Terms of business

ARITHMA Accountants Limited STANDARD TERMS OF BUSINESS
June 2020

The following terms of business apply to all engagements accepted by Arithma Accountants Limited. All work is carried out under these terms except where changes are expressly agreed in writing.

1.0 Applicable law

  • Our engagement letter, the 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 England will have exclusive jurisdiction in relation to any claim, dispute or difference concerning this engagement letter and any matter arising from it on any basis. 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.
  • We will not accept responsibility if you act on advice previously given by us without first confirming with us that the advice is still valid in light of any change in the law or in your circumstances. We will accept no liability for losses arising from changes in the law, or the interpretation thereof, that occur after the date on which the advice is given.

2.0 Client identification

2.1 In common with other professional firms, we are required by the Proceeds to Crime Act 2002 and the Money Laundering Regulations 2017 to:

  • Maintain identification procedures for clients, beneficial owners of clients, and persons purporting to act on behalf of clients;
  • Maintain records of identification evidence and the work undertaken for the client; and
  • Report in accordance with the relevant legislation and regulations.

We have a statutory obligation under the above legislation to report to the National Crime Agency (NCA) any reasonable knowledge or suspicion of money laundering. Any such report must be made in the strictest confidence. In fulfilment of our legal obligations, neither the firm's principals nor may staff enter into any correspondence or discussions with you regarding such matters.

2.2 If we are not able to obtain satisfactory evidence of your identity and where applicable that of the beneficial owners, we will not be able to proceed with the engagement.

3.0 Client money

3.1 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.

3.2 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.

3.3 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, we may pay those monies to a registered charity.

4.0 Commissions or other benefits

4.1 In some circumstances we may receive commissions or other benefits for introductions to other professionals or in respect of transactions which we arrange for you. If this happens we will notify you in writing of the amount and terms of payment and receipt of any such commissions or benefits. You agree that we can retain the commission or other benefits without being liable to account to you for any such amounts.

5.0 Confidentiality

5.1 Unless we are authorised by you to disclose information on your behalf, we confirm that if you give us confidential information we will, at all times during and after this engagement, keep it confidential, except as required by law or as provided for in regulatory, ethical or other professional pronouncements applicable to us or our engagement.

5.2 You agree that, if we act for other clients who are or who become your competitors, to comply with our duty of confidentiality it will be sufficient for us to take such steps as we think appropriate to preserve the confidentiality of information given to us by you, both during and after this engagement. These may include taking the same or similar steps as we take in respect of the confidentiality of our own information.

5.3 In addition, if we act for other clients whose interests are or may be adverse to yours, we will manage the conflict by implementing additional safeguards to preserve confidentiality. Safeguards may include measures such as separate teams, physical separation of teams, and separate arrangements for storage of, and access to, information.

5.4 You agree that the effective implementation of such steps or safeguards as described above will provide adequate measures to avoid any real risk of confidentiality being impaired.

5.5 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.

5.6 If we use external or cloud based systems, we will ensure confidentiality of your information is maintained.

5.7 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.

6.0 Conflicts of interest

6.1 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 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 that we will be unable to provide further services.

6.2 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. In resolving the conflict, we would be guided by

ICAEW’s Code of Ethics, which can be viewed at icaew.com/en/membership/regulations-standards-and-guidance/ethics.

During and after our engagement, you agree that we reserve the right to act for other clients whose interests are or may compete with or be adverse to yours, subject, of course, to our obligations of confidentiality and the safeguards set out in the paragraph on confidentiality above.

7.0 Data protection

We are committed to ensuring the protection of the privacy and security of any personal data which we process. We draw your attention to how we treat personal data received by us in the provision of our services during our engagement with you.

7.1 In this clause 7, the following definitions shall apply:

‘client personal data’ means any personal data provided to us by you, or on your behalf, for the purpose of providing our services to you, pursuant to our engagement letter with you;

‘data protection legislation’ means all applicable privacy and data protection legislation and regulations including PECR, the GDPR and any applicable national laws, regulations and secondary legislation in the UK relating to the processing of personal data and the privacy of electronic communications, as amended, replaced or updated from time to time;

‘controller’, ‘data subject’, ‘personal data’, and ‘process’ shall have the meanings given to them in the data protection legislation;

‘GDPR’ means the General Data Protection Regulation ((EU) 2016/679); and

‘PECR’ means the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003 (SI 2426/2003).

7.2 We shall each be considered an independent data controller in relation to the client personal data. Each of us will comply with all requirements and obligations applicable to us under the data protection legislation in respect of the client personal data.

7.3 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 your company officers and employees and shareholders (‘personal data’).

Data controller and data processor

7.4 In the course of providing services to you and processing personal data, we may disclose personal data to other firms in our network, a regulatory body or a third party. We may use a sub-processor and/or export personal data you supply to us outside the EU/EEA/UK if necessary (subject to your prior written consent, which will not be unreasonably withheld where we are a processor). We will ensure all such data disclosure/export is compliant with relevant data protection legislation in the EU/EEA/UK and will use our reasonable endeavours to ensure that any agreement entered into with sub-processors include similar terms to those set out in this clause. Where cloud-based services are to be used you may be subject to our cloud services terms and conditions, and cloud storage may be outside the EU/EEA/UK.

7.5 We shall maintain commercially reasonable and appropriate security measures, including administrative, physical and technical safeguards, to protect against unauthorised or unlawful processing of the client personal data and against accidental loss or destruction of, or damage to, the client personal data.

7.6 We will notify you within 10 working days if an individual asks for copies of their personal data, makes a complaint about the processing of personal data or serves a notice from a relevant data protection authority where this relates to you. You and we will consult and cooperate with each other when responding to any such request, complaint or notice. If an individual whose data you have supplied to us or which we are processing on your behalf asks us to remove or cease processing that data, we shall be entitled to do so where required by law.

7.7 We will answer your reasonable enquiries to enable you to monitor compliance with this clause. We will also allow for, and contribute to, audits or inspections conducted by the ICO or their auditor to demonstrate compliance with this clause.

Data controller

7.8 We confirm that we are each considered an independent data controller in relation to personal data and that we will each comply with the relevant provisions of applicable data protection legislation.

7.9 You will also ensure that any disclosure of personal data to us complies with such legislation. If you supply us with any personal data or confidential information you shall ensure you have a lawful basis to pass it to us and will fully indemnify and hold us harmless if you do not have such a basis and that causes us loss. If you are supplying us with personal data on the basis of a power of attorney for anyone, you must produce to us an original or certified power of attorney on demand. You must ensure you have provided the necessary information to the relevant data subjects regarding its use.

Data processor

7.10 Applicable data protection legislation places express obligations on you as a data controller where we as a data processor undertake the processing of personal data on your behalf. An example would be where we operate a payroll service for you. We therefore confirm that we will at all times use our reasonable endeavours to comply with the requirements of applicable EU/EEA/UK data protection legislation when processing data on your behalf. In particular we confirm that we will aim to comply with any obligations equivalent to those placed on you as a data controller. You will also comply with applicable data protection legislation, including but not restricted to, ensuring that you have all appropriate consents and notices or another lawful basis in place to enable the lawful transfer of personal data to us. You will fully indemnify and hold us harmless if you do not have a lawful basis and that causes us loss.

7.11 As the data processor we shall;

  • process personal data only on written instruction from you;
  • Restrict data access to authorised personnel only, and who are bound by confidentiality;
  • Disclose the personal data to courts, government agencies and other third parties as and to the extent required by law;
  • Maintain a written record of all categories of personal data processing carried out on your behalf, including details of transfers of personal data outside of the EU/EEA/UK and a general description of the technical and organisational security measures in place in relation to personal data; and
  • Delete or return all personal data to you at the completion of our engagement requiring personal data processing, subject to legal requirements to retain data.

8.0 Disengagement

8.1 If we resign or be requested to resign we will normally issue a disengagement letter to ensure that our respective responsibilities are clear. If we have no contact with you for a period of 2 years or more we may issue to your last known address a disengagement letter and thereafter cease to act.

9.0 Electronic and other communication

9.1 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.

9.2 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. Nevertheless, 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.

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

10.0 Fees and payment terms

10.1 Our fees may 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.

10.2 If we provide you with an estimate of our fees for any specific work, then the estimate will not be contractually binding unless we explicitly state that that will be the case. Otherwise, our fees will be calculated on the basis of the hours worked by each member of staff necessarily engaged on your affairs.

10.3 If requested we may indicate a fixed fee for the provision of specific services or an indicative range of fees for a particular assignment. It is not our practice to identify fixed fees for more than a year ahead as such fee quotes need to be reviewed in the light of events. If it becomes apparent to us, due to unforeseen circumstances, that a fee quote is inadequate, we reserve the right to notify you of a revised figure or range and to seek your agreement thereto.

10.4 In some cases, you may be entitled to assistance with your professional fees, particularly in relation to any investigation into your tax affairs by HMRC. Assistance may be provided through insurance policies you hold or via membership of a professional or trade body. Other than where such insurance was arranged through us you will need to advise us of any such insurance cover that you have. You will remain liable for our fees regardless of whether all or part are liable to be paid by your insurers.

10.5 We will bill monthly, quarterly, half-yearly or annually depending on the services we agree to provide and our invoices are due for payment upon presentation. Our fees are exclusive of VAT which will be added where it is chargeable. Any disbursements we incur on your behalf and expenses incurred in the course of carrying out our work for you will be added to our invoices where appropriate.

10.6 Unless otherwise agreed to the contrary our fees do not include the costs of any third party, counsel or other professional fees. If these costs are incurred to fulfil our engagement, such necessary additional charges may be payable by you.

10.7 It is our normal practice to ask clients to pay by monthly direct debit and periodically to adjust the monthly payment by reference to actual billings.

10.8 We reserve the right to charge interest on late paid invoices at the rate of 8% above bank base rates under the Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998. We also reserve the right to suspend our services or to cease to act for you on giving written notice if payment of any fees is unduly delayed. We intend to exercise these rights only where it is fair and reasonable to do so.

10.9 If you do not accept that an invoiced fee is fair and reasonable you must notify us within 21 days of receipt, failing which you will be deemed to have accepted that payment is due.

10.10 If a client company, trust or other entity is unable or unwilling to settle our fees we reserve the right to seek payment from the individual or parent company giving us instructions on behalf of the client and we shall be entitled to enforce any sums due against the Group Company or individual nominated to act for you. If the directors of client company guarantee to pay personally any fees (including disbursements) for services provided to the company that the company is unable to pay, this clause shall become effective in the event of a receiver or liquidator being appointed to the company or the company otherwise being wound-up.

10.11 In the event that this firm ceases to act in relation to your company’s affairs you agree to meet all reasonable costs of providing information to the company’s new advisor. In particular, you agree to meet these costs even where we are required by law to provide information to a successor firm.

11.0 Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) and Common Reporting Standards

11.1 Unless agreed specifically in a separate engagement letter, we are not responsible for your compliance with the International Tax Compliance (United States of America) Regulations 2013, produced as a result of FATCA. In particular, we are not responsible for the categorisation of any UK entity into either a Financial Institution (FI) or an active or passive Non-Financial Foreign Entity (NFFE) nor, if a Financial Institution, for its registration with the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and subsequent submission of the required annual returns to HM Revenue & Customs.

11.2 However, if requested to do so we can provide advice on the completion of the forms supplied by Financial Institutions under these Regulations, or under Common Reporting Standards, and used by them to determine the status of an entity. We can also provide advice on setting up the appropriate systems to identify and report on your clients or beneficiaries who are foreign citizens affected by FATCA or Common Reporting Standards.

12.0 Help us to give you the best service

12.1 We are committed to providing you with a high quality service that is both efficient and effective. However, should there be any cause for complaint in relation to any aspect of our service please contact Mr Naren Mistry. We agree to look into any complaint carefully and promptly and do everything reasonable to put it right. If you are still not satisfied you can refer your complaint to our professional body, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW).

12.2 We will consider carefully any complaint you may make about our service as soon as we receive it and do all we can to explain the position to you. We will acknowledge your letter within five business days of its receipt and endeavour to deal with your complaint within eight weeks.

12.3 If we do not answer your complaint to your satisfaction, you may, of course, take up the matter with our professional body, ICAEW.

13.0 Intellectual property rights

13.1 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.

13.2 You are not permitted to use our name in any statement or document you may issue unless our prior written consent has been obtained. The only exception to this restriction would be statements or documents that, in accordance with applicable law, are to be made public.

14.0 Interpretation

14.1 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 these terms of business and the engagement letter or appendices, the relevant provision in the engagement letter or schedules will take precedence.

15.0 Internal disputes within a client

15.1 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 normal place of business for the attention of the directors/proprietors/trustees. If conflicting advice, information or instructions are received from different directors/proprietors/trustees in the business we will refer the matter back to the board of directors/the partnership and take no further action until the board/partnership has agreed the action to be taken.

16.0 Investment advice (including insurance mediation services)

16.1 Investment business is regulated by the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000. If during the provision of professional services to you, you need advice on investments including insurances, we may have to refer you to someone who is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority. 

16.2 In relation to the conduct of insurance distribution activities, we are an ancillary insurance intermediary. We are not authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority. However, we are included on the Register maintained by the Financial Conduct Authority so that we can carry on insurance mediation activity, which is broadly the advising on, selling, and administration of insurance contracts. This part of our business, including arrangements for complaints or redress if something goes wrong, is regulated by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. The register can be accessed via the Financial Conduct Authority website at www.fca.org.uk/register.

17.0 Lien

17.1 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.

18.0 Limitation of third party rights

18.1 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 to enforce any of its terms and no rights or benefits are conferred on any third party under the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999.

19.0 Period of engagement and termination

19.1 Unless otherwise agreed in our engagement letter, our work will begin when we receive implicit or explicit acceptance of that letter. Except as stated in that letter we will not be responsible for periods before that date.

19.2 Each of us may terminate our 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.

19.3 We reserve the right to terminate the engagement between us with immediate effect in the event of your insolvency, bankruptcy or other arrangement being reached with creditors; an independence issue or change in the law which means we can no longer act; failure to pay our fees by the due dates; or either party being in breach of their obligations if this is not corrected within 30 days of being asked to do so.

19.4 In the event of termination of our 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.

20.0 Professional rules and statutory obligations

20.1 We will observe and act in accordance with the Bye-laws, regulations and Code of Ethics of ICAEW and will accept instructions to act for you on this basis. 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 online at icaew.com/en/membership/regulations-standards-and-guidance.

20.2 We confirm that we are statutory auditors eligible to conduct audits under the Companies Act 2006. When conducting audit work, we are required to comply with the Ethical and Auditing Standards issued by the FRC, which can be accessed online at www.frc.org.uk/Our-Work/Codes-Standards/Audit-and-assurance/Standards-and-guidance/Standards-and-guidance-for-auditors.aspx. We are also required to comply with the Audit Regulations and Guidance which can be accessed at icaew.com/en/technical/audit-and-assurance/working-in-the-regulated-area-of-audit.

21.0 Quality control

21.1 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.

21.2 When dealing with HMRC on your behalf we are required to be honest and to take reasonable care to ensure that your returns are correct. To enable us to do this, you are required to be honest with us and to provide us with all necessary information in a timely manner. For more information about ‘Your

Charter’ for your dealings with HMRC, visit

www.gov.uk/government/publications/your-charter. To the best of our abilities, we will ensure that HMRC meet their side of the Charter in their dealings with you.

22.0 Reliance on advice

22.1 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.

22.2 We will only assist with implementation of our advice if specifically instructed and agreed in writing.

23.0 Retention of papers

23.1 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. 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: five years and 10 months after the end of the tax year
  • otherwise: 22 months after the end of the tax year

Companies, Limited liability Partnerships, and other corporate entities:

  • Six years from the end of the accounting period

23.2 Although certain documents may legally belong to you, we may 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 tell us if you wish us to keep any document for any longer period.

24.0 The Provision of Services Regulations 2009

24.1 We are registered to carry on audit work in the UK by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. Details of our audit registration can be viewed at www.auditregister.org.uk for the UK, under reference number C006549214.

24.2 Our professional indemnity insurer is Arch Insurance (UK) Ltd, Claims Department, 5th Floor, Plantation Place, South, 60 Great Tower Street, London, EC3R 5AZ. The territorial coverage is worldwide excluding professional business carried out from an office in the United States of America or Canada and excludes any action for a claim brought in any court in the United States or Canada.

25.0 Timing of our services

25.1 If you provide us with all information and explanations on a timely basis in accordance with our requirements, we will plan to undertake the work within a reasonable period of time to meet any regulatory deadlines. However, failure to complete our services before any such regulatory deadline would not, of itself, mean that we are liable for any penalty or additional costs arising.