The following terms of business apply to all engagements accepted by Stewarts Accountants Limited. All work is carried out under these terms except where changes are expressly agreed in writing.
1.1 Professional rules and practice guidelines
1.1.1 We will observe the bye-laws, regulations and ethical guidelines of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and accept instructions to act for you on the basis that we will act in accordance with them. You can see copies of these requirements in our offices. The requirements are also available on the internet at www.icaew.co.uk/membershandbook.
1.2 Investment advice
1.2.1 If during the provision of professional services to you, you need advice on investments, we may have to refer you to someone who is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority, as we are not. However, as we are licensed by the Institute of Chartered Accountant in England and Wales, we may be able to provide certain investment services that are complementary to, or arise out of, the professional services we are providing to you. 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 in respect of exempt regulated activities undertaken.
1.3 Commissions or other benefits
1.3.1 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. You agree that we can retain the commission or other benefits without being liable to account to you for any such amounts.
1.3.2 This commission receipt means that we are generally able to act as your liaison with the other professional at meetings or in the provision of information, without having to charge you separately for this service. Our time commitment is covered by the commission we receive.
1.4 Clients’ money regulations
1.4.1 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. The account will be operated, and all funds dealt with, in accordance with the Clients' Money Regulations of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.
1.4.2 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 £10.00. Subject to any tax legislation, interest will be paid gross.
1.4.3 We will return monies held on your behalf promptly as soon as there is no longer any reason to retain those funds. If any funds remain in our client account that are unclaimed and the client to which they relate has remained untraced for five years or we as a firm cease to practise then we may pay those monies to a registered charity.
1.5 Retention of records
1.5.1 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. You should retain them for 6 years from the end of the accounting year. This period can be extended if H M Revenue & Customs enquire into your tax return.
1.5.2 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 tell us if you wish us to keep any document.
1.6 Conflicts of interest and independence
1.6.1 We reserve the right to act during our engagement with you for other clients whose interests are or may be adverse to yours, subject to 7 below. We confirm that we will notify you immediately should we become aware of any conflict of interest involving us and affecting the company.
1.7.1 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.
1.7.2 You agree that we will be complying sufficiently with our duty of confidence if we take steps that we in good faith think fit to keep appropriate information confidential during and after our engagement.
1.8 Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and Money Laundering Regulations 2007
1.8.1 In common with all accountancy and legal practices the firm is required by the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and the Money Laundering Regulations 2007 to:
- have identification procedures for all new clients;
- maintain records of identification evidence; and
- report in accordance with the relevant legislation and regulations.
1.9 Quality control
1.9.1 As part of our ongoing commitment to providing a quality service, our files are periodically reviewed by an independent regulatory or quality controller. Our reviewers are highly experienced and professional people and, of course, are bound by the same rules for confidentiality as our principals and staff.
1.10 Help us give you the best service
1.10.1 We wish to provide a high quality of service at all times. If at any time you would like to discuss with us how we could improve our service, or if you are dissatisfied with the service you are receiving please let us know by contacting Chris Stewart.
1.10.2 We will look into any complaint carefully and promptly and do all we can to explain the position to you. If we have given you a less than satisfactory service we undertake to do everything reasonable to put it right. If you are still not satisfied you may of course refer the matter to our Institute.
1.11 Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999
1.11.1 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.
1.11.2 The advice we give you is for your sole use and not constitute for 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.
1.12.1 Our fees are calculated on the basis of the time spent on your affairs by the principals and staff and on the levels of skill or responsibility involved.
1.12.2 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. Accordingly it is in your interest to ensure that your records etc are completed to the agreed stage.
1.12.4 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.
1.13 Limitation of Liability
1.13.1 We act as outlined in this letter with reasonable care and skill. However, we will not be responsible for any losses, penalties, surcharges, interest or additional tax liabilities where you or others supply incorrect or incomplete information, or fail to supply any appropriate information or where you fail to act on our advice or respond promptly to communications from us or the tax authorities.
1.13.2 You agree to hold harmless and indemnify our directors and staff, against any misrepresentation (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 we provide to you against any of our employees personally.
1.13.3 Our work is not to be made available to third parties without our written permission and we accept no responsibility to third parties for any aspect of our professional services or work that is made available to them.
Stewarts Accountants Limited's VAT registration number is GB 539 1923 26
1.15 Professional Liability Insurance
In accordance with the disclosure requirements of the Provision of Services Regulations 2009, our professional indemnity insurer is Liberty Mutual Insurance Europe Limited of 20 Fenchurch Street, London EC3M 3AW. 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 of America or Canada.
1.16 Applicable law
1.16.1 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 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.