What should I do?

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Well this is a new one on me.  Whilst working on a job, I come across a supplier invoice which happens to be from one of my other clients.  The invoice is manual, ie not electronic, is my client's headed paper etc, etc, however the bank account details are NOT the business bank account.  Well I never.  I am a little shell shocked I have to say.  How do I approach this?

Replies (19)

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paddle steamer
By DJKL
07th Dec 2023 15:52

Same address as your client? What about vat number, the same?

The reason I ask is I haven seen more than one business trading using the same name, so before confronting client I would check this is not a different business with the same name.

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Replying to DJKL:
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By LAKE
07th Dec 2023 16:19

Same vat number, same company number, same headed paper.

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Danny Kent
By Viciuno
07th Dec 2023 15:53

Is there a possibility their bank account has changed since you last did their accounts?

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Replying to Viciuno:
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By LAKE
07th Dec 2023 16:20

Nope. Regularly complete work for them.

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By Roland195
07th Dec 2023 16:09

In the first instance I would check out the suggestions offered already & similar to make sure you don't have the wrong end of the stick but I think this would be an occasion I would look for advice from your institute - I certainly wouldn't mention anything to either client in the mean time.

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By Roland195
07th Dec 2023 16:10

Duplicate

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By Lisa R
07th Dec 2023 16:26

Most banks now verify whether the bank account name matches the number. If the bank flags that up as incorrect when "whoever" makes the payment then that's a good excuse to question it.

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Replying to Lisa R:
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By FactChecker
07th Dec 2023 16:34

I think the possibility being proposed is not that the different bank account is 'incorrect' - but that it is 'undisclosed' to OP (and therefore presumably to HMRC)?

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Replying to FactChecker:
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By Jason Croke
07th Dec 2023 17:47

Indeed.

It could be a third party scammer using the clients invoice template, and a bit like those data protection invoice scams, if the invoice is for a small amount then most businesses would just pay it and not check for a PO and that is how those scammers get away with it....so it could be a scammer is faking a genuine business invoice for a few quid of "services" and customer just pays...to a different bank account.

The more scarier version is that it is an employee of the client working in the finance team and they are issuing their own invoice (hence manual invoices not raised by the accounting software) and with their own bank details on - easy to set up a 2nd bank account in the same corporate name if you are an FD/FC and have sign off powers and the company is unaware it is issuing invoices to customer and customer are unaware as they're just paying invoices as per usual.

Or as others have posted, the client operates two bank accounts which you are not made aware of and are supressing sales by having some manual invoices and some digital invoices.

Could also be entirely innocent but certainly needs to be raised, but maybe raise with the owners rather than the finance people just in case?

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stonks
By WinterDragon
07th Dec 2023 17:35

Sounds like one of two things have happened:

1) This is a phishing attack from a scammer that has sent a fraudulent invoice with altered bank details.
2) Your client is hiding a bank account from you and there might be more to their business than you were led to believe.

If number 2 turns out to be the case then I'd answer with d) resign, submit an SAR, and move to a different country to maximise professional distancing.

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David Winch
By David Winch
07th Dec 2023 18:40

If you conclude that you suspect that an employee of the client is defrauding the client then you need to make a Suspicious Activity Report to your firm's MLRO.
If you conclude that you suspect the client has concealed sales from past accounts you have prepared you need to make a Suspicious Activity Report to your firm's MLRO.
Talk to your professional body about what you can say to the client.
David

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Tom Herbert
By Tom Herbert
08th Dec 2023 08:58

Morning all. Tom here, standing in as editor while our regular site skipper is off on his holidays. It appears the burden of responsibility falls on my shoulders to remind members to avoid posting knowingly offensive comments. To invoke our dos and don'ts:

https://www.accountingweb.co.uk/any-answers/how-to-use-any-answers

Any Answers is "intended to be a safe and happy place for you and share ideas about the profession and the challenges it faces."

Have a good Friday,

Tom

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Replying to TomHerbert:
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By paulwakefield1
08th Dec 2023 09:41

Much as I appreciate your sentiment and there are often threads on here when it could be usefully invoked, this thread does not appear to be one of them. The comments seem civil and generally helpful. (Or have I missed a slash and burn of posts?).

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Replying to paulwakefield1:
Tom Herbert
By Tom Herbert
08th Dec 2023 09:55

Hey Paul - apologies, I wasn't clear in my initial post. I've removed a pretty offensive response.

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Replying to TomHerbert:
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By FactChecker
08th Dec 2023 10:56

Indeed .. it nearly gave me conniptions as I struggled between the natural urge to report it and my unwavering belief in censorship being a bad thing.
But I'll admit to being happy at seeing it gone (or rather no longer seeing it)!

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Replying to paulwakefield1:
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By Postingcomments
08th Dec 2023 10:19

Maybe someone suggested that you shouldn't charge for your time on this.
Deeply, deeply offensive to us fee earners!

;)

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Replying to Postingcomments:
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By paulwakefield1
08th Dec 2023 10:30

Sorry - that has gone straight over my head!

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By Duggimon
08th Dec 2023 09:36

How long before you will be working on the other client's records and can cross check the period you would expect to see the invoice arise in?

Bear in mind the burden of submitting an SAR or reporting to the MLRO is if you have a reasonable suspicion of money laundering, not proof, so regardless you might need to take those routes.

It could also be a phishing scam as others have said, I might be tempted to tell the first client you need to run a few checks on a sample of invoices and check how they were actually received, have them forward emails or whatever to show you how they came in. Ask for those from a few different suppliers but include the one you're surprised at and you can see who specifically has sent it.

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Replying to Duggimon:
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By LAKE
08th Dec 2023 09:47

Already cross checked it. Accounts already filed. Thank you for your feedback.

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