As part of our ongoing commitment to Accounting and Ethical Professional Standards it is mandatory for us under requirements of Accounting Professional and Ethical Standards Board (set out in APES 305 – Terms of Engagement) to communicate the terms of engagement with our clients. Therefore, we document our terms of services in an engagement letter, that describes the specific work we are asked to carry out (Scope of Engagement) and which engagement letter incorporates following standard terms and conditions.
In these standard terms and conditions, the client is referred to as “you” or similar grammatical expressions.
Access to your personnel and financial records
Clients must arrange for reasonable access by us to the personnel, financial records and documents that are relevant to the work you engage us to carry out, and to be responsible for both the completeness and accuracy of the information supplied to us. Any advice given to you on business advisory, accounting, tax and other related issues is only an opinion based on our knowledge of your particular circumstances that is set out in the information made available to us.
The Taxation Administration Act 1953 contains provisions that may provide you with “safe harbour” from administrative penalties for incorrect or late lodgement of returns. These safe harbour provisions will only be available to you if, amongst other things, you provide “all relevant taxation information” to us in a timely manner.
You have obligations under the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 to keep full and proper records in order to facilitate the preparation of accurate income tax returns.
Delivery of information on a timely basis
You must provide us with timely instructions to act and information to complete the services you request from us. Timely lodgement of accounts, documents, tax returns with the ATO, banks, ASIC or any other authority is the sole responsibility of the taxpayer. We accept no responsibility if documents are lodged late, lost or destroyed. The taxpayer has full responsibility to pay any fees or penalties incurred by the tax office, banks, ASIC or any other authority irrespective of any reason for the penalty, fee or interest charge.
The Code of Ethics and the privacy of your financial and personal information
We are bound by the Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants (APES 110), which is based on the five fundamental principles of integrity, objectivity, professional competence and due care, confidentiality and professional behaviour. Our obligation of confidentially to you will be guided by ‘CPA’s Responding to Non-compliance with Laws and Regulations (NOCLAR), which may require us to report any non-compliance with laws and regulations or acts of omission or commission, intentional or unintentional by a client or by those charged with governance, by management or by other individuals working for or under the direction of a client which are contrary to the prevailing laws or regulations.
We use your information to provide you with high quality business advisory, accounting and taxation services. As described in APES 110 and the Privacy Act 1988, we must keep all your information confidential. We will not disclose it to anyone, including government agencies, unless we are forced to by operation of the law or court orders, requirements of regulatory bodies or insurers, or we receive written consent from you, or the disclosure is part of the services we are carrying out, such as preparing and filing your tax returns with the ATO.
Where you have collected personal information, you confirm that you have collected the personal information in accordance with the Privacy Act 1988, that you are entitled to provide this personal information to us and that we may use and disclose the personal information for the purposes that are within the Scope of Services or any other services that you request from us.
When we provide auditing and accounting services to a self-managed super fund (SMSF), we outsource the delivery of those services to specialist SMSF service providers (PBIS Co. Ltd from Phu Nhuan District, HCMC, Vietnam) who will be under the same confidentiality and privacy obligations as apply to us.
All documents supplied by you remain your property. However, we can make digital and hard copies of your documents that will be held by us in accordance with our document retention policy. When we prepare income tax returns and financial statements, the ownership of these documents will vest in you. All other documents produced by us in respect of the engagement will remain the property of the firm.
Quality control of our services
Our system of quality control has been established and maintained in accordance with the APES 320, which is based on the International Standard on Quality Control 1 (ISQC1). As a result, our files may be subject to review as part of the quality control review program of the professional body which monitors compliance with professional accounting standards. Our files relating to the work we do for you may be reviewed as part of this quality control program. If this happens, we will advise you.
Electronic storage of records
Our firm operates on a paperless basis, and we store your records electronically.
We use Xero, a cloud-based accounting software provider.
In addition to our own information technology (IT) infrastructure, we use off-site email storage, online banking facilities, and we use online and cloud-based document storage facilities and cloud-based accounting systems including, but not limited to, Xero, Xero Practice Manager, Online Services for Tax Agents, Suitefiles, MYOB Essentials, MYOB Account Right Live, Dropbox, One Drive & iCloud. The cloud storage facilities and IT servers operated by these providers may be located outside of Australia.
You give us permission to store or backup your data on servers that are both maintained by us internally and hosted externally to our premises (whether in Australia or elsewhere). You acknowledge that both Australian and foreign governments (including the government of the United States of America) may have the legal right to gain access to your data that is stored on computer servers of cloud storage facilities or telecommunication service providers.
While we make every reasonable effort to maintain data stored in these platforms securely, using methods such as firewalls, encryption, digital certificates, anti-virus software, myGov ID, Auskey, password protection and two step identification where available, and our IT vendors have committed to us that they will also make such reasonable efforts to maintain data stored in their platforms securely, we advise you that no computer or telecommunication system is free from risk of data breach. Email and document transmission systems may also be subject to interference by third parties while data is in transit, or transmission may be delayed, or data may be corrupted resulting in non-delivery of any document, or viruses, malware, trojans, worms or any other forms of malicious computer code may cause damage to your computer systems, digital files or records.
Accordingly, you agree that we are not liable for any direct, indirect, consequential or incidental loss or damage which may result from the use of email, digital document delivery systems, cloud-based storage or cloud-based accounting services in providing services to you. For the sake of clarity, in no event will we be liable for any consequential, indirect, incidental or special damages of any kind including any damages for loss of revenue, profits, interruption of business, loss or use of data even if the possibility of such loss was made known to us.
Reliance on reports
Any report including income tax returns, financial statements, and other work product, will be prepared for distribution to the Entity for the purpose described in the Scope of Engagement or specified in the report. We do not accept responsibility for any reliance on our report by any person or legal entity other than the Entity for which the report is prepared or those people or legal entities that are described in the report as being entitled to rely on the report. A report must not be used for any purpose other than for which the report was specifically prepared. Accordingly, our reports may include a disclaimer to this effect.
Limitation of Liability
Our liability is limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.
We have a complaints process in place and will use our best endeavours to resolve a complaint or dispute in relation to our services.
In the event of any dispute on the quality or timely delivery of work or ownership of work product that cannot be resolved, both parties agree to use an external alternative dispute resolution (ADR) service to attempt to achieve a resolution of the dispute and that external ADR process will be undertaken before any legal claim is formally commenced. This dispute resolution process does not override the rights of either party to enforce contractual rights under this engagement agreement through legal proceedings.
Third Party Contractors
From time to time we may engage third party contractors to provide our services. We will ensure that all third party contractors are under the same terms and conditions as we are under this agreement.
Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.
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