In the world of accounting, having a robust Anti-Money Laundering (AML) compliance system is crucial. You may not link accounting to AML checks, but accountants play a crucial role in safeguarding the UK’s financial system
Legal and Ethical AML Obligations
As Chartered Accountants, we need strict policies and procedures to make sure we do customer due diligence (CDD) for every client. This is a rule we must follow and the CDD process supports other regulated anti-money laundering (AML) activity
Karen Chase, HB Accountant’s director says “money laundering facilitates severe crimes like modern slavery, drug trafficking, fraud, bribery, corruption, and terrorism . Accountants have an ethical and legal AML obligation. Identifying suspicious activity and submitting suspicious activity reports (SARs), plays a significant role”
Whole-Firm Risk Assessments, Controls and Training
Accountants need to understand the updated 2017 money laundering regulations. One new requirement is that every firm must carry out and document a ‘whole-firm’ risk assessment and must have systems and controls in place, including training, capable of:
- assessing risk
- performing client due diligence
- monitoring existing clients
- keeping appropriate records
- reporting suspicious activities both internally (to a nominated officer) and externally (by the nominated officer to the National Crime Agency).
CDD is a non-negotiable and is a safeguard against compliance risks. Checklists can be adapted for each client depending on your company’s service offerings and the specific needs of your client.
Accountants need to know the parties involved and have to ask questions
- What businesses are they currently involved with?
- Have you gained professional clearance from their previous accountant?
- Where are they generating their income?
- Have you looked into the prospective client’s previous year-end accounts submissions?
- What public information is available about the client?
CDD doesn’t stop at onboarding a new client
If you decide to take on the client, due diligence must continue. Encourage clients to maintain open lines of communication, especially when making significant financial decisions. This proactive approach will aid identifying any associated risks.
AML checks and CDD isn’t a tick box exercise for us. Gathering information helps us understand your identity, activities, and operations. Maintaining open communication about your business dealings and decisions allows us to spot problems early and enhance performance together. We see this as a huge advantage.Karen Chase – HB Accountants – chartered accountant and Director
Record Keeping for Accountants
Records must be kept for a minimum of six years from the end of the last financial year they relate to.
If you want to discuss your accounting requirements do get in touch. Not only can we help with your questions, we can offer you support with your tax, management accounting and so much more. You can contact us on 01992 444466. We’re accountants for businesses and for people. We’re here to help.
The information contained above is for general guidance purposes only. Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the contents are accurate, please note that each individual has different circumstances and it is essential that you seek appropriate professional advice before you act on any of the information contained herein. HB Accountants can accept no liability for any errors
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