Terms of Engagement

Terms of Engagement

Our engagement cannot be relied upon to disclose irregularities including fraud, other illegal acts and errors that may exist.  However, we will inform you of any such matters that may come to our attention. However, we may, as part of our responsibilities as a Member in Public Practice, take steps and actions as set out in Section 225 of the Code, “Responding to Non-Compliance with Laws and Regulations”. These include but are not limited to the following. During the course of our engagement, if we identify or suspect that non-compliance with laws or regulations has occurred or may occur, which may have a direct effect on material amounts or disclosures in the financial statements or compliance with which may be fundamental to the operating aspects of your business, to your ability to continue business or to avoid material penalty, we will discuss the matter with the appropriate level of management, those charged with governance or the internal auditor, as appropriate, to enable you to rectify, remediate or mitigate the consequences of the identified or suspected non-compliance or deter the commission of the non-compliance where it has not yet occurred. We will consider whether to communicate the non-compliance or suspected noncompliance with your external auditor, unless prohibited by law or regulation. We will also consider, based on materiality and/or significance of the matter, whether further action is needed in the public interest.  Further action may include disclosing the matter to an appropriate authority even when there is no legal or regulatory requirement to do so or withdrawing from the engagement and the professional relationship where 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 investors, creditors, employees or 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.

Financial Statements

This firm will provide our services, which will be conducted in accordance with the relevant professional and ethical standards issued by the Accounting Professional & Ethical Standards Board Limited (APESB), including the Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants (the Code) and with relevant legislation or regulation as applicable. The extent of our procedures and services will be limited exclusively for this purpose only. As a result, no audit or review will be performed and, accordingly, no assurance will be expressed. We will process the financial information as presented by you without any review of the primary source documents on the specific understanding that you have the necessary supporting and substantiation documentation to satisfy the Australian Taxation Office.  However, we may request documents where we require further clarification.

On the basis of the information provided by you, we will compile special purpose financial reports in accordance with APES 315 “Statement of Compilation of Financial Reports”.

Your obligations & rights

Failure to adhere to these responsibilities will result in extra work for us, and as a result additional fees will be incurred at our normal hourly rates.

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 a 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 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 in the return 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 of the facts (with supporting documentation) that are relevant to your scheme or circumstances in 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 you can lodge an 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.

Failure to adhere to these responsibilities will result in extra work for us, and as a result additional fees will be incurred at our normal hourly rates.

Lodgement of Tax Returns

In no circumstances will we finalise the lodgement of statutory documents, including tax returns unless payment has been received in full.

Responsibility for Accounting and Internal Control Systems

You are responsible for the reliability, accuracy and completeness of the accounting records, particulars and information provided and disclosure of all material and relevant information. You are required to arrange for reasonable access by us to relevant individuals and documents, and shall be responsible for both the completeness and accuracy of the information supplied to us. Any advice given to you is only an opinion based on our knowledge of your particular circumstances. You or your staff are responsible for maintaining and regularly balancing all books of accounts, and the maintenance of an adequate accounting and internal control system. You have obligations under self assessment to keep full and proper records in order to facilitate the preparation of accurate returns. It is your responsibility to keep those records for five (5) years.

You are responsible for ensuring that your business activities are conducted in accordance with laws and regulations. You are also responsible for identifying and addressing any non-compliance by you, by an individual charged with governance of the entity, by a member of management, or by other individuals working for or under your direction.

If any material weakness in the accounting system or internal control systems comes to our notice, we will advise accordingly.


We aim to provide the highest standard of professional service and are focused on the concerns of our clients.  If for any reason you feel you have not received the service level expected or have an issue to raise, please, at first instance, contact our office to discuss how the problem may be resolved.

Furthermore, we are subject to the ethical requirements of CPA Australia and to their Investigations and Disciplinary processes.

These requirements cover issues such as a Code of Conduct and Ethics, adherence to Accounting and Auditing Standards, requirements to undertake Continued Professional Education.  Should there be an issue regarding the ethical or business practices of any member of this firm, such matters may be referred the CPA Australia Investigator. However, as the accounting profession does not have regulated fees, CPA Australia will not investigate purely fee based disputes but may recommend the parties seek mediation of the dispute.

As Registered Tax Agents we are also subject to the requirements set down by the Tax Practitioners Board and complaints may be lodged with them. For information on the Tax Practitioners Board they may be contacted by calling 1300 362 829.

Personal Information Collected

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 may 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.


In conducting this engagement, information acquired by us in the course of the engagement, including any information relating to your affairs whether it belongs to you or not or is provided by you or not, is subject to strict confidentiality requirements. That information will not be disclosed by us to other parties except as required or allowed for by law or regulations, or with your express consent unless, we determine that disclosure of the non-compliance or suspected non-compliance to an appropriate authority is an appropriate course of action in the circumstances.

Involvement of Others

Where, as part of our engagement, the services of an external consultant or expert are required, this will be detailed in your services.

If there are to be additional costs for this consultant we seek your authorisation prior to engaging the consultant.

Cloud Computing

HBA Encompass utilises significant cloud computing practices.  The actual provider changes on a regular basis.  A list of our current providers and what they provide is listed on our website at https://hbaencompass.com.au/cloud-based-services/.  It is implied by the acceptance of this engagement that you accept that your information may be provided to these parties.

Outsourced Services

Acceptance of our services in conjunction with this engagement document indicates your acceptance of the use of outsourced services as described in your proposal of services.  Where the outsourced service requires the disclosure of personal information to an overseas recipient a consequence of your consent is that HBA Encompass will be required to take reasonable steps to ensure that the Australian Privacy Principles are complied with by the overseas recipients of the Personal Information.

Storage of Personal Information

By signing this letter and accepting these services you acknowledge and agree that your personal information may be stored overseas.

Professional Fees and Payments

Prior to commencement of any services, it is our policy to provide a schedule of costs from the outset.  We believe this is best practice and to provide our clients with certainty with respect to professional fees.  Should there be any queries with respect to costs, this can be discussed and resolved prior to commencement.

Disclosure of other fees and commissions

We have an obligation to disclose to our clients any commissions or other fees which may be received as a result of work performed for that client and will fully comply with any statutory requirements in relation to the disclosure of such information.

It is our policy not to accept commissions or referral fees from any third party which may arise from any referral to other service providers. Where we receive an offer of commissions or fees in any form whatsoever in relation to our dealings with you, unless otherwise indicated, we will request that these be returned to you, our client.

An exemption to this rule is any discounts provided by cloud software providers where HBA Encompass pay for the subscription on your behalf.  These discounts are provided to offset the administrative costs of HBA Encompass paying these subscriptions and are generally token dollar amounts.

Previous Accountant

As a matter of professional courtesy, and in line with the ethical requirements of our professional associations, we will need to inform your previous accountant that we have been engaged by you as their new accountant and to receive from them any outstanding files of yours they may retain.

In some circumstances your previous accountant may charge a fee for re-producing documents which have already been provided to you. In this event we will contact you before incurring additional fees on your behalf.

Previous Returns

We note that we are not engaged to review the accuracy of any previous returns lodged by your previous accountants.

Ownership of Documents

The final financial statements, tax returns and any other documents which HBA Encompass are specifically engaged to prepare, together with any original documents given to us, shall remain your property. However, we reserve the right to make a reasonable number of copies of the original documents for our records.  Any other documents generated by us including working papers, draft financial statements and copies of tax returns, will remain the property of HBA Encompass subject to any statutory obligations.

Lien over Documents

We may invoke a Lien over certain documents held until such time as a dispute or an outstanding fee has been paid or other satisfactory arrangements are reached.  A Lien is a right to hold certain documents or property until the debt incurred in respect of that property/document has been satisfied.  The Lien however may not be held over property that belongs to another, including if held jointly, and does not cover statutory documents (eg Tax Returns). The firm has also established dispute resolution processes.

Quality Assurance Program

As members of CPA Australia we are subject to periodic quality assurance reviews.  Unless otherwise advised, by engaging our firm, you are consenting to your files being part of such a quality review on the understanding that total confidentiality is maintained.

Authority to Hold Income Tax Returns on File

By appointing HBA Encompass to act as your accountants and tax agents, you hereby authorise us to hold on our files a signed copy of your Income Tax Returns for as long as we are legally obliged. This authority is to continue until otherwise advised by you in writing.

Limitation of Liability

Our liability is limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation. Further information on the scheme is available from the Professional Standards Councils’ website: psc.gov.au.