At the commencement of a client engagement a client will be provided a letter or email communication (engagement letter) outlining the terms of our engagement and the nature and limitations of the services that will be provided. These Standard Terms and Conditions of Engagement are to be read in conjunction with the engagement letter.
We will provide accounting and taxation services to each client in accordance with the relevant professional and ethical standards issued by the Accounting Professional & Ethical Standards Board Limited (APESB).
We understand that an audit of the Financial Accounts is not required, and therefore we will not be expressing an opinion as to the truth and fairness of those statements. However, we will inform you of any such matters that come to our attention.
The services are provided only for the benefit of the client identified in the engagement letter. We are not liable to any other person in respect of the services.
Any additional fee for an additional service not covered in the scope of this engagement will be the subject of a separate engagement letter under separate fee arrangements.
Our fees, which may be billed as work progresses, are based on the time required by the individuals assigned to the engagement plus direct out-of-pocket expenses.
Payment of any account is required to be made within 14 days, unless special alternative arrangements are made with us prior to the due date.
It is our requirement that the owners/directors of the business personally guarantee the payment of all accounts for professional fees, including out-of-pocket expenses rendered by us from time to time.
You or your staff will be responsible for maintaining and regularly balancing all books of accounts, and the maintenance of an adequate accounting and internal control system. You also acknowledge that reliability, accuracy and completeness of the accounting records are your responsibility and that you have disclosed to us all material and relevant information.
Our involvement in this type of engagement will not disclose fraud, defalcations or other irregularities which may occur. However, any material weaknesses in the accounting or internal control systems which come to our notice will be drawn to your attention.
Please be aware that:
You are responsible for the accuracy and completeness of the particulars and information provided in relation to taxation services, and this responsibility rests with you;
Any advice given to you is only an opinion based on our knowledge of your particular circumstances;
A taxpayer has obligations under self- assessment to keep full and proper records in order to facilitate the preparation of accurate returns. It is the taxpayer’s responsibility to keep those records for five (5) years.
A Taxpayer is responsible under self-assessment to keep full and proper records in order to facilitate the preparation of a correct return. Whilst the Commissioner of Taxation will accept claims made by the Taxpayer in an Income Tax Return and issue a notice of assessment, usually without adjustment, the return may be subject to later review. Under the taxation law such a review may take place within a period of up to four (4) years after the tax becomes due and payable under the assessment. Furthermore, where there is fraud or evasion there is no time limit on amending the assessment. Accordingly, you should check the return before it is signed to ensure that the information is accurate.
Where the application of a taxation law to your particular circumstances is uncertain you also have the right to request a private ruling which will set out the Commissioner’s opinion about the way a taxation law applies, or would apply, to you in those circumstances. You must provide a description of all the facts (with supporting documentation) that are relevant to your scheme or circumstances to your private ruling application. If there is any material difference between the facts set out in the ruling and what you actually do the private ruling is ineffective.
If you rely on a private ruling you have received, the Commissioner must administer the law in the way set out in the ruling, unless it is found to be incorrect and applying the law correctly would lead to a better outcome for you. Where you disagree with the decision in the private ruling, or the Commissioner fails to issue such a ruling, you can lodge and objection against the ruling if it relates to income tax, fuel tax credit or fringe benefits tax. Your time limits in lodging an objection will depend on whether you are issued an assessment for the matter (or period) covered by the private ruling.
We will not deal with earlier periods other than mentioned in the engagement unless you specifically ask us to do so and we agree.
Any information acquired by us in the course of our engagement, including any information relating to your affairs whether or not it belongs to you or not or is provided by you or not, is subject to strict confidentiality requirements. Information will not be disclosed by us to other parties except as required or allowed for by law or professional standards, or with your express consent. Our files may, however, be subject to review as part of the quality control review program of CPA Australia which monitors compliance with professional standards by its members. We advise you that by signing this letter you acknowledge that, if requested, our files relating to this engagement will be made available under this program. The same strict confidentiality requirements apply under this program as apply to us.
We may collect Personal Information about you, your representatives, your clients and others when we provide services to you. If we do, you agree to work with us to ensure that we both meet the obligations that we each may have under the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (as amended) (Privacy Act). The obligations my include notifying the relevant person to whom the personal information relates who we are and how we propose to use their personal information. Where you have collected personal information, you confirm that you have collected the personal information in accordance with the Privacy Act, that you are entitled to provide this personal information to us and that we may use and disclose the personal information for the purpose/s we provide our services to you. We will handle personal information in accordance with the Privacy Act.
Our business utilises outsourcing providers to undertake client work.
All work is thoroughly reviewed in-house by a client's specified 'Client Manager' in the Esperance office to ensure all work complies with the relevant legislation and high quality that Smith Shearer upholds.
We have taken all reasonable steps to determine our providers have the professional competence, skills, capacity, policies and procedures:
To undertake all client work to the high standard set by Smith Shearer
Safeguard the safety of client information
Manage risk associated with sharing of confidential information and prevent any unauthorised access
As a member in Public Practice who utilises an Outsourced Service Provider we retain the primary responsibility to deliver the Professional Service in accordance with the Terms of Engagement with the Client and in compliance with the ethical requirements of the Code and applicable Professional Standards.
Details of our providers are as follows:
We are satisfied the third parties meet all Australian Privacy Law obligations as set out under the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) and the Australian Privacy Principles (AAP Standards). At all times we retain primary responsibility for delivery of the services covered under the engagement.
We use the below cloud computing systems. These systems store files on remote servers operated by third parties, including the use of hosting providers in the United States of America and in Singapore.
Xero (a cloud accounting system)
MYOB Essentials (a cloud accounting system)
MYOB Portal (a cloud document management portal)
BGL Simple Fund (a cloud based super fund accounting and administration system)
Office 365 (a cloud email and calendar system)
One Drive, Dropbox, ATO Mate (cloud document management systems)
Fuse Docs and Adobe Sign (digital signing systems)
Adobe Acrobat Pro
BGL CAS (a cloud company record management system)
The Privacy Act required that data be stored in Australia or in a country where laws are substantially similar to Australia’s privacy laws. For example, we do not recommend that a client’s data be stored in a country where that country’s privacy laws are very different to Australia’s.
By signing this letter and accepting these services you acknowledge and agree that your personal information may be stored overseas.
All original documents obtained from you arising from the engagement shall remain your property. However, we reserve the right to make a reasonable number of copies of the original documents for our records.
Our engagement will result in the production of income tax returns and financial statements in an electronic format or physical file. Ownership of these documents will vest in you. All other documents produced by us in respect of this engagement will remain the property of the firm, subject to any statutory obligations.
The firm has a policy of exploring a legal right of lien over any client documents in our possession in the event of a dispute. The firm also has established dispute resolution processes.
We participate in the CPA Australia Ltd Professional Standards Scheme (Scheme), which facilitates the improvement of professional standards to protect consumers and may limit our liability to you in a course of action.
The Scheme applies to professional accounting services including accounting, bookkeeping, taxation, auditing and assurance, insolvency and corporate reconstruction, management accounting, management consulting, forensic accounting, valuation services.
Our liability is limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation. Further information on the scheme is available from the Professional Standards Council’s website: www.professionalstandardscouncil.gov.au
We have a complaints process in place and will endeavour to resolve a complaint or dispute to the mutual satisfaction of the parties involved to the best of our abilities. We may ask that our clients provide all complaints in writing to allow us to fully investigate the issues raised.
Either party to a dispute can request that the complaint or dispute is managed through external dispute resolution or mediation service. We and the client agree that external dispute resolution will be undertaken before any legal claim is formally commenced. This does not override the rights of either party to seek legal action to enforce contractual rights under the engagement agreement.
Clients acknowledge that acceptance of the terms of engagement via digital or handwritten signature, or consent to the terms and conditions automatically by provision of information for work to commence.
Do you have a question?
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