In our industry there are many so called book keepers that practice as qualified professionals. Many of these accountants merely did a 3 month bookkeeping course and now start their own business doing clients books with little or no experience.
Accounting is unfortunately not that simple. The minimum period it takes to become a full professional accountant is 7 years. This is 4 years of studying and at least 3 years of articles.
Because of so many "fly by night" tax advisors SARS (South African Revenue Service) now prohibits unqualified individuals to do taxes on your behalf. This is called registered tax practitioners.
How are you protected? Through the professional bodies like SAIPA a complaint procedure exists that resolves disputes and disciplines professional members that do not comply with the rules and ethics.