Terms of Engagement

We hereby accept appointment as your accountant and now set our understanding of the terms of this engagement.

  1. Purpose

This Terms of Engagement for Accounting and Taxation Services confirms our understanding of the engagement and the nature and limitations of services provided.

  1. Term

This Terms of Engagement will commence at the time you indicate acceptance and will continue until revoked by us or you

  1. Objectives and Scope of work

We will provide you with professional accounting services in compliance with APES 110 Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants (including Independence Standards) (the Code), including:

  1. prepare financial and other statements as requested;
  2. prepare and lodge taxation returns, review assessments and advise on appeal procedures where necessary; and.
  3. analyse, discuss and prepare recommendations regarding your accounting records and financial affairs;
  4. undertake other work as agreed.

We will not be held responsible for delays due to you not delivering the required information to us when requested to meet applicable deadlines. We will rely on such information being true, correct and complete and will not audit the information (except to the extent we are specifically engaged to provide audit-related services).

The intended use and distribution of the reports we prepare are for your own sole use. We do not accept responsibility to any other person for the content of the reports prepared. We will not share your reports with third parties without your prior consent.

Unless otherwise specified in this Terms of Engagement or letter of engagement, audit and assurance or review are not included in this engagement.

Unless we are otherwise engaged to do so, this engagement cannot be relied upon to detect or otherwise disclose irregularities (such as fraud, illegalities or the errors of other parties).

  1. Our Promise 

We will perform procedures (guided by the APES suite of standards) required that are directly related to the engagement consistent with our fundamental principles of integrity, objectivity, professional competence and due care, confidentiality, professional behaviour, and identifying, avoiding and dealing with conflicts of interests (Fundamental Principles).

We will seek to understand your requirements and provide you services confidentially and professionally.

We will document sufficient and appropriate records of the procedures performed for the Terms of Engagement, which may be subject to the CPA Best Practice Program under APES 320 Quality Control for Firms.

  1. Who May Instruct Us 

You confirm that you, and any other person you nominate in writing from time to time (provided we have acknowledged such nomination), are authorised to give us instructions and information on behalf of all persons we are acting for and to receive our advice and documents on their behalf.

If we are acting for a business, and we receive conflicting advice, information or instructions from different persons, we may refer the matter to the board of directors, partners or proprietors (as applicable) and act only as requested by them.

  1. You and Your Spouse/Partner

We will advise you and your spouse or partner on the basis that you are a family unit with shared interests. We may deal with either of you and may discuss with either of you the affairs of the other. If you wish to change these arrangements, please let us know.

  1. Your Identity 

We may be required to verify your identity for the purposes of the anti-money laundering laws. We may request from you such information as we require for these purposes and make searches of appropriate databases.

  1. Our obligations

We are obliged to consider whether our clients create any threats to compliance with our Fundamental Principles and where we cannot reduce the risk to an acceptable level we are obliged to cease the Terms of Engagement under the Code (section 320) to decline or cease the client engagement.

We have a duty to act in your best interests, unless this duty is inconsistent with our duty to act in the public interest.

We are responsible for maintaining records for a period of insert at least five-year period unless otherwise required by legislation.

During the course of our engagement, if we identify or suspect that Non-Compliance with Laws or Regulations (NOCLAR) has occurred or may occur, which may have a direct effect on material amounts or disclosures in the financial statements or compliance and may be fundamental to your ability to continue its business or to avoid material penalty, we may:

  1. discuss the matter with the appropriate level of management, those charged with governance or the internal auditor, as appropriate
  2. communicate the non-compliance or suspected non-compliance with your external auditor, unless prohibited by law or regulation
  3. disclose the matter to an appropriate authority even when there is no legal or regulatory requirement to do so; and/or
  4. withdraw from the engagement and the professional relationship were permitted by law or regulation

Where appropriate we will inform you of our intention to disclose the matter to an appropriate authority before disclosing the matter. However, if we have reason to believe that the actual or intended conduct would constitute an imminent breach of a law or regulation that would cause substantial harm to the general public, we may immediately disclose the matter to an appropriate authority in order to prevent or mitigate the consequences of such imminent breach of law or regulation.

  1. Your obligations 

You are required by law to keep full and accurate records relating to your tax affairs. It is your obligation to provide us with all information that would be reasonably be expected to allow us to perform the services for you under this engagement as requested. This includes you providing accurate and complete responses to questions asked of you by us.  Inaccurate, incomplete or late information may have a material effect on our services or reports

The Taxation Administration Act 1953 now contains specific provisions that may provide you with “safe harbour” from administrative penalties for incorrect or late lodgment 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.  Accordingly, it is to your advantage that all relevant information is disclosed to us as any failure by you to provide this information may affect your ability to rely on the “safe harbour” provisions and will be taken into account in determining the extent to which tax practitioners have discharged their obligations to clients. It is your responsibility to show that you have brought all matters to our attention if you want to take advantage of the safe harbours created under the new regime

You are responsible for your own record keeping relating to your affairs.

You provided us with complete accounting records records relating to your affairs.

You are responsible for retaining paperwork for as long as legally required.

 Where the address of our office is used by a client company as the Registered Office, it is solely for the purpose of acting as agent for the receipt of any documents delivered or served upon the Company. The address of our office may not be used as the Principal Place of Business by a client company unless a specific circumstance exists and approval in writing has been given by us to such situation. Any documents received will be forwarded to the Company Secretary or dealt with in such manner as you may, from time to time, direct.

It is the responsibility of the company secretary to keep and maintain the company registers and keep the ASIC records up-to-date.  Where instructed we will prepare the relevant forms and minutes and lodge with ASIC.

  1. Our Advice 

Any advice provided is only an opinion based on our knowledge of your particular circumstances.

 From time to time we will give verbal advice in meetings and over the telephone. If ever you wish to act on verbal advice, please contact us first so that we can confirm this advice in writing. Written advice is preferred to ensure clear and mutually agreed outcomes are defined, and to also ensure we are compliant with all areas of law and regulatory compliance.

You must not act on advice given by us on an earlier occasion without first confirming with us that the advice is still valid.

We will not provide you with investment or financial advice regulated under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) unless we have expressly agreed to do so in writing, specifying an applicable Australian Financial Services License number.

  1. Conflicts of Interest 

We will inform you if we become aware of any conflict of interest in our relationship with you (including between the various persons our engagement covers) or in our relationship with you and another client. Where conflicts are identified which cannot be managed in a way that protects your interests then we will be unable to provide further services to some or all of the persons to whom the engagement applies. If this arises, we will inform you promptly.

We may act for other clients whose interest are not the same as or are adverse to yours, subject to the obligations of conflicts of interest and confidentiality referred to above.

  1. Third Party Involvement 

We may from time to time engage third party specialist professionals and other public practitioners, where warranted to obtain the advice you need or to assist us to provide our service to you.  These may include cloud service providers and outsourced service providers.

We will seek your consent if third party involvement is likely to exceed the fixed price (if applicable).

We currently have no outsourcing arrangements.

Acceptance of our services in conjunction with this engagement document indicates your acceptance that we may from time to time use outsourced services.

  1. Fees & Billing

Our fees are computed on the basis of time spent on your affairs by our team members involved, based on the degree of responsibility and skill involved, and will include Goods and Services Tax at the prevailing rate. You will be billed at the completion of the work, or at such other intervals as is appropriate, with payment due within the credit terms as shown on our invoices.

Our invoices may also include disbursements paid by us.  These may include photocopying charges, telephone and facsimile transmission charges, travel fares and expenses, stamp duty and fees paid to third parties such as couriers, registration fees or fees for other professionals.  These may be in addition to the fixed price (if applicable).

Unless other payment terms are agreed, each invoice is payable within 14 days of receipt.

  1. Ownership of materials 

You own all original materials given to us.

We own all materials produced by us that resulted from our skill and attention to the extent that the materials produced by us incorporate any original materials you give to us.

We may exercise a lien of your documents in our possession in the event of a dispute, which will be handled in accordance with our firm’s dispute resolution process.

Subject to the payment of all outstanding professional fees and disbursements owing to us, we will provide you with materials produced by us for you in the event you engage the services of another practitioner and the materials are required by your new practitioner.

  1. Documents 

We shall endeavour to ensure that all documentation is lodged with the relevant regulatory authorities by the due dates, provided all information and documentation is received allowing adequate time for preparation and lodgement of the documentation.

  1. Responsibility for Accounting and Internal Control Systems 

We advise that the responsibility for the maintenance of a business accounting system and internal control systems rests with you (the client), including the protection from, prevention against and the detection of fraud.

You will be responsible for the maintenance and keeping of books of account. If any material weakness in the accounting system or internal control systems comes to our notice, we will advise accordingly.

It is important to remember that you are personally responsible for the information contained in any statutory return and that you must retain all necessary supporting documentation to back up any claim. We will not take responsibility for any failure on your behalf to maintain adequate records.

  1. Your Responsibility, Obligations and Rights 

The Tax Agents Services Act requires Us to advise You of Your rights and obligations where We are acting for You on taxation matters. In relation to the taxation services provided:

You need to pass three tests to claim a tax deduction;

  1. You need to have spent money and not be reimbursed (the incurred test)
  2. The amount spent should be directly related to Your work and not be ancillary (the nexus test)
  3. You must maintain records to substantiate your expense (the substantiation test)

You are subject to the self-assessment system in relation to any of your income tax returns.  The Commissioner is entitled to rely on any statements made in your income tax returns.  Where those statements are later found to be incorrect, the Commissioner may amend your income tax assessments and, in addition to any tax assessed, You may also be liable for penalties and interest charges.

You have an obligation to keep proper records that will substantiate the taxation returns prepared and which will satisfy the substantiation requirements of the Income Tax Assessment Act.  Failure to keep such records could result in claims being disallowed, additional tax being imposed, and the imposition of possible penalties and/or general interest charges. All records need to be maintained for a period of 7 years (in case of Capital Assets, the purchase records need to be maintained until 7 years after the sale date).

You are responsible for the accuracy and completeness of the particulars and information required to comply with the various taxation laws.  We will use this information supplied in the preparation of your returns.

Your rights as a taxpayer include:

  1. The right to seek a private ruling;
  2. The right to object to an assessment by the Commissioner;
  3. The right to appeal against an adverse decision by the Commissioner.

Certain time limitations may exist for You to exercise these rights. Should You wish to exercise these rights at any time You should contact us so that We can provide You with the relevant time frames and to discuss any additional requirements which may exist.

You must retain original copies of all data provided to and by us. We adhere to industry best practice guidelines to prevent data loss, including secure back-ups of all client data but do not make any guarantees that there will be no loss of data. We expressly exclude liability for any loss of client data.

You must not use our logo on any websites or in any public statement, (including filing all or part of a report with a regulator or including all or part of a report in any public document) without obtaining our prior written consent.

You are responsible to ensure that all username and passwords required to access our services and cloud software are kept secure and confidential. You must immediately notify us of any unauthorise use of your passwords or breach of security.

You agree that We do not accept any liability for the content or performance of any third party website accessed through our website, nor endorse or approve the contents of any such site. We do not give any warranty that our website is free from viruses or anything else which may have a harmful effect on any technology.

  1. Privacy

If your personal information is disclosed to CPA Australia for the purpose of conducting a CPA Australia Best Practice Program assessment on the services provided, your personal information will be handled as outlined in the CPA Australia Privacy Policy and the member collection notice.]

Our collection use and disclosure of your personal information may be subject to the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) and accordingly we will only collect Personal information about you that relates to the Terms of Engagement.  We may disclose Personal Information about you with your implied consent for the primary purpose of this Terms of Engagement or to third parties by express consent or as required by law.

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 our respective obligations under the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth).  Your obligations may include ensuring your privacy policy and contracts include a reference to your collection practices, how you will use the Personal Inofrmation and that you may disclose the Personal Information to an agent for public accounting services.

Where an outsourced service requires the disclosure of PI to an overseas recipient, we take care to ensure that other third parties outside Australia to whom we disclose Personal Information are subject to appropriate restrictions on their handling of that Personal Information.

In providing our services to you, we utilise cloud computing providors and we rely on their security measures.

If your Personal Iinformation is disclosed to CPA Australia for the purpose of conducting a CPA Australia Best Practice Program assessment on the services provided, your personal information will be handled as outlined in the CPA Australia Privacy Policy and the member collection notice.

  1. Confidentiality

We have an ethical duty of confidentiality, which means we must not share or disclose your details of this Terms of Engagement to anyone, except as otherwise specified in this clause, without your consent unless required to by law.

We may disclose details and records of the services provided to you to CPA Australia Ltd, (if requested) for the purposes of conducting a CPA Australia Best Practice Program assessment aimed at maintaining high industry professional standards.

When using cloud computing, we store client information in a data server managed in Australia, which is subject to Australian privacy law. Due to differences in foreign laws and the global nature of some arrangements in place, the privacy and confidentiality restrictions may not be substantially similar to those required under the Australian Privacy Principles and the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (including mechanism entitling you to seek redress).  Any such disclosure of personal information does not change any of our commitments to safeguard

your privacy, and the information remains subject to any existing confidentiality obligations.

  1. Communication 

You must keep us informed on a timely basis of changes in your circumstances or details that may affect our services. We may send communication to the last contact details you provided. Unless instructed otherwise we may, where appropriate, communicate with you and third parties via email or other electronic means.

As part of our client service, we may communicate with you and with others on your behalf by email. Email communications sent without encryption can be intercepted and may be read by a third party.

The recipient is responsible for virus checking emails and attachments. There is a risk or non-receipt, inadvertent misdirection or interception by third parties in any form of communication, whether electronic, postal or otherwise. We are not responsible for any such matters beyond our control.

  1. Disputes and Complaints 

If you have any concerns about our costs or services, please speak to the person responsible for the engagement letter to you. To resolve your concerns we have policies and procedures in place to deal appropriately with complaints and will use best endeavours to resolve a complaint or dispute to the mutual satisfaction of the parties involved. We may require you to detail your complaint in writing to allow us to fully investigate any concerns that you raise.

  1. Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII)

We hold professional indemnity insurance of at least the minimum amount prescribed in the CPA Australia Ltd By-Laws or as required by law.

  1. Professional Standards Scheme & Limitation of Liability

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 cause 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.

  1. Termination by Us

We may cease to act for you or refuse to perform further work for you, including:

  • while any of our tax invoices remain unpaid by you;
  • if you do not comply with a request to pay an amount in respect of disbursements or future costs, charges and expenses within 14 days;
  • if you do not provide Us with clear and timely instructions to enable Us to advance your matter;
  • if you refuse to accept our advice;
  • if you indicate to us or we form the view that you have lost confidence in us;
  • if there are any ethical grounds which we consider require Us to cease acting for you, for example a conflict of interest;
  • for any other reason outside our control which has the effect of compromising our ability to perform work required by you within the required timeframe;
  • if, in our sole discretion, we consider it is no longer appropriate to provide services to you; or
  • for just cause.

We will give you 7 days written notice of termination of our services.

You will be required to pay Our fees, charges, expenses and disbursements incurred up to the date of termination.

  1. Termination by You

You may terminate our services by written notice at any time.

If you terminate our services, You must pay our fees, charges, expenses and disbursements incurred up to the date of termination, including for works completed but not billed and works in progress yet to be completed.

On termination, whether by you under this clause or by us under the preceding clause, if you request us to provide any documents to you or to your new accountants, we may charge you a reasonable fee for arranging the documents to be provided.

  1. Appointment of Tax Agent/Australian Tax Office (ATO) Authorisation

By engaging us, you agree to authorise us to add this entity to our ATO Tax Agent Portal (Online Services for Agents), using your entity/individual Tax File Number (TFN) you supply to us as the unique identifier.

We will act on your behalf in respect to your dealings with the Australian Taxation Office.

  1. Other

We advise that our terms of engagement are available on our website. Any future changes to these terms will not be advised in writing but will instead be updated on our website. www.sjmadvisors.com.au

 We advise clients to check our website for any changes to these terms and contact us if they have any questions.

If you would like to discuss any matters in relation to the terms of our engagement, please do not hesitate to contact us.