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“Can I sue my Accountant?”

When you instruct a professional person, you are entitled to expect a reasonable degree of skill and care will be exercised. Mistakes happen. If the quality of the work falls short of reasonable standards, and you suffer a loss, there may be justification for a claim of professional negligence to be made.

In order to establish liability in a professional negligence action, it is necessary to demonstrate that:

  • The defendant had a duty of care to the claimant
  • The duty of care has been breached
  • A loss arose from the breach and was foreseeable

It is alarming to note that, unlike the legal profession, where only a qualified solicitor can call themselves a solicitor, anyone can call themselves an accountant!

The incidence of claims against accountants and auditors continues to increase. By far the greatest concentration of claims against accountants arise from audits and tax work in its various forms.

If you think you have a claim you need to do the following:

  1. Contact a solicitor who is experienced in dealing with such claims to establish if you have a valid claim. If you need a recommendation, please contact us.
  2. Act quickly. There is usually a ‘limitation period’ of 6 years.
  3. List instances where your accountant has failed to perform their services to the required standard and caused you to suffer a loss as a result.
  4. Gather together important information and paperwork such as the contract (often referred to as the letter of engagement and terms of business) for services they provided.

Examples of accounting negligence cases that we have assisted solicitors with:

  • incorrect tax advice / illegal tax strategies
  • negligent audits, including the failure to spot fraudulent / wrongful activity
  • inaccurate valuation of company assets
  • failure to draw up accurate accounts or prepare account documents
  • missing accounting deadlines
  • inadequate advice concerning tax reliefs / exemptions
  • failing to advise you on capital allowances in a commercial property transaction
  • failing to identify an entitlement to relief for research and development for your business
  • over/undervaluation of companies or the disposal of shares

All our work in connection with providing an opinion as to whether you have suffered a financial loss arising from the alleged professional negligence is undertaken on a fixed fee basis.

If you would like more information as to how a Forensic Accountant can assist in your claim, please get in touch.

About the author

Raymond Davidson

Raymond has been specialising in Forensic Accounting and Litigation work for over 30 years, is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accounts in England and Wales and trained by the Academy of Experts to act as a Mediator.



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