The SRA Handbook is no longer in effect. It was replaced by the SRA Standards and Regulations on 25 November 2019.
Form of accountant's reportBack to version 21
Version 13 of the Handbook was published on 01/04/2015. For more information, please click 'History' Above
Rule 44: Form of accountant's report
The accountant must complete and sign his or her report in the form published from time to time by the SRA. An explanation of any significant difference between liabilities to clients and client money held, as identified at section 2 of the report, must be given by either the accountant or you.
The current form of accountant's report appears at Appendix 5. The report confirms if the accountant has found it necessary to qualify the report. If so, the report must be delivered to the SRA - see rule 32.1(b) and guidance note (i) to that rule.
Separate reports can be obtained for each principal in a partnership but most firms choose to obtain one report in the name of all the principals. In either case, the report must be delivered to the SRA if it is qualified - see rule 32.1(b) and guidance note (i). For assistant solicitors, consultants and other employees, see rule 32, guidance notes (vii) and (viii).
An incorporated practice will obtain only one report, on behalf of the company and its directors, or on behalf of the LLP and its members - see rule 32.1. The report must be delivered to the SRA if it is qualified - see rule 32.1(b) and guidance note (i) to that rule.
Although it may be agreed that the accountant send any qualified reports direct to the SRA, the responsibility for delivery is that of the firm. The form of report requires the accountant to confirm that a copy of the report (whether qualified or unqualified) has been sent to the COFA on behalf of the firm to which it relates. The COFA should ensure that the report is seen by each of the managers of the firm.
A reporting accountant is not required to report on trivial breaches due to clerical errors or mistakes in book-keeping, provided that they have been rectified on discovery and the accountant is satisfied that no client suffered any loss as a result.
In many practices, clerical and book-keeping errors will arise. In the majority of cases these may be classified by the reporting accountant as trivial breaches. However, a "trivial breach" cannot be precisely defined. The amount involved, the nature of the breach, whether the breach is deliberate or accidental, how often the same breach has occurred, and the time outstanding before correction (especially the replacement of any shortage) are all factors which should be considered by the accountant before deciding whether a breach is trivial.
For direct reporting by the accountant to the SRA in cases of concern, see rule 35 and guidance note (i) to that rule.