Terms of Business
The following terms of business apply to all engagements accepted by Paul Clark Accountants Limited. All work is carried out under these terms except where changes are expressly agreed in writing.
Professional rules and practice guidelines
We will observe and act in accordance with the bye-laws, regulations and ethical guidelines of the Institute of Financial Accountants and will accept instructions to act for you on this basis. In particular you give us the authority to correct errors made by HM Revenue and Customs where we become aware of them. We will not be liable for any loss, damage or cost arising if you do not comply with any statutory or regulatory obligations. You can see copies of these requirements in our office.
Investment business is regulated by law. We are not authorised or licensed to give investment advice. We will be pleased to provide you with details of an independent financial adviser if you so wish.
Commissions or other benefits
In some circumstances we may receive commissions or other benefits for introductions to other professionals or transactions we arrange for you. In this case, we will notify you in writing of the amount, the terms of payment and receipt of any such commissions or benefits. The fees you would otherwise pay as described below will not be reduced by such amounts. You agree that we can retain the commission or other benefits without being liable to account to you for any such amounts.
Clients’ money regulations
We may, from time to time, hold money on your behalf. The money will be held in trust in a client bank account, which is segregated from the firm’s funds.
Retention of records
During our work we will collect information from you and others acting on your behalf and will return any original documents to you following preparation of your financial statements, information and tax return. You should retain them for 6 years from the 31 January following the end of the tax year. You may have to retain them for longer if HM Revenue & Customs enquire into your tax return.
Whilst certain documents may legally belong to you, unless you tell us not to, we intend to destroy correspondence and other papers that are more than seven years old, except documents we think may be of continuing significance. You must inform us in writing if you wish us to keep any document for any longer period. In the event of non-payment of our fees for services rendered we may exercise a particular right of lien over the books and records in our possession and withhold documents until such time as payment of our invoice(s) is received in full.
Conflicts of interest and independence
We reserve the right during our engagement with you to deliver services to other clients whose interests might compete with yours or are or may be adverse to yours, subject to the following paragraph. We confirm that we will notify you immediately should we become aware of any conflict of interest involving us and affecting you.
We confirm that 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 statements relevant to our engagement.
Data Protection Act 1998
To enable us to discharge the services agreed under our engagement, 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, we may obtain, use, process and disclose personal data about you, your business, its officers and employees. We confirm when processing data on your behalf that we will comply with the relevant provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998.
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.
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, other than where electronic submission is mandatory.
Any communication by us with you sent through the post system is deemed to arrive at your postal address two working days after the day that the document was sent.
Anti Money Laundering Legislation
In common with all accountancy and legal practices, the firm is required by the Terrorism Act 2000, the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, the Fraud Act 2006 and the Money Laundering Regulations 2007 (the ‘Anti Money Laundering Legislation’) to:
- have due diligence procedures for the identification of all clients;
- maintain appropriate records of evidence to support customer due diligence;
- report in accordance with the relevant legislation and regulations.
Before acting on your behalf we are required to obtain ‘satisfactory evidence’ to confirm your identity, this will involve obtaining a credit report from a third party and searching by electronic means. We assume that our clients are honest and law abiding. However we are obliged to report to the National Crime Agency any activity considered to be a crime under UK law, no matter how trivial, and whether carried out in the UK or abroad. You are responsible for the detection of any irregularities or fraud within your own business. We would emphasise that we cannot undertake to discover any shortcomings on your systems or any irregularities on the part of your employees or others, although we will advise you of any such circumstances that we encounter.
As part of our ongoing commitment to providing a quality service, our files are periodically reviewed by an independent regulatory or quality control body. These reviewers are highly experienced and professional people and, of course, are bound by the same rules for confidentiality as our principal and staff.
Help us give you the best service
We wish to provide a high quality of service at all times. 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 contacting Judith Clark on 01761 410890.
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 of course take up with the Institute of Financial Accountants.
Limitation of liability
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.
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.
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.
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 applies equally to 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.
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.
Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999
Only someone who is a party to this agreement has the right under the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999 to enforce any of its terms. This clause does not affect any right or remedy that exists independently of the Act.
The advice we give you is for your sole use and is confidential to you and will not constitute advice for any third party to whom you may communicate it. We will accept no responsibility to third parties for any aspect of our professional services or work that is made available to them.
Our fees are calculated on the basis of the time spent on your affairs and on the levels of skill or responsibility involved. Our fees will be billed when work has been completed on your behalf, and our invoices will be due for payment 14 days following the invoice date.
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.
We reserve the right to charge interest on overdue accounts at the current rate under the Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998. We also reserve the right to terminate our engagement and cease acting if payment of any fees billed is unduly delayed. We accept settlement of fees by debit or credit card
Our engagement with you is governed by, and interpreted in accordance with, English law. The Courts of England shall have exclusive jurisdiction in relation to any claim, dispute or difference concerning our engagement letter and terms of business and any matter arising from or under them. Each party irrevocably waives any right it may have to object to any 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.
Professional Indemnity Insurance
In accordance with our professional body rules we are required to hold professional indemnity insurance. Details about the insurer and coverage can be found at www.nfumutual.co.uk or at our office.