Protect yourself against a PI Claim

PI renewal season has come to an end for 2019. Steve Wade outlines how the benefit works for ICPA members and warns of scammers at work

The renewal of the ICPA Professional Indemnity scheme has now passed for another year and it proved to be a successful renewal, with the vast majority of members logging on to the now familiar Vantage portal and completing the necessary declarations in good time.

We will, of course, be in touch again next year with the necessary reminders as renewal approaches and would urge members to log onto the portal as early as possible to complete the process.

Note that the system-generated reminders can on occasion be caught by ‘junk’ or ‘spam’ folders in your inbox, so please look to monitor these through the renewal period to ensure that the emails are not missed.

Professional Indemnity remains a core benefit for ICPA members and represents excellent value in an insurance market that is seeing increasing claim notifications and consequently increasing premium rates for accountants. The collective ICPA buying power helps to shield members from such market fluctuations, while providing members with a valuable and, of course, essential protection.

One reason for the increasing number of claims across the industry is the fact that more accountants are managing clients’ bank accounts, making payments on their behalf and inadvertently making payments to fraudsters. The digital revolution has created opportunity for fraudsters who are becoming more and more sophisticated and inventive; it is easy to fall victim and the impact on your business can be significant. We would urge members who provide this level of service to their clients to take steps to protect against fraud, ideally asking clients to provide final sign-off on payment runs and putting in place adequate safeguards around the verification of customers and their payment details.

Aside from this, Professional Indemnity claims are often caused by issues around tax advice, with the potential for members to be liable for unpaid tax, interest and penalties that arise as a result of incorrect advice, particularly where there is no longer an opportunity to apply and recover VAT from customers. The ICPA Practice Support Helpline is there to provide support and advice for members from this point, and it is important that if you are in doubt you should contact the advice line for an opinion. Liability for incorrect tax advice can and does run into tens of thousands of pounds. Where more detailed consideration is required members can also access written consultancy through the advice line service at discounted rates.

Please remember that the month for renewals is June (policies run from July to June). Bear this in mind when you’re planning your diary for 2020!

The ICPA Practice Support Helpline (for members only) also provides support in respect of employment, health and safety and commercial legal issues – call 01455 852011.

• Steve Wade, Managing Director, Vantage

Accounting Practice Online is part of the ICPA, which is an organisation designed to provide support and guidance for accountants in practice. With 35+ practice specific benefits there has never been a better time to join. Take a look at the routes to membership today.

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