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Anyone can call themselves an accountant


Accountant upstairs ↑

Accountant upstairs ↑ (Photo credit: jah~)

Yes it’s true, anyone – in Ireland at least – anyone can call themselves an accountant.  And, this has been the case for as long as I have been an accountant.  I was reminded of this recently by an article in the Irish Times. To  quote from the article:

“Don’t fret, because no qualifications are necessary to trade as an accountant. Anybody can open up a practice, no matter how innumerate they may be – there are no absolutely restrictions on the use of the term “accountant”. Remarkable, isn’t it?”

I guess it is remarkable.  Yes,  there are professional accounting bodies whose members must pass examinations and keep their training up to date.  And yes, to be an auditor you must generally be a member of such bodies. But after that anyone can claim to be an accountant. As noted in the Irish Times, even an upcoming review and consolidation of Irish company law has failed (as yet) to include a provision of who can use the term accountant.

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About martinjquinn

I am an accounting academic, accountant and author based near Dublin, Ireland.

2 responses to “Anyone can call themselves an accountant”

  1. G. Lawton says :

    Wow, that seems unbelievable. Here in the US we have the CPA, which seems to me to be a pretty effective indicator that someone has actual professional studies and training. Anyone can claim to be an accountant, but CPA means the higher qualifications.

    • martinjquinn says :

      Thanks Geoff, it is similar here with Chartered and Certified Accountants making up most practicing accountants. But, for example to call yourself a solicitor (lawyer) the law says you must do certain training. No such law exists for the term accountant.

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