Terms and Conditions
Revised December 1, 2023
This addendum to our engagement letter describes our standard terms and conditions (“Terms and Conditions”) related to our provision of services to clients. This addendum, and the engagement letter provided to a client, comprise the client’s agreement with us (“Agreement”). If there is any inconsistency between the engagement letter and this Terms and Conditions Addendum, the engagement letter will prevail to the extent of the inconsistency.
For the purposes of this Terms and Conditions Addendum, any reference to “firm,” “we,” “us,” or “our” is a reference to Crisler CPA, PLLC, and any reference to “you,” or “your” is a reference to the party or parties that have engaged us to provide services. References to “Agreement” mean the engagement letter or other written document describing the scope of services, any other attachments incorporated therein, and this Terms and Conditions Addendum.
Billing and Payment Terms
Our firm’s practice requires payment of any retainer upon execution of an Agreement with us. You agree that the retainer will be earned as our professional time to complete the engagement is incurred. The retainer will be applied to the final billing, and any unused balance will be refunded at the end of the engagement.
We will bill you for our professional fees and out-of-pocket costs. Payment is due within five days of the date on the billing statement. If payment is not received by the due date, you may be assessed interest charges each month on the unpaid balance. You have thirty (30) days from the invoice date to review the invoice and to communicate to us, in writing, any disagreement with the charges, after which you waive the right to contest the invoice.
All outstanding invoices must be paid prior to the release of the deliverable(s) specified in the Agreement. We do not release incomplete deliverables.
We reserve the right to suspend or terminate our work for non-payment of fees. If work is discontinued, either temporarily or permanently, because of delinquent payment, we shall not be liable for any damages you may incur because of the work stoppage.
Termination and Withdrawal
We reserve the right to withdraw from the engagement without completing services for any reason, including, but not limited to, non-payment of fees, your failure to comply with the terms of our Agreement, or as we determine professional standards require. If our work is suspended or terminated, you agree that we will not be responsible for your failure to meet governmental and other deadlines, or for any liability, including but not limited to, penalties or interest that may be assessed against you resulting from your failure to meet such deadlines.
If our Agreement is terminated before services are completed, you agree to compensate us for the services performed and expenses incurred through the effective date of termination.
You acknowledge that proprietary information, documents, materials, management techniques and other intellectual property are a material source of the services we perform and were developed prior to our association with you. Any new forms, software, documents, or intellectual property we develop during this engagement for your use shall belong to us, and you shall have the limited right to use them solely within your business. All reports, templates, manuals, forms, checklists, questionnaires, letters, agreements, and other documents which we make available to you are confidential and proprietary to us. Neither you, nor any of your agents, will copy, electronically store, reproduce or make available to anyone other than your personnel any such documents. This provision will apply to all materials whether in digital, “hard copy” format or other medium.
Conflicts of Interest
If we, in our sole discretion, believe a conflict has arisen affecting our ability to deliver services to you in accordance with either the ethical standards of our firm or the ethical standards of our profession, we may be required to suspend or terminate our services without issuing our work product.
To enhance our services to you, we will utilize Canopy, a collaborative, virtual workspace in a protected, online environment. Canopy permits real-time collaboration across geographic boundaries and time zones and allows the firm and you to share data, engagement information, knowledge, and deliverables in a protected environment. To use Canopy, you may be required by the provider of Canopy to execute a client portal agreement and agree to be bound by the terms, conditions, and limitations of such agreement. You agree that we have no responsibility for the activities of Canopy and agree to indemnify and hold us harmless with respect to all claims arising from or related to the operation of Canopy.
The firm is not a host for any of your information. You are responsible for maintaining your own copy of this information. We do not provide back-up services for any of your data or records, including information we provide to you. Information on a portal may be deleted by the firm.
If you decide to transmit your confidential information to us in a manner other than a secure portal, you accept responsibility for all unauthorized access to your confidential information. If you request that we transmit confidential information to you in a manner other than a secure portal, you agree that we are not responsible for any liability, including but not limited to, (a) any loss or damage of any nature, whether direct or indirect, that may arise as a result of our sending confidential information in a manner other than a secure portal, and (b) any damages arising as a result of any virus being passed on or with, or arising from any alteration of, any email message.
Third-Party Service Providers or Subcontractors
To enhance our availability to meet your professional service needs while maintaining service quality and timeliness, we may use a third-party service provider to assist us. This may include provision of your confidential information to the third-party service provider. We require our third-party service providers to have established procedures and controls designed to protect client confidentiality and maintain data security. As the paid provider of professional services, our firm remains responsible for exercising reasonable care in providing such services, and our work product will be subjected to our firm’s customary quality control procedures.
By accepting the terms and conditions of our engagement, you consent to the disclosure of your confidential information to third-party service providers, if such disclosure is necessary to deliver professional services to you or provide support services to our firm.
Record Retention and Ownership
We will return any original records and documents you provide to us on or before the conclusion of the engagement. Our copies of your records and documents are solely for our documentation purposes and are not a substitute for your own records and do not mitigate your record retention obligations under any applicable laws or regulations. You are responsible for maintaining complete and accurate books and records, which may include financial statements, schedules, tax returns and other deliverables provided to you by us. Professional standards preclude us from being the sole repository of your original data, records, or information.
Workpapers and other documents created by us are our property and will remain in our control. Copies are not to be distributed without your written request and our prior written consent. Our workpapers will be maintained by us in accordance with our firm’s record retention policy and any applicable legal and regulatory requirements.
Our firm destroys workpaper files after a period of five years. Catastrophic events or physical deterioration may result in damage to or destruction of our firm’s records, causing the records to be unavailable before the expiration of the retention period, as stated in our record retention policy.
Working Paper Access Requests by Regulators and Others
State, federal, and foreign regulators may request access to or copies of certain workpapers pursuant to applicable legal or regulatory requirements. Requests also may arise with respect to peer review, an ethics investigation, the sale of your organization, or the sale of our accounting practice. If requested, access to such workpapers will be provided under the supervision of firm personnel. Regulators may request copies of selected workpapers to distribute the copies or information contained therein to others, including other governmental agencies.
If we receive a request for copies of selected workpapers, if we are not prohibited from doing so by applicable laws or regulations, we agree to inform you of such request as soon as practicable. You may, within the time permitted for our firm to respond to any request, initiate such legal action as you deem appropriate, at your sole expense, to attempt to limit the disclosure of information. If you take no action within the time permitted for us to respond, or if your action does not result in a judicial order protecting us from supplying requested information, we may construe your inaction or failure as consent to comply with the request.
If we are not a party to the proceedings in which the information is sought, you agree to reimburse us for our professional time and expenses, as well as the fees and expenses of our legal counsel, incurred in responding to such requests.
Summons or Subpoenas
All information you provide to us in connection with this engagement will be maintained by us on a strictly confidential basis.
If we receive a summons or subpoena which our legal counsel determines requires us to produce documents from this engagement or testify about this engagement, if we are not prohibited from doing so by applicable laws or regulations, we agree to inform you of such summons or subpoena as soon as practicable. You may, within the time permitted for our firm to respond to any request, initiate such legal action as you deem appropriate, at your sole expense, to attempt to limit discovery. If you take no action within the time permitted for us to respond, or if your action does not result in a judicial order protecting us from supplying requested information, we may construe your inaction or failure as consent to comply with the request.
If we are not a party to the proceeding in which the information is sought, you agree to reimburse us for our professional time and expenses, as well as the fees and expenses of our legal counsel, incurred in responding to such requests.
In providing services to you, we may require information that is considered confidential and may include Personally Identifiable Information (“PII”), i.e., information that can be used to distinguish or trace an individual’s’ identity such as address, bank account and social security information. We treat all client information, including PII, as confidential and have a duty to do so based on the standards promulgated by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants as well as applicable laws and regulations. You agree to only provide us with information, including PII, that is necessary for us to provide services to you in accordance with the Agreement.
While providing services to you, you may request referrals to products or professionals such as attorneys, brokers, or investment advisors. We may identify professional(s) or product(s) for your consideration. However, you are responsible for evaluating, selecting, and retaining any professional or product and determining if the professional or product meets your needs. You agree that we will not oversee the activities of and have no responsibility for the work product of any professional or the suitability of any product we refer to you or that you separately retain. Further, we are not responsible for any services we perform that fail to meet the intended outcomes because of relying on the services of other professionals or products you may retain.
Limitations on Oral and Email Communications
We may discuss with you our views regarding the treatment of certain items or decisions you may encounter. We may also provide you with information in an email. Any advice or information delivered orally or in an email (rather than through a memorandum delivered as an email attachment) will be based upon limited research and a limited discussion and analysis of the underlying facts. Additional research or a more complete review of the facts may affect our analysis and conclusions.
Due to these limitations and the related risks, it may or may not be appropriate to proceed with a decision solely based on any oral or email communication from us. You accept all responsibility, except to the extent caused by our gross negligence or willful misconduct, for any liability, including but not limited to additional tax, penalties or interest resulting from your decision (i) not to have us perform the research and analysis necessary to reach a more definitive conclusion and (ii) to instead rely on an oral or email communication. The limitation in this paragraph will not apply to an item of written advice that is a deliverable of a separate engagement. If you wish to engage us to provide formal advice on a matter on which we have communicated orally or by email, we will confirm this service in a separate agreement.
Brokerage, Investment Advisory or Digital Asset Statements
If you provide our firm with copies of brokerage, investment advisor, or digital asset statements, we will use the information solely for the purpose described in the Engagement Objective and Scope section of our Agreement. We will rely on the accuracy of the information provided in the statements and will not undertake any action to verify this information. We will not monitor transactions, investment activity, provide investment advice, or supervise the actions of the entity or individuals entering transactions or investment activities on your behalf. We recommend that you receive and carefully review all statements upon receipt and direct any questions regarding account activity to your banker, broker, or investment advisor.
Disclaimer of Legal and Investment Advice
Our services under our Agreement do not constitute legal or investment advice unless specifically engaged to provide investment advice in the Engagement Objective and Scope section of our Agreement. We recommend that you retain legal counsel and investment advisors to provide such advice.
Electronic Data Communication and Storage
In the interest of facilitating our services to you, we may send data over the Internet, temporarily store electronic data via computer software applications hosted remotely on the Internet or utilize cloud-based storage. Your confidential electronic data may be transmitted or stored using these methods. In using these data communication and storage methods, our firm employs measures designed to maintain data security. We use reasonable efforts to keep such communications and electronic data secure in accordance with our obligations under applicable laws, regulations, and professional standards.
You recognize and accept that we have no control over the unauthorized interception or breach of any communications or electronic data once it has been transmitted or if it has been subject to unauthorized access while stored, notwithstanding all reasonable security measures employed by us. You consent to our use of these electronic devices and applications during this engagement.
Newsletters and Similar Communications
We may send newsletters, emails, explanations of technical developments or similar communications to you. These communications are of a general nature and should not be construed as professional advice. We may not send all such communications to you. These communications do not constitute a client relationship with you, nor do they constitute advice or an undertaking on our part to monitor issues for you.
Federally Authorized Practitioner – Client Privilege
Internal Revenue Code §7525, Confidentiality Privileges Related to Taxpayer Communication, provides a limited confidentiality privilege applying to tax advice embodied in taxpayer communications with federally authorized tax practitioners in certain limited situations.
This privilege is limited in several important respects. For example, the privilege may not apply to your records, state tax issues, state tax proceedings, private civil litigation proceedings, or criminal proceedings.
While we will cooperate with you with respect to the privilege, asserting the privilege is your responsibility. Inadvertent disclosure of otherwise privileged information may result in a waiver of the privilege. Please contact us immediately if you have any questions or need further information about this federally authorized practitioner-client privilege.
If a dispute arises out of or relates to our Agreement, including the scope of services contained herein, or the breach thereof, and if the dispute cannot be settled through negotiation, the parties agree first to try to settle the dispute by mediation administered by the American Arbitration Association (“AAA”) under the AAA Accounting and Related Services Arbitration Rules and Mediation Procedures before resorting to arbitration, litigation, or some other dispute resolution procedure. The mediator will be selected by mutual agreement of the parties. If the parties cannot agree on a mediator, a mediator shall be designated by the AAA. The mediation will be conducted in Tennessee.
The mediation will be treated as a settlement discussion and, therefore, all discussions during the mediation will be confidential. The mediator may not testify for either party in any later proceeding related to the dispute. No recording or transcript shall be made of the mediation proceedings. The costs of any mediation proceedings shall be shared equally by all parties. Any costs of legal representation shall be borne by the hiring party.
Limitation of Liability
The firm’s liability for all claims, damages, and costs arising from this engagement is limited to the total amount of fees paid by you to the firm for the service giving rise to this liability.
Limitation of Damages
Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in our Agreement, The firm shall not be liable for any lost profits, indirect, special, incidental, punitive or consequential damages of any nature even if we have been advised by you of the possibility of such damages.
Indemnification of Crisler CPA, PLLC
Unless otherwise stated in the Agreement, you agree to indemnify, defend, and hold harmless the firm and any of its partners, principals, shareholders, officers, directors, members, employees, agents or assigns with respect to any and all claims made by third parties arising from this engagement, regardless of the nature of the claim, and including the negligence of any party, excepting claims arising from the gross negligence or intentional acts of the firm.
Designation of Jurisdiction
In the event of a dispute, the courts of the state of Tennessee shall have jurisdiction. We also agree that the law of the state of Tennessee shall govern all such disputes.
Statute of Limitations
You agree that any claim arising out of our Agreement shall be commenced within one year of the delivery of the work product to you, regardless of any longer period for commencing such claim as may be set by law. A claim is understood to be a demand for money or services, the service of a suit, or the institution of arbitration proceedings against the firm.
The firm shall, during the term of the engagement maintain in full force and effect, accountants’ professional liability insurance coverage from an insurer or insurers licensed to conduct business in the state of Tennessee. Premiums for said insurance policy shall be paid by the firm.
Upon your written request, the firm shall furnish certificates of insurance for the required insurance coverage. Such certificate of insurance shall indicate the minimum limits of liability per claim and in the aggregate, as required by you.
When providing services to your company, we will be functioning as an independent contractor and in no event will we or any of our employees be an officer of you, nor will our relationship be that of joint venturers, partners, employer and employee, principal and agent, or any similar relationship giving rise to a fiduciary duty to you.
Our obligations under our Agreement are solely obligations of the firm, and no partner, principal, employee, or agent of the firm shall be subjected to any personal liability whatsoever to you or any person or entity.
If any portion of our Agreement is deemed invalid or unenforceable, said finding shall not operate to invalidate the remainder of the terms set forth in our Agreement.
All parties acknowledge and agree that the terms and conditions of our Agreement shall be binding upon and inure to the parties’ successors and assigns, subject to applicable laws and regulations.
Neither party shall be held liable for any delays resulting from circumstances or causes beyond our reasonable control, including, without limitation, fire or other casualty, act of God, strike or labor dispute, war or other violence, epidemics or pandemics as defined by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or any law, order or requirement of any governmental agency or authority. However, no Force Majeure event shall excuse you of any obligation to pay any outstanding invoice or fee or from any indemnification obligation under our Agreement.
Electronic Signatures and Counterparts
Each party hereto agrees that any electronic signature that is intended to authenticate a written signature, shall be valid, and shall have the same force and effect as a manual signature. For purposes hereof, “electronic signature” includes, but is not limited to, a scanned copy of a manual signature, an electronic copy of a manual signature affixed to a document, a signature incorporated into a document utilizing touchscreen capabilities, or a digital signature. Documents may be executed in one or more counterparts, each of which shall be considered an original instrument, but all of which shall be considered one and the same agreement.
Our Agreement, including this Terms and Conditions Addendum and any other attachments, encompass the entire agreement of the parties and supersedes all previous understandings and agreements between the parties, whether oral or written. Any modification to the terms of our Agreement must be made in writing and signed by both parties. Our Agreement has been entered into solely between you and the firm, and no third-party beneficiaries are created hereby.