Accounts procedures—regulatory requirements 2011 [Archived]
Accounts procedures—regulatory requirements 2011 [Archived]

The following Practice Compliance practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Accounts procedures—regulatory requirements 2011 [Archived]
  • Responsibility for compliance
  • Office money
  • Client money
  • Client account
  • Format of client account
  • Availability of client money
  • Withholding money from client account
  • Control of client accounts
  • Financial crime prevention
  • More...

The overarching objective of the Accounts Rules is to keep client money safe. Except when the rules provide otherwise, you must:

  1. keep other people's money separate from your money

  2. keep other people's money safely in a bank or building society account identifiable as a client account 

  3. use each client's money for that client's matters only

  4. use money held as trustee for the purposes of that trust only

  5. establish and maintain proper accounting systems and internal controls

  6. keep proper accounting records to show accurately the position with regard to the money held for each client and trust

  7. account for interest on other people's money

  8. cooperate with the SRA in checking compliance with the rules

  9. deliver annual accountant's reports as required by the rules

Responsibility for compliance

All the principals in a firm must ensure compliance with the rules by themselves and everyone employed in the firm.

This duty also extends to the:

  1. directors of a company or the members of an LLP which is an ABS

  2. COFA of a firm (whether a manager or non-manager)

The reporting accountant does not carry out a detailed check for compliance with the SRA Guidelines on Accounting Procedures and Systems but has a duty to report on any substantial departures from the guidelines discovered while carrying out work in preparation of their report.

Office money

Office money is money which belongs to you or your firm including:

  1. money held or received in connection with running the firm, eg PAYE, or VAT

  2. interest on general client accounts

  3. payments received in respect of:

    1. a bill

    2. disbursements (i) already paid by the firm or (ii) incurred but not yet

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