Terms & Conditions
We have outlined below a summary of our policies, terms and conditions of service. We ask you to familiarise yourself with these and hope this summary is of assistance to you in considering our services.
1. Scope of Service
All accounting and tax advice and services provided by our Brisbane accountants and Sunshine Coast accountants is given specifically and only for the private use of the person or entity to whom it is provided.
This is because individual personal and business requirements and circumstances vary. Accordingly we ask that you maintain the confidentiality of your advice documentation, accounts and reports so that friends and colleagues do not act on such advice or information to their potential detriment.
The scope of our service to you is outlined on this web page, in the engagement letters and the work completed cover letters that we provide you.
2. Professional Advice
In addition, all our professional advice is provided in writing and on letterhead only (and may be attached to an email), we do not provide professional advice in any other form. Advice is provided for a fee for service at our professional rates after appropriate research and review.
This is because the implications of advice can take some time to fully appreciate, and can involve matters you may not be initially familiar with. It is also a legal requirement.
Any correspondence by email (without advice on letterhead attached) or verbal communication provided by our staff or associates, is general information only, provided as a rough guide, general information service or basic outline only, it is not professional accounting or tax advice and as such cannot and should not be relied on.
Written advice documentation is from time to time supplemented with verbal explanation, as required by clients. In this instance the written professional advice on letterhead is the actual advice that can be relied on.
No action is taken by us in relation to advice we have provided - until a client fully understands and authorises action required.
3. Continuity Of Our Service To You
It is a general term of our trade that if you supply, allow the supply, continue the supply, or do not remove our ongoing access - to your financial records - that this is a request and authorisation to us to provide and continue to provide our services to you, and undertake and continue to undertake work for you in accordance with our terms unless you have notified us in writing otherwise.
You can appreciate that with such important matters pertaining to your business and / or tax affairs, and your reliance on us - if you want us to stop work - we need to be notified in writing.
4. Please Ensure You Keep Yourself Informed Of Our Terms
A fundamental and general term of our trade with you is that you make yourself familiar with our terms and policies as outlined on this web site, and with our Professional Engagement, Service and Credit Terms and Conditions as oulined in our Professional Services Engagment Letter(s) as supplied to you from time to time and as may be made available from time to time as a generic letter on this web site, or by requesting a personally tailored engagement letter if you do not have one, by emailing us at at firstname.lastname@example.org
We have to change / update all of our terms and policies from time to time as a normal part of our business improvement process, as all businesses do.
As a result it is also a general term of our trade that you keep yourself up to date with any changes to our terms and policies that occur from time to time, by:
(a) reference to this web site, and
(b) by requesting as necessary updated Professional Services Engagement Letters from us via the abovementioned email address.
5. Ways You Can Access Our Terms
As a courtesy to you, from time to time we may provide you, in hard copy or by email, with the most up to date version of our Professional Engagement, Services Provision and Credit Terms and Conditions Letter (and thus relevant terms).
We have also provided, for convenient reference for you, on this web page, with access to a summary of :
(a) Our Terms of Trade & Credit (summarised on this page and in the attached link)
(b) Our General Terms of Trade (summarised on this page)
(c) Our Records and Information Management Policy and Terms (summarised on this page)
You can also call or email us and request a copy of our standard Professional Engagement, Service Provision and Credit Terms and Conditions Letter - which contains a number of professional terms of trade - by emailing us at email@example.com
We also provide you on the footer of all our formal email correspondence with you - a link to this web site for your convenience and review. You can also access this web page from the footer of every web page on this site.
You can also click here to download a copy of our standard Professional Engagement, Service and Credit Terms and Conditions.
6. Professional Service Engagement Letters
When you engage us to become your accountant and / or tax agent we have considerable legal responsibilities toward you.
We have set out our obligations and what you can expect from us clearly on this web site and in our engagement documents including our standard Professional Engagement, Service and Credit Terms and Conditions Letter.
There may be additional specialised engagment documents needed depending on what service you require.
If you want to engage us - please email or telephone or complete the relevant form on this web site.
In some instances we will prepare and forward you the appropriate specilaised engagement documents - which must be tailored to your situation (and include all relevant personal and private details including ABN's, ACN's full name and date of birth etc.) before we will agree to start an appointment or engagement by you.
In some other instances we may undertake a job or engagment for you without signed enagement letters from you where for instance:
1. you have requested we undertake the work without a written engagement letter signed up front - and we have agreed to do so
2. you have requested we do the work but you have not requested an engagment in writing for your signature - and we have been happy to undertake the work on a verbal engagement basis.
In the instance of us agreeing to complete work without a written engagment or appointment by you in the form of our professional engagment letters we agree to undertake the work only in accordance with the policies, term and conditions of our service as outlined in our standard Professional Engagement, Service and Credit Terms and Conditions Letter and by requesting our service you agree to these terms.
Once you have engaged us we have an obligation to provide a level of service in accordance with the various regulatory requirements as well as consistent with the professional standards of the professional associations to which we are affiliated.
As a result regardless of whether you sign off on the specific Professional Services Engagement Letters we may send you - these engagement letters and their terms also apply. We are not able to provide service on any other terms.
It is a general term of our trade that you take responsibility to familiarise yourself with our Professional Engagement, Service and Credit Terms and Conditions Letter that we may send you - in respect of any professional service supplied to you.
You can do this by:
- Professional Engagement, Service and Credit Terms and Conditions Letter we have supplied and forwarded to you already - or if we have not done this,
- By requesting a Professional Engagement, Service and Credit Terms and Conditions Letter be forwarded to you, and by reviewing it.
If you have not received a Professional Services Enagement Letter you could contact us and advise us of this at firstname.lastname@example.org . We may prepare and send you a relevant Professional Services Engagement Letter as applicable accordingly.
If you have any questions about a Professional Engagement, Service and Credit Terms and Conditions Letter you have received, you should contact us by email at email@example.com and outline your questions. We will answer any questions including the reasons for any of the terms in the relevant Professional Engagement, Service and Credit Terms and Conditions Letter applicable to your services if you would like this.
We may continue to undertake service without your sign off on an updated Professional Engagement, Service and Credit Terms and Conditions Letter which we may provide you.
Nevertheless we only provide services in accordance with:
- Our latest / updated Professional Engagement, Service and Credit Terms and Conditions Letter (available on request)
- Our Records and Information Management Policy and Terms (available on this site
- The General Terms of Trade outlined on this web page.
Termination Of Our Engagement
We are not obliged to take your business and in some circumstances we may have to decline to assist a prospective client. This is consistent with our professional ethics and regulatory duties.
You are able to terminate our engagement in writing at any time. A written privacy release from you is also required for us to be able to release client records to your new advisers.
We are also able to terminate the engagement in writing at any time. This is very rare and has only occurred in unusual circumstances, such as failure to pay accounts, behaviour that we regard as extremely rude or aggressive behaviour by clients or of course requests for or undertaking of suspected unethical or illegal behaviour.
7. What Are Your Terms of Payment and Credit?
Professional Fees & Charges
Our fees for all services are based on professional charge out rates that change from time to time. We are not obliged to restate these to you after you have engaged us. Our rates are consistent with those outlined by the professional associations.
Rates applicable also vary depending on the level of work required. Our rates are all published in our engagement letters that you will see when you obtain them from us (by request by email or telephone contact). Our principals can provide information about estimated expected costs in discussion with you about the work required.
We are able to provide estimates of fees however our charges are based on the time it takes to do a professional job to the standard required by the regulatory environment. We will endevour to communicate clearly and as soon as practicable with you if and as soon as we become fully aware that a job is going to take longer than expected and we are able to advise you a new estimate of the time and cost to complete the job. We will advise you of your alternatives where available at that time.
Standard Payment Terms
Our standard payment terms are payment on delivery of service completion and prior to lodgement of your tax returns.
We do not lodge your tax returns unless we have received payment of your account in full. This is due to the credit terms of our financiers who are the suppliers of the credit you use when you use our credit.
- Personal Cheques
- Bank Cheques
- Visa Card
- Master Card
- EFT transfer
If you choose not to make payment on delivery of the service our standard terms and conditions of credit apply. By choosing not to make payment at the time of completion you are choosing to apply for credit from us on our terms of credit. We will automatically accept your application unless we advise otherwise within 5 working days.
Terms and Conditions of Credit - Your Alternative to Paying Straight Away
If you do not wish to agree to these terms and conditions of credit simply ensure you make payment at the time the service is provided / at completion of the job.
If you choose not to pay at the time the service is provided we will treat this as a credit application by you - on our standard terms and conditions of credit - alternatively you can pay us at the time we provide the service. Where we choose to extend our credit to you this serves as our acceptance of your application, in accordance with our terms and conditions of credit.
For all clients, including those who have used our credit, we still require payment of all outstanding invoices prior to the lodgement of tax returns, as this represents the end of our work period for you for that year, and the beginning of another years work. This has been our policy since 2010.
Our clients benefit from our extension of credit until their lodgement date each year. We currently do not charge interest or account fees on our credit accounts.
We are able to charge interest and late charges at our discretion - up to a reasonable limit outlined in our terms of credit details - which are linked to this page as a .pdf file. We use this discretion where acocunts are overdue substantially. We will give you advance warning if we are intending this and you will have the opportunity to pay out your account in this event.
We have summarised these terms below on thi sweb page and also provided a full copy of these terms for your information and convenience as a link to our standard credfit terms on this web page below. These conditions are the same terms and conditions that you will encounter in many situations where you require and are provided with credit.
- These credit terms and conditions provide 14 days for payment to you for normal use of our. credit.
- In addition with our standard terms of credit we will provide an additional service at our discretion - this may include an account statement at the end of the month where invoices are unpaid, reminders of payments overdue and warnings on your statement when payments are beyond acceptable credit timeframes.
- We understand that when you have a busy life accounts can inadvertently be left - and so our reminder process is designed to assist you. When you make payment in accordance with the terms of credit there are no credit charges or interest charges.
- Obviously if we have bad debtors we refer these to our debt collection agents and solicitors. We are entitled under our terms and conditions to recover credit charges and interest once we have overdue debts owed to us - to assist us to recover the cost associated with this. We are also entitled to make recovery at debtors’ expense - in accordance with our standard credit terms and conditions. Alternatively you can either phone or email us for a copy which we will email to you.
- We reserve the right to withdraw our credit and credit services at any time at our discretion. In these circumstances we will advise you of payment terms in writing.
- We may require, in respect of some work we may agree to undertake that we be paid in advance or partially in advance for such services (that a deposit be paid). We will explain this to you if this occurs. It is your choice of course whether to use our services if this occurs. It can occur for instance if we have considerable outlays in respect of the service provision.
8. What Is Your Policy On Client Communication & Privacy
Client Communication & Privacy
Your personal or business information is private and confidential and we take very seriously our obligation to maintain it's confidentiality.
We have summarised below some of the measures we take to ensure and maintain the confidentiality of your information:
- We maintain mail-in and mail-out registers to allow us to track correspondence and enable us to ensure correspondence is sent in a timely fashion and that where correspondence is lost by Australia Post or Couriers we can prove and identify it's last ascendia location to these providers.
- We undertake regular coaching and training of our professional and administrative staff to ensure that they understand and implement behaviours that are necessary to protect the privacy and confidentiality of clients. This extends to not providing contact details of clients, or confirming the fact of a person or entity being a client - unless already authorised by an authorised person such as the client or a person they have authorised.
- We require written privacy / information releases to be signed by clients before divulging information to third parties (persons other than our professional and administrative staff).
- Correspondence from ascendia may contain confidential and/or privileged information. We use registered and express mail where appropriate to assist in maintaining security. In addition we provide clients the option of picking up and delivering their information personally, we notify them and ensure their information is provided only to them or their authorised representative.
- We issue disclaimers on our correspondence, physical and electronic, that makes clear the legal obligation of a mistaken recipient to notify ascendia immediately and destroy or return the information as appropriate. We also include clear explanation that any unauthorised copying, disclosure or distribution of the material that may be received by a mistaken recipient is strictly forbidden and constitutes a breach of the Privacy Act and may result in the unauthorised distributor or copier being fined and / or imprisoned.
- Staff have stringent confidentiality provisions in their employment agreements that they must agree to before becoming employees of ascendia. We have in the past enforced these provisions strictly and will continue to do so. Staff are for instance not authorised to divulge information about clients to any other person, including other staff who may not be working on your affairs and may not need to know.
- Email and information storage and copying of files is strictly monitored by our IT infrastructure. We track and monitor all email communication and information transfer into and out of the ascendia information technology infrastructure. This facilitates enforcement of our policies designed to protect you. Evidence is thus able to be supplied to enable damages to be obtained and law enforcement achieved. The privacy act contains strict criminal provisions.
9. What is Our Policy On Client Records and Information Management?
We have clear Records & Information Management Policies which you should familiarise yourself with.
Records & Information Management
Most of the records we retain are records we have created which are our property. However we also always have some original client records that we have - that are due for return to clients.
Our policy is to copy and return your records to you as soon as possible. In many cases we will only take a copy and return the originals to you immediately.
At the latest we will return original documentation to you after we have completed a job for you or at a predetermined and agreed time. For instance where we are providing accounting and tax compliance services it is our normal policy to return substantiation documents relating to your tax affaiss at the end of the job.
Taking Your Records with You If You Leave
We can, if you subsequently leave our firm, provide you with the following, in accordance with the ethical, professional and legal standards:
- All original documents that we may have retained and not yet returned
- Copies of the latest financial reports, income tax returns and financial and investment reports we have recently provided - in electronic form for your convenience.
- Search and review of all our archives to ensure that all original records and reports that may have been prepared for you and not yet provided are in fact provided to you. We retain archives for 7 years as required.
We do charge a fee for search and retrieval of records - to ensure we can resource this to a professional standard and that all your records are properly provided.
For our commercial and quality assurance purposes, in accordance with the professional and ethical standards of the professional associations to which we are affiliated, and in accordance with the law, we retain copies of client records. These are copies only and are ascendia records.
They represent an audit trail and it is mandatory that we retain them. These records are confidential ascendia records. Because we provide all clients with originals they do not represent any records that you do not already have.
In addition we generate a substantial number and type of records that are integrally representative of our tools, templates and calculation methods and schedules that we have developed or purchased to be able to provide the range and level of services that we provide you. These records clearly indicate our business processes that we have developed and purchased at considerable expense. Many of these business processes are critical to enabling our business to provide a wide range and high quality of services. They are integral to our intellectual property and are like the farm land of a farmer - inseparable from our firms’ value.
As a consequence we are able to deny access to these types of records at our discretion (other than to regulators). These types of records are strictly confidential ascendia records.
We are also not able to provide these to a client even if asked if a client leaves the firm - we are under legal duty not to release such records - with a range of firm stakeholders including creditors, owners and insurers.
Referral to New Advisers Where Required
If you have left our firm, for instance to relocate to a new geographical area where we currently do not service, you may come across some advisers or accountants who will ask their new clients to obtain confidential advisers records from an adviser that the client has left.
This is especially the case when the new adviser or accountant is not familiar with the area of work, or may not have sufficient professional ability to understand the financial accounts without the prior work papers, or simply may be trying to save themselves time after having taken on a job that is bigger than they initially expected.
Unfortunately we cannot release our confidential records as outlined above. We can of course release your records as outlined above at "taking your records with you". We do not ask for confidential accountants or advisers records ourselves.
If this occurs to you after leaving our firm, if you would like we can often refer you to an alternative operator who will undertake their own preparations and due diligence in taking on and undertaking your work (we have affiliations in other locations and states with reputable advsiers and investment managers).
When starting a new client there are a lot of work papers and background calculations that may be required. We often have to rebuild this type of information ourselves when taking on new clients. This is in fact a positive process where an investment manager builds their own working papers - it ensures they understand and review your affairs properly rather than relying on the previous advisers work. It is the new advisers cost in taking on a new client.
Ascendia Records Management
Our IT infrastructure is fully firewalled and backed-up regularly. We employ an IT specialist who has experience working for large financial institutions in the UK and understands our industry and related requirements.
Our offices which are all are maintained in full security alarmed and 24 hour monitored offices.
It is not possble to guarantee that our server or offices will not at some stage be broken into by criminals, If we become aware of such an occurance we will take all reasonable actions as would be expected.
If you have any questions about this please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org .