Standard Terms of Business

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Standard Terms of Business

(October 2018)

All work carried out is subject to these Standard Terms of Business
Except where changes are expressly agreed in writing.

Professional rules and statutory obligations

We will observe and act in accordance with the by-laws, regulations and codes 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.


Communication between us is confidential and we shall take all reasonable steps to keep confidential your information except where we are required to disclose it by law, by regulatory bodies, by our insurers or as part of an external peer review.  Unless we are authorised by you to disclose information on your behalf, this undertaking will apply during and after this engagement.

We may, on occasions, sub-contract work on your affairs to other tax or accounting professionals.  The sub-contractors will be bound by our client confidentiality terms.

Conflicts of Interest

We will inform you if we become aware of any conflicts of interest in our relationship with you or in our relationship with you and another client 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 we will be unable to provide further services.

If there is a conflict of interest that is capable of being addressed successfully by the adoption of suitable safeguards to protect your interests, then we will adopt these safeguards. Where possible this will be done on the basis of your informed consent.

Commissions or other benefits 

In some circumstances, commissions or other benefits may  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 payments and receipt of any such commissions or benefits.  To avoid excessive administration costs, notification will only be made where the amount exceeds £25.

Client monies

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 other funds.  The account will be operated, and all funds dealt with in accordance with the legal duties imposed on a professional accountant in public practice holding such assets.   

To avoid excessive administration costs, interest will only be paid to you where the amount earned on the balances held on your behalf exceeds £25.

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 practice, then we may pay those monies to a registered charity.

Retention of and access to records

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 relevant to your tax and financial affairs.  We will return any original documents to you if requested.  Documents and records relevant to your tax affairs are required by law to be retained as follows:

Individuals, trustees and partnerships, with trading 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, LLP’s, and other corporate entities, 6 years from the end of the accounting period   

Whilst certain documents may legally belong to you, we intend to destroy correspondence and other papers that we store electronically or otherwise that are more than seven years old, except documents we think may be of continuing significance.  You must inform us if you wish to keep any documents for a longer period.

Quality control

As part of our ongoing commitment to provide a quality service, our files are periodically reviewed by an independent regulatory or quality control body.

Help us to give you the right service

If at any time you would like to discuss with us how our service could be improved, or if you are dissatisfied with the service you are receiving, please discuss the matter with us.  We undertake to look at any complaint carefully and promptly and to do all we can to explain the position to you.  If you feel that we have given 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 matters up with the ICAEW.

Fees and disbursements

Unless otherwise agreed, our fees are computed on the basis of time spent on your affairs, according to the level of skill and value of the advice we provide, as well as the level of risk. 

  • Disbursements include, but are not necessarily restricted to, direct expenditure on clients’ affairs such as travelling, courier costs, faxes and searches.
  • We will issue VAT invoices periodically.  However we reserve the right to issue an invoice to you at any time for work undertaken to date.
  • Invoices are payable 14 days after the presentation, unless otherwise agreed by us in writing.
  • Any queries on invoices rendered by us must be raised in writing within 7 days of receipt.

Any amount received from you shall, unless otherwise directed by you, be accepted on account of the earliest outstanding invoice.

Under the Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998, we reserve the right to charge interest on late paid invoices at the rate of 4% per month on the outstanding sums from the date the invoice is due.  We intend only to exercise these rights where only fair and reasonable to do so.

Credit Control   

If an invoice remains due beyond our specified payment terms, the credit function will confirm when settlement is expected.


We will only assist with the implementation of our advice if specifically instructed to do so in writing.

Data Protection Act 1988

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, process, use 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 1988. 

Client identification

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 due diligence procedures for the identification of all clients
  • Make searches of appropriate databases to confirm identities
  • Maintain appropriate records of evidence to support customer due diligence: and
  • Report in accordance with the relevant legislation and regulations.

Limitations to third parties

Under the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999, a party to this agreement is the only person who has the right to enforce any of its terms and no rights or benefits are conferred on any third party.

The advice and information we provide to you as part of our service is for your sole use and not for any third party to whom you may communicate it unless we have expressly agreed in writing in the engagement letter that a specified third party may rely on our work.  We accept no responsibility to third parties, including any group company to whom the engagement letter is not addressed.

Applicable Law

Our engagement letter and Standard Terms of Business shall be governed by and construed in accordance with, English Law.

Each party agrees that the Courts of England shall have exclusive jurisdiction in relation to any claim, dispute or difference concerning the engagement letter and all matters arising from it on any basis.

Each party irrevocably waives any right it may have to object to any action being brought in these Courts, to claim that the action has been brought in an inappropriate forum, or to claim that these 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 provision shall not in any way be affected or impaired.


Insofar as we are permitted to do so by law or professional guidelines, we reserve the right to exercise a lien over all funds, documents and records in our possession relating to all engagements for you until all outstanding fees and disbursements are paid in full.

Electronic and other communication

Unless you instruct us otherwise we may, where applicable, 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 dispatch.  Nor can we accept any liability for problems or accidental errors relating to this means of communication, especially in relation to commercially sensitive material.  If you do not wish us to use electronic methods, other than when mandatory, please say.

Intellectual property rights  

We will retain all copyright in any document prepared by us during the course of carrying out the engagement save where the law specifically provides otherwise.


If any provision of our engagement letter or terms of business is held to be void, then that provision will be deemed not to form part of this contract.  In the event of any conflict between the terms of business and the engagement letter or appendices, the relevant provision in the engagement letter or schedules will take precedence.


Should we resign or be required to resign we will normally issue a disengagement letter to ensure that our respective responsibilities are clear.

Should we have no contact with you for a significant period of time we may issue to your last known address a disengagement letter and hence cease to act.


Our professional indemnity insurer is Collegiate Underwriting, 2nd Floor, 18 Mansell Street, London, E1 8FE

The territorial coverage is United Kingdom

Force majeure

If either party is impeded or prevented from carrying out any of its obligations under the contract for the supply of the services due to any circumstances beyond its reasonable control including without limitation, act of Government, interruption of power supplies, failure of sources of supply, interference by a third party or, industrial dispute or natural disaster (‘circumstances of force-majeure’) the party affected shall be excused performance of such obligation for so long as and to the extent that the prevention or impediment last. 


We are registered with ICAEW under registration number C004265427.