1 Applicable law
1.1 This engagement letter shall be governed by, and construed in accordance with, English law. The Courts of England shall have exclusive jurisdiction in relation to any claim, dispute or difference concerning the engagement letter (including the firm’s terms of business) and any matter arising from it. Each party irrevocably waives any right it may have to object to an 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.
1.2 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.
1.3 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.
2 Quality of service
We aim to provide you with a fully satisfactory service and [name] as engagement director will seek to ensure that this is so. If, however, you are unable to deal with any difficulty through [him][her] and [his][her] team please contact Graham Jones on 01733 568321 or at email@example.com. 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 the matter with the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) by whom we are regulated for audit purposes.
3 Commissions or other benefits
Commissions, other than for investment business, 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 amounts.
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 the ICAEW.
4.2 All client money will be held in an interest-bearing account. 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 Barclays 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 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.
5 Investment advice
5.1 We are not authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to conduct Investment Business. If you require investment business services we will refer you to a firm authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority.
6.1 Our fees are computed on the basis of the time spent on your affairs by the directors and our staff and on the levels of skill and responsibility involved. Unless otherwise agreed, our fees will be billed at appropriate intervals during the course of the year and will be due on presentation.
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.
Our fees will exclude out of pocket expenses. Out of pocket expenses (plus VAT (if applicable)) will be billed as incurred for reimbursement by you.
6.3 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.
6.4 Our terms relating to payment of amounts invoiced and not covered by standing orders, where appropriate, are strictly 30 days net. Interest and compensation for recovery costs may be charged on all overdue debts 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. However, it is not our intention to use these rights in a way which is unfair or unreasonable.
7 Retention of and access to records
7.1 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 completion of the work.
7.2 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.
8 Electronic communication
8.1 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.
8.2 It is the responsibility of the recipient to carry out a virus check on any attachments received.
9 Data Protection Act 1998
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. We confirm when processing data on your behalf that we will comply with the relevant provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998.
Where you give us confidential information, we confirm that we shall at all times keep it confidential, other than as required by law or as provided for in regulatory, ethical or other professional statements relevant to our engagement.
11 External review
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 us.
12 Professional rules and practice guidelines
We will observe and act in accordance with the bye-laws, regulations and Code of Ethics of the ICAEW and accept instructions to act for you on this basis. In particular you give us the authority to correct errors made by HMRC where we become aware of them. We will not be liable for any loss, damage or cost arising from our compliance with statutory or regulatory obligations. You can see copies of these requirements in our offices. The requirements are also available on the internet at [www.icaew.com/regulations]. We confirm that we are Statutory Auditors eligible to conduct audits under the Companies Act 2006.
13 Conflicts of interest
13.1 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 our confidentiality clause. We confirm that we will notify you immediately should we become aware of any conflict of interest involving us and affecting the company.
13.2 If a conflict of interest should arise, either between two or more of our clients, or in the provision of multiple services to a single client, we will take such steps as are necessary to deal with the conflict. In resolving the conflict, we would be guided by our Code of Ethics which can be viewed on the internet at the address above, in part B, sub-section 220.
14 The Provision of Services Regulations 2009
14.1 We are registered to carry on audit work in the UK and Ireland by the ICAEW. Details of our audit registration can be viewed at www.auditregister.org.uk under reference number C005362635.
14.2 Our professional indemnity insurer is Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Plc of 17 York Street, Manchester, M2 3RS. 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 or Canada.
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 2007 to:
(a) Maintain identification procedures for all new clients;
(b) Maintain records of identification evidence obtained; and
(c) 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.
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.