Trust accounting requirements | Queensland Building and Construction Commission

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Trustees are responsible for keeping certain trust records and copies of related documents in accordance with statutory requirements.  

These requirements are important to the integrity of the trust and ensure effective oversight, financial transparency and information sharing. 

The trust records that must be kept are outlined below.

Trust account ledger 

For each project trust account and retention trust account, a separate and individual account ledger must be kept. The trust account ledger must be capable of providing separate information for each beneficiary of the trust, including a complete record of transactions and the amounts held in the trust account for each beneficiary.

The ledger must:

  • record all deposits and withdrawals affecting the trust in chronological order within 5 business days of the transaction occurring
  • include the required information about the transaction. 

Record of deposits and withdrawals 

For each project trust account and retention trust account, a record of deposits and withdrawals must be kept.

A record of deposits and withdrawals is a document or computer file that lists or journals all transactions for the account (similar to a deposit book or cash receipts journal). 

The record of deposits and withdrawals must:

  • record all deposits and withdrawals affecting the trust in chronological order within 5 business days of the transaction occurring
  • include the required information about the transaction. 

Trial balance and bank reconciliation

Trustees must balance their trust accounts and prepare certain statements for each month, including:

  • a trust account ledger trial balance statement to reconcile the beneficial interests and money held in the account for the month
  • bank reconciliation for the trust account to reconcile the financial institution statement against the trustee’s record of deposits and withdrawals as well as the record of deposits and withdrawals against the trust account ledger (trial balance statement).

Both statements must be prepared within 15 business days after the end of each month.

Keeping other records 

The following records must be kept for a project or retention trust:

  • a copy of each contract for which the trust is required
  • all payment claims given by or to the trustee (including supporting statements)
  • all payment schedules given by or to the trustee (including all supporting information provided) 
  • documents relating to any variations or amendments to contracts
  • all financial institution statements for the trust account
  • all bank reconciliations (including information used for those reconciliations)
  • all trust account ledger trial balance statements (including information used for statements)
  • notices given about deposits and withdrawals
  • copies of account review reports
  • records for completion of retention trust training
  • documents explaining any abbreviations or acronyms used in the above records
  • records of any changes (and reasons for those changes) to:
    • trust account ledger
    • trust account ledger trial balance statement
    • record of all deposits and withdrawals
    • bank reconciliation.

All trust records must:

  • record transactions in Australian dollars
  • explain all transactions in English
  • record transactions in chronological order
  • record all deposits or withdrawals within 5 business days of the deposit/withdrawal
  • be retained for at least 7 years
  • be accurate and enable convenient and proper audit of the trust account transactions.

Computer systems may be used to keep trust records, but must meet certain requirements, including all of the following:

  • not being capable of deleting any part or all of the trust account ledger or record of deposits and withdrawals
  • being capable of producing separate reports for:
    • each trust account
    • particular time periods
    • each beneficiary.

While computers can make it easier to comply with the trust accounting and record keeping requirements, some general accounting and spreadsheet software may not meet these requirements. 

It is the trustee’s responsibility to ensure the system they use is kept up-to-date and that all aspects of their record keeping comply with the legislation.

FAQs

We understand that some accounting software packages may be inadequate for some of the trust accounting and record keeping requirements. Enforcement responses will take this into account. We encourage you to provide feedback to your software provider if you believe your accounting platform is not compliant. You may need to implement workarounds in the meantime to ensure you are recording all required information. 

The ‘Trustee guide – trust accounting’ details the administration and record keeping requirements for a trust account.

No. Any computer system used to store trust records must not be capable of deleting all or part of a record of deposits and withdrawals for the trust account or the trust account ledger. Any system that is capable of such deletions is not a compliant record keeping computer system.

No. The legislation does not provide for the QBCC to endorse or prohibit a software product for trust record keeping. The legislation sets out the requirements that a system must meet.

There is no legislative requirement to employ specialised staff to administer a trust account. However, trustees are responsible and liable for all acts taken by person/s they engage, so it is important that the responsible person/s are aware of the trustee’s legislative obligations. If a trustee nominates someone to administer a retention trust account, they must ensure that person completes training.


Last reviewed: 10 Sep 2021 Last published: 10 Sep 2021
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