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Monday Sep 06, 2021

Your client responsibilities for the next EAAB audit season

Audit season can be a stressful period for property practitioners, especially given the Covid-induced lockdown regulations and remote working conditions. Not only is it a costly undertaking, but it also requires focused attention from team members, which might divert resources and hinder normal output. Understanding the roles and requirements of your own company, as well as your appointed auditors and your payment service provider, can assist in making sure the process is smoother and far less stressful.
 
So what is your responsibility as a property practitioner?

1. You need to provide your auditor with everything they need to complete an audit report in the prescribed format.
2. You must ensure that your auditor submits your audit report to the EAAB online - before the deadline - which is four months after your own financial year-end.
3. You need to ensure that you receive a confirmation email from the EAAB once your audit report has been submitted online, so it’s very important that your auditor captures your contact details correctly.
 
The role of the auditor
After your auditor has performed the necessary audit procedures and completed the prescribed audit report, he or she needs to submit it to the EAAB online using the MyEAAB Auditors Portal. This has to happen within 4 months of your business’s financial year-end.
 
How could your payment service provider assist?
PayProp South Africa CEO, Jan Davel, says that PayProp’s auditors (PricewaterhouseCoopers) issue an official letter to each and every PayProp client, free of charge, confirming the balance on each of their individual trust accounts plus the interest that has accrued to each for the financial year. While this letter, which is referred to as an Agreed Upon Procedure (or AUP) letter, is not an audit report that meets the necessary legal requirements, it will definitely save each property practitioner’s auditor a lot of time and effort.    
 
To assist even further, PayProp advises its clients to create a login enabling viewing rights for their auditor on the PayProp platform."Allowing this access for your auditor will give them visibility of any additional information they might need to perform the necessary procedures.”
 
What to expect going forward
Davel says that looking ahead, the Property Practitioners Act (22 of 2019) will soon come into operation. The new Act will not only officialise the title change from"estate agent” to"property practitioner”, but it will also bring property legislation up to date with current practices and gives timely recognition to the important role of integrated payment platforms, such as PayProp, in today’s rental market.
 
Section 23 of the Property Practitioners Act states that the Minister may determine circumstances whereby a property practitioner may be exempted from keeping trust accounts. Exempted property practitioners’ accounting records may also undergo a different reviewing process.
 
Providing more detail, draft regulations 4(2) and 4(3) state that, if a property practitioner is exempted from operating a trust account and has complied with all the requirements of this regulation, then they will also be exempted from having their business and other accounts audited, and will only be required to have such accounts independently reviewed by a registered accountant. 
 
Draft Regulation 4.4 of the Property Practitioners Act (22 of 2019) goes further and states that property practitioners who use an accredited "payment processing agent" (such as PayProp) may be exempted from operating their own trust accounts by following the prescribed procedure. It also explains what an accredited "payment processing agent" is and what the qualifying criteria are.
 
“Such exemption will come as a great relief to many property professionals who dread the cost and administration that comes from the annual audit season,” says Davel. He cautions that for the time being, however, annual audits by accredited auditors are still an EAAB requirement.
 
https://za.payprop.com
 
Media queries:
Lisa Edwards
Republic PR
082 604 5793

    
 

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