Reporting Accountants’ requirements relaxed
The Solicitors Regulation Authority has announced that changes which are to be made to the format of accountants’ reports for solicitors’ practices – and the criteria for qualifying accounts and submitting them – will further improve their value and reduce the burden on firms.
Following a decision by the SRA Board at its meeting on Wednesday 15 July, the existing and rigid requirements on the submission of accountants’ reports are set to be relaxed. In future accountants will be able to use their professional judgement to assess if the reports they prepare for solicitors’ practices comply with SRA account rules and they will no longer need to qualify accounts for trivial breaches of the rules.
Crispin Passmore, Executive Director, Policy said:
“These changes give accountants more scope to use their expertise and advise firms on potential risks. Some firms may find that obtaining reports is very expensive because of their size and structure, so it makes sense to use accountants’ expert views in this way to ensure value for money.
“At the other end of the scale, where firms hold smaller amounts of client money and are relatively low-risk, relaxing the current arrangement is sensible. This second phase of changes is part of our drive to reduce bureaucracy and be proportionate.”
The SRA changes are subject to approval by the Legal Services Board. If approved, the amendments would be part of the Version 15 of the SRA Handbook that goes live on 1 November 2015. Revised accountants’ report forms will be available for use after 1 November 2015 and will apply to all firms whose accounting period ends on or after November.
Further information can be found on the SRA web site.