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Attorney Trust Template | Revised Reasonable Assurance Report for Interim period

Published:  16/07/2019

Attorneys’ Trust Account – Revised Reasonable Assurance Report for Interim period


The Legal Practice Council (LPC) issued an illustrative Auditor’s Report applicable to financial years where both the Attorneys Act 53, 1979 (the AA) and the Legal Practice Act, 28 of 2014 (the LPA) were effective.  Auditors are required to report on the compliance with the related sections of both the AA and the Rules for the Attorneys’ Profession (the Uniform Rules) up to 31 October 2018 and the LPA and the Legal Practice Council Rules (the LPC) from 1 November 2018 to the relevant year end.   SAICA released the annexed communication in this regard in the first week of July 2019.

The reasonable Assurance Report in the current market version of the ATA template, released in March 2019, provides for two interim period scenarios:
  • The “interim period” scenario 1
    • Engagements for periods ending between 1 November 2018 and 28 February 2019 
    • Based on the Illustrative Auditor’s Report in the Revised Guide for Registered Auditors: Engagements on Attorney’s Trust Accounts.
    • Report amended to include references to both the AA/AP and LPA/LPC. Only Sec 86(5)(a) was included as Sec 86(5)(b) is only applicable from 1 March 2019.
  • The “interim period” scenario 2
    • Engagements for periods ending between 1 March 2019 and 30 September 2019.
    • Based on Schedule 8 of LPC Rules 9 July 2018.
    • Report amended to include references to both the AA/AP and LPA/LPC. It is noted that Sec 86(5)(b) only applied from 1 March 2019 to period end. 

The reasonable Assurance Report in the ATA template was compared with the illustrative Auditor’s Issued by the LPC.  Key differences include the following:
  • The illustrative Auditor’s Report does provide for both scenario 1 and 2 interim period(s) (refer above).   
  • The relevant sections of the LPC is different.  The LPC illustrative Auditor’s Report refers to “sections 86, 87(1), 87(3) and 87(4) of the Legal Practice Act, 28 of 2014” whereas the ATA template is based on Schedule 8 of LPC Rules 9 July 2018 refers to “sections 86(1), 86(2), 86(3), 86(4), 86(5), 86(6) and 86(7) of the Legal Practice Act, 28 of 2014”.
  • The description of the Rules of the LPC is different.   The illustrative Auditor’s Report refers to “Rules 54 and 55 made under the authority of sections 95(1), 95(3) and 109(2) of the Legal Practice Act, 28 of 2014 (as amended)” whereas the ATA template based on Schedule 8 of LPC Rules 9 July 2018 indicated “accounting rules 54 and 55”.
  • The abbreviations used for the Act and the Rules are different.  The illustrative Auditor’s Report use “Attorneys Act, Rules, LPA and LPC Rules” whereas “AA, AP, LPA and LPC” were used in the ATA template.
  • The term used to describe the Annual Statement on Trust Accounts is different.  The illustrative Auditor’s Report refers to “Attorney’s Annual Statement on Trust Accounts” whereas the ATA template based on Schedule 8 of LPC Rules 9 July 2018 used the terms “Annual Statement on Trust Account of a trust account practice”, “Annual Statement of Trust Accounts of firm” or only “Annual Statement on Trust Accounts”.

 

  Instructions:

Per our records, the majority of ATA engagements related to the 2019 ATA cycle are either completed or in progress. To prevent any loss of work it was decided not to update the Reasonable Assurance Report in the ATA template.  We recommend that you affect the changes manually in your existing client files.   To assist you in this regard, we attach herewith a document tracking the changes between the Reasonable Assurance Report in the current market version and the illustrative auditor’s report issued by the LPC.   You are advised to use this document together with the communication from SAICA to conclude on the changes required.  (To insert disclaimer)
You are also reminded to review the “Our independence and Quality Control” paragraph taking into account SAAPS3 (Revised) issued May 2019.

Click here to access Assurance report February 2019 year end 
Click here to access Assurance report March 2019 year end
 
 
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