As the financial year draws to a close, it is important to remember that once the calendar clicks over from June to July, you are required to have your trust account (all of them if you have more than one) audited. This trust account audit needs to be completed prior to 30 September 2019.
On Tuesday 21 May (last week) NSW Fair Trading announced that it is now a requirement that all audit reports for property trust accounts must be lodged with NSW Fair Trading by 30 September 2019.
Back in 2015, you may recall that the requirement changed and that only qualified audits (that is, audits where breaches have been identified) needed to be lodged with Fair Trading. Well, the requirements have gone full circle and as of 1 July 2019, the new requirement is that ALL trust account audit reports need to be lodged by 30 September 2019.
The process for lodging has also changed. It will now be online. This will mean that your trust account auditor will need to lodge your trust account audit online via the new ‘Auditors Report Online’ portal, which will be accessible via the NSW Fair Trading website. Whilst it will be the auditors responsibility to lodge your audit report, Licensees-In-Charge will receive email notification from ‘Auditors Report Online’ as their audit progresses through the various stages.
These changes to trust account audit requirements are part of the Property Services Reforms that are currently occurring in NSW. Whilst there are many other reforms that are yet to be implemented, this is one that has obviously been deemed by NSW Fair Trading, as being timely and in need of implementation for the next financial year.
Remember that when you are choosing an auditor for your property trust account/s, auditors must be registered with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) or be qualified under section 115 of the Property, Stock and Business Agents Act 2002. It should be noted that the list of persons who are qualified to conduct audits has been widened. Registered audit companies, authorised company auditors and members of a Professional Accounting Body holding a Public Practising Certificate with one or more of those bodies can conduct the audit.
Also remember that, within the past 2 years of the audit period, an auditor must not have been employed by, nor be a partner of, the person whose records or documents are to be audited.
In summary – get your trust account/s audited by an appropriately qualified person and make sure that the report (no matter what the outcome of the trust account audit), is lodged electronically prior to 30 September 2019. It really is that easy.