The following terms of business apply to all engagements accepted by us. All work is carried out under these terms except where changes are expressly agreed in writing.
1.0 Professional rules and practice guidelines
1.1 We will observe and act in accordance with the bye-laws, regulations and ethical guidelines of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales 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/membershandbook. We confirm that we are Registered Auditors eligible to conduct audits under the Companies Acts.
2.0 Investment advice
2.1 If during the provision of professional services to you, you need advice on investments, we may have to refer you to someone who is authorised by the Financial Services Authority, as we are not. 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. 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.
2.2 Where we refer you to someone who is authorised by the Financial Services Authority, we may refer you to Magee Gammon Financial Planning (which trades as MG Financial Planning) unless, in our opinion, MG Financial Planning is not the appropriate entity or is not suitably qualified to deal with your affairs. In such circumstances we may refer you to another appropriately qualified professional to give you the necessary advice.
3.0 Commissions or other benefits
3.1 In some circumstances we or our principals may receive commissions or other benefits for introductions to MG Financial Planning or other professionals or transactions we arrange for you.
3.2 In cases where the commission or benefit is receivable by MG Financial Planning you will be notified of the amount in writing by MG Financial Planning. Our principals receive a profit share from the income generated by MG Financial Planning. In the vast majority of cases our profit share from any transaction will not exceed £500. We will inform you separately in writing where such profit share will exceed £1,000. You agree that we or our principals can retain any profit share received from MG Financial planning without being liable to account to you for any such amounts.
3.3 In cases where we receive commissions or other benefits for introductions to other professionals or from transactions we arrange for you we will notify you in writing as to the amount of commission or other benefit received. The fees for any work relating to the transaction giving rise to the commission or other benefit will be abated by the amount of the commission or other benefit received.
4.0 Clients’ money regulations
4.1 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 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 and Wales.
4.2 All client monies will be held in an interest-bearing account. To avoid excessive administration, interest will only be paid to you where the amount earned on the balances held on your behalf in any calendar year exceeds £25.00. 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 we will put the money in a designated interest-bearing client bank account and pay the interest to you. Subject to any tax legislation, interest will be paid gross.
5.0 Retention of records
5.1 During our work we will collect information from you and others acting on your behalf and will return any original documents to you following completion of the assignment in respect of which the information was obtained. You should retain them for at least 7 years from the end of the period to which they relate.
5.2 Whilst certain documents may legally belong to you, unless you tell us not to, we intend to destroy correspondence and other papers that are more than seven years old, except documents we think may be of continuing significance. You must tell us if you wish us to keep any document for any longer period.
6.0 Conflicts of interest and independence
6.1 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 7 below. We confirm that we will notify you immediately should we become aware of any conflict of interest involving us and affecting you.
7.1 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.
8.0 Data Protection Act 1998
8.1 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.
9.0 Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and Money Laundering Regulations 2007
9.1 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 have due diligence procedures for the identification of all clients, maintain appropriate records of evidence to support customer due diligence; and report in accordance with the relevant legislation and regulations.
10.0 Quality control
10.1 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 our principals and staff.
11.0 Help us give you the best service
11.1 We wish to provide a high quality of service at all times. 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 your regular partner or one of the other partners.
11.2 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.
12.0 Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999
12.1 Only someone who is a party to this agreement has the right under the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999 to enforce any of its terms. This clause does not affect any right or remedy that exists independently of the Act.
12.2 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.
13.1 Our policy is to provide the service you require at a sensible fee level. Those fees are calculated on the basis of the time spent on your affairs by the principals and staff and on the levels of skill or responsibility involved, unless an alternative agreement has been reached with the partner responsible for your engagement. Unless otherwise agreed, our fees will be charged separately for each of the main classes of work, will be billed at appropriate intervals during the course of the year, and will be due fourteen days after the date of our request for payment.
13.2 In some cases we may agree a fixed fee arrangement with you. If that is the case that agreement overrides 13.1 provided that it is in writing and provided that you comply with any conditions set out in any such agreement.
13.3 We will notify you of fees due to us on a Request for Payment. The Request for Payment does not constitute a VAT invoice and consequently may not be used for the purposes of claiming VAT. We will send you a VAT invoice if appropriate, whenever we receive from you a payment of or on account of fees.
13.4 The hourly rates at which our partners and our staff are charged out to you are available on request. Whilst these rates will normally only be reviewed on the first day of April each year, we may increase them during a year if there are exceptional reasons for so doing.
13.5 If we need to do work outside the responsibilities outlined in our engagement letter, we will advise you in advance. This will involve additional fees.
13.6 We reserve the right to charge interest on overdue accounts at the current rate 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. We accept settlement of fees by certain credit cards.
14.0 Electronic Communications
14.1 In this section the word “communications” includes any attachments.
14.2 Our electronic communications are confidential and may be privileged or otherwise protected from disclosure. They are for the sole use of the intended recipient(s). If you receive a communication in error please notify us immediately; please do not copy or disclose its contents to any person or body and delete it from your computer system. If you are not the intended recipient, please note that any use, disclosure, distribution or copying of such communication is strictly prohibited and may be unlawful.
14.3 You are advised to undertake your own procedures to satisfy yourself that our communications are free from virus infection. We do not accept any responsibility for any loss or damage that any of our communications may cause to your computer systems.
14.4 The transmission of electronic mail cannot be guaranteed to be secure or error free. Please take this into account when sending us information by electronic mail and when requesting us to send you information by electronic mail. In particular, you should beware of sending any information that contains confidential, price sensitive, or personal data.
14.5 Any person communicating with us by electronic mail will be deemed to have accepted the risks of interception, amendment and loss, and also the consequences of late or incomplete delivery.
14.6 We do not endorse, and we accept no liability for, any opinion or advice contained in a communication that is personal or otherwise unconnected with Magee Gammon or our client’s business or affairs.
14.7 We accept no liability for reliance placed on information, advice and opinions contained in communications by those who are not parties to the engagement to which the communication relates.
14.8 Any information, advice and opinion contained in communications are subject to either the terms and conditions of the engagement to which the information, advice and opinions relate and / or to the terms and conditions set out in the communication itself.
15.0 Tax Compliance Service
15.1 We operate a tax compliance service whereby, in exchange for an annual fee, we agree to undertake any work on most enquiries into your affairs undertaken by HM Revenue & Customs without additional charge.
15.2 Our commitment extends only to the cost of our time up to certain maxima, and not to third party costs or disbursements incurred by us in undertaking the work, although we would normally agree any such costs with you before they were incurred.
15.3 In order to keep this service affordable for all clients participation is obligatory unless you are able to demonstrate to our satisfaction that you have made alternative similar provision with another service provider or insurer.
15.4 Full details of this service are provided annually shortly before the end of April at the time when fee renewal notices are sent to all clients.
16.0 Applicable law
16.1 Our engagement with you is governed by, and interpreted in accordance with, English law. The Courts of England shall have exclusive jurisdiction in relation to any claim, dispute or difference concerning our engagement letter and terms of business and any matter arising from or under them. 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 inconvenient forum, or to claim that those courts do not have jurisdiction.
In accordance with the disclosure requirements of the Provision of Services Regulations 2009, our professional indemnity insurer is AXA Insurance UK plc. The territorial coverage is worldwide excluding professional business carried out of the office in the United States of America or Canada and excludes any action for a claim in any court in the United States of America or Canada.
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 by the Code of Ethics of The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales which can be viewed at www.icaew.com/ethics – Code of Ethics section 220.