Why You Should Be Wary of Cheap Accountants

Everyone loves a bargain. It’s basic human nature.

7 April 2021
Liz Case
Reading time
Around 5 min
#Management accounts

But when it comes to hiring an accountant for your business, it’s a dangerous game to choose one based on price over service. Of course, it’s tempting to hire a low-cost accountancy service - no one likes shelling out large amounts of cash. But there are many hidden pitfalls of hiring a cheap accountant that’ll affect your ROI, making your hard-earned money less useful.

Unqualified Accountants 

Did you know that anyone can call themselves an accountant? Legally, accountants don’t have to have any qualifications to set up their practice. Anyone can do it at the drop of a hat - and it happens a lot more often than you’d think.

In your search, look for an accountant with an AAT, ACA, ACCA, or CIMA qualification. These organisations offer much-needed regulation, plenty of experience and put budding accountants through vigours exams to ensure they’re well-equipped to handle clients’ finances.

An underqualified or unaccredited accountant will offer lower prices since they have less value to you and your company. If their prices seem too good to be true, they probably are.

Poor Service

Firms that charge less will typically have more clients due to their high affordability. This makes them stretched thin on resources - you won’t be able to enjoy the personalised, quality service that your finances deserve.

By comparison, you’ll receive much more tailored advice, insights and support from an accountant that seems more expensive at first glance.

Attention to detail is crucial in accounting. A firm that spends less time on your finances is more likely to make mistakes and they’re more likely to go unnoticed. Well, until you get penalised for them by HMRC.

It’s worth investing in a dedicated accountant that has the time to look at your finances in more depth because they’re not swamped with more clients. This gives you essential safety and security from unmitigated damage.

Higher Tax Bill 

Accountants that charge less aren’t usually as committed to customer retention as more expensive ones. Since they can attract other clients simply with their low prices, that makes you a replaceable commodity to them.

They won’t spend as much time really digging deep or checking as thoroughly in the numbers to save your company money since you can easily be replaced with another client. In comparison, a “pricier” accountant values your custom a lot more as they’re more dependent on being successful to keep you. On a day to day basis, they’ll be thinking about you more.

Missed opportunities can be very costly and you could end up with a much higher tax bill because your accountant didn’t look into things far enough to notice a fantastic money-saving moment that was ripe for the picking.

If your taxes aren’t optimised through fine-combed accounting, you’re spending a lot more money than you need to. Sole traders and limited companies alike get burned by this.

Limited Service

Firms that seem more expensive on the surface are usually more upfront about their accounting package and what’s included than a cheaper one. A low-cost accountant might be much less transparent about their fees and might end up shocking you later down the line with sneaky hidden charges.

A higher-quality accounting firm is much more likely to go the extra mile and offer you an all-inclusive service that provides you with better value for money. A dedicated accountant that goes above and beyond really is of huge value to your business. Although you pay more upfront, you’ll be much better off in the long run.


It's important to investigate what services are included in any offer that seems too good to be true.

I know the appeal of hiring an accountant that doesn’t charge much might sound attractive at first but they can end up costing a lot more money in the long term and leave you wishing you’d just invested in the pricer accountant to start with.

More expensive firms with qualified and chartered accounts will provide much better value for money and can save you a significant sum on your tax return. It’s worth remembering that if an accountant has prices that are “too good to be true” it’s because they’re relying on their low price to attract clients whilst more expensive firms rely on excellent service. They garner a good reputation through proven results and are willing to go above and beyond to ensure the financial health of your business.

Hiring an accountancy service is an investment in your business and it’s one that you need to carefully consider before diving in.