Chartered Tax Advisers
Old Bishops' College

T: 01992 642024


Smiling businessmen and women

Our client Terms and Conditions

Terms of Engagement
and additional information for our clients

1. Introduction

Abbey Accountants Limited (hereinafter, "Abbey" "we" or "us" as the context requires) is a company registered in England, with the registration number 04430036.

These terms will apply to all matters on which we are engaged by the client and will be incorporated by reference in the letter of engagement between Abbey and the client (hereinafter, “you” as the context requires).

2. Our engagement

We will send the client a letter of engagement confirming your instructions to us. An engagement will be only by the client(s) named in the letter, even if another party is responsible for paying, or has agreed to pay, our fees.

You acknowledge that Abbey has not provided or agreed to provide to you any legal advice concerning these terms, nor the terms of any letter of engagement.

Our advice and services are provided by, and are the responsibility of, Abbey rather than any individual officer, employee or agent of Abbey, and any liability for any such advice or services is solely that of Abbey.

3. Our fees

Unless we agree with you in writing some other basis for our fees, our fees will be based on the amount of time necessarily spent by the directors and professional staff dealing with the matter, at their standard hourly rates in effect when our services are rendered. Such time will include but not be limited to meetings, travelling time, research, considering and working on letters and reports, written or electronic correspondence, and telephone calls.

Hourly rates of charge are periodically reviewed and adjusted, and are available upon request.

We will endeavour, where appropriate, to provide an estimate of the time and fees for a particular task or project. An estimate is not, however, a fixed fee and an estimate will not constitute a promise or agreement that we will render services within a specific timeframe or for a fixed amount of charge.

We will consider, where permitted by law and professional regulations, the undertaking of work for a fixed, retainer or contingency fee, but only where a client is known to us. Typically, a working relationship of at least two years in duration is required before we will consider entering into such a fee arrangement.

4. Commissions

It is fundamental to the integrity and independence of our advice and professional services that we are remunerated solely by the client and on the basis herein described. Where our work on behalf of the client involves the introduction of any third parties, any commission, introductory fee or similar reward arising from the introduction will belong to the client and will be rebated to the client, subject only to a retention in respect of sums due to us.

This term is subject to a de minimis limit of £100 or €150.

5. Client monies

From time to time, by agreement with the client, we may hold monies belonging to the client. All such monies will be held on a designated client account, with such monies being entirely separate to the funds of Abbey.

Unless otherwise agreed, Abbey will not be accountable to the client for any interest earned on monies held on the Abbey client account.

6. Disbursements

It is our policy not to make an additional charge for minor disbursements, such as photocopying, couriers, postage and similar items.

We do, however, charge for disbursements for such matters as, for example, international travel and accommodation costs and counsel's fees. Where such disbursements are concerned, we reserve the right to be put in funds before the disbursement is incurred.

7. Payments on account

It is our normal practice to ask clients for payments on account of fees wherever this appears to us to be appropriate and our right to ask for such payments is a condition of our engagement. We, therefore, reserve the right to suspend work for you or to terminate our engagement in the event that any request for a payment on account is not met promptly.

8. Invoicing

We will deliver invoices at regular intervals, normally on a monthly or quarterly basis, or upon completion of a particular project. Our invoices are payable on presentation. We will, at our discretion, exercise our statutory right to charge interest in accordance with the Late Payment Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998 and related secondary legislation.

In the event of an invoice not being settled within a reasonable period of time, we reserve the right to suspend work for you or to terminate our engagement and, in either case, we shall be entitled to payment in full of all sums in respect of work carried up to the date of suspension or termination.

9. Termination

Except where otherwise agreed, you may terminate our engagement at any time, either generally or in respect of any particular matter. We reserve a corresponding right to terminate the engagement upon reasonable notice being given to you.

Termination by either party is to be in writing.

10. Files and other records

We normally keep our papers for up to six years after the completion of the matter to which they relate. Our files will contain papers and documents by law belonging to you and papers and documents by law belonging to us. Unless otherwise agreed, papers and documents by law belonging to you will be destroyed when we destroy those belonging to us.

We make no charge for the storage of records but reserve the right to charge for the retrieval of records from our archives.

11. Limitation of liability

Abbey maintains a policy of professional indemnity insurance providing cover of £0.5M in respect of each and every claim.

Unless otherwise agreed in writing, it is a condition of the engagement that you agree to limit any claims to not more than £0.5M, whether arising in contract, in tort or by any other means.

Nothing in these terms shall exclude, restrict (or prevent a claim being brought in respect of) any liability arising from dishonesty, fraud or any other liability which cannot be excluded or limited under English law.

12. Third parties

Unless otherwise agreed in writing, no rights or benefits arising from our engagement shall accrue to third parties, whether under the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) act 1999 or by other means.

13. Professional bodies

Our directors and employees belong to: the Chartered Institute of Taxation; the Institute of Indirect Taxation; and the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners. We are bound to act in accordance with the professional regulations and bye laws issued, from time to time, by these bodies and are subject to the disciplinary procedures of such bodies.

14. Confidentiality and Data Protection

We are subject to a duty to keep confidential all information which we hold concerning you and your affairs, and which is confidential to you, except where the law compels disclosure by us. You agree that, where we consider it necessary, we can disclose your confidential information to our professional bodies, our indemnity insurers and to other professional advisers. Abbey is a registered Data Controller, with the registration number Z7698809.

15. Anti-money laundering legislation

In common with other professional firms, we are bound to comply with the particular requirements of UK anti-money laundering law. The law requires us to take positive steps in relation to our dealings with clients and prospective clients. These requirements include both verifying the client's identity and reporting details of known or suspected money laundering, as defined by the relevant legislation. The Money Laundering Regulations 2007 require us to obtain and retain on our records specific evidence of the identity of all new clients. It is our policy to ask for such evidence on not more than two occasions, after which we will consider that non-compliance is a positive act by a prospective client.

No work will be undertaken on behalf of a client until the anti-money laundering legislation has been complied with.

16. Law and jurisdiction

All contracts between Abbey and clients are governed by the laws of England. It is a term of our engagement that any claim made against Abbey, or any director or employee of Abbey, must be made in the courts of England which will have exclusive jurisdiction in the matter.

17. General

Our directors and employees will be entitled to enforce these terms and the terms in an engagement letter, but no other person shall be entitled to enforce the terms of our agreement with you under the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999, or otherwise. You and we may agree to vary or rescind any terms of our agreement without the consent of any third party.

In the event of inconsistency between an engagement letter and these terms, the engagement letter shall prevail.

We may assign the benefit of or transfer our engagement to any business entity which carries on the business of Abbey in succession to us. You will accept the performance by such assignee or transferee in substitution for performance by us. Reference in these terms (other than this paragraph) and in an engagement letter to Abbey shall include any such assignee or transferee. Subject to the above provisions of this paragraph, neither you nor we shall have the right to assign or transfer the benefit nor burden of our engagement without the written consent of the other party.

From time to time, we may consider it necessary or appropriate to amend or supersede these terms by new terms, in which case we will notify you of any changes and, unless we hear from you to the contrary within 28 days of such notification, the amendments or new terms will take effect from the end of that period.

Abbey Accountants Limited Terms of Engagement
Edition: April 2008

Back to Top