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From 1 April 2016 ATOL holders are required to use an ATOL Reporting Accountant (ARA). This requires all accountants who produce reports for the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) be members of a participating accountancy body, register to take the required training and become part of the ARA scheme. 

The ATOL Reporting Accountants' scheme has been developed by the CAA in order to help improve the standard of ATOL reporting and the quality of financial information submitted by ATOL holders. The scheme is designed to ensure that designated accountants of participating bodies are sufficiently knowledgeable about both the industry and specific requirements of ATOL to provide the required reports needed by the CAA. The reality is that in the past, accountants for some travel businesses, whether they monitored the accounts for small or indeed larger firms, didn’t always understand the rules. In some instances, even the travel businesses themselves didn’t always find it easy to understand the rules. 

It will be expected that an ARA really does understand what the CAA expects by way of information, and over time this should increase and improve the reporting and hopefully reduce the number of failures. So going forward, lack of knowledge or understanding of the rules will no longer be acceptable should false or inaccurate accounts be produced by any ARA.

It appears that some accountants are yet to complete the course and there are instances where some accountants who have completed it, want to charge their clients more money as a result. It is important to note that an accountant being an ARA should not, if considered on its own, be a reason for any increase in accountancy costs because the information required by the CAA hasn’t actually changed. 

Have you spoken to your accountant recently and confirmed they will be an ARA? if not it is time to have that conversation with me.

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