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Ethical Issues out of my depth

Not sure what is happening is ethical or even legal

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I think I am out of my depth and not sure if some transactions are legal or ethical. I work as Group Accountant for a group of companies under the control of Mr Big who is the main shareholder of some of them and director of some of them. He has set up other companies with "stand-in" shareholders or directors, which will eventually be transferred back to himself. He has always moved money between companies and I have had to account for these movements as intercompany "loans". However he has removed me from access to the bank 3 months ago (supposedly by accident - but then not re-instated access) so I don't have access now to all the company bank statements, which is worrying and also preventing me from doing the accounts, properly. I have become aware that some large amounts are being transferred into one of the companies (for which he is not a director) and then the "stand-in" director is having to withdraw the said monies and give to him, e.g. say 3 no withdrawals of £20,000. When I have asked where this is to be coded he has said general expenses, so I asked for the receipts and then he said he was moving the company out of the group. This doesn't feel right to me but I'm not sure if it is actually illegal. Can he backdate the share transfer? I am also a little bit concerned because the company the funds are being paid into and withdrawn from owe money to HMRC (will the director of this company who is a "stand-in" be liable for any of this?)

Sorry if this is more straight forward than it appears but I couldn't find any guidance on CIMA website. I also had to post as annonymous until I know what to do....and how....Am I panicking about nothing or should I be really concerned? I don't want to be involved with a company that is doing anything illegal and am feeling a bit under pressure at the moment....help please....even if its to tell me I'm being stupid.

Cat (obviously not my real name)

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17th Jan 2019 10:42

No you are not being stupid and yes the 'stand in' director is potentially liable for any fraud.

Time to seek employment elsewhere.

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17th Jan 2019 10:56

You can speak to Cima's ethics helpline and ask them for guidance. I feel for you because as an employee you are in a no win situation. If it doesn't feel right it probably isn't and if what you are describing is happening then it doesn't sound right to me. Looking at your post it sounds like the Director has made it impossible for you to do your job with any integrity by preventing you seeing the bank statement( How can you reconcile anything). Make sure that you get him to put into writing what he wants you to do and keep it so you've got evidence for your own sake. It sound like not only is he using the other "directors"as patsies but you as well. Start to look for another job and leave you don't want to compromise your Cima membership and potentially land yourself in trouble with the authorities whilst Mr Big slithers off.

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17th Jan 2019 11:02

You'll want to leave. Keep a diary real-time of your concerns. It may become important and will provide some reassurance that key issues are not overlooked.

I would always be wary of a boss that seems to go out of their way to make things deliberately complicated and messy.

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By cbp99
to andy.partridge
17th Jan 2019 13:31

Very good advice about (discretely) keeping a diary. As said elsewhere, there could be an attempt to blame you and it could even end up in court.

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17th Jan 2019 11:31

The key point is that you are not sure what is happening, because of access to the bank and indaequate information about transactions.

I would request in writing access to bank statements and for clarification about all transactions that have not been explained clearly or adequately. Nothing wrong in itself with moving money between companies or drawing it out, but to be professional you need to know if they are to be recorded as loans or dividends or fees (and request supporting documentation for such significant amounts)

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to WhichTyler
17th Jan 2019 11:46

Oh and look for another job....

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17th Jan 2019 11:39

Put yourself first. I agree with the other respondents that you should think about moving on but don't underestimate the fallout from a situation like this.

It is quite reasonable to expect that at a later date you could be blamed for any fraud or other criminality. My experience is that the sort of people who conduct themselves this way will have no hesitation in blaming innocent parties.

So the suggestion from andy.partridge that you should keep a diary with contemporaneous notes of your concerns and events as they happen is absolutely vital.

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17th Jan 2019 11:46

hm

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