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Queensland Law Practice Trust Accounts - The External Examiners Role and Common Breaches

Each year SAAS conducts external examinations of trust accounts operated by Queensland based Law Practices. We thought it would be useful to outline our role, the work conducted and list the most common breaches we reported in the 2017 reporting season.

The information presented is not intended to provide guidance for the operation of a Law Practice Trust Account – we always suggest a good first step for this purpose would be to refer to Queensland Law Society’s Trust Accounting Guide.

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Tightening Of Charity & NFP Reporting Leading to Demand for Quality Auditors and Accountants 

Changes in the NFP and charity sector have tightened up the reporting requirements and standards for the industry, paving the way for more guidance required from accountants and auditors.

With over 54,000 charities registered in Australia, the diverse sector draws on the expertise of accounting and auditing professionals to ensure that reporting & accountability standards are met. While the focus is often on the mission for not-for-profits and charities, there does need to be a focus on ensuring full financial reporting standards are met and exceeded. 

Accountants and auditors are essential in the improvement in reporting throughout the sector with the Australian Charities & Not-for-profits Commission called on accounting professionals to correct over 6800 calculation errors in 2015 which were made by NFP's and charities. 

In 2016 there has been a significant reduction in errors due to improved ACNC requirements and closer reporting measures now in place across the sector. 

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Aussie Investors Losing Out In Online Scams 

A recent article on has outlined findings from the ACCC which have shown in the eight months leading up to September 2017, Australian investors have lost more than $19 million to online scams. Out of the $19 million lost to online scams, the lion's share comes from phone scams or social networking scams. 

The ACCC has found the most vulnerable groups are the 'Baby Boomer' generation (55 years to 64 years) losing $4.9 million and individuals between 45 years and 54 years running a close second losing $3.7 million in total over the eight months leading up to September. Investors between 35 and 44 years reported over 175 scams and lost almost $3 million. 

Scamwatch, the Australian government's scam information service is finding an increasing trend for scammers to target older Australians due to their "wealth and limited online experience".

Common scams including romantic advances, unexpected money windfalls, phishing and remote access scams. Some scams have an elaborate professional website, portals, collateral and seemingly glowing testimonials, all of which is an elaborate rouse for scammers to extort funds from unsuspecting victims.

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Top tips for keeping up your energy at work 

Some days it's a challenge to keep your energy at work when you're powering through audits or energy zapping work that can make your brain feel like it needs a re-charge. 

Just like our phones often run out of batteries so too can your body and if you're looking to ensure you don't get burnt out or stressed in the workplace, here are a few simple ways to conserve your energy and ensure you are firing on all cylinders. 

1. Audit your daily work activities and find your energy drains

When you sit down and analyse your daily activities, there are bound to be pieces of your day that negatively affects your productivity and energy levels. Rather than working through lunch, take the time to step away from your desk and get some fresh air. Not only will you give yourself a zap of energy, you will also improve your emotional energy and you will feel more energised to get on with the second half of your day.

2. Take regular breaks throughout the day

To get the most out of your day, it's important to schedule rest to renew your energy. By breaking and scheduling periods of rest for your brain you will be able to ensure you preserve your energy and replenish so that you get the most out of your day. 

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