Xero misses a key point in its proposal to change the definition of the word “accountant”

read this week in City AM that Xero is campaigning to amend the definition of an accountant but their proposal is terrible. It sounds like it’s been made up by someone who is not an accountant.

Here’s the proposal, “Accountant: a person whose job is to keep or inspect and advise on financial accounts”.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for challenging the status quo. Here at Countingup, we’re redefining what banking and accounting software mean for small businesses and with 9k customers, we’re the #1 accounting and banking app in the UK.

Back to the definition of an accountant. I am an accountant and to become a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales I, and 150,000 other members, had to train for three years and pass numerous exams to qualify. i.e. not anyone who has a job of keeping or inspecting and advising on financial accounts is an accountant. You must be qualified.

In fact, it’s risky for small businesses when someone who is not qualified purports to be an accountant. Can you imagine taking legal advice from a solicitor who is not qualified? Take a look at the definition of a solicitor:

“A member of the legal profession qualified to deal with conveyancing, the drawing up of wills, and other legal matters. A solicitor may also instruct barristers and represent clients in some courts.”

An improved definition for an accountant would be, “Accountant: A member of the accounting profession qualified to keep or inspect or advise on financial accounts”.

Let’s get it right.