This article was first published in the April 2019 Ireland edition of Accounting and Business magazine.

The Property Services Regulatory Authority (PSRA) licenses and regulates auctioneers, estate agents, management agents and letting agents (licensees). It works in the public interest to ensure that high standards are maintained in the delivery of property services by licensees.

As part of the annual licence renewal process, verification by an accountant that client moneys are managed in accordance with PSRA client money regulations by a licensee is paramount. In this regard, a licence renewal application must be accompanied by a signed accountant’s report relevant to the licence(s) held.  The PSRA acknowledges the vital work undertaken by accountants in completing these reports effectively.

Accountants are required to confirm that appropriate financial controls and procedures are in place for the protection of client moneys and to report where breaches of the PSRA client money regulations have occurred. While the vast majority of reports received do not require the PSRA to request additional information, in some instances the PSRA is required to query the content of the accountant’s report.

Examples of common issues encountered by the PSRA while verifying accountants’ reports include:  

  • The most recent updated specified accountant’s report is not completed. Specified accountants’ reports are available at
  • Accountants fail to complete Section 4 of Part I of the relevant renewal accountant’s report expressing an opinion as to whether the regulations have been complied with by the licensee.
  • The balance on the balancing statement is incorrectly calculated.
  • The name of the client account(s) does not match exactly with the name on the relevant bank statement. A client account must be in the name of the licensee and contain the word ‘client’ in the title.

Issues of concern

The PSRA also identified several more concerning issues in accountants’ reports submitted in 2018. These included instances where:

  • Liabilities to clients were reduced on the balancing statement (Appendix 3A of PSRA/section 35 – Renewal ABC) by deducting moneys owed to the business that were intended for clients but that had not yet been received or placed in the client account.
    An example would be where a licensee pays money out of the client account to a landlord in advance of receipt of rent by the licensee from the tenant.
    In a small number of instances this transaction is not shown as a liability on the client account by the licensee when completing the balancing statement. Accountants should ensure that all liabilities to clients are reported correctly by the licensee before signing off on the balancing statement.
  • Liabilities to clients were not reported on the balancing statement (Appendix 3A of PSRA/section 35 – Renewal ABC). Before signing off on the balancing statement, the accountant should ensure that any liabilities to clients are reported correctly by the licensee.
  • The licensee was using one account for all client and business transactions. This is a breach of the client money regulations and should be reported by the accountant at Appendix 1 of the accountant’s report.
  • The accountant confirmed that a deficit/surplus had been paid in or withdrawn from the client account where they had not been presented with evidence of this happening from the licensee.
    In some instances the PSRA has, by way of follow up, discovered that in such cases outstanding monies owed have not been repaid to the client account.

The PSRA encourages accountants to consider all these matters when completing the accountant’s report on behalf of licensees.

The PSRA acknowledges the engagement of accountants with licensees and the cooperation that they extend to the PSRA in addressing queries.