Terms of Business
The following standard terms of business apply to all engagements accepted by Hugh Davies & Co LIO Limited. All work carried out is subject to these terms except where changes are expressly agreed in writing.
1. Professional obligations
1.1 We will observe the byelaws, regulations and ethical guidelines of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales 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.
1.2 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.
1.3 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. Period of engagement and termination
2.1 Unless otherwise agreed in our engagement letter, our work will begin when we receive implicit or explicit acceptance of that letter. Except as stated in that letter, we will not be responsible for periods before that date.
2.2 We reserve the right to cancel the engagement between us with immediate effect in the event of:
- your insolvency, bankruptcy or other arrangement 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.
2.3 In addition this agreement may be terminated for any reason if 90 days notice is given
2.4 In the event of termination of our contract, 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 will not be required to carry out further work and shall not be responsible or liable for any consequences arising from termination.
3. Investment services
3.1 We are not authorised by the Financial Services Authority to conduct Investment Business. If you require investment business services we will refer you to a firm authorised by the Financial Services Authority.
4. Commissions or other benefits
4.1 In some circumstances, commissions or other benefits may become payable to us in respect of transactions we arrange for you, in which case you will be notified in writing of the amount and terms of payment. You consent to such commission or other benefits being retained by us without our being liable to account to you for any such amounts.
5. Client monies
5.1 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 the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales.
5.2 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 National Westminster Bank Plc for small deposits subject to the minimum period of notice for withdrawals. Subject to any tax legislation, interest will be paid gross.
5.3 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.
6.1 Our fees are computed on the basis of time spent on your affairs by the principals and our staff and sub-contractors or consultants, and on the levels of skill and responsibility involved.
6.2 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.
6.3 Our terms relating to payment of amounts invoiced, including disbursements, and not covered by standing orders, where appropriate, are strictly 14 days net.
6.4 Where requested we may indicate a fixed fee for the provision of specific services or an indicative range of fees for a particular assignment in an Annual Service Agreement. 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.
The Annual Service Agreement (“the Agreement”) lists the services (“the Services”) that you agree we will provide for you for the period identified by the Agreement. No additional charges will arise for Services without your prior approval. Charges may arise for additional services provided outside of the Agreement but not without your prior approval.
Charges for the Services will accrue evenly throughout the period of the agreement and will be payable by you on a monthly basis. Should either party choose to terminate the Agreement during the period of the Agreement then one month’s notice of termination must be given in writing. Since charges accrue evenly throughout the period of the Agreement, no adjustments shall be made on termination (however that occurs) for the Services provided or not yet provided.
7.1 Unless we are authorised by you to disclose information on your behalf, we confirm that if you give us confidential information we will, at all times during and after this engagement, keep it confidential, except as required by law or as provided for in regulatory, ethical or other professional pronouncements applicable to us or our engagement.
7.2 You agree that, if we act for other clients who are or who become your competitors, to comply with our duty of confidentiality it will be sufficient for us to take such steps as we think appropriate to preserve the confidentiality of information given to us by you, both during and after this engagement. These may include taking the same or similar steps as we take in respect of the confidentiality of our own information.
7.3 In addition, if we act for other clients whose interests are or may be adverse to yours, we will manage the conflict by implementing additional safeguards to preserve confidentiality. Safeguards may include measures such as separate teams, physical separation of teams, and separate arrangements for storage of, and access to, information.
7.4 You agree that the effective implementation of such steps or safeguards as described above will provide adequate measures to avoid any real risk of confidentiality being impaired.
8. Retention of and access to records
8.1 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.
8.2 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.
9. Conflicts of interest
9.1. 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, unless we are unable to do so because of our confidentiality obligations. We have safeguards that can be implemented to protect the interests of different clients if a conflict arises. If conflicts are identified which cannot be managed in a way that protects your interests, we regret that we will be unable to provide further services.
9.2 If there is a conflict of interest that is capable of being addressed successfully by the adoption of suitable safeguards to protect your interests, we will adopt those safeguards. In resolving the conflict, we would be guided by ICAEW’s Code of Ethics, which can be viewed at icaew.com/en/membership/regulations-standards-and-guidance/ethics. During and after our engagement, you agree that we reserve the right to act for other clients whose interests are or may compete with or be adverse to yours, subject, of course, to our obligations of confidentiality and the safeguards set out in the paragraph on confidentiality above.
10. Help us to give you the right service
10.1 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 Mr Hugh Davies.
10.2 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 the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales.
10.3 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.
11. Applicable law
11.1 These engagement terms are governed by, and construed in accordance with, English law. The Courts of England 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 it may have 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.
11.2 If any provision in this Standard Terms of Business or any associated engagement letter, or its application, are found to be invalid, illegal or otherwise unenforceable in any respect, the validity, legality or enforceability of any other provisions shall not in any way be affected or impaired.
11.3 We will not accept responsibility if you act on advice previously given by us without first confirming with us that the advice is still valid in light of any change in the law or in your circumstances. We will accept no liability for losses arising from changes in the law, or the interpretation thereof, that occur after the date on which the advice is given.
12. Internet communication
12.1 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.
12.2 It is the responsibility of the recipient to carry out a virus check on any attachments received.
13. General data protection regulation
13.1 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.
14. Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999
14.1 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.
14.2 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.
15. Money laundering
15.1 In common with all accountancy and legal practices the firm is required by the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and the Money Laundering Regulations 2003 to:
- Maintain identification procedures for all new clients;
- Maintain records of identification evidence obtained; and
- Report, in accordance with the relevant legislation and regulations
15.2 We have a duty under s. 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.
15.3 The offence of money laundering is defined by s. 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 exhaustive.
15.4 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 s. 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.
15.5 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 the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales.
16. Limitation of liability
16.1 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.
16.2 You agree to hold harmless and indemnify us against any misrepresentation, 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.
16.3 Unless there is a legal or regulatory requirement to do so, our work is not to be made available to third parties without our written permission and we will accept no responsibility to third parties for any aspect of our professional services or work that is made available to them.
17. Professional indemnity insurance
17.1 In accordance with the requirements of the Provision of Services Regulations 2009, our professional indemnity insurer is Travelers Insurance Company Limited, 61-63 London Road, Redhill, Surrey RH1 1NA. The territorial coverage is worldwide excluding profession 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 of America or Canada.
18. Internal disputes within a client
18.1. If we become aware of a dispute between the parties who own the business or who are in some way involved in its ownership and management, it should be noted that our client is the business and we would not provide information or services to one party without the express knowledge and permission of all parties. Unless otherwise agreed by all parties, we will continue to supply information to the normal place of business for the attention of the directors/partners/trustees, as appropriate.
If conflicting advice, information or instructions are received from different directors/partners/trustees in the business, we will refer the matter back to the board of directors/the partnership and take no further action until the board/partnership has agreed the action to be taken.