2 Applicable law
This engagement letter, the schedule of services and our standard terms and conditions of business are governed by, and should be construed in accordance with, the law and practice of English and Wales/Scotland/ Northern Ireland. Each party agrees that the Courts of English and Wales/ Scotland/Northern Ireland will have exclusive jurisdiction in relation to any claim, dispute or difference concerning this engagement letter and any matter arising from it. Each party irrevocably waives any right to object to any action being brought in those Courts, to claim that the action has been brought in an inappropriate forum, or to claim that those courts do not have jurisdiction.
3 Authorisation and registration
4 Client identification and verification
5 Commissions and other benefits
6 Data Protection
The information we obtain, process, use and disclose will be necessary for:
We reserve the right following termination for any reason to destroy any of your documents that we have not been able to return to you after a period of six months unless other laws or regulations require otherwise.
8 Electronic and other communication
With electronic communication there is a risk of non-receipt, delayed receipt, inadvertent misdirection or interception by third parties. We use virus-scanning software to reduce the risk of viruses and similar damaging items being transmitted through emails or electronic storage devices. However, electronic communication is not totally secure and we cannot be held responsible for damage or loss caused by viruses, nor for communications that are corrupted or altered after despatch. Nor can we accept any liability for problems or accidental errors relating to this means of communication, especially in relation to commercially sensitive material. These are risks you must accept in return for greater efficiency and lower costs. If you do not wish to accept these risks, please let us know and we will communicate by hard copy, other than where electronic submission is mandatory.
Any communication by us with you sent through the post or DX system is deemed to arrive at your postal address two working days after the day that the document was sent.
When accessing information held electronically by HMRC, we may have access to more information than we need and will only access records reasonably required to carry out the contract.
You are required to keep us up to date with accurate contact details at all times. This is important to ensure that communications and papers are not sent to the incorrect address.
9 Fees and payment terms
If we provide you with an estimate of our fees for any specific work, then the estimate will not be contractually binding unless we explicitly state that that will be the case.
Where requested, we may indicate a fixed fee for the provision of specific services or an indicative range of fees for a particular assignment. It is not our practice to identify fixed fees for more than a year ahead as such fee quotes need to be reviewed in the light of events. If it becomes apparent to us, due to unforeseen circumstances, that a fee quote is inadequate, we reserve the right to notify you of a revised figure or range and to seek your agreement thereto.
In some cases, you may be entitled to assistance with your professional fees, particularly in relation to any investigation into your tax affairs by HMRC. Assistance may be provided through insurance policies you hold or via membership of a professional or trade body. Other than where such insurance was arranged through us, you will need to advise us of any such insurance cover that you have. You will remain liable for our fees regardless of whether all or part are liable to be paid by your insurers.
We will bill monthly/quarterly/half-yearly as the case may be and our invoices are due for payment upon presentation/within 14 days of issue . Our fees are in GBP and exclusive of VAT, which will be added where it is chargeable. Any disbursements we incur on your behalf and expenses incurred in the course of carrying out our work for you will be added to our invoices where appropriate.
Unless otherwise agreed to the contrary, our fees do not include the costs of any third party, counsel or other professional fees.
It is our normal practice to issue applications for payment when dealing with continuous or recurring work. The payment terms for applications for payment are the same as for invoiced fees. A VAT invoice will be issued to you upon receipt of your payment.
It is our normal practice to ask clients to pay by monthly direct debit and to periodically adjust the monthly payment by reference to actual billings.
We also reserve the right to suspend our services or to cease to act for you on giving written notice if payment of any fees is unduly delayed. We intend to exercise these rights only where it is fair and reasonable to do so.
If you do not accept that an invoiced fee is fair and reasonable you must notify us within 21 days of receipt, failing which you will be deemed to have accepted that payment is due.
On termination of the engagement you may appoint a new adviser. Where a new adviser requests professional clearance and handover information we reserve the right to charge you a reasonable fee for the provision of handover information.
11 Intellectual property rights
In the event of any conflict between these terms of business and the engagement letter or appendices, the relevant provision in the engagement letter or schedules will take precedence.
13 Internal disputes
14 Investment services
If, during the provision of professional services to you, you need advice on investments, including insurances, we may have to refer you to someone who is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority or the Prudential Regulation Authority or licensed by a Designated Professional Body as we are not authorised to give such advice.
The permitted third party will issue you with his own terms and conditions letter, will be remunerated separately for their services and will take full responsibility for compliance with the requirements of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 and the Financial Services Act 2012. [We will act as introducers but would be pleased to comment on, or explain any advice received [and if required attend any meetings with you]].
We may receive an introductory fee or commission by the PTP and of which they may or may not advise you directly.
16 Limitation of liability
Exclusion of liability for loss caused by others
We will not be liable if such losses, penalties, interest or additional tax liabilities are caused by the acts or omissions of any other person or due to the provision to us of incomplete, misleading or false information, or if they are caused by a failure to act on our advice or a failure to provide us with relevant information.
In particular, where we refer you to another firm whom you engage with directly, we accept no responsibility in relation to their work and will not be liable for any loss caused by them.
Exclusion of liability in relation to circumstances beyond our control
We will not be liable to you for any delay or failure to perform our obligations under this engagement letter if the delay or failure is caused by circumstances outside our reasonable control.
Exclusion of liability relating to non-disclosure or misrepresentation
We will not be responsible or liable for any loss, damage or expense incurred or sustained if information material to the service we are providing is withheld or concealed from us or misrepresented to us.
This exclusion shall not apply where such misrepresentation, withholding or concealment is or should (in carrying out the procedures that we have agreed to perform with reasonable care and skill) have been evident to us without further enquiry beyond that which it would have been reasonable for us to have carried out in the circumstances.
Indemnity for unauthorised disclosure
You agree to indemnify us and our agents in respect of any claim (including any claim for negligence) arising out of any unauthorised disclosure by you or by any person for whom you are responsible of our advice and opinions, whether in writing or otherwise. This indemnity will extend to the cost of defending any such claim, including payment at our usual rates for the time that we spend in defending it.
You have agreed that you will not bring any claim of a kind that is included within the subject of the limit against any of our principals/partners/directors/members or employees ; on a personal basis.
17 Limitation of Third Party Rights
If our advice is disclosed to any third party (with or without our consent), then we accept no responsibility or liability to that third party for any consequences that may arise to them, should they rely on the advice.
If it is proposed that any documents or statement which refer to our name are to be circulated to third parties, please consult us before they are issued.
18 Money Laundering Regulations 2017
You also acknowledge that we are required to report directly to the NCA without prior reference to you or your representatives if during the course of undertaking any assignment the person undertaking the role of Money Laundering Reporting Officer becomes suspicious of money laundering.
As with other professional services firms, we are required to have appropriate risk based policies and procedures for assessing and managing money laundering risks: this applies at the start of any business relationship and through the lifetime of the relationship. This includes undertaking appropriate customer due diligence. We may request from you, and retain, such information and documentation as we require for these purposes and/or make searches of appropriate databases. If we are not able to obtain satisfactory evidence of your identity, we will not be able to proceed with the engagement.
Copies of such records created as part of the client due diligence process, including any non-engagement documents relating to the client relationship and ongoing monitoring of it, will be retained by us for a period of five years after we cease to act for the business unless we are required to retain them under statutory obligation, or to retain them for legal proceedings, or you consented to the retention in which case the records will be retained for not more than 10 years.
20 Period of engagement and termination
- 21 days after the date of notice of termination; or
- A later agreed date
21 Professional rules and statutry obligations
You are responsible for bringing to our attention any errors, omissions or inaccuracies in your returns that you become aware of after the returns have been submitted in order that we may assist you to make a voluntary disclosure. In particular, you give us the authority to correct errors made by HMRC where we become aware of them. In addition, we will not undertake tax planning which breaches professional conduct in relation to taxation. We will therefore comply with the general anti-abuse rule and the targeted anti-avoidance rule. We will not be liable for any loss, damage or cost arising from our compliance with statutory or regulatory obligations. You can see copies of these requirements at our offices.
The requirements are also available online at www.accaglobal.com/en.html.
The implications of professional body membership as it relates to GDPR are set out in the privacy notice, which should be read alongside these standard terms and conditions of business.
22 Provision of Services Regulations 2009
23 Quality of service
We undertake to look into any complaint carefully and promptly and to do all we can to explain the position to you. If we do not answer your complaint to your satisfaction you may take up the matter with the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. This should be done promptly and in any event no later than 6 months after exhausting our procedures.
Should ACCA consider a complaint appropriate for conciliation, it is competent to offer alternative dispute resolution through its Conciliation Service. ACCA’s website address is www.accaglobal.com. Please note that, under the Alternative Dispute Resolution for Consumer Disputes (Competent Authorities and Information) conciliation process we are not obliged to submit to ACCA’s conciliation process .
24 Reliance on advice
25 Retention of papers
When we cease to act for you we will seek to agree the position on access to cloud-accounting records to ensure continuity of service. This may require you to enter direct engagements with the software providers and pay for that service separately. Documents and records relevant to your tax affairs are required by law to be retained as follows:
Individuals, trustees and partnerships
Companies, LLPs and other corporate entities
You should retain documents that are sent to you by us as set out in the privacy notice, which should be read alongside these terms and conditions.
The timing of our work will in any event be dependent on the prompt supply of all information and documentation as and when required by us.