Practical Information on Banking

You need to think carefully about where you choose to bank. It can be costly and time-consuming to relocate trust accounts. Little things like the type of cheque that your accounting system requires can hang you up if you choose a bank that cannot accommodate your requirements.

At a minimum, you must instruct the bank about the type of cheques your system requires. For example, some accounting software requires continuous stationery cheques. Others, such as the one-write accounting system, use cheques that are only available from the system supplier.

It is strongly recommended by the Law Society that you maintain only one, or at the most two, pooled trust accounts. Experience shows that where numerous pooled accounts are held, there are more errors and shortfalls, to say nothing of increased bookkeeping costs.

Many trust account errors arise because the general and pooled trust accounts get mixed up. These suggestions will decrease your chance of error:

  • Use trust cheques distinctly different in colour from general account cheques.
  • Ensure “TRUST” is marked in bold on trust cheques.
  • Ensure the account numbers between the two types of accounts are different.

Find out about your bank’s clearing and data rules. For example:

  • What is the cut-off time for same-day deposits?
  • When are cheques deposited at another branch of your bank credited back to your account?
  • If your bank allows remote branch banking (either by you or your clients), make sure that all deposits at other branches will still provide you with a copy of both sides of the cheque. You are required to keep a copy of all cheques received for deposit to your trust account.
  • Make sure your bank will provide sufficient details of wire transfers. You must know the source.
  • Make sure the bank knows you require all cancelled cheques to be returned. If that data is provided to you in electronic form, be sure you can print out the information. (Keep the printed information in a secure place.)