What is an accountant....

Chinless WonderChinless Wonder Feels At HomePosts: 61Registered
... in terms of acting as a countersignatory for someone's passport?

My boss (or rather, one of the two directors of the company I work for) asked if I can countersign her passport. Here are the stipulations for who can do this:

"Who you can ask to be your countersignatory?

Your countersignatory should:
*have known you for at least two years
*live in the UK
Your countersignatory should not:
*be related to you by birth or marriage
*be in a personal relationship with you
*live at the same address as you
*work for the Identity and Passport Service

Your countersignatory should be a professional person or a person of good standing in the community. If you are not sure who to ask, call the IPS Passport Adviceline on 0300 222 0000.

These are examples of the type of person that would be suitable:
*accountant
*airline pilot
*articled clerk of a limited company
*assurance agent of recognised company
*bank/building society official
*barrister
...etc"

So accountant - that's me right? I am an MAAT with a MIP licence though I am not chartered (yet) - is that "enough" of an accountant ?

I called the IPS to ask if I was accountant enough, and they were pretty clueless about the nature of an AAT qualification versus a Chartered. Plus, AFAIA, anyone can call themselves an accountant if they wish (there's no legal barrier).

I'm putting "Accountant - qualified MAAT" on the form. But just wondered if anyone else had experience of this?

Comments

  • MonsoonMonsoon Font Of All Knowledge Posts: 4,071FMAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant
    This comes up a lot and there is a bit of debate but basically, yes you can sign it.
  • Gem7321Gem7321 Experienced Mentor DevonPosts: 1,438MAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant
    My last 2 passports were countersigned by an MAAT and have been fine
  • sdvsdv Experienced Mentor Posts: 585Registered
    ... in terms of acting as a countersignatory for someone's passport?

    My boss (or rather, one of the two directors of the company I work for) asked if I can countersign her passport. Here are the stipulations for who can do this:

    "Who you can ask to be your countersignatory?

    Your countersignatory should not:

    *work for the Identity and Passport Service


    Although a MAAT accountant can countersign the passport photographs and the application forms, can a MAAT do the same as en employee of a passport applicat?
  • PeteLCPeteLC Feels At Home Posts: 56Registered
    I heard that you have to be FMAAT before you were able to sign a passport picture!
  • MonsoonMonsoon Font Of All Knowledge Posts: 4,071FMAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant
    PeteLC wrote: »
    I heard that you have to be FMAAT before you were able to sign a passport picture!

    I think that's the official line. However in practice a MAAT will be able to sign it and it be accepted.

    I once signed one when I was a student member and it went through fine (I didn't know any better and the client was very persuasive in getting me to do it!)
  • blobbyhblobbyh Font Of All Knowledge Posts: 2,415Registered
    Monsoon wrote: »
    I think that's the official line. However in practice a MAAT will be able to sign it and it be accepted.

    Slipping through the net untested is not the same as being tested and subsequently passed. And are we saying that an accountant, hairdresser or even your milkman (* joke *) passing an NVQ at level four allows them to sign passports simply because they've achieved a certain level of qualification?

    Personally I'd be wary about giving out advice that it's okay for MAAT's to sign passports on assumption or the fact they or others have never actually been caught yet. There's also a certain kind of irony in that you wouldn't dream of not following the money laundering regs for business use yet are happy to sign something as crucial as a passport without even knowing if you're legally able to do so. As a business owner and assumedly a person of good standing in the community, I'm sure you Jenni and certain other MIP's may well be able to sign off but maybe not the newly qualified MAAT working in the accounts department of a small manufacturing company.

    There's also the possible hazard that were your signature checked, found to be invalid and the passport application rejected, that the person applying for their passport could end up losing their holiday if it cannot be reapplied for at short notice. A grey area of professional responsibility if ever there was one!

    Since this one comes up periodically, wouldn't it be a better idea to obtain official clarification from the AAT head honchos rather than going by feelings of vanity which may one day be proved wrong and land people in shark infested water?
  • MonsoonMonsoon Font Of All Knowledge Posts: 4,071FMAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant
    I probably didn't word my response very well. I think I've heard that FMAATs can sign, but I can't remember where I heard it or whether it's from a reputable source. This question comes up a lot on the forum and I don't think anyone has been able to produce the definitive answer, and I believe most people are under the impression MAATs can sign. Advice on a forum should never be taken as formal advice, it's just someone's opinion, and if anyone acts on forum advice that's their lookout. If anyone is concerned they should indeed get official clarification.

    I'm not sure where vanity comes into it; if MAATs are allowed then they are. Given that I've never heard of a MAAT signing a passport app and it coming back rejected, that either implies that we are allowed, or a tacit acceptance of us by the passport service even if it's not strictly allowed, or that the passport service don't check at all and any Tom, **** or Harry can sign it (which would make a mockery of the whole thing).

    Going back to the situation where I naively signed one many years ago before I was qualified, I was very reticent to do it at first but the form clearly stated "accountant" and didn't qualify that with any obvious clarification of who they defined as an accountant. I couldn't see any good reason not to and I let myself be bullied into it.
  • MonsoonMonsoon Font Of All Knowledge Posts: 4,071FMAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant
    From Direct.gov
    Your countersignatory should be a professional person or a person of good standing in the community. If you are not sure who to ask, call the IPS Passport Adviceline on 0300 222 0000.

    These are examples of the type of person that would be suitable:

    * accountant
    * airline pilot
    * articled clerk of a limited company
    * assurance agent of recognised company
    * bank/building society official
    * barrister
    * chairman/director of limited company
    * chiropodist
    * commissioner of oaths
    * councillor (local or county)
    * civil servant (permanent), but not someone who works for IPS
    * dentist
    * director/manager of a VAT-registered charity
    * director/manager/personnel officer of a VAT-registered company
    * engineer (with professional qualifications)
    * financial services intermediary (eg a stockbroker or insurance broker)
    * fire service official
    * funeral director
    * insurance agent (full time) of a recognised company
    * journalist
    * Justice of the Peace
    * legal secretary (fellow or associate member of the Institute of Legal Secretaries and PAs)
    * licensee of public house
    * local government officer
    * manager/personnel officer (of a limited company)
    * member, associate or fellow of a professional body
    * Member of Parliament
    * Merchant Navy officer
    * minister of a recognised religion (including Christian Science)
    * nurse (RGN and RMN)
    * officer of the armed services (active or retired)
    * optician
    * paralegal (certified paralegal, qualified paralegal or associate member of the Institute of Paralegals)
    * person with honours (an OBE or MBE, for example)
    * pharmacist
    * photographer (professional)
    * police officer
    * Post Office official
    * president/secretary of a recognised organisation
    * Salvation Army officer
    * social worker
    * solicitor
    * surveyor
    * teacher, lecturer
    * trade union officer
    * travel agent (qualified)
    * valuer or auctioneer (fellows and associate members of the incorporated society)
    * Warrant Officers and Chief Petty Officers

    Looking at the full list, I can't see how a MAAT doesn't fall into the description of a professional/ person of good standing. If we are unsure about MAAT, then if a Director of a Limited Company can sign, I will sign in that capacity instead.

    Actually, that makes a bit of a mockery, slightly. Anyone can be a company director, whereas many of the other types of people do require some professional qualifications.

    And, it doesn't qualify the definition of accountant. Furthermore, they have stated accountant, not chartered accountant. As accountant is not a protected term and anyone can call themselves one, I really don't see the problem, based on that guidance.
  • MonsoonMonsoon Font Of All Knowledge Posts: 4,071FMAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant
    And I have just spotted this one:

    * member, associate or fellow of a professional body

    Job done :)
  • PeteLCPeteLC Feels At Home Posts: 56Registered
    Monsoon wrote: »
    And I have just spotted this one:

    * member, associate or fellow of a professional body

    Job done :)

    So we have a proper answer for once!

    Spread the word! lol
  • PGMPGM Font Of All Knowledge Posts: 1,954Registered
    Monsoon wrote: »
    Your countersignatory should be a professional person or a person of good standing in the community. If you are not sure who to ask, call the IPS Passport Adviceline on 0300 222 0000.

    These are examples of the type of person that would be suitable:

    * chiropodist
    * licensee of public house
    * photographer (professional)


    Theres some odd ones in there. But it does examples! So its down to interpretation anyway. Especially the person of good standing in the community.

    I bet its rare they pull anyone up on this part of the application :D
  • MonsoonMonsoon Font Of All Knowledge Posts: 4,071FMAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant
    PGM wrote: »
    Theres some odd ones in there. But it does examples! So its down to interpretation anyway. Especially the person of good standing in the community.

    I bet its rare they pull anyone up on this part of the application

    My point exactly :)
  • FireraiserFireraiser Feels At Home Posts: 91Registered
    I did one a few years ago and put myself down as an ex civil servant. I did get a letter asking me to clarify, when I replied with the name of the dept that I worked for, my grade and length of service everything was hunky dory. So these things do get a certain level of checking it appears
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