Standard Terms of Business
The following standard terms of business apply to all engagements accepted by BRC accountants. All work carried out is subject to these terms except where changes are expressly agreed in writing.
1. Professional obligations
We will observe the byelaws, regulations and ethical guidelines of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) and accept instructions to act for you on the basis that we will act in accordance with those guidelines. Copies of these requirements are available for inspection in our offices.
Where you give us confidential information we shall at all times keep it confidential, except as required by law or as provided for in regulatory, ethical or other professional pronouncements applicable to this engagement.
We reserve the right to act during this engagement for other clients whose interests may be adverse to yours. We will notify you immediately should we become aware of any conflict of interest to which we are subject in relation to you.
2 Investment services
2.1 Although we are not authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to conduct investment business, we are licensed by ICAEW to provide certain limited investment services where these are complementary to, or arise out of, the professional services we are providing to you.
2.2 Such assistance may include the following;
- advising you on investments generally, but not recommending a particular investment or type of investment;
- referring you to a Permitted Third Party (PTP) (an independent firm authorised by the FSA) and assisting you and the authorised third party during the course of any advice given by that party. This may include comment on, or explanation of, the advice received (but we will not make alternative recommendations). The PTP will issue you with his own terms and conditions letter, will be remunerated separately for his services and will take full responsibility for compliance with the requirements of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000. The firm may receive commission from such an introduction, in which case you will be fully informed of the expected size and nature of such commission at the time of the introduction.
- advising on the sale of a contractually based investment other than disposing of any rights or interests which you may have as a member of a personal pension scheme;
- advising and assisting you in transactions concerning shares or other securities not quoted on a recognised exchange;
- managing investments or acting as trustee (or donee of a power of attorney) where decisions to invest are taken on the advice of an authorised person.
2.3 We may also, on the understanding that the shares or other securities of the company are not publicly traded:
advise the company, existing or prospective shareholders in relation to exercising rights, taking benefits or share options valuation and methods;
arrange any agreements in connection with the issue, sale or transfer or the company’s shares or other securities;
arrange for the issue of the new shares; and
act as the addressee to receive confirmation of acceptance of offer documents etc.
2.4 If you are dissatisfied in any way with our services described in this section, you should follow the procedures set out in the “Quality of Service” section below. In the unlikely event that we cannot meet our liabilities to you, you may be able to claim compensation under the Chartered Accountants’ Compensation scheme.
3 Commissions or other benefits
3.1 Commissions or other benefits may sometimes become payable to us in respect of introductions to other professionals or transactions we arrange for you, in which case you will be notified in writing of the amount, the terms of payment and receipt of any such commissions or benefits. You consent to such commissions or other benefits being retained by us without our being liable to account to you for any such amounts.
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 Clients’ Money Regulations of ICAEW.
4.2 In order to avoid an excessive amount of administration, interest will only be paid to you where the amount of interest that would be earned on the balances held on your behalf in any calendar year exceeds £25. Any such interest would be calculated using the prevailing rate applied by HSBC Bank Plc for small deposits subject to the minimum period of notice for withdrawals. Subject to any tax legislation, interest will be paid gross.
4.3 If the total sum of money held on your behalf exceeds £10,000 for a period of more than 30 days, or such sum is likely to be held for more than 30 days, then the money will be placed in a separate interest-bearing client bank account designated to you. All interest earned on such money will be paid to you. Subject to any tax legislation, interest will be paid gross.
5.1 Our fees are computed on the basis of time spent on your affairs by the principals and our staff, and on the levels of skill and responsibility involved. In cases where our fees have been agreed in advance, these fees will be reviewed annually and we will communicate with you regarding any increase in fees which is not purely inflationary.
5.2 If it is necessary to carry out work outside the responsibilities outlined in this letter it will involve additional fees. Accordingly we would like to point out that it is in your interests to ensure that your records etc. are completed to the agreed stage. Where possible these fees will be agreed with you in advance.
5.3 Invoices are payable in full (including disbursements) before the report is signed and the financial statements are made available.
5.4 The facility is offered to our clients to pay a proportion of their fee on a monthly standing order. These standing orders will be applied to fees arising from work agreed in this letter of engagement for the current and ensuing years.
5.5 Our terms relating to payment of amounts invoiced (fees and disbursements) and not covered by standing orders, where appropriate, are strictly 30 days net.
5.6 Settlement of fees by Mastercard or Visa is accepted.
6 Retention of and access to records
6.1 During the course of our work we will collect information from you and others acting on your behalf and will return any original documents to you following the preparation of your financial statements and returns. You should retain these records for at least seven years from the end of the accounting year to which they relate.
6.2 Whilst certain documents may legally belong to you, we intend to destroy correspondence and other papers that we store which are more than seven years old, other than documents which we consider to be of continuing significance. If you require retention of any document you must notify us of that fact in writing.
7 Quality control
7.1 As part of our ongoing commitment to providing a quality service, our files are periodically subject to an independent quality review. Our reviewers are highly experienced and professional people and are, of course, bound by the same requirements of confidentiality as our principals and staff.
8 Help us to give you the right service
8.1 If at any time you would like to discuss with us how our service to you could be improved, or if you are dissatisfied with the service you are receiving, please let us know, by telephoning David Carpenter or Jacqui Taylor.
8.2 We undertake to look into any complaint carefully and promptly and to do all we can to explain the position to you. If you feel that we have given you a less than satisfactory service, we undertake to do everything reasonable to address your concerns. If you are still not satisfied, you may of course take up matters with ICAEW.
8.3 In order for us to provide you with a high quality service on an ongoing basis it is essential that you provide us with relevant records and information when requested, reply to correspondence in a timely manner and otherwise follow the terms of the agreement between us set out in this Standard Terms of Business and associated engagement letters. We therefore reserve the right to cancel the engagement between us with immediate effect in the event of:
your insolvency, bankruptcy or other arrangements being reached with creditors;
failure to pay our fees by the due dates;
either party being in breach of their obligations where this is not corrected within 30 days of being asked to do so.
8.4 In addition this agreement may be terminated for any reason if 90 days’ notice is given.
9 Applicable law
9.1 This engagement letter shall be governed by, and construed in accordance with, English law. The Courts of England shall have exclusive jurisdiction in relation to any claim, dispute or difference concerning the engagement letter and any matter arising from it. Each party irrevocably waives any right it may have to object to an action being brought in those Courts, to claim that the action has been brought in an inconvenient forum, or to claim that those Courts do not have jurisdiction.
9.2 Persons who are not party to this agreement shall have no rights under the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999 to enforce any term of this agreement. This clause does not affect any right or remedy of any person which exists or is available otherwise than pursuant to that Act.
10 Internet communication
10.1 Internet communications are capable of data corruption and therefore we do not accept any responsibility for changes made to such communications after their despatch. It may therefore be inappropriate to rely on advice contained in an e-mail without obtaining written confirmation of it. We do not accept responsibility for any errors or problems that may arise through the use of internet communication and all risks connected with sending commercially sensitive information relating to your business are borne by you. If you do not agree to accept this risk, you should notify us in writing that e-mail is not an acceptable means of communication.
10.2 It is the responsibility of the recipient to carry out a virus check on any attachments received.
11 Data Protection Act 1998
11.1 We may obtain, use, process and disclose personal data about you in order that we may discharge the services agreed under this engagement letter, and for other related purposes including updating and enhancing client records, analysis for management purposes and statutory returns, crime prevention and legal and regulatory compliance. You have a right of access, under data protection legislation, to the personal data that we hold about you. We confirm that when processing data on your behalf we will comply with the provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998. For the purposes of the Data Protection Act 1998, the Data Controller in relation to personal data supplied about you is David Carpenter.
12 Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999
12.1 Persons who are not party to this agreement shall have no rights under the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999 to enforce any term of this agreement. This clause does not affect any right or remedy of any person which exists or is available otherwise than pursuant to that Act.
12.2 The advice that we give to you is for your sole use and does not constitute advice to any third party to whom you may communicate it. We accept no responsibility to third parties for any aspect of our professional services or work that is made available to them.
13 Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and the Money Laundering Regulations 2007
13.1 In common with all accountancy and legal practices, we are required by the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and the Money Laundering Regulations 2007 to:
Maintain customer due diligence procedures for the identification of all clients;
Maintain records of identification evidence;
Report, in accordance with the relevant legislation and regulations, to the Serious Organised Crime Agency.
13.2 We have a duty under section 330 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 to report to the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) if we know, or have reasonable cause to suspect, that you, or anyone connected with your business, are or have been involved in money laundering. Failure on our part to make a report where we have knowledge or reasonable grounds for suspicion would constitute a criminal offence.
13.3 The offence of money laundering is defined by section 340(11) of the Proceeds of Crime Act and includes concealing, converting, using or possessing the benefits of any activity that constitutes a criminal offence in the UK. It also includes involvement in any arrangement that facilitates the acquisition, retention, use or control of such a benefit.
This definition is very wide and would include such crimes as:
deliberate tax evasion;
deliberate failure to inform the tax authorities of known underpayments or excessive repayments;
fraudulent claiming of benefits or grants; or
obtaining a contract through bribery.
Clearly this list is by no means an exhaustive.
13.4 We are obliged by law to report any instances of money laundering to SOCA without your knowledge or consent. In fact, we may commit the criminal offence of tipping off under section 333 of the Proceeds of Crime Act if we were to inform you that a report had been made. In consequence, neither the firms' principals nor staff may enter into any correspondence or discussions with you regarding such matters.
13.5 We are not required to undertake work for the sole purpose of identifying suspicions of money laundering. We shall fulfil our obligations under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 in accordance with the guidance published by ICAEW.
14 Limitation of liability
We will provide our professional services with reasonable care and skill. However, we will not be held responsible for any losses arising from the supply by you or others of incorrect or incomplete information, or your or others’ failure to supply any appropriate information or your failure to act on our advice or respond promptly to communications from us or other relevant authorities.
You agree to hold harmless and indemnify us against any representation, whether intentional or unintentional, supplied to us orally or in writing in connection with this agreement. You have agreed that you will not bring any claim in connection with services provided to you by the firm against any of our employees on a personal basis.
15 The Provision of Services Regulations 2009
15.1 We are registered to carry on audit work in the UK and Ireland by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. Details of our audit registration can be viewed at www.auditregister.org.uk for the UK and www.cro.ie/auditors/Firmsearch.aspx for Ireland under reference C001242088.
15.2 Our professional indemnity insurer is Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Plc, 9th Floor, 1 Plantation Place, 30 Fenchurch Street, London, EC3M 3BD. The territorial coverage is worldwide excluding professional business carried out from an office in the United States of America or Canada and excludes any action for a claim brought in any court in the United States or Canada.June 2012