A professional accountant is an individual who practices tax planning and financial statements analysis as well as the preparation of the financial statements. While it is a general practice for accountants to specialize in either one or the other, there are different types of accountants available in the United Kingdom who can provide both types of accounting services. Chartered accountants, non-profit agencies and private individuals who are not members of professional bodies can also perform these functions.
In United Kingdom, it is not uncommon for there to be two types of accountants available to individuals who require their services. One is a member of a professional organization that offers general accountancy services and the other is a member of a professional accounting association that only provides specific types of accounting services to its members. Members of professional associations can be grouped based on various criteria in order to determine the suitability of an accountant for a particular task. The members of these associations are reviewed by other members in order to ascertain their suitability to perform a certain function or task. For instance, there are professional associations that screen candidates to ensure that they meet the standards set forth by their members. By meeting these stringent requirements, the members of a professional association to ensure that the individuals who become members of these associations have proven themselves to be good candidates for becoming members of their association.
Professional accountants in the United Kingdom also provide cost accounting services that help in the preparation and documentation of the financial statements. Cost accountants in the United Kingdom are required to be registered with the Companies House in the United Kingdom in order to be eligible for providing this service. Cost accountants in the United Kingdom can be employed by private individuals who do not belong to professional or trade organizations, or by major UK accounting corporations in order to provide financial accounting and tax services. Some of these tax professionals are also self-employed and work for themselves.