Completing PSRA’s accountant’s reports: the regulator’s perspective

Apr 01, 2019

The Property Services Regulatory Authority (PSRA) writes:

The Property Services Regulatory Authority (PSRA) licences and regulates Auctioneers, Estate Agents, Management Agents and Letting Agents (licensees). The PSRA works to protect the interests of the public by ensuring that high standards are maintained in the delivery of property services by licensees. The PSRA considers the opinion of the Reporting Accountant, and the work leading to that opinion, on whether client moneys are managed in accordance with PSRA Client Moneys Regulations by a licensee as paramount in their assessment of licence renewal applications. In this regard, a licence renewal application must be accompanied by a signed accountant’s report relevant to the licence(s) held. The PSRA acknowledges the vital work undertaken by accountants in completing these reports effectively.
 
Accountants are required to review the books of account and records of the licensee and give an opinion on whether the licence holder has complied with the PSRA Client Moneys Regulations and to report where breaches of the Regulations have occurred. While the vast majority of reports received do not require the PSRA to request additional information, in some instances the PSRA is required to query the licensee’s application, including the content of the accountant’s report.

By way of information, common issues encountered by the PSRA while reviewing licensees’ applications and accountant’s reports include:

  • The most recent updated specified accountant’s report is not completed. Specified accountants reports are available at http://www.psr.ie/en/psra/pages/accountant’s_report
  • Accountants fail to complete Section 4 of Part I of the relevant renewal accountant’s report expressing an opinion as to whether the regulations have been complied with by the licensee.
  • Incorrect calculation of the balance on the Balancing Statement.
  • The name of the Client Account(s) does not match exactly with the name on the relevant bank statement. A client account must be in the name of the licensee and contain the word “client” in the title.

Issues of greater concern to PSRA identified in 2018 include:

  • Liabilities to clients reduced on the balancing statement (Appendix 3A of PSRA/S35 – Renewal ABC) by deducting moneys owed in, which were intended for clients, but had not yet been received or placed in the client account. An example includes: where a licensee pays money out of the client account to a landlord in advance of receipt of rent by the licensee from the tenant. In a small number of instances this transaction is not shown as a liability on the client account by the licensee when completing the balancing statement. Before giving an opinion, the accountant should be satisfied in respect of the statement in section 3.3 of the report, namely “I have obtained the client account balancing statement(s) prepared by the Licensee as set out in Appendix 3A and checked that the information therein is in agreement with the books of account and records of the Licensee”.
  • Liabilities to clients are not reported on the balancing statement (Appendix 3A of PSRA/S35 – Renewal ABC). Before giving an opinion, the accountant should be satisfied in respect of the statement in section 3.3 of the report as noted above.
  • Licensee using one account for all client and business transactions. This is a breach of the Client Moneys Regulations and is required to be included by the accountant at Appendix 2 of the accountant’s report.
  • Instances where a deficit/surplus on the client account has been identified but not addressed by the licensee, despite confirmation in Appendix 3B that funds have been paid into/withdrawn from (as appropriate) the client account by the licensee and the signed accountant’s report being submitted as part of the licence renewal application. In these instances, the PSRA has by way of follow up confirmed that in such cases outstanding monies owed have not been repaid to the client account.

The PSRA encourages that you consider whether there is evidence of any of the above issues arising when completing the accountant’s reports on behalf of licensees.

The PSRA acknowledges the engagement of accountants with licensees and the cooperation extended to the PSRA in addressing queries. More information regarding accountant’s reports and the PSRA in general can be found on www.psr.ie. The PSRA may be contacted on 046 9033800 or by email at info@psr.ie in relation to any query you may have when completing PSRA Accountant’s Reports.

Members should refer to Technical Release (TR) 03/2018 ‘Licence applications under the Property Services (Regulation) Act 2011 and the Property Services (Regulation) Act (Client Moneys) Regulations 2012’ issued in June 2018.