Accountancy services: terms of engagement

Terms of Engagement for clients

Last Updated 10th May 2018

Maple subscribes to the promotion of high standards, ethical awareness and best practice. As part of those standards, engagement terms are issued and Service Level and Price are agreed prior to any work being undertaken.

Please read all the information carefully and contact us if you have any concerns or require clarification.

In this letter, “we” and “us” and “our” relate to this accountancy practice and “you” and “your” relate to you, the client.

1. Scope of Services
Our services will be provided to you and we will advise you of any proposed change. The services to be provided, timescales and fees and are listed in our initial letter to you.

2. Responsibilities
Our responsibilities are to:

2.1. Keep and maintain records of work completed and make them available to you upon request.
2.2. Provide regular reports on the progress of any work being completed on your behalf.
2.3. Raise any issues or concerns that may be found during the term of the engagement.
2.4. Return any information owned by you within 30 working days upon termination of the engagement and once payment for work carried out by the practice has been made.
2.5. Keep records in compliance with the Data Protection legislation.

Your responsibilities as the client are to:

2.6. Provide the following proof of identity, current address and business details as required by anti money laundering regulations.
2.7. For current identification requirements please click here to download our guide to ID
2.8. Ensure that records of your business activities are correct and maintained to meet the requirements of regulatory authorities.
2.9. Disclose all relevant information to enable us to complete the work within agreed timescales as set in our letter dated 8th October 2015.
2.10. Allow full and free access to financial and other records held by yourselves or third parties.
2.11. You agree that during the term of this agreement and for 12 months thereafter that:
2.11.1. You will not seek to entice our employees with a view to utilising that employees service outside of this agreement.
2.11.2. Should any of our employees approach you to offer such services, you agree to reject that approach and inform us of that approach within 7 days.
2.11.3. In the event that you or those associated to you, employs or contracts one of our employees, you agree to pay us the sum of £50,000, being an agency recruitment fee of £5,000 and the loss of revenue of £45,000 being the average value of the work produced by an employee in a six month period. Payment of this sum will be made within 21 days from the date the employee commences the new role.

3. Ethical conduct
All Maple Accountancy Group Ltd work complies with the principles of integrity, objectivity, professional competence and due care, confidentiality and professional behavior.
We have a duty to observe the highest standards of conduct and integrity, and to uphold the good standing and reputation of the profession.
The duty of a professional accountant is not exclusively to satisfy the needs of an individual client or employer. In complying with the ethical requirements, we are obliged to act primarily within the public interest.

4. Fees
4.1. Payments of fees rendered by invoice are due within 14 working days from the bill date. Where payment is not made within our above 14 day terms, we reserve the right to charge interest at a rate of 4% over the base rate from time to time of Lloyds TSB Bank plc from the date of invoice to payment in full. We reserve the right to add any solicitors and/or collection agents costs incurred on any bills remaining unpaid 21 days after presentation.
4.2. Where payment has not been received we reserve the right to withhold services, documents and information, and have the right to cease work on your accounts, and to terminate the engagement if payments are unduly delayed.
4.3. Where we hold funds or other property for you, we reserve the right to deduct what is due to us from such sums or hold such property until we have received payment in full.
4.4. Where we have requested payment prior to completion of a matter, we reserve the right to delay completion until our fees and disbursements have been met.
4.5. Where we receive funds for you at completion, we reserve the right to deduct our fees and disbursements from such sum before passing the balance to you.
4.6. Our costs and disbursements will be met by you, whether or not your matter is completed or successfully concluded.
4.7. Any expenses incurred whilst working on your behalf will be charged and appropriate records will be kept and will be available for inspection. Such expenses may include the use of meeting rooms and other facilities, internal printing, courier charges, and international but not national telephone calls.
4.8. In the case of a Limited liability company or partnership, Ltd or LLP, Directors of the company jointly and severally guarantee personally that all fees will be paid within the payment terms.

5. Retaining and Accessing Records

In the course of providing the requested services it will be necessary for us hold and process personal information about you including but not limited to; your name, contact information, financial information and any other relevant information required for the completion of the services we have contracted to provide.
All data will be stored and processed securely in line with the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
In order to provide you the best service it may be necessary for data to be shared with selected third party service providers. Data will only be shared with providers whom have shown a commitment to data security and only such data as is necessary for the provision of the requested service shall be shared. Data will also be shared where necessary to comply with legal obligations such as filing requirements at Companies House or HM Revenue and Customs.
You have the right to request that we erase all personal data we hold relating to you, any such request shall be subject to our statutory requirements to retain certain records, any data still necessary for the completion of our contract of service or as evidence of services provided.

Further details of our handling of personal data can be found in our Data Protection Policy which is available upon request.

Any information produced or relating to the work we undertake for you will be returned to you and should be kept for a period of no less than 6 years from the end of the tax year in question. Whilst certain documents may legally belong to you we may destroy correspondence and other papers that we store, electronically or otherwise, which are more than 7 years old. You must tell us if you require the return or retention of any specific documents for a longer period.

6. Confidentiality and conflicts

6.1. We agree never to share information relating to your business with any third party without prior consent, unless required to do so by law or to comply with regulations or quality control reviews. Likewise you agree not to use or copy or allow use of the output of the work we do for with a third party without our prior permission.
6.2. You recognise that we may have to stop providing services to you in the event that a conflict arises between our duties to you and to another client. You will notify us if you have any reason to believe that such a conflict has arisen or may arise.
6.3. We may communicate with you electronically and you accept the risks associated with such communications, except anything arising through our negligence or willful default.

7. Legislation and compliance

7.1. We are obliged by law to undertake checks to ensure that you and your business are operating lawfully. By agreeing to our terms of engagement you accept that we are authorised to complete such checks as necessary.
7.2. Under Money Laundering Regulations it is a criminal offence if we do not report suspicious transactions or if we inform a client that a report has been made against them.

8. Liability

8.1. As Accountants, we have a duty of care to you and we must observe the highest standards of conduct and integrity. Our services to you will only be completed by an accountant fully competent to perform such work and who holds current Professional Indemnity Insurance.
8.2. Where any loss or damage occurs as the result of you providing misleading, incomplete or false information no liability will be accepted.
8.3. We would emphasise that we cannot undertake to discover any shortcomings in your systems or any irregularities on the part of your employees, although we will advise you of any such circumstances that we encounter in preparing your accounts.
8.4. Accounts need to be completed prior to submission of the tax return. Failure to submit the return on time will result in penalties and is likely to result in interest and surcharges. In order to avoid this, we must have your accounting records in good time before the statutory filing deadline and queries raised on those accounting records must be answered promptly, otherwise we cannot guarantee the completion of the accounts to ensure the tax return’s timely submission. We reserve the right to levy an additional fee where records are not received in good time.
8.5. The advice we give you is not to be used by a third party without written consent. The practice also accepts no legal responsibility from third party use of the financial information provided by us.
8.6. Reliance on advice: We will endeavor to record all advice on important matters in writing. Advice given orally (including advice provided during the operation of helpline services) is not intended to be relied upon unless confirmed in writing. Therefore, if we provide oral advice (for example during the course of a meeting or a telephone conversation) and you wish to be able to rely on that advice, you must ask for the advice to be confirmed by us in writing.
9. Complaints and disputes
We want you to be entirely satisfied with the services provided to you. If, however, you are not, please refer to the Complaints Handling Procedure at Annex 1 of this letter. Any disputes arising from our engagement by you will, subject to the procedure at Annex 1, be governed by English law.

10. Termination
You or we may terminate our engagement by giving 30 days written notice. All documents and information provided by you will be returned to you within 30 working days of receipt of the notice provided that all outstanding fees have been paid.