Establish and manage a trust account

This unit describes the performance outcomes, skills and knowledge required to establish, manage and administer a trust or controlled money account in a conveyancing practice.It encompasses reviewing for compliance with trust accounts requirements, establishing and managing trust accounts, maintaining records of trust transactions, and monitoring and reviewing of trust accounts.This unit may apply to job roles subject to licensing, legislative, regulatory or certification requirements so Commonwealth, State or Territory requirements should be confirmed with the relevant body.


The unit has application to job roles involving establishing and managing a trust account in a conveyancing practice.

Elements and Performance Criteria



1. Review trust account for compliance with trust account requirements

1.1. Practice trust account requirements are clearly identified, accurately recorded and continuously updated in line with relevant legislation and regulations

1.2. Policies and procedures for accurate trust account keeping are developed which comply with trust account requirements, key principles of accounting and financial management, and legislative requirements

1.3. Criteria for evaluating electronic and manual trust accounting systems are identified and applied to ensure compliance with all trust account requirements

2. Establish and manage trust accounts

2.1. Source documents for trust transactions are identified and accessed in line with legislative requirements

2.2. Documentation of trust records and transactions are produced to give an accurate record of practice transactions on behalf of clients

2.3. Transactions are supported by appropriate authorisation and documentation and are in line with practice and legislative requirements

2.4. Entries and transactions are promptly and accurately recorded in line with relevant trust account requirements, and can be provided on demand

2.5. Discrepancies in entries or documentation are promptly followed up to ensure clarification or resolution and are reported to relevant authorities where necessary

2.6. Audit and security arrangements are checked to ensure they provide adequate protection for client confidentiality and client funds held in trust

3. Manage and control trust accounts

3.1. Disbursements to and from trust accounts are authorised and managed within agreed practice protocols and legislative requirements

3.2. Appropriate arrangements are made with third parties and other professionals to ensure that practice trust accounts comply with legislative requirements

3.3. Practice trust administration policies and procedures are disseminated or made readily available to relevant staff in line with practice and legislative requirements

3.4. Ongoing training of relevant practice staff is provided to ensure efficient operation of trust accounts and financial and IT systems, and compliance with practice and legislative requirements

3.5. Procedures for monitoring records and ensuring the security of trust account records are developed and implemented

4. Monitor and review trust accounts

4.1. Documentation and other reporting requirements are regularly reviewed for compliance with legislative requirements

4.2. Trust account entries and transactions are regularly checked and monitored to ensure compliance with practice and legislative requirements

4.3. Trust account transactions are monitored to ensure appropriate authorisation is obtained prior to any disbursements

5. Authorise and verify trust accounts

5.1. Periodic reconciliation is verified in compliance with legislative requirements

5.2. Periodic financial reports are prepared and discussed with clients to ensure their continued accuracy

5.3. Records are maintained to enable them to be conveniently and properly audited

5.4. Legislative audit requirements are met

Required Skills

Required skills

analytical, evaluative and deductive reasoning skills relevant to identifying all aspects legislation, trust account records and financial reports

risk management skills for establishing, administering and managing trust accounts

communication skills to:

determine and confirm client requirements, using questioning and active listening as required

liaise with others, share information, listen and understand

use language and concepts appropriate to cultural differences

decision making and problem solving skills to analyse and make decisions about practice trust accounts consistent with legislative and ethical requirements

financial analysis skills for accessing, interpreting and managing complex financial information

IT skills for accessing and using appropriate software such as spreadsheets and databases, computerised and manual trust account systemsand using internet information

literacy skills to read and interpret documentation from a variety of sources

numeracy skills to accurately analyse, record and store data in accordance with organisational requirements

organisational skills, including the ability to plan and sequence work and gather, record and consolidate financial information

Required knowledge

accounting and bookkeeping techniques for financial control

auditing and reporting requirements relevant to trust account operations

cost-benefit analysis of establishing/maintaining trust accounts

commonly used IT and management systems

policy and procedures of the practice

relevant financial, privacy, disclosure and business legislation and regulations

security, ethical privacy procedures in relation to trust account operations

statutory standards on the operation, reporting and auditing requirements of a trust account

trust accounting policy and procedures

Evidence Required

The Evidence Guide provides advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the performance criteria, required skills and knowledge, range statement and the Assessment Guidelines for the Training Package.

Overview of assessment

Critical aspects for assessment and evidence required to demonstrate competency in this unit

Evidence of the ability to:

comply with statutory and legislative requirements for the operation of trust accounts

apply financial management and accounting principles and knowledge to trust accounts

apply detailed knowledge of the policies and procedures of the practice

demonstrate commitment to client service and maintenance of client security, privacy and confidentiality

undertake high level critical analysis, monitoring and financial performance evaluation

demonstrate high standards of professional and ethical behaviour in all actions.

Context of and specific resources for assessment

Assessment must ensure:

competency is demonstrated in the context of the financial services work environment and conditions specified in the range statement either in a workplace or a closely simulated work environment

access to and use of a range of common office equipment, technology, software and consumables

suitable assessment records showing the establishment and management of a practice trust account.

Method of assessment

A range of assessment methods should be used to assess practical skills and knowledge. The following examples, in combination, are appropriate for this unit:

evaluating an integrated activity, which combines the elements of competency for the unit, or a cluster of related units of competency

verbal or written questioning on underpinning knowledge and skills which may include formal examinations

setting and reviewing workplace projects and business simulations or scenarios

evaluating samples of work

accessing and validating third party reports.

Guidance information for assessment

Range Statement

The range statement relates to the unit of competency as a whole. It allows for different work environments and situations that may affect performance. Bold italicised wording, if used in the performance criteria, is detailed below. Essential operating conditions that may be present with training and assessment (depending on the work situation, needs of the candidate, accessibility of the item, and local industry and regional contexts) may also be included.

Trust account requirements include but are not limited to:

audit and accounting requirements

client confidentiality

client instructions, expectations and needs

compliance of financial and IT systems and technology with relevant legislation and regulations

disclosure and reporting requirements

financial management principles and practices

relevant regulations and legislation

taxation and financial fees and charges.

Electronic or manual trust accounting system performance must take into account, the following factors:

administrative systems

Australian Accounting Standards and codes of practice


consumer credit codes

disclosure and reporting requirements

electronic funds management including transfer/deposit/verification

ethical requirements

IT legislation, regulations and codes of practice

legislative and regulatory requirements

office routines

security requirements

trust account procedures.

Trust transactions may include:

a range of dealings in real estate, business or personal property

electronic, computerised or manual entries or processes.


Unit sector


Employability Skills

This unit contains employability skills.

Licensing Information

Not applicable.