Accountant is ‘reprimanded’

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A West Sussex accountant has been ‘severely reprimanded’ by the regulatory body for professional accountants.

James Conor Harmey was found guilty of misconduct and ordered to pay costs of £1,430 at a disciplinary hearing by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) on Friday, September 4.

ACCA said Mr Harmey had been disqualified from holding the position of director of a company or acting as an insolvency practitioner for six years. He was the sole director of a company set up to provide a staffing agency to residential care home owners, which went into liquidation in June 2013 after accruing a liability of £212,669 to HMRC in unpaid PAYE and National Insurance for its employees.

A document published by ACCA said Mr Harmey admitted the allegation, and because the debt to HMRC had been built up over a period of at least a year, the amount of debt and the length of disqualification ‘brought discredit to Mr Harmey, ACCA and the accountancy profession’.

The disciplinary committee regarded Mr Harmey’s conduct as director of the company as ‘completely unprofessional and an abrogation of his professional responsibilities as a qualified chartered accountant’.

It said the company in question had never operated a bank account, that as a chartered certified accountant Mr Harmey should have been aware that the company should have paid its liability to HMRC every month, and that the company had failed to make any payments towards the liability it had accrued between May 2012 and May 2013.

ACCA said the committee had regarded the nature and seriousness of the matters, as well as Mr Harmey’s full admission, testimonials and the work he has undertaken since, including qualifying as a member of the Chartered Management Institute.

It went on: “The committee also regarded as mitigation the fact that Mr Harmey has been an ACCA member for 15 years with no previous disciplinary matter, has fully cooperated with the investigation and regulatory proceess and has expressed genuine remorse and contrition.”

Websites giving details of company directorships list James Conor Harmey as having held the position of director with a number of companies in the Haywards Heath, Horsham and Crawley areas, as well as London, Devon and Kent.

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