ensuring a positive outcome to your case..
To speak to our Commercial Litigation solicitors today, simply call us on 0345 901 0445, or click here to make a free enquiry. We are well known across the country and can assist wherever you are based. We also have offices based in Cheshire and London.