Why do bookkeepers need insurance?
Although you pride yourself on precision, sometimes mistakes happen. While updating a company’s general ledger, you accidentally record two transactions incorrectly. This uncharacteristic mistake lands the client in hot water during an audit.
If they decide to place the blame with you and file a claim for negligence, cover may help with defence and settlement. Professional indemnity insurance for bookkeepers could help with the cost of the legal process.
After a positive monthly check-in with your client, you shake hands and lead them out of your office. But as you reach your reception area, the client trips over a loose cable. They hurt their leg and break their laptop in the process, losing access to important files. The client threatens legal action, with your working relationship on the line.
Public liability insurance may shield a bookkeeper from the financial consequences of such a mishap on their premises.
As soon as you bring staff on board to help with workload, adding employers’ liability insurance to your bookkeeper policy is a legal requirement (external link) in most circumstances. You might employ an apprentice or assistant to lighten the load. But if they fall ill due to their duties, or experience a workplace injury, you could be held liable.
If they decide to claim, employers’ liability insurance could help your bookkeeping firm with legal costs and pay compensation, if required.
What insurance is available for bookkeepers?
We can help you to build a tailored insurance package for bookkeepers so you can focus on the numbers.Build my cover
Insurance for bookkeepers: FAQs
Do I need a licence to become a bookkeeper in the UK?
Yes, you may require an anti-money laundering licence to offer bookkeeping services in the UK through self-employment or your own firm. This could be covered by the Association of Accounting Technicians (external link) or Institute of Certified Bookkeepers (ICB (external link)), for example. We may ask to see a copy of your bookkeeping licence if you make an insurance claim with Hiscox.
What’s the difference between a bookkeeper and an accountant?
Although bookkeeping and accountancy fall under the same financial umbrella, the roles are different. A bookkeeper maintains financial records – from sales to payments made – while an accountant uses these records to advise the business in its financial matters.
The role of a bookkeeper can involve:
- Managing documents
- Financial reporting
- Issuing and processing invoices.
The role of an accountant can involve:
- Providing tax advice
- Preparing budgets and business plans
- Creating cashflow forecasts.
Can I get cover for a second profession?
Yes, it may be possible to get insurance for a second profession that you hold in addition to bookkeeping. For example, you might serve as an accountant too. However, keep in mind that your insurance requirements might be different. You’ll need to tell us about all the types of work you do to build the most appropriate policy.
Is professional indemnity insurance compulsory for bookkeepers?
Professional indemnity insurance is a requirement for bookkeepers that have a practice licence from certain industry bodies, including the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers (ICB). To show clients you’re serious about organising their financial information and complying with regulations, you may aim to become a member of the ICB. PI insurance could then support your business with legal costs linked to a negligence claim due to errors in your work.
What level of cover do I need as a bookkeeper?
The insurance you need as a bookkeeper will ultimately come down to the size and nature of your business. However, those with an ICB practice licence are required to hold professional indemnity insurance. The ICB requests indemnity cover (external link) of £50,000 or more. It also encourages practices to cover their annual turnover by at least 2.5 times.
How soon can a bookkeeper get insurance and proof of cover?
With Hiscox, a bookkeeper can get a quote and buy insurance online in a matter of minutes. It’s possible to get a quote in just five minutes and purchase quickly afterwards – as soon as you’ve purchased, you’ll receive immediate coverage.
We also understand that bookkeepers might be asked to provide proof of professional indemnity insurance before starting a contract. Hiscox policy documents follow via email shortly after you buy insurance.
Related articles and guides
The importance of confidentiality in the workplace
As a bookkeeper, you know confidentiality is key for your clients. Read our guide on the importance of confidentiality and the steps you can take to protect information.
Common tax return errors made by small businesses
Although you run a tight ship, mistakes are still a possibility. Check out this guide to the common errors small businesses make with their tax returns for more.
What is professional negligence?
Your role comes with a high levels of responsibility, so understanding how to avoid falling foul of the rules can be important. Learn more about professional negligence here.