The following Standard Terms of Business apply to all engagements accepted by Bishops Accountancy Practice Limited. All work carried out is subject to these terms except where changes are expressly agreed in writing.
1. Professional Obligation
1.1 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.
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. Investment Services (Licensed)
2.1 Although we are not authorised by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) to conduct investment business, we are licensed by the 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 In particular, we may:
• advise you on investments generally, but not recommend a particular investment or type of investment;
• refer you to a Permitted Third Party (PTP) (an independent firm authorised by the FSA), assist you and the PTP during the course of any advice given by that party and comment on, or explain, the advice received (but 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, as amended by Financial Services Act 2012;
• advise you in connection with the disposal of an investment, other than your rights in a pension policy or scheme;
• advise and assist you in transactions concerning shares or other securities not quoted on a recognised exchange;
• assist you in making arrangements for transactions in investments in certain circumstances; and
• manage investments or act 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, valuations and methods of such valuations;
• arrange any agreements in connection with the issue, sale or transfer of the company’s shares or other securities;
• arrange for the issue of new shares; and
• act as the addressee to receive confirmation of acceptance of offer documents etc.
2.4 Although we are not authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), we are included on the register maintained by the FCA so that we might carry on insurance mediation activity, which is broadly the advising on, selling and administration of insurance contracts. This part of our business, including arrangements for complaints or redress if something goes wrong, is regulated by ICAEW. The register can be accessed via the FCA website at www.fca.org.uk/register.
2.5 The firm may receive commission from any introduction to a PTP in connection with the above, in which case you will be fully informed of the expected size and nature of such commission at the time of the introduction. Such commission will be held in our clients’ account until we receive instructions from you as to how it should be treated. In the event of no such instructions being received, we may use such monies against any fees that have been outstanding for 30 days or more and concerning which you are not in dispute with us.
2.6 We may also request that you allow us to retain such commissions to cover our costs in connection with the above, but permission will be sought separately from you in these circumstances. If you are dissatisfied in any way about our services described in this section, you should follow the procedures set out in the ‘Help us to give you the right service’ section of this letter and, 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.
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 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 NatWest 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.
4.4 We are required under the client money regulations to appoint an alternate to administer the client bank account in the event of the death or incapacity of the principal. The alternative appointment by this firm is Howard Ashmore of Godfrey Laws & Co Limited.
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 interest to
ensure that your records etc. are completed to the agreed stage.
5.3 Our terms relating to payment of amounts invoiced and not covered by standing orders, where
appropriate, are strictly 14 days net. Interest can be charged on all overdue debts at the rate of 4% over NatWest base rate.
6. Retention Of and Access To Records
6.1 You have a legal responsibility to retain documents and records relevant to your financial affairs. During the course of our work we may collect information from you and others acting on your
behalf and will return any original documents to you following the preparation of your accounts and returns. Documents and records relevant to your tax affairs are required by law to be retained as follows:
Individuals, Trustees and Partnerships:
• with trading income or rental income – 5 years and 10 months after the end of the tax year otherwise: 22 months after the end of the tax year
Companies, Limited Liability Partnerships and other corporate entities:
• 6 years from the end of the accounting period
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 the 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 Kevin Bishop.
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 effect 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 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.
9.2 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.
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 attachment received.
11. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
11.1 To enable us to discharge the services agreed in our engagement letter, comply with related legal and regulatory obligations and for other related purposes including updating and enhancing client records and analysis for management purposes, as a data controller, we may obtain, use, process and disclose personal data as described in our privacy notice. We confirm when processing data on your behalf that we will comply with the provisions of all relevant data protection legislation and regulation.
You are also an independent controller responsible for complying with data protection legislation and regulation in respect of the personal data you process and, accordingly where you disclose personal data to us you confirm that such disclosure is fair and lawful and otherwise does not contravene relevant requirements. Nothing within this engagement letter relieves you as a data controller of your own direct responsibilities and liabilities under data protection legislation and regulation.
Data protection legislation and regulation places obligations on you as a data controller where we act as a data processor to undertake the processing of personal data on your behalf, for instance where we operate a payroll service for you. We therefore confirm that we will at all times take appropriate measures to comply with relevant requirements when processing data on your behalf. In particular we confirm that we have adequate security measures in place and that we will comply with any obligations equivalent to those placed on you as a data controller.
Our privacy notice can be found on our website https://www.bishopsaccountants.co.uk/about-us explains how we process personal data in respect of the various services that we provide in compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation 2018.
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 In common with all accountancy and legal practices the firm is required by the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and the Money Laundering Regulations 2017 to:
• Maintain identification procedures for all new clients;
• Maintain records of identification evidence obtained, and
• Report, in accordance with the relevant legislation and regulations
13.2 We have a duty under section 330 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 to report to the National Crime Agency (NCA) 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 under payments or excessive repayments;
• Fraudulent claiming of benefits or grants; or
• Obtaining a contract through bribery.
Clearly this list is by no means exhaustive.
13.4 We are obliged by law to report any instances of money laundering to NCA 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 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. The Provision of Services Regulations 2009
14.1 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, under reference number C001333616.
14.2 In accordance with the disclosure requirements of the Services Regulations 2009, our professional indemnity insurer is Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance PLC (No.93792), of St.Mark’s Court, Horsham, West Sussex RH12 1XL. 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 bought in any court in the United States of America or Canada.
15. Limitation of liability
15.1 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.
15.2 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.
15.3 Our work is not to be made available to third parties without 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.