1. The present general conditions are applicable to every collaboration between the qualified professional and the client. Any exceptions must be agreed and accepted explicitly and in writing by both parties. In the event of conflict between the content of these present general conditions and the content of a letter of assignment, the letter of assignment will take precedence. In accordance with common law, the liability of the qualified professional can only be contested for assignments where it can be clearly shown that he has accepted the assignment in question. The professional practitioner is only responsible for the application of the legal and administrative provisions in force at the time of the implementation of the agreed task.
2. Unless otherwise agreed in the letter of assignment, the agreement will come into being and will start either at the moment that the letter of assignment signed by the client is received and signed by the qualified professional, or at the moment when the qualified professional effectively starts with the implementation of the assignment at the request of the client, if this start takes place at an earlier time. If the qualified professional has not yet received the letter of assignment signed by the client, all professional relations between the parties will be governed in any case by these present general conditions and the letter of assignment, from the moment and in so far as these contractual documents have been forwarded to the qualified professional by letter, by fax, by electronic mail or by personal delivery with acknowledgement of receipt for the client.
3. The BVBA will do everything within its power to comply with all relevant legal provisions. All the assignments awarded to the BVBA must be regarded as means-based (i.e. obligations to use reasonable efforts to perform the agreed services) and not as results-based.
4. Unless otherwise agreed, the BVBA is not obliged to check the accuracy and the completeness of the information provided by the client or his agent(s), nor the reliability of the deeds, contracts, inventories, invoices and supporting documents of whatever kind that are entrusted to the BVBA by the client or are presented as evidentiary documents or as documents that must serve as such. The BVBA does not guarantee the accuracy of the details included in the annual accounts and/or the tax returns that are based on this information. The BVBA cannot be held liable if the client submits incorrect, incomplete or irrelevant information, or fails to submit certain information, or submits information belatedly.
5. If the BVBA is explicitly charged therewith, the checking of the bookkeeping will involve sample monitoring rather than systematic monitoring of all documents and accounting evidence. Where appropriate, the BVBA will report errors relating to VAT to the client.However, the BVBA will not undertake any audit obligation. The absence of comments on the part of the BVBA does not guarantee either the correctnessor the accuracy of the documents drawn up or the transactions carried out by the client.
6. The BVBA cannot be held liable for the consequences of professional shortcomings, mistakes, material errors or offences committed by any other party before the collaboration with the client began.
7. The BVBA, as well as its proxies and agents, are bound by an obligation of professional confidentiality, as defined in article 58 of the Law of 22 April 1999 relating to the accounting and fiscal professions and article 32 of the Royal Decree of 1 March 1998 establishing the ethical regulations for accountants, subject, however, to the application of the provisions of the legislation and regulations for avoiding the misuse of the financial system for the laundering of money and the financing of terrorism.
8. In accordance with article 33 of the Law of 22 April 1999 relating to the accounting and fiscal professions, the BVBA has insured its civil liability through a policy that has been approved by the Board of the Institute of Accountants and Tax Consultants. If, for whatever reason, the insurance company does not intercede in whole or in part, the compensation that needs to be borne by the BVBA will never exceed the sum of 750 euros.
The previously mentioned limitation will also be applicable to all judgements made in respect of the task that are directed against all persons, partners, directors and/or independent self-employed associates who are regarded as insured parties in the sense of the aforementioned insurance policy.
If it becomes apparent that two or more damage claims result from one and the same error, they will be regarded as a single instance of liability and this liability will be limited to the highest sum of the amounts applicable to the task(s) and/or agreement concerned.
Unless there are obligatory legal provisions to the contrary, damage resulting from (a) loss of income, goodwill, trading opportunities or expected savings or benefits, (b) the loss or damage of data, or (c) indirect loss or damage will give no right to compensation.
9. The BVBA has the right to invoice for advance payments against its honoraria as the assignment progresses,in accordance with the amount of work that has already been performed.
10. When calculating the fee per hour for the work performed, account will be taken of the level of professional specialization and the experience of the account manager performing the work. The level of urgency of the work can also be taken into account for this calculation.
11. In addition to payment for the work performed, all other specific costs will be charged to the client.
12. All disputes relating to costs and fees must be notified and substantiated within 8 days from the date of invoice by registered letter to the BVBA. If no notification of dispute is received by the BVBA within this 8-day period, it will be assumed that the client is in agreement with the invoiced services.
13. All invoices are payable in Bruges (Sint-Michiels) within 30 days of the invoice date. All invoices remaining unpaid on the expiry date will be liable by law and without further notification to the payment of interest calculated at the legal rate, increased by 15% and with a minimum amount of 250 euros in respect of conventional compensation, which is also immediately due without the need for prior notification.The parties explicitly agree to waive the application of article1231 of the Civil Code.
14. The non-payment of an invoice by an expiry date makes the payment of the outstanding balances on all other invoices, even those that have not yet expired, legally and immediately due.
15. The BVBA is entitled to suspend assignments in progress, or not to complete them fully, or to regard them as having expired in the event of non-compliance with the conditions of payment or in the event of non-payment by the stipulated expiry date.
16. The interpretation and implementation of the agreement is governed by Belgian law and by the applicable deontology.
17. The parties will preferably settle any disputes arising from the interpretation and implementation of the agreement by mutual agreement. Both parties are obliged to notify their grievances in writing and in advance, with a view to facilitating such a mutual agreement.
18. Notwithstanding the possibility of reaching a mutual agreement, every dispute of whatever kind will fall within the jurisdiction of the courts and tribunals of the legal district of Bruges.
19. The above general conditions are applicable on all assignments, even those involving subscription, unless protest is received within 8 days of first receipt.