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NSW Solicitors Trust Account Audits – Due 31 May

 

Under the Legal Profession Uniform Law and the Legal Profession Uniform General Rules 2015, legal firms are required to have their solicitors trust account examined by an approved auditor annually and submit an “External Examiner’s Report” to the Law Society of New South Wales.  The Law Society requests that the External Examiners Report be lodged by 31 May to ensure processing and any matters arising may be addressed within the financial year.

With this deadline approaching, now is the ideal time to start planning your trust account audit. Quinn Consultants have accredited examiners in-house. We have extensive experience in managing and auditing trust accounts. Consequently we are able to offer you a streamlined service in a cost-effective manner with minimal disruptions to your office and your staff.

As a client of Quinns you will receive professional service from experienced staff that will meet all audit deadlines, provide advice on compliance matters, and prepare all the required financial reporting documentation for you.

If you would like us to provide you with an obligation free quotation please email us on enquiries@quinns.com.au or call (02) 9223 9166 and we can get the ball rolling straight away.

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Do all solicitors have to file an audit report?

There are two possible reasons why you would not need to file an audit report:

1. You are not required to file an External Examiners Report to the Law Society if your firm has never operated a trust account. However, it is rare that a law firm would not operate a trust account as it is generally accepted practice that funds are collected from the client in advance. These funds have to be held in a trust account. A firm would not keep a trust account in a situation where they only bill for the work after it is done and receive payments for these invoices.

2. If the only trust money received or held by a law practice during a financial year is transit money, the practice’s trust records in respect of that year are not required to be externally examined. Under the Legal Profession Act 2004 “transit money” is defined as “money received by a law practice subject to instructions to pay or deliver it to a third party, other than an associate of the practice”.

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Who can complete the audit?

The External Examiner’s Report may only be prepared by a registered company auditor appointed under Section 1280 of the Corporations Act 2001.

Michael Quinn is a registered company auditor (registered by ASIC) and this allows Quinns to assist law firms in ensuring their trust accounts meet The Law Society’s regulations and undertake the audit, making the reporting process a simple step.

The law firm has an obligation to notify the Law Society in writing of the appointment of an External Examiner. The letter should include the name, business address and contact number of the External Examiner.

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The External Examiner’s report

The External Examiner is required by the Legal Profession Act 2004 to provide the law firm with a report that states whether it has complied with the Act and the regulations.

The Quinn Group has a specialist auditing division with the experience and qualifications required to conduct and issue such Audit Reports and can assist you preparing for your reporting obligations.

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What to do after the audit?

After submitting an “External Examiner’s Report” to the Law Society of New South Wales you should keep a copy for your records in a safe place.

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Our dedicated team can assist you with all your auditing needs. Complete and submit the Express Enquiry form on the top right hand side of this page and we will contact you to discuss your enquiry or call us on 1300 QUINNS (1300 784 667) or on +61 2 9223 9166 to arrange an appointment.