Unit of competency details

BSALF401A - Maintain trust accounts (Release 1)


ReleaseStatusRelease date
1 1 (this release)Current 23/Sep/1997

Usage recommendation:
The Deleted usage recommendation was implemented on 13 June 2017 to describe training components that have no replacement. Enrolments in training components and statements of attainment or qualifications issued before 13 June 2017 are valid. For any components marked as deleted after 13 June 2017, the applicable transition/teach-out periods apply. For specific questions regarding the enrolment, delivery or issuance of a statement of attainment/qualification, please contact your training regulator.
DeletedDeleted from BSA97 Administration (Superseded by BSB01)02/Sep/2001

Training packages that include this unit


SchemeCodeClassification value
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 081105 Investment And Securities  

Classification history

SchemeCodeClassification valueStart dateEnd date
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 081105 Investment And Securities  23/Sep/1997 
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Modification History

Not Available


This Unit covers the maintenance of trust monies related to specific files, under the instruction of a legal practitioner.

Note: It may be illegal for a person without a current legal practice certificate to provide legal advice, to sign off on legal work and receive trust account monies. The use of trust account monies is subject to legislative control. Accordingly work carried out in regard to trust account monies occurs under the instruction of a legal practitioner and is of a complex but specified nature. Therefore the position of this unit at AQF Level 4 is in relation to the level of responsibility and technical complexity required in the tasks involved.

This unit can be assessed alone or in combination with other units making up a job role.


Performance Criteria

Check that trust funds are adequate

Relevant sources are checked for information regarding disbursements and costs

Estimated disbursements and costs are calculated and reconciled with available trust funds

Instructing legal practitioner is notified where there are inadequate available funds

Client is notified that further funds are required, where necessary, according to a firm s policies and procedures

Draw cheque/s against the trust account

Appropriate requisition form is completed

Authorisation is gained from instructing legal practitioner according to a firm s policies and procedures

Cheque/s are inspected for accurate amount and correct account source

Instructing legal practitioner is organised to verify and sign cheques

Accurate records are kept of all file related disbursements and costs

Prepare documentation upon completion of legal matter

Relevant information/documentation from file is collated

Monies remaining in trust account are reconciled

Discrepancies/irregularities are investigated promptly and appropriate follow up action is taken


Relevant information sources may include:

information from open file

monies received into the trust account

transactions on the trust account

petty cash vouchers

petty cash book

purchase requisitions and orders

invoices and receipts

delivery dockets

credit notes



deposit books

bank statements

Disbursements may include:

filing fees



cost of duty stamps

court costs

telephone charges

Trust account procedures may include:

arrangements with banks to prevent the following deductions from trust accounts

- FID Tax

- BAD Tax

- Bank charges

reporting to state law society/institute as required by law

Methods for maintaining trust accounts may include:

hard copy

standard books of account

specialised software

Details to be completed on requisition form include:

file/matter number


description of reason for cheque or receipt

authorisation/signatures of designated person

Recording mechanisms/systems may:

be paper-based

be electronic

vary according to a firm s accounting system

vary according to bank requirements

A firm s accounting system may:

be paper-based

- cash books

- journals

be electronic

- commercial software package

- customised software package

vary according to a firm s accounting system

vary according to bank requirements

Financial documentation for clients may include:

statement of accounts

calculation of fees

copies of receipts

A firm s policies and procedures may include:

bank procedures and policies

notifying client when further funds are required

keeping records of disbursements

following up discrepancies and irregularities

information sources

accessing accounting system

security/confidentiality/privacy procedures

verifying and authorising information

recording information

handling monies

liaising with financial institutions

legal bookkeeping

The area of law may include*:

commercial law

corporate law

criminal law

family law

industrial relations/employment law

property law

tax law


wills and probate

* These are nine common areas of law. The area of law is not restricted to this list; other areas of law may be applicable.

Legislative requirements may relate to:

relevant State/Territory/Commonwealth legislation

Governing legal practice Acts in each State/Territory

the client and a firm (eg. Consumer Credit Code, Privacy Act, secrecy laws, Codes of Practice, common law and Statutory Duties of Care involving financial relationships)

the area of law

schedules of fees and duties payable

establishing a trust account

taxation and banking requirements

tort, equity and statute law

Australian Taxation Office regulations

Relevant State/Territory/Commonwealth legislation may include:

Trade Practices Act

Small Debts Act

Bills of Exchange Act

Financial Transactions Report Act

various state s conduct acts, eg. Legal Practice Act


Critical aspects:

understanding of scope of own responsibility is demonstrated

an understanding of trust accounting principles and practices within the limits of the employee s responsibilities is demonstrated

an understanding of a firm s trust and general accounting procedures is demonstrated

correct usage of different types of documents is demonstrated

documentation is filled out correctly and presented to instructing legal practitioner within

agreed timelines

records of disbursements are accurate and up-to-date, according to a firm s policies and procedures

  • evidence of knowledge of the type of discrepancies and irregularities which could arise and standard resolutions

discrepancies and irregularities are resolved within scope of own responsibility and those outside of own responsibility are referred immediately to instructing legal practitioner, eg. files with inadequate funds

calculations and reconciliations are checked for accuracy

  • numerical information is checked

contact with client regarding inadequacy of funds is handled sensitively and according to a firm s policies and procedures

legal actions, legislative requirements and invoicing procedures are explained to client in simple language, where appropriate

check for written authorisation from client and instructing legal practitioner is obtained when moving trust account money into interest bearing account

documentation prepared at the completion of a legal matter is complete and accurate

file/matter number is attached to all relevant documentation and such documentation is filed appropriately

a firm s trust accounting procedures, legislative and regulatory requirements are complied with

non-disclosable information is not communicated and where any doubt exists as to the information s status it is not disclosed

activities, actions and outcomes are documented and time is recorded

honesty and integrity are demonstrated in all financial dealings

all work is conducted within accepted codes of conduct including those relating to: maintaining confidentiality, use of company property, duty of care, ethical behaviours, privacy, non-discriminatory practice, conflict of interests and compliance with reasonable direction

reports in relation to trust monies are compiled and reviewed in line with firm s policies and procedures

Resource implications:

The assessor must have access to appropriate documentation and resources normally found in the work environment and required to allow the job or task to be properly performed. These may include:

appropriate legislation and regulations relevant to assisting clients, maintaining business accounts, maintaining trust accounts and transferring trust monies

workplace manuals and reference materials such as company policy, procedural manuals and checklists

appropriate technology such as computers with relevant software calculators, adding machines and imprinters

Consistency in performance:

This unit of competency will require evidence to be collected across a range of events, eg. dealing with trust account requirements, and over a period of time to ensure that situational variables are consistently achieved.

Context of assessment:

Evidence of competency can be met in different situations, including:

on the job assessment

off the job assessment

placement in an enterprise

participation in a New Apprenticeship (traineeship) arrangement

use of a Practice Firm or simulated work environment

flexible delivery methods used by training providers to cater for distance education students

Recognition of Prior Learning, Recognition of Current Competencies (in skill areas where there has been no significant change to work practice in recent times).

Evidence gathering methods may include:



workplace performance




written tests

skills portfolio

third party reports

Underpinning knowledge and skills


a firm s general and trust accounting policies, procedures and systems

bank procedures and policies/requirements

relevant current legislation (see Range of Variables)

legal terminology in relation to trust accounting and the matter at hand

procedures for authorising cheques against the trust account

preparing cheques


Australian Standards Association Code of Practice and Accounting Standards

Australian Accounting and Auditing Standards

Australian Taxation Office regulations

establishing a trust account

transferring assets

statutory charges, taxes, and other fees applicable to institutions


literacy: follows written or verbal sequenced instructions about a complex legal matter

numeracy: knowledge of mathematical procedures in relation to trust accounting, financial calculations and bookkeeping; interprets, compares, calculates and checks for accuracy with money in legal context

interpersonal skills in relation to co-workers and clients

use of accounting records system

communication: listens to clear instructions; questions to clarify information


Utilisation of the Key Competencies required in the performance of this unit

Communicating ideas and information

Collecting, analysing and organising information

Planning and organising activities

Working with others in a team

Using mathematical ideas and techniques

Solving problems

Using technology








Performance Levels:

Level 1

Level 2

Level 3

carries out established processes

makes judgements of quality using given criteria

manages processes

selects the criteria for the evaluation process

establishes principles and processes

evaluates and reshapes processes

establishes criteria for evaluation of processes

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