Historically, many CPA Australia members in public practice have held a trust account to assist their clients and the operation of their firm.
The obligation to have the trust account audited has been in place for many years as a requirement of the superseded Standard APS 10 Trust Accounts.
However, when APES 310 Dealing with Client Monies was issued in December 2010, the standard extended to cover not only members who operate a trust account, but also members who hold, receive or disburse their clients’ money.
This includes making payments from clients’ accounts via authorised access of the client’s bank account or through use of the client’s accounting software, which facilitates payments directly from the bank account.
As a result, many members who are performing bookkeeping services are now required to appoint an auditor to audit their compliance with APES 310 Dealing with Client Monies. The standard not only covers the applicable transactions that the member has facilitated but also the applicable transactions the firm’s staff has performed.
Some of the complaints received by CPA Australia’s Professional Conduct unit are from clients who are concerned with their accountant’s handling of their money.
In a recent live chat, our expert presenters addressed questions on the application of this standard, your responsibility to audit your compliance with it, its scope and what happens if a member is found not to be complying with the standard.
The key themes addressed in the live chat were:
- Timing of the audit
- Requirements for bookkeepers who deal in client monies
- Implications of electronic banking
- Opening trust accounts with the banks
- Administrator access to client bank accounts
- Transacting through accounting software
- Documentation requirements
- Wrap accounts
- Managed discretionary accounts
- Process when a client refuses access to client information
- Meaning of control in the Standard
- Clarification of present entitlement
- Payment of interest.
The experts were:
Josephine Haste CPA, Manager – Quality Review Education, CPA Australia
Caroline Karavias CPA, Technical Adviser – Quality Review Education, CPA Australia
Dr Eva Tsahuridu, Manager Accounting Policy – Policy and Corporate Affairs, CPA Australia
How accountants avoid the most frequent compilation report breaches