Legal Profession Act
Legal Profession (Accountant’s Report) Rules
REVISED EDITION 1990
(25th March 1992)
[8th August 1985]
1. These Rules may be cited as the Legal Profession (Accountant’s Report) Rules.
2. In these Rules —
“client”, “client account”, “client’s money” and “trust money” have the meanings respectively assigned to them by the Legal Profession (Solicitors’ Accounts) Rules;
“trust bank account” has the meaning assigned to it by the Legal Profession (Solicitors’ Trust Accounts) Rules.
—(1) An accountant shall be qualified to give an accountant’s report on behalf of a solicitor if —
he is practising in Singapore and is authorised to practise as a public accountant under the Accountants Act;
he has neither been at any time during the accounting period, nor subsequently, before giving the report, become a partner or employee of the solicitor or of any partner of his; and
he is not subject to notice of disqualification under paragraph (2).
(2) Where —
an accountant has been found guilty by the disciplinary tribunal of his professional body of professional misconduct or discreditable conduct; or
the Council of the Law Society of Singapore is satisfied that a solicitor has not complied with the provisions of the Legal Profession (Solicitors’ Accounts) Rules in respect of matters not specified in an accountant’s report and that the accountant who gave the report was negligent in giving the report, whether or not an application be made for a grant out of the Compensation Fund,
the Council may, at its discretion, at any time notify the accountant that he is not qualified to give an accountant’s report, and the Council may give notice of that fact to any solicitor on whose behalf he may have given an accountant’s report or who may appear to the Council to be likely to employ that accountant for the purpose of giving an accountant’s report; and after the accountant shall have been so notified, until such notice of disqualification shall have been withdrawn by the Council, he shall not be qualified to give an accountant’s report. In coming to its decision the Council shall take into consideration any observations or explanations made or given by the accountant or on his behalf by the professional body of which he is a member.
—(1) For the purpose of giving an accountant’s report, an accountant shall ascertain from the solicitor particulars of all bank accounts (excluding trust bank accounts) kept, maintained or operated by the solicitor in connection with his practice at any time during the accounting period to which his report relates and, subject to paragraph (2), make the following examinations of the books, accounts and other relevant documents of the solicitor:
examine the book-keeping system in every office of the solicitor so as to enable the accountant to verify that such system complies with rule 11 of the Legal Profession (Solicitors’ Accounts) Rules, and is so designed that —
an appropriate ledger account is kept for each client;
such ledger accounts show separately from other information particulars of all clients’ money received, held or paid on account of each client;
transactions relating to clients’ money and any other money dealt with through a client account are recorded in the solicitor’s books so as to distinguish such transactions from transactions relating to any other money received, held or paid by the solicitor;
make test checks of postings to clients’ ledger accounts from records of receipts and payments of clients’ money and make test checks of the costs of such accounts and records;
compare a sample of lodgments into and payments from the client account as shown in bank statements with the solicitor’s records of receipts and payments of clients’ money;
enquire into and test check the system of recording costs and of making transfers in respect of costs from the client account;
make a test examination of such documents as he shall request the solicitor to produce to him with the object of ascertaining and confirming —
that the financial transactions, (including those giving rise to transfers from one ledger account to another) evidenced by such documents, are in accordance with the Legal Profession (Solicitors’ Accounts) Rules; and
that the entries in clients’ ledger accounts reflect those transactions in a manner complying with the Legal Profession (Solicitors’ Accounts) Rules;
extract (or check extractions of) balances on the clients’ ledger accounts during the accounting period under review at not fewer than two dates selected by the accountant (one of which may be the last day of the accounting period), and at each such date —
compare the total as shown by such ledger accounts of the liabilities to the clients including those for whom trust money is held in the client account, with the cash book balances on client account, clients’ fixed deposit accounts with banks including those for whom trust money is held and other fixed deposit accounts; and
reconcile such cash book balances and fixed deposit with confirmations obtained by the accountant direct from the bank ;
satisfy himself that reconciliation statements have been kept in accordance with rule 11(4) of the Legal Profession (Solicitors’ Accounts) Rules;
make a test examination of the clients’ ledger accounts in order to ascertain whether payments from the client account have been made on any individual account in excess of money held on behalf of that client;
peruse such office ledger and cash accounts and bank statements as the solicitor maintains with a view to ascertaining whether any client’s money has not been paid into a client account; and
(2) Nothing in paragraph (1) shall require the accountant —
to extend his enquiries beyond the information contained in the relevant documents relating to any client’s matter produced to him supplemented by such information and explanations as he may obtain from the solicitor;
to enquire into the stocks, shares, other securities or documents of title held by the solicitor on behalf of his clients; or
to consider whether the books or accounts of the solicitor have been properly written up in accordance with rule 11 of the Legal Profession (Solicitors’ Accounts) Rules at any time other than the times as at which his examination of those books and accounts takes place.
(3) If after making an examination under paragraph (1), it appears to the accountant that there is evidence that the Legal Profession (Solicitors’ Accounts) Rules have not been complied with, he shall make such further examination as may be necessary in order to complete his report with or without qualification.
5. Nothing in these Rules shall deprive a solicitor of the right on the grounds of privilege as between solicitor and client to decline to produce to the accountant any document which the accountant may consider it necessary for him to inspect for the purposes of his examination in accordance with rule 4 and where the solicitor so declines, the accountant shall qualify his report to that effect setting out the circumstances.
6. An accountant’s report delivered by a solicitor under these Rules shall be in the form set out in the Schedule or in a form to the like effect approved by the Council.
7. The Council will in each practice year be satisfied that the delivery of an accountant’s report is unnecessary and shall not require evidence of that fact, in the case of any solicitor who —
(1) does not hold a practising certificate and —
has never held one; or
having held one, has delivered an accountant’s report covering the accounting period ended on the date upon which he ceased to practise and to hold or receive client’s money; or
(2) holds a current practising certificate —
for the first time;
for the first time, after having for 12 months or more ceased to do so; or
has satisfied the Council that —
the Legal Profession (Solicitors’ Accounts) Rules are not applicable to him because he is employed only as an assistant solicitor by another solicitor or firm of solicitors and has not, during the period to which the said application relates, practised alone or in partnership or been held out to the public as a partner or held or received client’s money; or
the Legal Profession (Solicitors’ Accounts) Rules are not applicable to him because during the period to which the said application relates he has —
not practised as a solicitor alone or as a partner or been held out to the public as a partner; or
not held or received client’s money.
—(1) In the case of a solicitor who —
becomes under an obligation to deliver his first accountant’s report; or
having been exempt under rule 7 from delivering an accountant’s report in the preceding practice year, becomes under an obligation to deliver an accountant’s report,
(2) In the case of a solicitor retiring from practice who, having ceased to hold or receive client’s money, is under an obligation to deliver his final accountant’s report, the accounting period shall end on the date upon which he ceased to hold or receive client’s money, and may cover less than 12 months, and shall in all other respects comply with the requirements of section 73(3) of the Act.
9. In the case of a solicitor who —
was not exempt under rule 7 from delivering an accountant’s report in the preceding practice year; and
since the expiry of the accounting period covered by his last accountant’s report has become, or ceased to be, a member of a firm of solicitors,
10. Every notice to be given by the Council under these Rules to a solicitor shall be in writing under the hand of the Secretary or a member of the Council designated by the Council for this purpose and sent by registered post to the last known address of the solicitor, and, when so given and sent, shall be deemed to have been received by the solicitor within 48 hours of the time of posting.
11. Every notice to be given by the Council under these Rules to an accountant shall be in writing under the hand of the Secretary or a member of the Council designated by the Council for the purpose and sent by registered post to the address of the accountant as shown on an accountant’s report or appearing in the records of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Singapore of which the accountant is a member, and, when so given and sent, shall be deemed to have been received by the accountant within 48 hours of the time of posting.