General Terms and Conditions of Business – 9th August 2019
About Firestone Accountants Ltd
Firestone Accountancy Limited (Firestone) is currently owned and run by Catherine and Phil Steadman. We specialise, and have many years experience, in providing accountancy services for smaller businesses. Although Catherine is a chartered accountant, and we do employ other qualified accountants, we are not a member firm of the Institute of Chartered Accountants (to be a member firm Catherine would require more than 50% ownership but currently only has 50%)
Our engagement 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.
Changes in the law
- We will not accept responsibility if you act on advice given by us on an earlier occasion without first confirming with us that the advice is still valid in the light of any change in the law or your circumstances.
- We will accept no liability for losses arising from changes in the law or the interpretation thereof that are first published after the date on which the advice is given.
Limitation of Liability and complaints
- We will provide services as outlined in this letter with reasonable care and skill.
- We will provide those services under this letter for your benefit only.
- You have agreed that you will not bring any claim in connection with services we provide to you against any of our partners or employees personally.
- Our work is not, unless there is a legal or regulatory requirement, to be made available to third parties without our written permission.
- We undertake and will exercise due care and attention in the performance of our work in accordance with the applicable professional standards, and will re-perform any work that is not in compliance with this undertaking if it is brought to our attention within a reasonable time after the work is performed.
- In the first instance complaints should be addressed to Phil Steadman and we will do our best to resolve matters amicable. Should we not be able to resolve the matters amicable you do have the option to raise the issue with ICAEW.
Advice and Assistance
Firestone can provide advice and assistance on all small business accounting matters, including payroll, bookkeeping and VAT returns.
Firestone does not undertake to provide tax planning or investment advice
From time to time we may find it necessary to use subcontractors to complete some of the work. In these cases we will retain control of the work and it will be subject to our quality control procedures
- 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 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.
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. We reserve the right to provide services for other clients whose interests are not the same as yours or are adverse to yours subject of course to the obligations of confidentiality referred to above.
We confirm that we will comply with the provisions of the Data Protection Act 20188 when processing personal data about you [and your family]. In order to carry out the services under the engagement letter 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.
Electronic and other communication
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Where 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.
- 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. You will remain liable for our fees regardless of whether all or part are liable to be paid by your insurers.
- Unless otherwise agreed fees will be charged as work is completed and will be due on 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.
- Unless otherwise agreed to the contrary our fees do not include the costs of any third party, counsel or other professional fees.
- It is our normal practice to ask clients to pay by monthly standing order for ongoing services and to periodically adjust the monthly payment by reference to actual billings.
- We reserve the right to charge interest on late paid invoices at the rate of 5% 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.
- 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.
- If a client company, is unable or unwilling to settle our fees we reserve the right to seek payment from the individual giving us instructions on behalf of the client and we shall be entitled to enforce any sums due against the individual nominated to act for you.
Internal disputes within a client
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 [registered office/normal place of business] for the attention of the [directors/proprietors]. If conflicting advice, information or instructions are received from different [directors/principals] 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.
Termination of engagement
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.
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.
- 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 would normally seek to return to you your business records soon after your yearend accounts have been completed. If after we have requested that you collect you records they remain with us we will return the records via post, for which we reserve the right to request reimbursement of the costs. If for any reason we are unable to return the records to you, or have agreed to retain them, then we will hold the records for 7 years, and then send them for destruction. We reserve the right to charge you for the storage and destruction.
- 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 and Limited liability Partnerships:
- 6 years from the end of the accounting period;
- 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.
Agreement of terms
Any changes we may make to our terms and conditions in the future will be updated on our website
These terms and conditions were last updated on 9th August 2019