Making a negligence claim against an accountant
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; and
- errors in drafting accounts.
We represent 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 against an accountant we must establish that the accountant has acted in breach of that duty.
They are likely 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 made a mistake 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 negligence 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. ‘Causation’ is an important legal principle. 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. A causative link between the negligence and the financial loss must be established.
Do I require expert evidence when bringing a negligence claim against an accountant?
Claims against accountants 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 for 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 alway be taken.
How can we help?
We are highly experienced in dealing with accountants negligence. You can read the various case studies on this website which give details of the cases we have successfully handled, including one claim where the client’s previous solicitors said there was nothing they could do for her!
We offer a range of funding options and routinely undertake accountant negligence cases on a No Win – No Fee basis, subject to:
a) the losses comfortably exceeding the small claims court limit of £10,000; and
b) the merits of the case being sufficiently strong.
We are always happy to review cases free of charge and let you know whether it is one we can deal with on a No Win – No Fee basis, so contact us now.