Following on from yesterday’s blog there are also plenty of people with whom my question resonates. Some of the partners and sole practitioners present are remarkably honest in their replies:

Those who said ‘yes’ all explained why:

YES:

·Convinced my knowledge is not as uptodate as it should be but working on it

·Anyone doing a proper job will be sued at some point in time;

·Could lose everything;

·Failure to recognise a claim or a potential claim;

·Fear of getting it wrong;

·I have discovered some ‘Donald Rumsfeld’ type “unknown unknowns”;

·I know I don’t know everything!

·Because even though conscious of PI issues I am always prone to human error;

·Due to the ever-changing laws, regulations and the purposive construction of the law;

·In case I do something wrong that I’m not aware of.

·It has done previously on occasion – but I always managed to resolve things; If one has good systems and is confident of advice then all should be ok;

·Lack of internal controls;

·Living in a more litigious environment;

·Occasionally if I have taken too long to do a job;

·Sometimes because I fear the loss of my reputation and self-esteem;

·Occasionally if there has been a problem that involves a mistake by my firm;

·Occasionally! Mainly because of fear of impact on credibility;

·PI cover may not be high enough;

·Professional image, loss of clients, disciplinary issues with the Institute;

·Reputational impact and interpretation of advice;

·Some clients may misinterpret the advice we gave them;

·Sometimes – if I know I have made a mistake.

·The law is changing very rapidly and it’s difficult to keep up to date;

·Very occasionally – financial impact;

I accept that there is little point worrying about something over which you have no control. Remember the old adage: Worry is like a rocking horse; it gives you something to do but doesn’t get you anywhere.

The key point I am driving at when I ask the question during my talk though is whether you are aware of the risks you run in your practice and are taking an appropriate amount of precautions to limit the downside. As some of the respondents implied abov, you cannot be in practice, whatever your profession, and not run the risk of making a mistake that costs a client money or of a dissatisfied client alleging that you have been negligent. Equally you cannot operate effectively if you are constantly worried about these risks.

In my talk about How to avoid professional negligence claims I encourage attendees to recognise that the risk of problems arising can be distinguished between those likely to have a big impact and those that will have little impact. Equally some problems are more likely to occur than others. Your response to different risks should depend upon their potential likelihood and their potential impact.

I have written a 10,000 word ebook drawn from my talk on How to avoid professional negligence claims, containing tips and risk management advice for accountants in practice. You can buy the book or download a summary for free here>>>