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Insurance Tailored for Accountants

You’re used to working with numbers and calculations, but while you’re busy keeping your clients’ balance sheets in check, you also have your own math to balance. If you’re operating an accounting firm, you already know how much of an asset your business is to you, so having the right insurance for your own business should be a key part of your equation too.

If you are a member of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ) Aon has worked with insurers to develop specific insurance offerings that addresses the common needs and risks faced by chartered accountant members. If you are a member please click here.

Why do Accountants need insurance?

Dealing with your clients’ dollars, you know first-hand how a minor incident can wreak havoc on a business’s livelihood, and the same applies to you as an accountant. Whether it’s making a small mistake in calculating tax for your client, or having your computer network hacked, incidents happen to even the most careful businesses. Having appropriate insurance cover in place can help make sure you can keep the lights on in your own business even if you do experience certain disasters.

What Insurance do Accountants need?

There are a few different options when it comes to accountants’ insurance requirements. You’ll need to assess your own financial situation and your objectives when deciding which insurance to take out. Speaking to your broker can also help you understand the different options you have.

 

Professional Indemnity*
This is the most basic form of cover for accountants. Professional Indemnity may cover you in the event a client alleges your service or advice caused them financial loss. For example, if you make a mistake in calculating tax for your client, which leads to them being fined, your client may take legal action against you for the loss. Professional Indemnity Insurance in this instance would not only include cover for the legal fees to defend you in this case, but also financial compensation you’re required to pay, subject to all Policy terms and conditions.
 
Public Liability*
This may be a requirement for any business that deals with members of the public. It includes cover against claims where a client or a member of the public alleges your business activities caused them injury, or damage to their property. For example, if a client trips over a loose wire while visiting your office and suffers an injury. Public Liability through Aon is offered as part of a Business Insurance policy (see below).
 
Cyber Insurance*
Cyber insurance includes cover for financial loss you suffer as a result of a cyber attack. This can include phishing, malware and ransomware. In providing your service, you likely deal with some very commercially sensitive data, and this data may make you a very lucrative target for cyber criminals.
Business Insurance*
Business Insurance is a package insurance that allows you to bundle different coverages into one policy. There are 2 main components offered under Business Insurance – Public Liability cover and cover for your assets, including your physical business premises. If you have a physical office, this policy will let you choose from various cover to help protect your office. Cover options include damage to building & contents, theft, money, business interruption and portable property, along with computer and machinery breakdown.
 
Management Liability*
This is cover designed to protect business owners where they’re accused of certain wrongdoings. This can include allegations of discrimination, and actions brought against directors by regulatory authorities.
 

What is Coverwallet?

Coverwallet is our new digital insurance platform for SME’s. The platform has been designed with our customers’ needs first. So whether you know the insurance you require and want to get cover quickly and easily, or if you need more assistance to help you understand what insurance you need and more importantly why you need it, we can help.

 

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What could go wrong?

Here are a few claims examples of accountants who were caught out when minor oversights caused them to make mistakes in their work, causing financial loss.**

Stellar Partners, a law firm, appointed Digits Forensic Accounting Services to prepare a report to be used for a family law matter they were managing for their client, Robert. The report was to detail the value of commercial assets held by Robert and his ex-wife, and the contents of it were used to negotiate a settlement between the two of them. Robert, unhappy with the outcome of the settlement, notified Stellar Partners that the report was a scam which impacted his settlement. Upon examining the report, Stellar Partners found several errors in it, and took legal action against Digits Accounting Services for the financial loss suffered by both the law firm and Robert, estimated to be $500,000. Digits Accounting had Professional Indemnity Insurance arranged by Aon, and the insurance covered the legal fees to defend the case, and the insurer has already paid a portion of the financial compensation, with further reserves remaining.

David was a client of Numbers Accountants Pty Ltd, and had a Business Activity Statement prepared for him, which stated he was due a refund of $15,000 for the quarter ended 31st December. However, before the refund was paid, a hacker impersonated David and sent an email to Smart Accountants asking for the refund to be transferred to another account, which the employee of the accounting firm actioned, thinking the email was genuine. The refund from the ATO was paid into the hacker’s account. David took legal action against Smart Accountant for the financial damages, as he believed the accounting practice has been negligent in their service. The financial compensation required to be paid by the accounting firm was covered by Professional Indemnity Insurance.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need insurance as an accountant?

Insurance isn’t just for visibly ‘risky’ professions. As an accountant, you’re responsible for advising your clients on some pretty important matters, so if you overlook some minor figures, or make a small mistake in your calculations, the financial loss to your clients could be significant, which puts you at risk of having legal action taken against you. Having the right insurance in place can help reduce the impact to your own profit and loss statement if you experience mishaps such as indemnity claims and cyber attacks.

Why do I need both Professional Indemnity and Public Liability?

Professional Indemnity Insurance applies to claims where clients allege your advice or service caused them financial loss. Public Liability on the other hand covers you for claims where a client or members of the public alleges they suffered an injury or property damage as a result of your business activities.

I operate my business from home, do I still need insurance?

Operating your accounting business from home does not make you immune to risk. At a minimum, it’s likely you still need Professional Indemnity Insurance in the event you have a claim brought against you due to a service or advice you provide. Cyber Insurance is also worth considering, given you’re probably using the internet to perform some parts of your work. If you meet with clients in person (whether that’s at their home or in a public place), you may also need Pubic Liability. You may also need Business Insurance to cover the electronic devices you use for your business, as these may not necessarily be covered under your personal Home Insurance. We recommend you consult with a broker to help you determine the different insurance covers you might need based on your situation.

Why do I need Cyber Insurance?

Your high-value client base, the commercially sensitive information you hold about them and the raft of cloud based and online technologies you use all make you susceptible to cyber crime. For cyber criminals, attacking your system wouldn’t require much effort on their part, but the ramifications for you (and your clients) could be far-reaching. Cyber Insurance can therefore help safeguard your business’s viability if you do fall victim to an attack, and help make sure you’re not left with substantial out of pocket costs to rectify your IT systems and get your business back up and running.

Why do I need Management Liability Insurance?

If you’re managing a business, you’re responsible for making some very big decisions, and a management liability policy can help protect against the risks and exposures involved in doing so. If your business is a company, it also includes cover for directors & officers’ personal and corporate liabilities.

* Subject to full policy terms, conditions and exclusions.

** Claims stories have been de-identified to ensure confidentiality.

 

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