Accounting Insurance Policy Information
Accounting Insurance. If you work as an accountant, CPA or financial specialist, then a business owner's policy or BOP policy is an essential part of doing business. This type of policy protects your business from liability and financial fallout caused by liability in a similar way that a homeowner's policy protects your home residence and the home's contents. BOP policies are relatively inexpensive and a part of the cost of operating an accountant business.
Accountants handle clients' financial records. Services are provided to the general public, a specific firm, or group of client firms. The accounting operation may provide general financial services, or specialize in a specific area such as taxes, real estate, or investments. An accounting firm may or may not carry the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) certification. The need for the CPA certification depends on the type of work the accountant will provide and the purpose or type of financial statements the accountant will prepare for the client.
If a CPA certification is required, the accountant must have knowledge and experience in working with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) or statutory accounting principles (SAP), depending on the client. Some accountants may also act as financial planners and offer investment advice. Due to the varied areas of knowledge or expertise needed for these activities, the background, education, certification, experience and professionalism are items to consider.
BOP policies combine several basic coverage types into one policy that provides your business with the protection it needs from potential perils and liabilities. Most small accounting businesses and people doing business in the financial services realm should own a accounting insurance policy. This includes accountants, financial advisers, financial counselors, and other financial-related business owners.
Accounting insurance protects your firm from lawsuits with rates as low as $27/mo. Get a fast quote and your certificate of insurance now.
Below are some answers to commonly asked accounting insurance questions:
- How Much Does Accounting Insurance Cost?
- What Type Of Insurance Do Accountants Need?
- What Is An Accounting Insurance Business Owner's Policy?
How Much Does Accounting Insurance Cost?
The average price of a standard $1,000,000/$2,000,000 General Liability Insurance policy for small accounting firms ranges from $27 to $59 per month based on location, services offered, payroll, sales and experience.
What Type Of Insurance Do Accountants Need?
Although a accounting insurance policy is a good place to start when considering CPA business owner's policies for your small business, there are other optional accountant insurance coverage types to consider.
Work with your insurance agent to determine the suitability of these common policies for your business.
Your commercial insurance broker might recommend some or all of the following cooverages and policies to you:
- Errors and omissions (E&O) coverage. This type of accounting insurance policy is oftentimes recommended for accounting professionals because it gives you protection from liability due to errors you make in preparing clients' taxes and financial documents or from omissions you make during the process. For instance, if you overlook an expense while preparing a financial statement for a client, and the error results in financial loss and leads to a suit against you, this insurance kicks in.
- Data breach coverage. In today's digital age, data breaches are oftentimes in the news, and perhaps you think you're too small to become a target of information thieves. The truth is that no one is safe from this type of cybercrime, so a data breach policy protects you from the liability claims if the data you store in your files is compromised.
- Valuable papers and records coverage. As a CPA, you store valuable paperwork for clients, including ledgers, bank statements, financial statements, and more. Cover these items with valuable papers and records coverage to avoid the loss incurred when damage from fire, water, and other perils comes into play.
In addition to these industry specific coverage types, you may need other types of insurance for your accounting business that are not mentioned above. For instance, worker's compensation insurance provides insurance for employees when they become injured on the job. Commercial auto insurance provides insurance for any company vehicles used in the course of going to client job locations or meetings.
If you are running your CPA business from your home, then home-based solutions for your accounting business insurance can protect you from personal loss. In some cases, a business owner's policy is all that you need to fully protect your business, but a more extensive policy may also be recommended. Some home business owners rely solely on their homeowner's policies to protect them while doing business, which can be a foolhardy choice, since most homeowner's policies specifically state that they don't cover such activities. Work with an agent to determine if your home accounting business needs a business owner's policy or additional coverage types to be fully protected.
Whatever your situation, choosing an accounting insurance policy that meets your needs is a move in the right direction. Work with a licensed agent with experience in business insurance to find the right level of protection for your specific firm's risks.
What Is An Accounting Insurance Business Owner's Policy?
This accounting insurance policy can safeguard the business that you have established and spent your money and time to build. The standard BOP policy offers three basic coverage types, including:
- Business liability insurance. Financial special and accounting firms need business liability insurance to protect them from legal action when a third party claims they were injured or their property damaged as a result of the business' activities. For example, if a client who comes to your office is injured on the premises during a consult, or if you go to the person's home and cause damage during a meeting, this type of insurance provides protection. It may also help cover the damage that comes from allegations of libel or slander as related to your CPA business. It does not cover any liability that arise directly from the services that you provide, however.
- Business income insurance. This coverage provides you with some level of buffer against the loss of income. When you cannot run your financial services or CPA accounting firm due to property damage that's covered by your BOP policy, this insurance kicks in to provide you with reimbursement for lost income.
- Business property insurance. The premises where you conduct your business should be protected under a business property insurance policy. This policy protects the business' property, including your computer equipment, tools, and business machines, desks, furniture, and other items, from covered perils. This holds true whether you lease or own the property inside your business.
Accounting Risks & Exposures
Professional liability exposure is extensive. Working with individual clients presents fewer professional exposures than working with corporate clients. The exposure increases if the firm fails to conduct thorough background checks to verify employees' credentials and education, if clerical workers are allowed to do tasks that only professionals should handle, or if error checking procedures are ignored or are inadequate. Very serious losses may result from failure to document decisions and actions or to secure client approval.
Premises liability exposure is often minimal since most client contact is done electronically or by mail. If clients visit the premises, they must be confined to designated areas so that they cannot view or overhear conversations regarding other clients' confidential information. To prevent slips, trips, or falls, all areas accessible to clients must be well maintained with floor covering in good condition.
The number of exits must be sufficient, and be well marked, with backup lighting in case of power failure. Parking lots and sidewalks need to be in good repair with snow and ice removed, and generally level and free of exposure to slips and falls. Off-premises exposures arise from sales visits, training sessions, and physical audits at the customer's premises. There should be policies and training as to off-site conduct by employees.
Workers compensation exposure is generally limited to that of an office. Because work is done on computers, potential injuries include eyestrain, neck strain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and similar cumulative trauma injuries that can be addressed through ergonomically designed workstations. Some accounting firms have significant off-site work for audits, training and similar activities. Workers can be injured by slips and falls at clients' premises or in automobile accidents.
Property exposure is generally limited to that of an office, although there may be some incidental storage or an area for meetings. Ignition sources include electrical wiring, heating and air conditioning systems, wear, and overheating of equipment. Computers and other electronic equipment may be targets for theft.
Crime exposure comes from employee dishonesty, which can be quite serious as accountants and their staff have access to clients' financial information such as bank records and investment accounts. Potential for theft, directly or by means of identity theft, is great. Hazards increase without proper background checks, along with monitoring procedures and securing of all records to prevent unauthorized access.
All job duties, such as ordering, billing and disbursing should be separate and reconciled on a regular basis. Receipts should be issued for any cash payments received. Bank deposits should be made on a timely basis to limit the buildup of cash on premises. Audits should be performed at least annually.
Inland marine exposures are from accounts receivable if the firm offers credit, computers and valuable papers and records for customers' information, which may be originals that are difficult to re-create. Power failure and power surges are potentially severe hazards. A morale hazard may be indicated if the insured does not keep valuable papers and disks in fireproof file cabinets to protect them from smoke, water and fire. Duplicates should be kept off site to allow for re-creation in the event of a loss.
Business auto exposure is generally limited to hired and non-owned. If vehicles are provided to employees, there should be written procedures regarding personal use by employees and their family members. All drivers must have appropriate licenses and acceptable MVRs. Vehicles must be maintained and records kept in a central location.
Commercial Insurance And Business Industry Classification
- SIC CODE: 8721 Accounting, Auditing, and Bookkeeping Services, 7291 Tax Return Preparation Services
- NAICS CODE: 541211 Offices of Certified Public Accountants, 541213 Tax Preparation Services, 541214 Payroll Services, 541219 Other Accounting Services
- Suggested ISO General Liability Code(s): 41677
- Suggested Workers Compensation Code(s): 8803, 8810
Description for 8721: Accounting, Auditing, and Bookkeeping Services
Division I: Services | Major Group 87: Engineering, Accounting, Research, Management, And Related Services | Industry Group 872: Accounting, Auditing, And Bookkeeping Services
8721 Accounting, Auditing, and Bookkeeping Services: Establishments primarily engaged in furnishing accounting, bookkeeping, and related auditing services. These establishments may use data processing and tabulating techniques as part of providing their services. However, establishments primarily engaged in providing data processing and tabulating services are classified in Industry 7374. Establishments providing income tax return preparation service without also furnishing accounting, auditing, or bookkeeping services are classified in Industry 7291.
- Accounting service
- Auditing service, accounts
- Bookkeeping and billing service
- Certified public accountants (CPAs)
- Payroll accounting service
- Public accountants certified
Description for 7291: Tax Return Preparation Services
Division I: Services | Major Group 72: Personal Services | Industry Group 729: Miscellaneous Personal Services
291 Tax Return Preparation Services: Establishments primarily engaged in providing tax return preparation services without also providing accounting, auditing, or bookkeeping services. Establishments engaged in providing income tax return preparation services which also provide accounting, auditing, or bookkeeping services are classified in Industry 8721.
- Income tax return preparation services without accounting, auditing
- Tax return preparation services without accounting, auditing or
Types Of Small Business Insurance - Requirements & Regulations
Perhaps you have the next great idea for a product or service that you know will appeal to your local area. If you've got a business, you've got risks. Unexpected events and lawsuits can wipe out a business quickly, wasting all the time and money you've invested.
Commercial insurance steps in to help you manage these risks, avoiding a situation which requires you to pay exorbitant costs out-of-pocket.
Insurance is so important to proper business function that both federal governments and state governments require companies to carry certain types. Thus, being properly insured also helps you protect your company by protecting it from government fines and penalties.
Small Business Insurance Information
In the business world, there are many risks faced by company's every day. The best way that business owners can protect themselves from these perils is by carrying the right insurance coverage.
The The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) is the U.S. standard-setting and regulatory support organization. Through the NAIC, state insurance regulators establish standards and best practices, conduct peer review, and coordinate their regulatory oversight.
Commercial insurance is particularly important for small business owners, as they stand to lose a lot more. Should a situation arise - a lawsuit, property damage, theft, etc. - small business owners could end up facing serious financial turmoil.
According to the SBA, having the right insurance plan in place can help you avoid major pitfalls. Your business insurance should offer coverage for all of your assets. It should also include liability and casual coverage.
Types Of Small Business Insurance
Choosing the right type of coverage is absolutely vital. You've got plenty of options. Some you'll need. Some you won't. You should know what's available. Once you look over your options you'll need to conduct a thorough risk assessment. As you evaluate each type of insurance, ask yourself:
- What type of business am I running?
- What are common risks associated with this industry?
- Does this type of insurance cover a situation that could feasibly arise during the normal course of doing business?
- Does my state require me to carry this type of insurance?
- Does my lender or do any of my investors require me to carry this type of policy?
A licensed insurance agent or broker in your state can help you determine what kinds of coverages are prudent for your business types. If you find one licensed to sell multiple policies from multiple companies (independent agents) that person can often help you get the best insurance rates, too. Following is some information on some of the most common small business insurance policies:
|Business Insurance Policy Type||What Is Covered?|
|General Liability Insurance||What is covered under commercial general liability insurance? It steps in to pay claims when you lose a lawsuit with an injured customer, employee, or vendor. The injury could be physical, or it could be a financial loss based on advertising practices.|
|Product Liability Insurance||What is covered under product liability insurance? I pays an injured party's settlement or lawsuit claim arising from a defective product. These are usually caused by design defects, manufacturing defects, or a failure to provide adequate warning or instructions as to how to safely use the product.|
|Commercial Property Insurance||What is covered under business property insurance? General liability policies don't cover damages to your business property. That's what commercial property insurance is for. It protects all of the physical parts of your business: your building, your inventory, and your equipment, giving you the funds you need to replace them in the event of a disaster. If you work from home, you might consider a Home Based Business Insurance policy instead.|
|Business Owners Policy (BOP)||What is covered under a business owners policy (BOP)? This is a policy designed for small, low-risk businesses. It simplifies the basic insurance purchase process by combining general liability policies with business income and commercial property insurance.|
|Commercial Auto Insurance||What is covered under business auto insurance? This type of insurance covers automobiles being used for business purposes. This could include a fleet of business-only vehicles or a single company car. In some cases it might cover your car or your employee's car while they're being used for business. These policies have much higher limits, ensuring you can cover your costs if one of these vehicles gets into an accident.|
|Commercial Umbrella Policies||What is covered under commercial umbrella insurance? This type of policy is a sort of "gap" insurance. It covers your liability in the event that a court verdict or settlement exceeds your general liability policy limits.|
|Professional Liability (Errors & Omissions)||What is covered under professional liability insurance? This type of business insurance is also known as malpractice oe E&O. It covers the damages that can arise from major mistakes, especially in high-stakes professions where mistakes can be devastating.|
|Surety Bond||What is covered under surety bonds? Bonding is a contract where one party, the SURETY (who assures the obligee that the principal can perform the task), guarantees the performance of certain obligations of a second party, the PRINCIPAL (the contractor or business who will perform the contractual obligation), to a third party, the OBLIGEE (the project owner who is the recipient of an obligation).|
Who Needs General Liability Insurance? - Virtually every business. A single lawsuit or settlement could bankrupt your business five times over. You might also need this policy to win business. Many companies and government agencies won't do business with your company until you can produce proof that you've obtained one of these policies.
Business Insurance Required by Law
If you have any employees most states will require you to carry worker's compensation and unemployment insurance. Some states require you to insure yourself even if you are the only employee working in the business.
Your insurance agent can help you check applicable state laws so you can bring your business into compliance.
Other Types Of Small Business Insurance
There are dozens of other, more specialized forms of small business insurance capable of covering specific problems and risks. These forms of insurance include:
- Business Interruption Insurance
- Commercial Flood Insurance
- Contractor's Insurance
- Cyber Liability
- Data Breach
- Directors and Officers
- Employment Practices Liability
- Environmental or Pollution Liability
- Management Liability
- Sexual Misconduct Liability
Whether you need any or all of these policies will depend on the results of your risk assessment. For example, you probably don't need an environmental or pollution policy if you're running an IT company out of a leased office, but you would need data breach and cyber liability policies to fully protect your business.
Additional Resources For Professional Services Insurance
Get informed about small business professional services insurance, including Professional liability, aka errors and omissions (E&O insurance), that protects your business against claims that a professional service you provided caused your client financial loss.
- Answering Service
- Attorney Lawyer
- Business Consulting
- Corporate Wellness
- Court Reporter
- Debt Collection Agency
- Detective Agency
- Electrical Engineering
- Environmental Consultant
- Executive, Career & Life Coaching
- Executive Search Firm
- Expert Witness
- Financial Services
- Financial Planner
- HR Consultant
- Mediator - Arbitrator
- Medical Billing
- Music, Drama & Dance Therapy
- Office Machine Repair & Maintenance
- Project Management
- Temporary Staffing
- Tax Preparer
Let's face reality. People today are claims conscious, resulting in a significant share of malpractice lawsuits against professionals.
Liability resulting from the rendering of or the failure to render professional services is excluded in most liability coverage forms. This means that a policy covering a account's or lawyers' office will cover liability arising out of the maintenance or use of the premises, but specifically exclude liability arising out of the rendering of a professional service or the omission of such a service.
In addition to the professions in which actual physical or mental injury may be caused to clients, certain other professions are exposed to claims for malpractice.
Claims may be brought against lawyers, accountants, architects, and similar professional persons for errors or omissions in their professional capacity. Errors & Omissions insurance pays damages that might be awarded to a plaintiff alleging professional negligence.
Professional liability policies are made available to such risks, and these policies provide essentially the same protection as is afforded under the physicians, surgeons or dentists professional liability policy.
Minimum recommended small business insurance coverage: Business Personal Property, Employee Dishonesty, Accounts Receivable, Computers, Valuable Papers and Records, General Liability, Employee Benefits Liability, Professional Liability, Umbrella Liability, Hired and Non-owned Auto Liability & Workers Compensation.
Other commercial insurance policies to consider: Building, Business Income with Extra Expense, Earthquake, Equipment Breakdown, Flood, Computer Fraud, Forgery, Money and Securities, Special Floater, Cyber Liability, Employment-related Practices Liability, Business Auto Liability and Physical Damage and Stop Gap Liability.