Black & White Accounting Limited T/As Black and White Chartered Certified Accountants

Terms and conditions of business

1 Introduction

1.1 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 separate letters of engagement.

2 Ethical guidelines

2.1 We are registered with the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) with registration number 2217483 and can be found on the register of members here. We are also registered with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS) with registration number M27068 and can be found on the register of members here.

2.2 We are bound by ACCA’s ethical guidelines and accept instructions to act for you on the basis that we will act in accordance with those ethical guidelines. A copy of these guidelines can be viewed at our offices on request or can be seen here. We are also bound by ICAS’ rules and regulations which can be found here. We will not be liable for any loss, damage or cost arising from our compliance with statutory or regulatory obligations.

3 Fees

3.1 Our fees depend not only upon the time spent on your affairs but also on the level of skill and responsibility and the importance and value of the advice that we provide, as well as the level of risk. We will advise you of our standard fees at the outset of our engagement.

3.2 VAT at the relevant prevailing rate shall be added to our fees and will be payable by you.

3.3 Where we provide an estimate of fees (rather than a fixed quotation) this is based on an hourly rate which will be set out in our estimate. Whilst we will provide an estimate of the time we anticipate spending on your affairs based on information that is available to us at the time, in the event that further work than anticipated is required we will revise our estimate accordingly and keep you updated.

3.4 Our invoices are payable within 7 days. You are referred to Clause 23 below relating to our rights in the event of late or non-payment.

4 Client monies

4.1 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’ Monies Rules of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. These rules can be found on the ACCA website here.

4.2 Fees paid by you in advance for professional work to be performed and clearly identifiable as such shall not be regarded as clients’ monies.

5 Internal disputes

5.1 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 trading address for the attention of all the directors/partners. If conflicting advice, information or instructions are received from different directors or partners in the business we will refer the matter back to the company or partnership and take no further action until all parties have agreed on the action to be taken.

5.2 In the event that we cease work in line with Clause 5.1 we shall not be liable for any losses or damages arising from such cessation.

6 Investment services

6.1 Investment business is regulated under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 and Financial Services Act 2012. We are not authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority or Prudential Regulation Authority.

6.2 As we are licensed by ACCA 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 including non-insurance investment activities. If, however, during the provision of professional services to you, you need advice on investments for which we are not licenced, including insurances, we may have to refer you to someone who is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority or Prudential Regulation Authority.

7 Commissions or other benefits

7.1 In some circumstances, commissions or other benefits may become payable to us in respect of transactions which we arrange for you. Where this happens we will notify you in writing of the amount and terms of payment.

8 Retention of records

8.1 During the course of our work we may collect information from you and others relevant to your affairs. We will return any relevant documents to you if requested. Please note that we shall not keep copies in these circumstances. 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

8.2 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.

9 Notification

9.1 We shall not be treated as having notice, for the purposes of our accounts/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).

10 Timetable

10.1 The services we undertake to perform for you will be carried out on a timescale to be determined between us on an ongoing basis. Whilst we will endeavour to meet any agreed timescales time shall not be of the essence in performing the services.

10.2 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.

10.3 In the event of delay due to your delayed or non-supply of information and documentation required by us, we shall not be liable for any loss or damages arising from such delay.

11 Third parties

11.1 Any advice we give you will be supplied on the basis that it is for your benefit only and shall not be disclosed to any third party in whole or part without our prior written consent. 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. 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.

11.2 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.

12 Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999

12.1 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. 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.

13 Confidentiality

13.1 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, or where disclosure to our legal advisers is required to take legal advice. Unless we are authorised by you to disclose information on your behalf this undertaking will apply during and after this engagement.

13.2 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.

13.3 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.

14 Quality of service

14.1 We aim to provide a high quality of service at all times. If you would like to discuss with us how our service could be improved or if you are dissatisfied with the service that you are receiving please let us know by contacting Jon Mills at [email protected] or [email protected].

14.2 We undertake to look into any complaint carefully and promptly and to do all we can to explain the position to you. If we do not answer your complaint to your satisfaction you may take up the matter with the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants.

15 Communication

15.1 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.

15.2 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 save where electronic submission is compulsory.

15.3 Any communication by us with you sent through the postal system is deemed to arrive at your postal address two working days after the day that the document was sent.

16 Applicable law

16.1 This engagement letter, the schedule of services and our standard terms and conditions of business are governed by and should be construed in accordance with the law of England and Wales.

16.2 Each party agrees that the courts of England and Wales will have exclusive jurisdiction in relation to any claim, dispute or difference concerning this engagement letter, the schedule of services and our standard terms and conditions of business and any matter arising from them. 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.

17 Data Protection Act 2018

17.1 We confirm that we will comply with the provisions of the Data Protection Act 2018 when processing personal data about you and your family.

17.2 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 are referred to our Data Privacy Notice here.

18 Money Laundering Regulations 2017

18.1 In accordance with the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and Money Laundering Regulations 2017 you agree to waive your right to confidentiality to the extent of any report made, document provided or information disclosed to the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA).

18.2 You also acknowledge that we are required to report directly to SOCA 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.

18.3 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 upon our initial engagement and periodically from time to time to comply with our obligations. 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.

19 Bribery Act 2010

19.1 Bribery is giving someone a financial or other advantage to encourage that person to perform their functions or activities improperly or to reward that person for having already done so.

19.2 In accordance with the Bribery Act 2010 we have put policies in place to prevent bribes being given or received by us or our staff and our staff are unable to accept gifts valued in excess of £50.

20 Implementation

We will only assist with the implementation of our advice if specifically instructed in writing. The implementation shall be subject to additional fees.

21 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.

22 Interpretation

22.1 If any provision of the engagement letter or schedules is held to be void, then that provision will be deemed not to form part of this contract.

22.2 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.

23 Lien and other rights on non-payment

23.1 Insofar 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.

23.2 In addition to our right of lien at clause 23.1, we reserve the right to cease work and/or only file accounts and tax returns once we receive full payment of all outstanding fees and disbursements. In the event of our exercising our rights pursuant to this clause 22.2, we shall not be liable for any losses or penalties (whether for late filing or otherwise) arising therefrom.

23.3 Further and in addition to our rights at clauses 23.1 and 23.3 we reserve the right to charge interest on late payment of our invoices at a rate of 5% above HSBC Bank Plc’s base rate from the date the invoice becomes due.

23.4 In the event that we are obliged to engage the services of a debt collection agency or solicitor and/or refer this matter to the courts we shall be entitled to recover any costs incurred in doing so from you on an indemnity basis.

24 Limitation of liability

24.1 We will provide our services with reasonable care and skill. Our liability to you is limited to losses, damages, costs and expenses caused by our negligence or wilful default.

24.2 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.

24.3 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 this engagement letter if the delay or failure is caused by circumstances outside our reasonable control.

24.4 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.

24.5 Indemnity for unauthorised disclosure

You agree to indemnify us and our agents in respect of any claim (including any negligence claim) 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.

24.6 Limitation of aggregate liability

We have discussed and agreed on a limitation in our aggregate liability to you and any third parties which we both regard as fair and reasonable in the circumstances of this assignment. The aggregate liability, to you and any third party and whether in contract, tort or otherwise of this firm, its partners, employees and agents for any losses in any way connected with any of the services provided to you under the terms of this letter of engagement (and including interest) shall not exceed the amount stated in the engagement covering letter.

25 Reliance on advice

25.1 We will endeavour to record all advice on important matters in writing. The 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.

25.2 Although we draw your attention to any VAT errors that we may find while preparing your annual accounts, we do not carry out a review of how VAT has been applied during the year and whether or not you are complying with the relevant legislation. Similarly, if we prepare your VAT returns, we do this from the information you provide us with, and we are not in a position to be able to judge whether or not you are complying with all that HM Revenue & Customs requires. If you require such a review, we can, of course, carry this out as a separate exercise, using our VAT consultancy staff.

26 Conflicts of interest

25.1 We will inform you if we become aware of any conflict of interest in our relationship with you or in our relationship with you and another client. 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.

25.2 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. 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.

27 Period of engagement and termination

27.1 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.

27.2 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 before termination.

27.3 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.

28 Disengagement

28.1 Should we resign or be requested to resign a disengagement letter will be issued to ensure that our respective responsibilities are clear.

28.2 Should we have no contact with you for a period of 12 months or more we may issue a disengagement letter and hence cease to act.