We are regularly consulted by clients who have been let down by their accountant and who wish to recover the financial losses that have arisen as a result. Claims against accountants often involve such things as:
- tax returns that have been incorrectly completed
- poor tax advice
- errors in drafting accounts
We act for both individuals and companies wishing to bring a negligence claim against an accountant.
Has my accountant made a mistake and breached their duty of care?
Accountants owe a duty of care to their clients. In order to bring a negligence claim we must establish that the accountant has acted in breach of that duty.
If an accountant has let you down. they may be held to be in breach of their duty of care if they fail to exercise the skill and care of a reasonably competent accountant.
In assessing whether the accountant has messed up we often look at accounting standards set by the profession’s governing bodies such as the Accounting Standards Board (ASB). The ASB issues accounting standards which apply to accountants throughout the UK and courts will take these standards into consideration when considering a claim against an accountant.
How do I assess the financial loss resulting from a negligent accountant?
The basic principles of professional negligence law also apply when assessing the financial loss resulting from an accountant's negligence. As always, causation is an important factor. It is not sufficient to prove that the accountant has been negligent, a successful claimant must also show that financial loss has resulted directly from the accountant’s bad advice.
In order to make a successful negligence claim against an accountant the claimant must establish a causative link between the negligence and the financial loss they have suffered.
Do i require expert evidence when bringing a claim against an accountant?
Claims against accountants can often involve complex technical points of accountancy practice. It is therefore common for a report to be obtained from an independent expert. The expert will normally be another accountant who is qualified to comment on the actions of the negligent accountant. Experts are also frequently used to assist in calculating the financial losses that have arisen as a result of the accountant's negligence.
What is the Limitation Period of a claims against accountants?
As with other areas of professional negligence law, limitation rules apply so it is important to seek legal advice as soon as you discover that you have been let down by an accountant. The usual limitation period is 6 years but important exceptions apply so specialist advice should be taken
How can you help?
We routinely undertake accountant negligence cases on a no win - no fee basis, subject to the losses exceeding the small claims court limit of £10,000 and the merits of the case being sufficiently strong. We are always happy to review cases and let you know whether it is a matter we can deal with on a no win - no fee basis, so contact us now.
The documents we will need to see to start your claim are the most important documents in an accountant negligence case which are contained in the accountant's file. If you do not already have the accountant's file we can arrange to obtain this for you.
Accountants negligence claims call for specialist legal advice from solicitors who are experienced in dealing with these cases. For a free assessment of your claim, contact our professional negligence legal helpline on 0808 139 1595. Alternatively, send us details of your case to us by email at [email protected]