The Art of Tidying Up Before End of Financial Year


How to KonMarie Your Trust Account at EOFY Are you obsessed like us and an avid follower of the #konmarie method of tidying up? If so, then you’ll have probably watched Marie Kondo’s series in full on Netflix – Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. For those of you not on the tidying movement (for the uninitiated you should really give it a go), Marie is a Japanese-born organising consultant. She helps people declutter their homes by following simple methods and ‘sparking joy’ through the satisfaction of organisation in the home. The premise being that everything has its own place. So this got us to thinking.... Can you imagine how clean Marie’s trust account would be if she had one? Which got us to further thinking.... could we apply these same principles to trust accounting? The answer is yes! Trust accounting software can accumulate a lot of clutter over time. It can be bought on by a change of staff, change of software or simply overlooking the clutter whilst we are busy with the daily processing and running ... read more >>

The Art of Tidying Up Before End of Financial Year2019-05-20T22:17:16+00:00

Creating Processes for Batch File Payments


Getting to the Bottom of Batch File Payments An aba file is an Australian Bankers Association electronic payment file format. These batch files are generated from your Real Estate trust accounting software when disbursing funds from your rental trust and can be read by your bank. Batch files are typically used in Property Management for paying Landlords and Suppliers and offer great time saving and accuracy than manually entering BSB and account numbers one by one. A batch file contains multiple lines of text of account names, BSB and account numbers. The funds are distributed to multiple accounts with a few clicks of your mouse. We have had several clients come to us lately with incorrect batch file payments. So this month we are discussing a guide around the batch file payment process to assist agents. Before we start, check out a previous article where we cover Bulk Bpay payments - another form of batch payments. Common Errors in Batch File Payments We generally see the same errors crop up on a regular basis. Here are the main culprits. Not renaming ... read more >>

Creating Processes for Batch File Payments2019-03-28T06:24:47+00:00

Pass your Annual Audit with Flying Colours


The yearly audit is a must-do of every real estate agency. Your annual audit is up there on the yearly to-do list along with your staff performance reviews and the planning of your annual staff party. Yet, your annual review may not cause as much excitement as your Christmas Party… although there could be beverages involved in the aftermath… So let’s try and put your mind at ease a little. What many do not realise is that your auditor will be auditing records for the previous financial year. In order to do this, they will not require an entire year’s worth of records (as that would not be fun for anybody). What they will request is generally a three-month sample. They will look at every transaction for that three-month period and draw an overall audit conclusion from the findings. Not so scary now is it? Unfortunately, we regularly see a lack of knowledge in this area which leads to failed audits and undue stress. Agencies and licensees still seem unaware of their responsibilities and requirements regarding auditing. ... read more >>

Pass your Annual Audit with Flying Colours2019-03-28T06:24:52+00:00

When Not To Kill Two Birds With One Stone…


Choosing the Right Trust Account Auditor Strap yourselves in for what is going to be an epic blog of epic proportions. Yet as we may joke about the dry nature of our audit topic this month, it is one to actually be taken quite seriously. Yes we are talking about the importance of using a qualified real estate trust account auditor to audit your trust accounts. For some, using a real estate trust account auditor is par for course. For others, the temptation to use their tax accountant for their trust account audit is a way to save on some cash. Kill two birds with one stone so to speak. The problem is, no one wins. Unfortunately, we have seen this happen one too many times, and the results are not worth the savings. Why the Change to Audit Regulations? Section 115 of the PSBA Act 2002 was amended back in 2013 in regards to who can audit your trust account. It was amended to include authorised audit companies and members of certain professional accounting bodies who ... read more >>

When Not To Kill Two Birds With One Stone…2019-03-28T06:24:52+00:00

8 Ways to Reduce Costs for Start-Up Real Estate Agenices


Australia thrives on small business. It is what makes our country go round. So the reality of the number of small business that fail to succeed is definitely a cause for concern. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, more than 60% of small businesses cease operating within the first three years of opening their doors. How Can You Reduce Costs for Your Start-Up Real Estate? We see the answer to this question lies in planning. You can have the best business idea in the world, yet without a solid business, financial and marketing plan, you are setting yourself up to be a statistic. The reality is that running a real estate agency is an expensive business. There are a lot of upfront and ongoing costs to manage. We have seen many agencies cease to operate in their first year – and it came down to poor planning. We have outlined some high cost areas and suitable alternatives to consider when starting out. Remember, you can start small and grow big. Living within your means is a ... read more >>

8 Ways to Reduce Costs for Start-Up Real Estate Agenices2019-03-28T06:24:54+00:00

NSW Trust Account Identification Number 2 Years On…


Trust Account Unique Identification Number Regulation Despite this regulation being in place since January 1st, 2015, it was evident in this years audit that some agencies are still being reprimanded for not complying with the legislation of having a Unique Identification Number (UIN) for all their existing trust accounts. So if you've had a trust account prior to January 1st, 2015 and you're still not sure what the UIN is for then you've probably been living under a rock. New regulations under the Property, Stock and Business Agents Regulation 2014 came into place as of January 1st, 2015. Consequently, these changes cover the requirements for all trust accounts to have their own Unique Identifying Number. NSW Fair Trading states: From 1 January 2015, under the Property Stock and Business Agents Regulation 2014: • A licensee who opens a general trust account must provide the authorised deposit-taking institution (bank) with a unique identifying number obtained from NSW Fair Trading. • The authorised deposit-taking institution lodges its monthly returns using this unique identifying number. • Licensees maintaining a trust account as at ... read more >>

NSW Trust Account Identification Number 2 Years On…2019-03-28T06:24:56+00:00

How Paperless Can You Be With Your Trust Accounting?


Going completely paperless in trust accounting is not always a feasible expectation. As an agency there are documents that must be available in hardcopy, however, we can all work towards ensuring we only print those documents that are necessary, and make a conscious effort to minimise our amount of unnecessary printing – both for ourselves and for the environment. NSW legislation states that ‘records must be in visible form and kept for a period of 3 years’. There is some discrepancy in opinion of what actually constitutes a ‘visible form’. Is it a hardcopy document or is it visible by being online? There are arguments both ways so we have detailed a rough guideline of when and when not to print. When going paperless is an option… Firstly let’s look at the areas in which we can look at going paperless. With the integration of online software accounting systems, the opportunities to go paperless have increased. So where you can, try and benefit from these available options in your software. Everyday communications: Ask yourself, do you really ... read more >>

How Paperless Can You Be With Your Trust Accounting?2019-03-28T06:24:58+00:00

10 Common Trust Account Breaches


No matter how well you prepare for it, when you receive your first breach from your auditor, it may very well come as a shock. We want to help before any potential meltdowns occur. So we have compiled a list if you have been found in breach from your auditor. It highlights the top 10 list of the most common breaches from last years audit. THE 10 MOST COMMON BREACHES Using non-compliant software Using software that is not compliant such as Xero, Quicken, Quickbooks and MYOB can result in a hefty $1,100 fine in NSW. At the start of the financial year, double check your software is compliant to avoid this simple, yet costly error. Not banking your trust money in time Creating good habits from the outset will ensure you don’t run into any lazy errors – such as holding on to your trust money for too long. Bank your trust money regularly and on time. Failure to reconcile within the prescribed period Same goes as above, set yourself regular monthly deadlines to avoid a pileup ... read more >>

10 Common Trust Account Breaches2019-03-28T06:24:59+00:00

Ace Your Trust Account Audit


It’s audit time. You’ve just come up for air after EOFY and now the topic of audits are on everyone’s minds. There is nothing like an impending audit to raise the blood pressure levels and threaten the satisfaction of a full night’s, rested sleep. However fear not, as the reality is really not as bad as what your mind can conjure it up to be. If that thought still doesn’t help still your mind, we’ve compiled a handy checklist of the items your auditor will request, and a heads up on other items your auditor will be on the look out for. For those new to the audit game, auditors will be auditing records for the previous financial period - being 01/07/15 – 30/06/16. Auditors will generally audit a sample of your financial records – not the whole 12 month period. They use a 3 month sampling technique where they look at every transaction for a three month period and draw an overall audit conclusion from these findings. So, satisfy everything on this list to both enter ... read more >>

Ace Your Trust Account Audit2019-03-28T06:24:59+00:00