1.1 These terms of business set out the general terms under which we undertake our business. The specific conditions relating to particular assignments will be covered in a separate engagement letter.
2. Ethical requirements
2.1 We are bound by the ethical requirements of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, and accept instructions to act for you on the basis that we will an accordance with those ethical requirements. A copy of these requirements can be viewed at our offices on request or can be seen at www.accaglobal.com. We will not be liable for any loss, damage or cost arising from our compliance with statutory or regulatory obligations.
3.1 Our fees are calculated on the basis of the time spent on your affairs by the principal and staff and on the levels of skill or responsibility involved and will be due upon presentation of an invoice.
3.2 In some cases we may agree a fixed fee arrangement with you. If that is the case that agreement overrides provided that it is in writing and provided that you comply with any conditions set out in any such agreement.
3.3 If we need to do work outside the responsibilities outlined in our engagement letter, we will advise you in advance. This will involve additional fees.
3.4 We reserve the right to charge interest on late paid invoices at the current rate under the Late Payment of Commercial Debts (interest) Act 1998. 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.
3.5 We also reserve the right to terminate our engagement and cease acting if payment of any fees is unduly delayed.
4. Client monies
4.1 We may, from time to time, hold money on your behalf. Such money will be held in trust in a client bank account, which is segregated from the firm’s funds. The account will be operated, and all funds dealt with, in accordance with the Client’s Monies Rules of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. These rules can be found on the ACCA website at www.accaglobal.com.
4.2 All client monies will be held in an interest-bearing account. To avoid excessive administration, interest will only be paid to you where the amount earned on the balances held on your behalf in any calendar year exceeds £25. If the total sum of money held on your behalf is enough to give rise to a significant amount of interest or is likely to do so, then we will put the money in a designated interest-bearing client bank account and pay the interest to you. Subject to any tax legislation, interest will be paid gross.
4.3 Fees paid by you in advance for professional work to be performed and clearly identifiable as such shall not be regarded as clients’ monies.
5. Investment services
5.1 Investment business is regulated under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 and the Financial Services Act 2012.
5.2 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 Services Authority or licenced by a Designated Professional Body as we are not.
6. Probate services
6.1 We are accredited for the reserved legal activity of non-contentious probate. Details about our probate registration can be viewed at icaew.com/probate, under reference number C008601161. When conducting probate work, we are required to comply with ICAEW’s Probate Regulations which can be accessed at icaew.com/en/membership/regulations-standards-and-guidance/reserved-legal-services.
6.2 If you would like to talk to us about how we can improve our service to you, or if you are unhappy with the service you are receiving, please let us know by contacting Tony Burgoyne (firstname.lastname@example.org). We will consider carefully any complaint that you may make about our probate services as soon as we receive it and will do all we can to resolve the issue. We will acknowledge your complaint within five business days of its receipt and endeavour to deal with it within 8 weeks. Any complaint should be submitted to us by letter.
6.3 If we do not deal with it within this timescale, or you are unhappy with our response we give you, you may of course take the matter up with our professional body the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and the Legal Ombudsman. Complaints to the Legal Ombudsman should be made within six years of the act or omission, or within three years of you becoming aware of the issue, and in either case within six months of our written response to your complaint to us. The contact details for the Legal Ombudsman are:
- Letter: Legal Ombudsman, PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton WV1 9WJ
- Email: email@example.com
- Telephone: 0300 555 0333
6.4 In the unlikely event that we cannot meet our liabilities to you, you may be able to seek a grant from ICAEW’s Compensation Scheme. Generally, applications for a grant must be made to ICAEW within 12 months of the time you become aware, or reasonably ought to have been aware, of the loss. Further information about the scheme and the circumstances in which grants may be made is available on ICAEW’s website at icaew.com/probate.
6.5 We are covered by a professional indemnity insurance policy.
7. Commissions or other benefits
7.1 In some circumstances, commissions or other benefits may become payable to us in respect of transactions which we arrange for you. The fees you would otherwise pay will not be reduced by such amounts. You agree that we (or, if appropriate, our associates) should retain the commission or other benefits without being liable to account to you for any such amounts.
8. Retention of records
8.1 During the course of our work we may collect information from you and others relevant to your affairs. We will return any relevant documents to you if requested.
Documents and records relevant to your affairs are required by law to be retained as follows:
Individuals, trustees and partnerships
- With trading or rental income: 5 years and 10 months after the end of the tax year;
- Otherwise: 22 months after the end of the tax year;
- 6 years from the end of the accounting period;
8.2 Whilst certain documents may legally belong to you we may destroy correspondence and other papers that we store, electronically or otherwise, which are more than 7 years old. You must tell us if you require the return or retention of any specific documents for a longer period.
9. Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999
9.1 The advice and information we provide to you as part of our service is for your sole use and not for any third party to whom you may communicate it unless we have expressly agreed in the engagement letter that a specified third party may rely on our work. We accept no responsibility to third parties, including any group company to whom the engagement letter is not addressed, for any advice, information or material produced as part of our work for you which you make available to them. A party to this agreement is the only person who has the right under the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999 to enforce any of its terms.
10.1 Communication between us is confidential and we shall take all reasonable steps to keep confidential your information except where we are required to disclose it by law, by regulatory bodies, by our insurers or as part of an external peer review. Unless we are authorised by you to disclose information on your behalf, this undertaking will apply during and after this engagement.
10.2 We may, on occasions, subcontract work on your affairs to other tax or accounting professionals. The subcontractors will be bound by our client confidentiality terms.
11. Quality of service
11.1 We aim to provide a high quality of service at all times. If you would like to discuss with us how our service could be improved or if you are dissatisfied with the service that you are receiving please let us know by contacting Tony Burgoyne.
11.2 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.
12.1 Unless you instruct us otherwise we may, where appropriate, communicate with you and with third parties via email or by other electronic means. The recipient is responsible for virus checking emails and any attachments.
12.2 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 which 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 bear 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 paper mail.
12.3 Any communication by us with you sent through the post is deemed to arrive at your postal address two working days after the day that the document was sent.
13. Data Protection
13.1 We confirm that we will comply with the provisions of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) when processing personal data about you and your family.
- obtaining, recording or holding personal data; or
- carrying out any operation or set of operations on personal data, including collecting and storage, organising, adapting, altering, using, disclosure (by any means) or removing (by any means) from the records manual and digital.
The information we obtain, process, use and disclose will be necessary for:
- the performance of the contract
- to comply with our legal and regulatory compliance and crime prevention
- contacting you with details of other services where you have consented to us doing so
- other legitimate interest relating to protection against potential claims and disciplinary action against us.
This includes, but is not limited to, purposes such as updating and enhancing our client records, analysis for management purposes and statutory returns.
13.2 In regard to our professional obligations we are a member firm of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA). Under the ethical and regulatory rules of ACCA we are required to allow access to client files and records for the purpose of maintaining our membership of this body.
13.3 Further details on the processing of data are contained in our privacy notice, which should be read alongside these terms and conditions.
14. Money Laundering Regulations 2017
14.1 In accordance with the Proceeds of Crime Act, The Terrorism Act, Money Laundering Regulations 2017 and The Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017 you agree to waive your right to confidentiality to the extent of any report made, document provided or information disclosed to the National Crime Agency (NCA).
14.2 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.
14.3 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 note able to obtain satisfactory evidence of your identity, we will not be able to proceed with the engagement.
14.4 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.
15.1 If any provision of the engagement letter or schedules is held to be void, then that provision will be deemed not to form part of this contract.
15.2 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.
16.1 Insofar as permitted to do so by law or professional requirements, we reserve the right to exercise a lien over all funds, documents and records in our possession relating to all engagements for you until all outstanding fees and disbursements are paid in full.
17. Limitation of liability
17.1 We will provide our services with reasonable care and skill. Our liability to you is limited to losses, damages, costs and expenses caused by our negligence or wilful default.
17.2 Exclusion of liability for loss caused by others
We will not be liable if such losses, penalties, surcharges, interest or additional tax liabilities are due to 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 due to a failure to act on our advice or a failure to provide us with relevant information.
17.3 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 our engagement if the delay or failure is caused by circumstances outside our reasonable control.
17.4 Exclusion of liability relating to the discovery of fraud, etc.
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 wrongly misrepresented to us or from fraudulent acts, misrepresentation or wilful default on the part of any party to the transaction and their directors, officers, employees, agents or advisers. This exclusion shall not apply where such misrepresentation, withholding or concealment is or should (in carrying out the procedures which we have agreed to perform with reasonable care and skill) have been evident to us without further enquiry.
17.5 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 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.
18. Reliance on advice
18.1 We will endeavour to record all advice on important matters in writing. Advice given orally is not intended to be relied upon unless confirmed in writing. Therefore, if we provide oral advice (for example during the course of a meeting or a telephone conversation) and you wish to be able to rely on that advice, you must ask for the advice to be confirmed by us in writing.
19. Conflicts of interest
19.1 We will inform you if we become aware of any conflict of interest in our relationship with you or in our relationship with you and another client. Where conflicts are identified which cannot be managed in a way that protects your interests then we regret that we will be unable to provide further services.
19.2 If there is a conflict of interest that is capable of being addressed successfully by the adoption of suitable safeguards to protect your interest then we will adopt those safeguards. Where possible this will be done on the basis of your informed consent. We reserve the right to act for other clients whose interests are not the same as or are adverse to yours subject of course to the obligations of confidentiality referred to above.
20. Period of engagement and termination
20.1 Unless otherwise agreed in the engagement covering letter our work will begin when we receive your implicit or explicit acceptance of that letter. Except as stated in that letter we will not be responsible for periods before that date.
20.2 Each of us may terminate the agreement by giving not less than 21 days notice in writing to the other part except where you fail to cooperate with us or we have reason to believe that you have provided us or HMRC with misleading information, in which case we may terminate the agreement immediately. Termination will be without prejudice to any rights that may have accrued to either of us prior to termination.
20.3 In the event of termination of the agreement, we will endeavour to agree with you the arrangements for the completion of work in progress at that time, unless we are required for legal or regulatory reasons to cease work immediately. In that event, we shall not be required to carry out further work and shall not be responsible or liable for any consequences arising from termination.
21.1 Should we resign or be requested to resign, a disengagement letter will be issued to ensure that our respective responsibilities are clear.
Updated 28 June 2023