If you are going to engage anybody that will involve advice that could have dire consequences should it go wrong, then you need to make sure they are appropraietly qualified and have suitable insurance coverage.
Why is this relevant?
Accountants who are members of the major professional bodies (ICAA, CPA, NIA) are required to abide by the pronoucements issued under this group.
Two of the better known ones to accountants deal with Quality Assurance and Risk Management (APES 320 & APES 325).
Together, these give consumers (be it individiuals or businesses) the confidence that any and all advice given to them is going to accurate (as much as possible), and appropriate, and delivered by appropriatrelt qualified people. To aid this, accountants are required to have (fairly substantial) Professional Indemnity Insurance requirements. In the unliley event something goes wrong, this is a fall-back position.
Accountants will never give out financial product advice, nor talk about insurance (unless they are a licensed financial advisor or authorised representative as well). Similarly, you won’t hear them saying how good one investment is over another – even if it is their own circumstances.
Remember: you get what you pay for. If the person advising you is not prepared to back up what they are saying with an approved QA programme, as well as PI insurance, and you act on it and it goes pear-shaped – well – it’s your own fault really. It’s a bit like the business owner who made his bookkeeper his CFO (see earlier post). You should’ve checked that out before you started.
What scares the hell out of me is that there are still plenty of people in the market place who are ever willing to talk about issues to which they aren’t qualified.