Institute of Certified Bookkeepers

Confirmation from our insurers

Do you make payments on behalf of your clients from their bank accounts?

The Professional Indemnity policy recommended by ICB (Insurance Made Easy/Chubb policy) will provide protection where an innocent mistake has been made and a payment has been made in error. If this should happen every effort should be made to retrieve the payment or the payment should be offset against current or future amounts that come due to be paid.

When a client gives you an authority to access their accounts and make payments on behalf of the business it is strongly recommended that they provide you with a written authority (ICB procedure documents support this). The authority should include the maximum amount of any one payment you can make and a daily limit, you should stick to those limits. If you are not comfortable with the limits provided because they are too high let your client know that you would prefer, they make payments above the amounts you are comfortable with.

A number of bookkeepers have raised concerns that their Professional Indemnity insurance will not protect them if they make mistakes when making payments from their clients bank accounts or on their credit/debit cards because one insurer has stated their policy will not cover claims of this nature.

If you do not have the ICB recommended Professional Indemnity insurance it would be wise to check with your current insurer to make sure the policy does provide cover for mistakes if you are making payments for your clients. Time spent now with this enquiry may help you avoid a nasty surprise later on.

Can I complete official forms for my clients?

Bookkeepers constantly perform Workcover/Workers Compensation Calculations and Returns, Payroll Tax Calculations and Returns, Super Guarantee Calculations and Returns and there may be many others.

We know of cases where accountants are demanding that Bookkeepers are not allowed to perform these functions. We also know that some insurance policies do not cover bookkeepers for this sort of work. It is ICB’s position that these services are very frequently part of a bookkeepers normal duties and hence should be covered as normal bookkeeping duties.

You should check to make sure that you can legally complete the forms before you do. In some cases the forms will ask under the place where you are to sign – The Capacity/Role and provides a list of authorised signatories such as Accountant / Bookkeeper / BAS Agent / Other.

The IME/Chubb Professional Indemnity policy, preferred by ICB will provide protection over these services.

If you have any questions about Professional Indemnity insurance contact Sean or Helga from Insurance Made Easy on 1800 641 260, they will happy to discuss them with you, you don’t have to be insured through them.