General terms and conditions in respect of the work undertaken by PKN Accountants Limited
Please note that specific terms and conditions will be given in writing in addition to these general conditions
These terms and conditions set out the general terms under which we undertake our business. The specific conditions relating to particular assignments will be covered in a separate letter of engagement or in writing.
All engagement letters and schedules of services and our standard terms and conditions of business are governed by, and should be construed in accordance with English law. Each party agrees that the courts of English law 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 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.
Authorisation and registration
PKN Accountants Limited are registered with the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales as chartered accountants and can be found on the register of members at www.icaew.com.
We are registered as auditors by the ICAEW in the UK and details of our registration can be found at www.auditregister.org.uk under registration number C003124447.
Bribery Act 2010
In accordance with the requirements of the Bribery Act 2010 we have policies and procedures in place to prevent the business and its partners and staff from offering or receiving bribes.
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 and lower costs. 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.
Any communication by us with you sent through the post is deemed to arrive at your postal address two working days after the day that the document was sent.
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, subcontract work on your affairs to other tax or accounting professionals. The subcontractors will be bound by our client confidentiality terms.
We reserve the right, for the purpose of promotional activity, training or for other business purpose, to mention that you are a client. As stated above we will not disclose any confidential information.
Conflicts of interest
We will inform you if we become aware of any conflict of interest which could impact on our relationship with you. Where conflicts are identified which cannot be managed in a way that protects your interests then we regret that we may 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 those safeguards. Safeguards may include measures such as separate teams, physical separation of teams, and separate arrangements for storage of and access to information. Where possible this will be done on the basis of your informed consent.
We reserve the right to act for other clients whose interests are not the same as or are adverse to yours, subject of course to the obligations of confidentiality referred to above.
The firm is not authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) for non-credit related activities. We fall within the ICAEW DPB regime (FSMA 2000 Part 20) for incidental Consumer Credit services that we provided to you as part of your professional accounting and tax services.
Data Protection Act 1998
We confirm that we will comply with the provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998 when processing personal data about you and your family. In order to carry out the services of this engagement and for related purposes such as updating and enhancing our client records, analysis for management purposes and statutory returns, legal and regulatory compliance and crime prevention we may obtain, process, use and disclose personal data about you. You shall ensure that any disclosure of personal data to us complies with the DPA.
We shall use appropriate technical and organisational measures to protect against unauthorised or unlawful processing of personal data and against accidental loss or destruction of, or damage to, personal data. We shall not sub-contract any processing of personal data unless the sub-contractor has agreed that the personal data continues to be subject to an appropriate level of protection. To the extent we act as data processor for you, we shall only process personal data in accordance with your instructions.
We shall answer your reasonable enquiries to enable you to monitor compliance with this clause.
Should we resign or be requested to resign and if circumstances necessitate a disengagement letter will be issued to ensure that our respective responsibilities are clear.
Should we have no contact with you for a period of 18 months or more we may issue a disengagement letter and hence cease to act.
We will only assist with implementation of our advice if specifically instructed and agreed in writing.
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, schedules of services or standard terms and conditions is held to be void, then that provision will be deemed not to form part of this contract and the remainder of this agreement shall be interpreted as if such provision had never been inserted.
In the event of any conflict between these terms of business and the engagement letter or appendices, the relevant provision in the engagement letter or schedules will take precedence.
If we become aware of a dispute between the parties who own or are in some way involved in the ownership and management of the business, it should be noted that our client is the business and we would not provide information or services to one party without the express knowledge and permission of all parties. Unless otherwise agreed by all parties we will continue to supply information to the owners for the attention of the owners. If conflicting advice, information or instructions are received from different partners or directors in the business we will refer the matter back to the partners or board of directors and take no further action until they have agreed the action to be taken.
Investment business is regulated under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 and the Financial Services Act 2012.
Should you require advice on investment business which we are unable to give as we are not authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority or the Prudential Regulation Authority we can introduce you to a permitted third party authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority.
The permitted third party will issue you with his own terms and conditions letter, will be remunerated separately for their services and will take full responsibility for compliance with the requirements of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 and the Financial Services Act 2012. We will act as introducers but would be pleased to comment on, or explain any advice received and if required attend any meetings with you.
PKN Accountants Ltd is licensed for exempt regulated activities by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales
Examples of exempt regulated activities are as follows;
Interpreting advice given to a client by a FCA authorised person;
or taking part in discussions with a client and an FCA authorised person.
“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 so far as 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.
Limitation of liability
Exclusion of liability for loss caused by others
We will not be liable if such losses, penalties, surcharges, interest or additional tax liabilities are due to the acts or omissions of any other person or due to the provision to us of incomplete, misleading or false information or if they are due to a failure to act on our advice or a failure to provide us with relevant information.
Exclusion of liability in relation to circumstances beyond our control
We will not be liable to you for any delay or failure to perform our obligations under these terms and conditions if the delay or failure is caused by circumstances outside our reasonable control.
Exclusion of liability relating to the discovery of fraud, etc.
We will not be responsible or liable for any loss, damage or expense incurred or sustained if information material to the service we are providing is withheld or concealed from us or wrongly misrepresented to us or from fraudulent acts, misrepresentation or wilful default on the part of any party to the transaction and their directors, officers, employees, agents or advisers.
This exclusion shall not apply where such misrepresentation, withholding or concealment is or should (in carrying out the procedures which we have agreed to perform with reasonable care and skill) have been evident to us without further enquiry.
Indemnity for unauthorised disclosure
You agree to indemnify us and our agents in respect of any claim (including any claim for negligence) arising out of any unauthorised disclosure of our advice and opinions, whether in writing or otherwise. This indemnity will extend to the cost of defending any such claim, including payment at our usual rates for the time that we spend in defending it.
Limitation of aggregate liability
Where the engagement letter specifies an aggregate limit of liability, then that sum shall be the maximum aggregate liability of this company, its directors, agents and employees to all persons to whom the engagement letter is addressed and also any other person that we have agreed with you may rely on our work. By signing the engagement letter, you agree that you have given proper consideration to this limit and accept that it is reasonable in all the circumstances. If you do not wish to accept it you should contact us to discuss it before signing the engagement letter.
You have agreed that you will not bring any claim of a kind that is included within the subject of the limit against any of our directors or employees; on a personal basis.
Limitation of Third Party Rights
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 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, for any advice, information or material produced as part of our work for you which you make available to them. It may not be used or relied upon for any other purpose or by any other person other than you without our prior written consent. A party to this agreement is the only person who has the right under the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999 to enforce any of its terms.
If our advice is disclosed to any third party (with or without our consent), then we accept no responsibility or liability to that third party for any consequences that may arise to them, should they rely on the advice.
If it is proposed that any documents or statement which refer to our name, are to be circulated to third parties, please consult us before they are issued.
Money Laundering Regulations 2007
In accordance with the Proceeds of Crime Act and Money Laundering Regulations 2007 you agree to waive your right to confidentiality to the extent of any report made, document provided or information disclosed to the National Crime Agency (NCA).
You also acknowledge that we are required to report directly to the NCA without prior reference to you or your representatives if during the course of undertaking any assignment the person undertaking the role of Money Laundering Reporting Officer becomes suspicious of money laundering.
As with other professional services firms, we are required to identify our clients for the purposes of the UK anti-money laundering legislation. We may request from you, and retain, such information and documentation as we require for these purposes and/or make searches of appropriate databases. If we are not able to obtain satisfactory evidence of your identity, we will not be able to proceed with the engagement.
Copies of such records will be maintained by us for a period of at least five years after we cease to act for the business.
We shall not be treated as having notice, for the purposes of our audit, accounts or tax responsibilities, of information provided to members of our firm other than those engaged on the specific assignment (for example, information provided in connection with accounting, taxation and other services).
Period of engagement and termination
Unless otherwise agreed in the engagement covering letter our work will begin when we receive your implicit or explicit acceptance of that letter. Except as stated in that letter we will not be responsible for periods before that date.
Each of us may terminate this agreement by giving not less than 21 days notice in writing to the other party except where you fail to cooperate with us or we have reason to believe that you have provided us or HMRC with misleading information, in which case we may terminate this agreement immediately. Termination will be without prejudice to any rights that may have accrued to either of us prior to termination.
In the event of termination of this contract, we will endeavour to agree with you the arrangements for the completion of work in progress at that time, unless we are required for legal or regulatory reasons to cease work immediately. In that event, we shall not be required to carry out further work and shall not be responsible or liable for any consequences arising from termination.
Professional rules and statutory obligations
We will observe and act in accordance with the by-laws, regulations and ethical guidelines of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and will 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 at our offices. The requirements are also available online at www.icaew.com.
Provision of Services Regulations 2009
In accordance with our professional body rules we are required to hold professional indemnity insurance. Details about the insurer and coverage can be found at our offices.
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 principal and staff.
Reliance on advice
We will endeavour to record all advice on important matters in writing. Advice given orally 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.
Retention of papers
You have a legal responsibility to retain documents and records relevant to your tax affairs. During the course of our work we may collect information from you and others relevant to your affairs. We will return any original documents to you if requested. Documents and records relevant to your 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, LLPs and other corporate entities
– 6 years from the end of the accounting period;
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.
The services we undertake to perform for you will be carried out on a timescale to be determined between us on an ongoing basis.
The timing of our work will in any event be dependent on the prompt supply of all information and documentation as and when required by us.