Why become a self-employed accountant?
- Becoming a self-employed before your internship ensures you a smooth start when launching your activity
- In the war for talent, being a self-employed offers you a great deal of flexibility
Recognition by the ITAA: examinations and internship
The first step on your way to a proper accounting firm is your official certification as a tax advisor or accountant. A compulsory step in Belgium, as you exercise a protected profession as an expert.
All agreements in our country are assessed and issued by the ITAA (Institute for Tax advisors and Accountants).
This institute succeeded to the BIBF and the IAB, that merged in 2019 to form an umbrella organization for accountants and book-keepers-tax advisors.
The main requirements for your professional recognition by the ITAA:
- Entry examination based on your previous training
- Internship of minimum three years, with intermediate tests
- Skills examination by means of a written and an oral test
Did you complete the studies successfully? Then you may take the oath and you will be officially registered in the public accountants’ register.
Be careful: during your internship, you are not in paid service but still working as a self-employed.
Internship as a self-employed intern-accountant
As an intern-accountant, you acquire professional experience in another company and benefit from guidance by an internship supervisor. Nevertheless, your internship is not running under a wage-earner statute, but as a self-employed. That means that you start up, just like any entrepreneur, a proper activity. You can start it most easily as a sole proprietorship, which enables you to work as a self-employed in a main or complementary activity.
This also means that you have to fulfil the typical administrative formalities for your registration as a self-employed. Discover the five steps for a successful administrative start-up.
A short summary of the administration:
- Registering at the CBE (Crossroads Bank for Enterprises) and applying for your company number
- Activation of your VAT number
- Registration at a social insurance fund
Sounds complicated? Our Securex experts are ready to help you and to settle the affiliations.
Your own accountant’s business
Did you successfully finish off your internship and pass the capacity test and have you been sworn in as a certified accountant? Thus, you further build on your self-employed status. If you opted for a sole proprietorship, you could consider moving to a society.
Now you are ready to really start your own company. One of the main questions in this respect? How to determine your rate. What would be a fair price for you as a beginning specialist?
Here you can find tips to set a competitive price for your service offer.
Which insurances are crucial as an accountant?
Entrepreneurship means daring to take risks. With the proper insurances, you can sleep on both ears and focus on the further development of your company.
Legally compulsory insurance schemes for accountants
As a chartered accountant and book-keeping expert, you are legally obliged to conclude a professional liability insurance. This is actually a clever move to take for most self-employed, e.g., also for freelances. It protects you against possible costs stemming from any professional errors committed.
Furthermore, you should also enter into a civil liability insurance. This protects you against damage inflicted on third parties when making unconscious errors.
Complementary insurance schemes
Next to the compulsory insurances, a few complementary insurances could also prove a good idea:
- For example, a hospitalization insurance covers the cost of a hospitalization intake. As a self-employed accountant under sole proprietorship, you can take out hospitalization insurance privately. If you have a company, you set up your hospitalization insurance through your company.
- Guaranteed income (occupational accidents included for employees, not for self-employed) in turn entitles you to a replacement income if you prove unable to work for some time due to illness or an accident.
- As a self-employed person, you are largely responsible to work out your own pension accrual. Consider pension savings, IPS (individual pension supplement), FCPS (free complementary pension for self-employed), PASE (pension agreement for self-employed), etc., often with interesting tax advantages.
- Tax legal assistance for your company’s clients. Benefit: security for you as a business manager to pay your clients' costs in the event of a tax audit.
Continued growth as an accountant
Both legislation and practice are constantly evolving. As an accountant, you are also required to engage in continuing education through training courses for at least 120 hours every 3 years. Since 2020, online webinars by recognized ITAA training institutes also count vis-a-vis your training.
We regularly provide certified training and courses, given by recognized Securex experts or in collaboration with specialized lawyers. This way, you specialize your services even more and further polish your knowledge of tax and socio-legal topics.