We ensure that Employees have a clear segregation of duties and responsibilities and that a Principal or appropriately qualified individual oversees the Client accounting function.
We ensure that our staff are competent and knowledgeable.
We ensure that Accounting systems and client data are securely controlled and protected.
Computer systems are adequately protected for access, firewalls, back ups and disaster recovery.
We ensure there is adequate back up for holiday and long term absence
Principals cannot and do not over-ride controls surrounding the accounting system
All areas of the business apply the same level of controls in relation to the Client Accounting Function.
Client Accounting Systems and Controls
We ensure that accounting records and systems are appropriate to the nature and volumes of client account transactions, that systems provide details of all money received into and paid from all client accounts and show a running balance of all client money held in that account.
We ensure that systems identify all receipts and payments to the client to which they relate, for example by means of client ledgers showing cash balances held on behalf of clients at all times.
The current balances at the total and client levels are always available.
Accounting records are completed chronologically and promptly. All ledgers have the client name and an appropriate description e.g. property address.
Overdrawn balances on Client Ledgers are prevented by the systems or controls in place and where they do occur are investigated and rectified immediately.
A central list of client bank accounts is maintained including dates of opening and closing of accounts.
A “Three way” reconciliation is completed at least once every month where client money is held in a general client account. This is produced as a formal statement and any unresolved differences or adjustments are fully investigated and explained. Any errors identified in the reconciliation process are promptly rectified.
General Client Account reconciliations should include a full list of client ledger balances and the total of the balances; dated un-presented cheques; dated outstanding deposits; details of any other reconciling items; system reports supporting reconciliation figures as appropriate.
For discrete accounts the monthly reconciliations should agree the cash book or system balances and include a full list of dated un-presented cheques; dated outstanding deposits; details of any other reconciling items; system reports supporting reconciliation figures as appropriate.
Reconciliations should not include regularly occurring adjustments or reconciling items more than 3 months old, except for upresented cheques which should not be more than 6 months old.
Reconciliations are reviewed and signed off by a Principal or an appropriate independent senior member of staff. Client accounting records, including copies of reconciliations are securely kept for at least 6 years plus the current year.
Controls Over the Receipt of Client Money
The firm ensures that post is only opened by a Principal or appropriate staff independent of accounting staff. That procedures exist to ensure all client’s money is banked within 3 working days, all cash and cheques received by post or by hand are promptly recorded; a reconciliation is performed between money received by post and that day’s banking; procedures exist to identify and distinguish between client’s and office money; Mixed monies are initially paid into a client account and the office element paid to the office account when the receipt has cleared the bank. Fees received in advance for professional work not yet billed are paid into a client account pending completion of the work; duplicate receipts are issued for cash received and controls over the physical security of cash are effective. Unbanked client money receipts are kept secure.
Controls Over the Payment of Money
Checks are made to ensure that sufficient funds are held on behalf of the client before payments are made. A copy of the Bank Mandate is held and up to date. Adequate authorisation and supervision procedures are in place for payments made by cheque, bank transfer and electronic methods. Insurance and adequate Principal supervision is in place where payments are made by non principals. Blank cheques are not signed and unused cheques are kept securely. Effective systems are in place over the setting up of new supplier accounts on the system. Cash payments are avoided.
HESTIA PROPERTY SERVICES LTD