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“Fit and Proper” register for bookeeping services

Comment 1st July 2010

As a firm that is not regulated by a proffesional body we were required to register with the government for fit and proper persons status. This required us answering questions like " have you been convicted of a terrorist act". We duly paid over our fee not only for each individual within the firm but also an annual fee that allows us to trade as accountants, bookkeepers and payroll agents. This was supposed to put a stop to money-laundering and terrorist activities. I believe it is the law that anyone who is not affiliated with a proffesional body has to register as fit and proper if they deal in any way with accounts, bookkeeping and or payroll or they are not allowed to trade under penalty of fines etc. We are aware that there are many bookeepers etc out there who are not registered with the government and possibly never will be, I think mainly because they are not aware of the law. As a firm that is registered with HMRC as accountants why did we need to register with another government department? Surely not another government money raising excercise! Scrap this law and fee. If a bookeepers works only a couple of hours a week, they have the choice of not registering or not bothering to do those few hours through cost of the registration fee. If like us it is a proffession, let us get on with it and let HMRC decide whether we are doing our jobs properly. If a money launderer or terrorist is in this trade do you think he will actually register?

Why does this matter?

We currently have HMRC regulations, standards and deadlines to comply with let us try to get on with these and not worry whether we have paid our registration fee. We have never had an audit from this department. We have never been contacted by this department (only for the fee) and I suggest again that it will not catch criminals or terrorists, all it does is make us resentful of the government.

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