The following standard terms of business apply to all engagements accepted by The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. 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 & Wales and accept instructions to act for you on the basis that we will act in accordance with those guidelines.
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 We are not authorised by the Financial Services Authority to conduct Investment Business.
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 amount.
4 Client monies
4.1 Where we receive client money this will be held in a separate nominated client bank account which will be operated in accordance with ICAEW client money regulations.
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.
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.
5.3 It is our normal practice to request that clients make arrangements 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. Once we have been able to assess the amount of work and time involved, we would be grateful if you would agree to pay an amount to us on a regular basis.
5.4 Our terms relating to payment of amounts invoiced and not covered by standing orders, where appropriate, are strictly 30 days net. Interest will be charged on all overdue debts at the rate stated on the invoice, which is currently 6%.
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. 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 one of the directors.
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 The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales.
9 Applicable law
9.1 This engagement letter is 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.
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 and GDPR
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 the directors.
11.2 By engaging us to act on your behalf, you give your consent to disclose your personal data, relevant to the work you have asked us to undertake. We shall maintain commercially reasonable and appropriate security measures, including administrative, physical and technical safeguards, to protect against unlawful processing of your personal data and against accidental loss or destruction of, or damage to your personal data.
11.3 Electronic communication, which includes any personal data will be password protected by us. The password will then only be given to the client or a nominated individual and should be communicated through a different medium to secure this communication. Any files which are sent electronically should be checked for viruses and password protected before submission. It is the responsibility of the recipient to carry out any virus checks they deem necessary. Internet communications are capable of data corruption and therefore we do not accept any responsibility for changes made to these communications after their despatch. If you do not agree to accept this risk, you should notify us in writing that e-mail is not an acceptable form of communication.
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 Money Laundering
13.1 We have a duty under s. 330 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 to report to the National Criminal Intelligence Service (NCIS) 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.
13.2 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.
13.3 We are obliged by law to report any instances of money laundering to NCIS 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.
13.4 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 in England & Wales together with the Money Laundering Act 2007.
14 Limitation of liability
14.1 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.
14.2 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.
15 Company details
Our registered office address is Cabourn House, Station Street, Bingham, Nottingham NG13 8AQ, registered number 05839745. Our audit registered number is C001383863.
Our professional indemnity insurers at the date of signing this letter are Pinpoint Underwriting, Claims Department, Allied World Assurance Company (Europe) dac, 19th Floor, 20 Fenchurch Street, London EC3M 3BY E:mail firstname.lastname@example.org