Terms and conditions for dot-to-dot accountancy services
All accountancy services to be included will be confirmed to you in the welcome email which is sent when you sign up on the website.
The monthly fee quoted is based on an average transaction volume of 35 transactions per month per employee for a sole trader and 75 transactions per month per employee for a limited company. If the work we carry out for you significantly exceeds the volume of transactions we would expect to process then we will need to discuss this further with you.
The monthly fee is payable by direct debit. Invoices will be issued towards the end of each calendar month and the direct debit will be taken approximately 14 days afterwards.
There may be catch up months to pay for so that a full 12 months’ worth of payments have been made by the time we complete your annual accounts and tax return. This will be invoiced immediately upon receipt of the contract.
Once we have received confirmation that the direct debit mandate is authorised and a signed copy of this agreement, we will apply for all of the necessary authorisations with HMRC and set you up with access to the Xero software.
In accordance with the recommendations of our professional body, the Association of Accounting Technicians, the following confirms the basis on which we provide services to you so as to avoid any misunderstandings of our respective responsibilities.
Nature of services
The services listed below are those that we undertake. It may be that you do not require all of these services.
Your responsibility for the preparation of accounts
1. You undertake to make available to us as and when required all the accounting records and related financial information necessary for the compilation of the accounts. You will make full disclosure to us of all relevant information. The accounts need to be approved by you before we are able to issue our report.
2. You are responsible for ensuring that, to the best of your knowledge and belief, financial information whether used by the business or for the accounts is reliable. You are also responsible for ensuring that the activities of the business are conducted honestly and that its assets are safeguarded, and for establishing arrangements designed to deter fraudulent or other dishonest conduct and to detect any that occur.
3. You are responsible for ensuring that the business complies with the laws and regulations applicable to its activities, and for establishing arrangements designed to prevent any non-compliance with laws and regulations and to detect any that occur.
Our responsibilities for the preparation of accounts
1. We will compile your annual accounts based on the accounting records and the information and explanations given to us by you. We shall prepare draft annual accounts for your approval.
2. We will advise you as to the adequacy of your records for preparation of the annual accounts and make recommendations for improvements which we consider necessary. We shall not be responsible if, as a result of you not taking our advice, you incur losses or penalties.
3. We will use reasonable skill and care in the preparation of your accounts but will not be responsible for errors arising from incorrect information supplied by you.
4. We will report, with any variations that we consider may be necessary that, in accordance with your instructions and in order to assist you to fulfil your responsibilities, we have compiled, without carrying out an audit, the accounts from your accounting records and from the information and explanations supplied to us.
5. We have a professional duty to compile accounts which conform with generally accepted accounting principles. Where we identify that the accounts do not conform to accepted accounting principles, or if the accounting policies adopted are not immediately apparent, this will be made clear in our report, if it is not clear in the accounts.
PERSONAL TAX – INDIVIDUALS AND SOLE TRADERS
(a) We shall act as your personal tax advisers in the UK.
(b) We will prepare your personal income tax and capital gains tax return together with all supporting schedules and check HM Revenue & Customs’ calculation of your self-assessment of tax and Class 4 National Insurance contributions.
(c) We will forward to you your tax return form and supporting schedules in duplicate for your approval and signature. Once the return has been approved and signed by you and returned to us, we will submit it with the computations to the HM Revenue & Customs. You authorise us to file the return electronically.
(d) We will advise you as to the amounts of tax and National Insurance contributions to be paid and the dates by which you should make the payments, including payments on account and the balancing payment, and if appropriate we will initiate repayment claims when tax and National Insurance contributions appear to have been overpaid.
(e) We will deal with HM Revenue & Customs regarding any amendments required to your return and prepare any amended returns which may be required.
(f) We will advise as to claims and elections arising from the tax return and from information supplied by you and, where instructed by you, we will make such claims and elections in the form and manner required by HM Revenue & Customs.
(g) You have asked us to undertake all correspondence with HM Revenue & Customs on your behalf. To avoid any problems would you please send to us any forms or correspondence received from HM Revenue & Customs as soon as you receive them. In particular would you please ensure that no payments are made to HM Revenue & Customs without our confirmation that the demands are correct.
(h) HM Revenue & Customs has powers to charge both interest and penalties if there is a delay in submitting a tax return. Such charges are automatic if the tax return is submitted after 31st January following the end of the tax year, or if any payments are made after the respective due dates.
(i) It is therefore important that all details required for the preparation of your tax return are forwarded to us as soon as possible after 5th April each year and by 30th June at the latest. If the information is received after that date, we will not accept responsibility for any penalties or surcharges charged by HM Revenue & Customs.
(j) HM Revenue & Customs audits a number of tax returns each year, many of these audits are the result of a random selection. Assistance in respect of such an audit, beyond the answering of straightforward queries regarding entries on the tax return, is additional work and will result in separate charges. We will keep you fully informed before undertaking any extra work in respect of such an audit.
(k) We will provide our professional services outlined in this letter with reasonable care and skill. However, we will not be responsible for any losses, penalties, surcharges, interest or additional tax liabilities arising from the supply by you or others of incorrect or incomplete information, or your or others’ failure to supply any appropriate information or your failure to act on our advice or respond promptly to communications from us or the tax authorities.
(l) You agree that we can approach such third parties as may be appropriate for information that we consider necessary to deal with your affairs.
We will prepare, in respect of each accounting period of the company, a computation for corporation tax purposes adjusted in accordance with the provisions of the Taxes Acts. We will also prepare the corporation tax return (form CT600) required under the Corporation Tax Self Assessment regulations. The corporation tax return, together with the supporting corporation tax computations, will be sent to you for approval and signature prior to submission to the Inspector of Taxes.
It should be recognised that in law a taxpayer cannot contract out of his fiscal responsibilities and that computations and return forms are prepared by us as an agent for the company. You are legally responsible for making correct returns and for payment of tax on time. If we ask you for information to complete the tax return and it is not provided within the time-scale requested so that the preparation and submission of the return are delayed, we accept no responsibility for any penalty or interest that may arise.
We will advise you of the corporation tax payments to which the company will be liable, together with the due date of payment. You must inform us immediately if the company pays or receives any interest or makes any other payment, or transfers any asset to any shareholder.
Where necessary we will deal with any queries raised by the Inspector of Taxes and negotiate with the Revenue on any question of taxation interest or penalties which may arise.
To enable us to carry out our work you agree:
(a) to make a full disclosure to us of all sources of income, charges, allowances and capital transactions and to provide full information necessary for dealing with the company’s affairs. We will rely on the information and documents being true, correct and complete;
(b) to respond quickly and fully to our requests for information and to other communications from us;
(c) to provide us with information in sufficient time for the company’s self-assessment tax return to be completed and submitted by the due date. In order to do this, we need to receive all relevant information within 3 months following the accounting year end each year; and
(d) to forward to us on receipt copies of all statements of account, letters and other communications received from HM Revenue & Customs to enable us to deal with them as may be necessary within the statutory time limits.
You agree that we can approach such third parties as may be appropriate for information that we consider necessary to deal with your affairs and undertake to authorise such third parties to communicate directly with us.
PAYROLL PREPARATION, P.A.Y.E. AND N.I.
Payroll and year end returns
In order for us to prepare your payroll and year end returns we will require the following information from you:
(a) Personal details of all employees (i.e. name, NI number, home address, etc.).
(b) All P45s received by you.
(c) If any casual labour is taken on, you are required to operate P46 procedures.
Completed P46 forms should be passed to us for processing.
(d) Notification within two weeks of any employee who is ill for four or more calendar days, including weekends, bank holidays etc. This will enable us to operate statutory sick pay for you.
(e) Notification of any employee who becomes pregnant. This will enable us to operate statutory maternity pay.
(f) Details of any money or benefits made available to employees by you or by a third party through you.
(g) Hours worked, rates of pay, bonuses etc.
(h) Notification of employees engaged by you or leaving your employment.
(i) Any notice of coding received by you.
The end of year payroll returns must be received by HM Revenue & Customs by 19th May following the end of the tax year otherwise penalties will be levied. There may also be interest payable if the final tax and National Insurance payment, due by 19th April following the end of the tax year, is late. We cannot guarantee to have the returns etc. completed in time to meet this deadline unless we have all the relevant information within five working days of the end of the tax year.
We will assist in the preparation and submission of PAYE returns as required by the authorities concerned. However, it should be understood that our appointment as your agent does not absolve the company or its directors from their statutory responsibilities. We would draw your attention to the strict rules and time limits for the submission of such returns and the substantial penalties which may arise if these are not observed. It is therefore essential that we receive full information from you promptly to enable us to ensure that the returns are made on a timely basis. Completed returns will be sent to you for approval and signature prior to submission on the company’s behalf.
We will make the necessary pension deductions from your employees under the auto enrolment regulations and submit them to your chosen pension provider.
Construction Industry Scheme
We will operate the Construction Industry Scheme for the subcontractors you engage. In order for us to do this, we will require the following information from you on a timely basis:
(a) written confirmation that you have checked or ‘verified’ each new subcontractor with HM Revenue & Customs; and
(b) written confirmation stating whether HM Revenue & Customs has advised that the subcontractor should be paid net or gross.
We will advise on employment status to the best of our ability. However we cannot give any form of guarantee or assurance that HM Revenue & Customs will not challenge the employment status of one or more of your subcontractors and we cannot be held responsible for any loss or consequential loss as a result of any action or penalty imposed by HM Revenue & Customs.
You have asked us to undertake the completion of your VAT returns. We cannot be held responsible for any penalties or default surcharges arising from the late submission of VAT returns. However, we will endeavour to meet the relevant deadlines if we receive all the company’s VAT records within 14 days of the end of the VAT return period. You have undertaken that you/your staff will ensure that:
(a) all relevant VAT records are forwarded to us within 14 days of the end of the VAT return period;
(b) valid VAT invoices are received for all payments where VAT is being reclaimed;
(c) the VAT rating of supplies is correctly dealt with, i.e. between positive and zero rates and exempt supplies;
(d) we are notified in writing of any positive-rated own consumption;
(e) any input VAT on non-business expenditure is clearly marked on supporting invoices;
(f) we are notified each quarter of any payments to or for the benefit of directors or staff for fuel used for private mileage, together with the business mileage for each such person, for each quarter;
(g) all supplies made by the business are shown in the records made available to us.
It should be understood that our appointment as your agent does not absolve the company or its directors from their statutory responsibilities. We would draw your attention to the strict rules and time limits for the submission of such returns and the substantial penalties which may arise if these are not observed. It is therefore essential that we receive full information from you promptly to enable us to ensure that the returns are made on a timely basis. Completed returns will be sent to you for approval and signature prior to submission on the company’s behalf.
We will prepare monthly management accounts for you where the information has been made available to us.
The accounts are prepared for your exclusive use within your business. They should not be shown to any other party without our prior consent. To ensure that anyone reading the accounts is aware that we have not carried out an audit, we will annex to the accounts a short report. This report must remain attached to any accounts shown to any other parties.
MAINTAINING ACCOUNTING RECORDS
It is agreed that we should carry out the following accounting and other services:
(a) keep the records of receipts, payments and balances;
(b) reconcile the balances monthly with the bank statements;
(c) post and balance the purchase and sales ledgers;
(d) extract a detailed list of ledger balances;
(e) prepare details of the annual stocktaking and work in progress, suitably priced and extended in a form which will enable us to verify the prices readily by reference to suppliers’ invoices;
(f) complete the postings to the nominal ledger; and
(g) prepare the accounts for approval by yourselves.
You/your management are responsible for the detection of irregularities and fraud. We would emphasise that we cannot undertake to discover any shortcomings in your systems or any irregularities on the part of your employees or others, although we will advise you of any such circumstances that we encounter.
Anti money laundering legislation
All accountants must comply with onerous duties imposed by the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, the Terrorism Act 2000 and the Money Laundering Regulations 2007 (the “Anti Money Laundering Legislation”), which are intended to inhibit the activities of terrorists and other criminals by denying them access to technical expertise. If we fail to perform these duties, we risk imprisonment.
Before we accept your instructions, we may need to obtain ‘satisfactory evidence’ to confirm your identity. In certain circumstances, we may need to obtain evidence confirming the identities of third parties, the source of any funds or other property, the purpose of any instructions or any other matter. We may also need to obtain such evidence after we have begun to act on your instructions.
We assume that our clients are honest and law abiding. However, if at any time, there appear to be grounds to suspect (even if we do not actually suspect) that your instructions relate to ‘criminal property’, we are obliged to make a report to the Serious Organised Crime Agency (“SOCA”), but we are prohibited from telling you that we have done so.
In such circumstances, we must not act on your instructions without consent from SOCA. If SOCA do not refuse consent within 7 working days we may continue to act. If SOCA issue a refusal within that time, we must not act for a further 31 days from the date of the refusal.
‘Criminal property’ is property in any legal form, whether money, real property, rights or any benefit derived from criminal activity. It does not matter who carried out the criminal activity or how removed the property is from the original crime. Even if you are honest in your dealings, if your property represents a benefit from someone else’s crime, we must still make a report.
Activity is considered ‘criminal’ if it is a crime under UK law, no matter how trivial. For example, tax evasion is a criminal offence but an honest mistake is not. We will assume that all discrepancies are mistakes unless there is contrary evidence.
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.
If the total sum of money held on your behalf exceeds £2,000 for a period of more than 2 months, or such sum is likely to be held for more than 2 months, then the money will be placed in an interest-bearing client bank account. All interest earned on such money will be paid to you. Subject to any tax legislation, interest will be paid gross.
If there are grounds to suspect (even if we do not actually suspect) that any monies held in a client account is derived directly or indirectly from any criminal activity whatsoever, we may not release such monies until we receive permission to do so from SOCA.
Our fees are based on the amount of average transactions we would expect to process for each type of client. If the volume of transactions we are processing significantly exceeds this then we will need to discuss this further with you.
Payment of our invoices is to be made by direct debit which will be processed within 14 days of our invoices being issued. If the direct debit payments fail, we will contact you to discuss this.
Our monthly fees include the preparation and submission of annual accounts and tax returns. If payments cease before this work has been done then these fees will not be refundable.
Because of the exceptional amount of time needed, please note that ‘unlimited support’ does not include any support provided during a tax investigation, which will be charged separately.
Commissions or other benefits
In some circumstances, commissions or other benefits may become payable to us in respect of introductions to other professionals or transactions we arrange for you, in which case you will be notified in writing of the amount, the terms of payment and receipt of any such commissions or benefits.
Ownership of records
In the event of non-payment of our fees for services rendered, we may exercise a particular right of lien over the books and records in our possession and withhold the documents until such time as payment of our invoice is received in full.
We will keep your accounting records for one month after your accounting period ends. We will then return them to you for your safekeeping.
We intend to destroy correspondence and other working papers that we store which are more than seven years old, other than documents which we think may be of continuing significance. If you require the retention of any document, you must notify us of that fact in writing.
We will provide you with freepost envelopes which you can use to send your records to us via Royal Mail. However, we cannot accept any responsibility for any lost or missing post. We would therefore highly recommend that you take a scan/photocopy of your documents before you send them to us. We are happy to accept the scans/photocopies.
We will observe the ethical guidelines of the Association of Accounting Technicians and accept instructions to act for you on the basis that we will act in accordance with those guidelines. A copy of these guidelines will be supplied to you on request.
We are licensed and regulated by the Association of Accounting Technicians, under the name of our principal, Helen Fielding, and in accordance with their regulations we have appropriate Professional Indemnity Insurance in place. If you require a copy of our Professional Indemnity Insurance then it is available on request.
We are committed to providing a high standard of customer service. If you have any ideas as to how our service to you could be improved, or if you are dissatisfied with the service you are receiving, please let us know. In the event that you have a complaint, we will look into this carefully and promptly and do all we can to explain the position to you or address your concerns. If you are still not satisfied you may of course make a complaint to the Association of Accounting Technicians.
All accounts, statements and reports prepared by us are for your exclusive use within your business or to meet specific statutory responsibilities. They should not be shown to any other party without our prior consent.
No third party shall acquire any rights pursuant to our agreement to provide professional services.
These terms and conditions are governed by, and construed in accordance with, English law. 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. 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 inappropriate forum, or to claim that those courts do not have jurisdiction.
We will not be liable for any loss suffered by you or any third party as a result of our compliance with the Anti Money Laundering Legislation or any UK law or at all.
Agreement of terms
We will request that you agree to these terms and conditions on our website before you can proceed to sign up for our services. A fully tailored copy will be sent to you for signature in your welcome pack.