The following standard terms of business apply to all engagements accepted by Bush & Co. All work carried out is subject to these terms except where changes are expressly agreed in writing.
1. Professional Obligations
- Details of the firm’s audit registration can be found at www.icaew.com/en/members/regulations-standards-and-guidance/audit under reference C003918130.
- The professional rules applicable to our audit work are "Audit Regulations and Guidance" which can be found at www. There are also the "International Standards on Auditing (UK and Ireland)" at: www.frc.org.uk/Our-work/Codes-Standards/Audit-and-assurance/Standards-and-guidance-for-auditors/Auditing-standards.aspx
- The code of conduct to which the firm is subject is the "Code of Ethics" of The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales which can be found at www.icaew.com/en/members/regulations-standards-and-guidance/ethics, section B. For our audit work we are also subject to the "FRC Ethical Standards" at www.frc.org.uk/Our-work/Codes-standards/Audit-and-assurance/Standards-and-guidance-for-auditors/Ethical-standard-for-auditors.aspx.
- We will observe and act in accordance with the bye-laws and regulations of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales together with their ethical code referred to above. We accept instructions to act for you on this basis. In particular you give us authority to correct errors made by HM Revenue and Customs 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.
- Professional Indemnity Insurance
In accordance with the disclosure requirements of the Provision of Services Regulations 2009, our professional indemnity insurer is Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Plc. 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.
2. Investment Services
- Since we are not authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority we may have to refer you to someone who is authorised if you need advice on investments. However, as we are licensed by the Institute of Chartered Accountants 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.
- Such advice may include:
- 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 FCA), 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;
- 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.
This paragraph in italics applies to corporate clients only.
We may also, on the understanding that the shares or other securities of the company are not publicly traded:
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.
We are not authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority. However, we are included on the Register maintained by the Financial Conduct Authority so that we can 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 the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. The register can be accessed via the Financial Conduct Authority website at http://www.fca.org.uk/register.
When referring you to a permitted third party, we will normally refer you to Eastgate Financial Services Limited, hereafter referred to as our associate, which is an independent financial adviser. Our associate is separate from this firm, is authorised by the FCA and will be solely responsible for compliance with the FSMA 2000. However, the associate is partly owned by the partners of this firm so the firm or its partners may benefit indirectly from any commission or fees paid to the associate by you or any product provider as a result of any transaction carried out on the advice of the associate.
- 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.
To enable us to provide you with a proper service, there may be occasions when we will need to contact you without your express permission concerning investment business matters. For example, it may be in your interests to sell a particular investment and we would wish to inform you of this. We may, therefore, contact you in such circumstances, but would only do so in our normal office hours. We shall, of course, comply with any restrictions you may wish to impose which you notify to us in writing.
3. Commissions or Other Benefits
- 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. The fees that would otherwise be payable by you will not be abated by such amounts. You consent to such commission or other benefits being retained by us without our being liable to account to you for any such amounts.
4. Client Monies
- 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 in England & Wales.
- 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.
- If the total sum of money held on your behalf is enough to give rise to a significant amount of interest or is likely to do so, 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.
- In the unlikely event of us holding any unclaimed client monies we reserve the right to pay such monies to a registered charity in line with the guidelines set out in the Clients’ Money Regulations referred to above. We will not do this unless we have been unable to contact you for at least 5 years and we have taken reasonable steps to trace you and return the monies.
- Our fees are computed on the basis of time spent on your affairs by the principals, our staff and consultants and on the levels of skill and responsibility involved. Disbursements represent travel, accommodation and other expenses incurred in dealing with your affairs. Our payment terms are 14 days from date of invoice.
- 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.
- If it is necessary to carry out work outside the responsibilities outlined in this letter, we will advise you accordingly. Any additional work will involve additional fees. We would like to point out that it is in your interests to ensure that your records etc. are completed to the agreed stage.
- In the event that this firm ceases to act in relation to your business affairs you agree to meet all reasonable costs of providing information to the company's new advisers. In particular you agree to meet these costs where we are required by law to provide information to a successor firm.
- For companies, as directors you guarantee to pay personally any fees (including disbursements) for services provided to the company that the company is unable to pay. This clause shall become effective in the event of a receiver or liquidator being appointed to the company or the company otherwise being wound up.
6. Retention of and Access to Records
- 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 or audit of your financial statements and returns. You should retain these records for 6 years from the 31 January following the end of the tax year to which they relate. You should retain them for longer if HM Revenue and Customs enquire into your tax return.
- Whilst certain documents may legally belong to you, unless you tell us not to, 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. Conflicts of Interest and Independence
- 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 8 below. We confirm that we will notify you immediately should we become aware of any conflict of interest involving us and affecting you 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. Where conflicts are identified which cannot be managed in a way that protects your interests then we regret that we will be unable to provide further services.
- 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 the Code of Ethics of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales which can be viewed at:
http://www.icaew.com/index.cfm/route/143703/icaew_ga/en/Members/Support/Professional_conduct/Members_Handbook/Members_Handbook, Section 3.3.
- 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.
9. Quality Control
- As part of our ongoing commitment to providing a quality service, our files are periodically subject to an independent regulatory or 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.
- Dealing with HM Revenue & Customs
When dealing with HM Revenue & Customs on your behalf we are required to be honest and to take reasonable care to ensure that your returns are correct. To enable us to do this, you are required to be honest with us and to provide us with all necessary information in a timely manner. For more information about "Your Charter" for your dealings with HM Revenue & Customs, see www.hmrc.gov.uk/charter/index.htm. To the best of our abilities, we will ensure that HM Revenue & Customs meet their side of the Charter in their dealings with you.
10. Help us to Give you the Right Service
- 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 contacting Roger Carne.
- We undertake to look into any complaint carefully and promptly and 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.
- 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 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.
11. Applicable Law
- 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.
- 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.
12. Changes in the Law
- 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 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.
13. Internet Communication
- Unless you instruct us otherwise we may, where appropriate, communicate with you and with third parties via email or by other electronic means. The recipient is responsible for virus checking emails and any attachments.
- With electronic communication there is a risk of non-receipt, delayed receipt, inadvertent misdirection or interception by third parties. We use virus-scanning software to reduce the risk of viruses and similar damaging items being transmitted through emails or electronic storage devices. However, electronic communication is not totally secure and we cannot be held responsible for damage or loss caused by viruses nor for communications which are corrupted or altered after despatch. Nor can we accept any liability for problems or accidental errors relating to this means of communication especially in relation to commercially sensitive material. These are risks you must bear in return for greater efficiency. If you do not wish to accept these risks please let us know and we will communicate by paper mail, other than where electronic submission is mandatory.
14. Data Protection Act 1998
- To enable us to discharge the services agreed under our engagement, 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 may obtain, use, process and disclose personal data about you / your business / company / partnership / its officers and employees. We confirm when processing data on your behalf that we will comply with the relevant provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998.
15. Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999
- 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.
- 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.
16. The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and the Money Laundering Regulations 2007
- 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:
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 another person is 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.
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.
- Maintain identification procedures for clients and beneficial owners of clients;
- Maintain records of identification evidence and the work undertaken for the client; and Report, in accordance with the relevant legislation and regulations.
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.
We are obliged by law to report any instances of money laundering to NCA without your knowledge or consent. In consequence, neither the firm's principals nor staff may enter into any correspondence or discussions with you regarding such matters.
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 Consultative Committee of Accountancy Bodies.
17. General Limitation of Liability
- We will provide services as outlined in this letter with reasonable care and skill. However, to the fullest extent permitted by law, 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.
- You will not hold us, our principals, consultants or our staff, responsible, to the fullest extent permitted by law, for any loss suffered by you arising from 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 partners or employees personally.
- Our work is not, unless there is a legal or regulatory requirement, 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.
18. Probate Services
- In the unlikely event that we cannot meet our liabilities to you, you may be able to seek a grant from ICAEW’s Probate Compensation Scheme. Generally, applications for a grant must be made to ICAEW within 12 months of the time you become aware, or reasonably ought to have been made aware of the loss. Further information about the scheme and the circumstances in which grants may be made is available on ICAEW’s website; www.icaew.com/probate.
- If you would like to talk to us about how we can improve our service to you, or if you are unhappy with the service you are receiving, please let us know by contacting the probate contact partner Sunny Truran. We will consider carefully any complaint that you may make about our probate services as soon as we receive it and will do all we can to resolve the issue. We will acknowledge your complaint within five business days of its receipt and endeavour to deal with it within 8 weeks. Any complaint should be submitted to us by letter.
- If we do not deal with it within this timescale or you are unhappy with our response you may of course take the matter up with our professional body ICAEW and the Legal Ombudsman. Complaints to the Legal Ombudsman should be made within six years of the act or omission or within three years of you becoming aware of the issue, and in either case within six months of our written response to your complaint to us. The contact details for the Legal Ombudsman are:
Letter: Legal Ombudsman, PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ
Tel: 0300 555 0333
19. Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) and Common Reporting Standards
- Unless agreed specifically in a separate engagement letter, we are not responsible for your compliance with the International Tax Compliance (United States of America) Regulations 2013, produced as a result of FATCA. In particular, we are not responsible for the categorisation of any UK entity into either a Financial Institution (FI) or an active or passive Non-Financial Foreign Entity (NFFE) nor, if a Financial Institution, for its registration with the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and subsequent submission of the required annual returns to HM Revenue & Customs.
- However, if requested to do so we can provide advice on the completion of the forms supplied by Financial Institutions under these Regulations, or under Common Reporting Standards, and used by them to determine the status of an entity. We can also provide advice on setting up the appropriate systems to identify and report on your clients or beneficiaries who are foreign citizens affected by FATCA or Common Reporting Standards.