Real Estate Compliance

How To Avoid Trust Accounting Mistakes of Epic Proportions


The day our Director transferred $100,000 instead of $1,000…and how you can avoid the same mistake. Before you think, no - that can’t be right! Think again. Yes these mistakes can, and do happen (even to the best of us). Major mistakes can happen in the blink of an eye – whether from a momentary lapse in concentration or simple administrative error. The good news is there are steps you can take to avoid such potentially costly and timely mistakes. So let’s backtrack to that fateful day and we can all learn a valuable lesson from an experience that Jane would rather forget! Setting the scene... Ever the worker bee, Jane set to processing mid month payments on the 15th April. Several BPAY creditors required payment, including a strata levy for $1,000. In a minor, (yet major) error, Jane entered $100,000 when processing the payment at the bank. With no limit on BPAY transfers and enough funds in the account, BPAY happily accepted the large transfer. As we all know, BPAY transfers are instant, so the moment ... read more >>

How To Avoid Trust Accounting Mistakes of Epic Proportions2019-03-28T06:24:53+00:00

5 Reasons Not to Outsource Your Trust Accounting Overseas


As a business owner, it is natural to look for ways to increase your bottom line and reduce costs. In our last blog on 8 Ways to Reduce Costs for Start-Up Real Estate Agencies we discussed various ways start-up agencies can minimise costs. This included shopping around on items like software, insurance and considering a virtual office as opposed to bricks and mortar. When it comes to minimising costs, the one place you don’t want to skimp is outsourcing your trust accounting. We’ve outlined our top 5 reasons why you should keep your trust accounting local as opposed to outsourcing overseas. REAL TIME COMMUNICATION WITHOUT TIME DIFFERENCES There will be times you need to contact your trust accountant on the spot. Outsourcing overseas means time differences that can play havoc with your deadlines. Working with a local agency means no delayed response. Any emergencies that arise can be dealt with on the spot rather than communicating via email. Information can be lost in translation and interpretations of instructions misunderstood. There may also be matters that cannot be relayed via email and require ... read more >>

5 Reasons Not to Outsource Your Trust Accounting Overseas2019-03-28T06:24:53+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

5 Tips For Working on Holidays for Trust Accountants


Working like a boss on holidays. Working and holiday are generally two words that should never go together in the same sentence. Unfortunately, as many Real Estate agency owners know, finding that right work/life balance can often prove difficult. As discussed in our earlier months blog 'Being a Licensee & Taking Holidays', good planning and modern technology make working remotely a breeze. Many of you are aware that Jerome and I headed off to Hawaii for a recent holiday. As delightful as it was to have a break from the office, we continued to manage some of our regular duties from our bungalow. If you're going to work on holidays then it may as well be in style right? What does this have to do with trust accounting you may ask? Well, in our travels and through our own trial and error, we found some nifty hints and tips we’d like to share for those heading overseas and looking for some inside advice on what to do (and what not to do) when overseas in regards to managing your trust accounts. Here ... read more >>

5 Tips For Working on Holidays for Trust Accountants2019-03-28T06:24:54+00:00

Being a Licensee & Taking Holidays


Being Licensee & holidays...Is it really possible? Being a Licensee or Officer in Effective Control and taking a long-awaited holiday may seem like two terms that just don’t go together. If you are a Licensees who hasn’t seen the inside of your travel luggage for a good 5, 10 or perhaps even 15 years, then you are not alone. But it is time to change. Being Licensee brings with it ownership, and with that comes the sense of not being able to ‘let go’. Like a first-time mother leaving their newborn baby to a babysitter, sometimes you have to learn how to cut those ties and let others take the reins for just a little while. If you don’t, the concept of ‘holidays’ will be a distant memory, along with your suntan. It is possible. Here's how: As much as it may sometimes drive us mad, technology is our saving grace. With the introduction of cloud-based trust accounting systems, it has never been easier to stay in touch with your business if the need arises. With so ... read more >>

Being a Licensee & Taking Holidays2019-03-28T06:24:54+00:00

The 10 Most Avoidable Trust Accounting Mistakes


Are You Guilty of These Trust Accounting Mistakes? We understand in life, mistakes happen. Like leaving an open tin of milo in the house unsupervised or leaving your washing out on a rainy day. Yep – those are passable mistakes. Unfortunately, the mistakes we see on a daily basis with agents and their trust accounts are not on this list. They are on the ‘Should never happen’ list. And yet, time and time again we see these same errors happening in agencies wherever we go. To make sure you don’t fall victim to these common doings, we’ve listed the top 10 ‘AVOIDABLE’ trust accounting mistakes. NOT BACKING UP DAILY We write about backing up daily on perhaps… yes, a daily basis. Why? Because this is by far and foremost the most common and avoidable mistake agencies make. By not backing up daily, you are exposing yourself to a giant loss of precious data – it could be weeks or even month’s worth. Minimum regulations state once a month – but we disagree on that one. Getting into ... read more >>

The 10 Most Avoidable Trust Accounting Mistakes2019-03-28T06:24:54+00:00

Sh*t In, Sh*t Out – Creating Policy on Data Entry for Trust Accounting


Data entry is one of the necessary evils of our job. No matter what way you look at it, it is the #1 priority on our daily agenda. Why do we continue to falter when it comes to keeping consistent, well-maintained data entry policies and procedures? Time. Creating effective data entry policies is a time intensive task. Implementing effective procedures for staff to follow will reduce the amount of headaches at reporting time. We have previously discussed the 10 trust accounting fails that will send your landlords packing that includes sloppy and inconsistent data entry. This blog discusses creating consistent data entry rules that will ensure your reports are clean and in an easily identifiable format every month for your clients. Good customer service means delivering reliable outputs every month – and it all starts with your data. SETTING THE SCENE – THE PROBLEM  Problem #1 – No standard formatting This tends to be a common feature amongst many agencies because there is no standard data entry formula across the board. Creating a procedures manual that forms part ... read more >>

Sh*t In, Sh*t Out – Creating Policy on Data Entry for Trust Accounting2019-03-28T06:24:55+00:00

The Future of The Property Services Industry – We Reveal The Good, The Bad & The Ugly


There has been lots of discussion over the past 12-18 months regarding the need to overhaul the Property Services industry. We all agree that there are areas that are crying out for an overhaul, in particular in the areas of training requirements. We have read, digested and rummaged through the points made by the NSW Fair Trading and have summarised what we believe is ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’ of what is in store. Let’s start on a positive note… THE GOOD As of January 30th, 2017, it is mandatory for all private landlords and agents to be registered with Rental Bonds Online and must now invite tenants to lodge their rental bonds using the system. You can read more about the changes on our recent blog on the mandatory rental bonds changes. The implementation of Property Industry Training Reforms including improving entry standards and training requirements, enhanced continuing professional development (CPD), higher standards of accountability and strengthening NSW Fair Trading’s powers to take action on rogue agents. Parliament will pass this legislation in the coming months. ... read more >>

The Future of The Property Services Industry – We Reveal The Good, The Bad & The Ugly2019-03-28T06:24:55+00:00

Mandatory Changes to Payment of Rental Bonds Online in NSW


New changes to the Residential Tenancy Act 2010 are coming into effect as of the 30th January 2017 that it is now mandatory for all private landlords and agents to be registered with Rental Bonds Online and must now invite tenants to lodge their rental bonds using the system. Rental Bonds Online is an online service from the NSW Department of Fair Trading that helps helping tenants, agents and private landlords to lodge, manage and refund bond money easily and securely. This is a welcome change to the industry that will look to rule out any ongoing misuse of bond money. We have previously discussed the risks and occurrence of the misappropriation of bond money with agents getting into hot water due to bond theft. By introducing the mandatory lodging of tenant’s bond money, the State will look to crack down on any instances of foul play involving bond money. THE BENEFITS Creates a more streamlined bonds process Setting up your account is a straightforward process with bond money quickly and easily transferred using BPAY. Tenants can ... read more >>

Mandatory Changes to Payment of Rental Bonds Online in NSW2019-03-28T06:24:56+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