January this year, changes to the UK Government's money laundering rules came into force, putting an enormous additional weight on the shoulders of accountants.
And although a whole world of change since then. The FRC has reinforced COVID-19 changes nothing and the integrity of compliance is expected to be maintained. Especially in times of economic turbulence where there is often an increase in the instances of fraud.
Under the revised regulations, derived from the EU’s fifth money laundering directive (5MLD), Accountants are expected to undertake due diligence on clients not previously covered by anti-money laundering (AML) legislation.
They’re also expected to conduct additional checks to verify the identities of clients from certain high-risk countries.
Accountants who fail to undertake the necessary checks could find themselves subject to investigation and fines, while the burden for UK accountancy firms isn’t only in terms of accountability.
The need to run identity and status checks on potential clients leaves many facing hefty fees for new software – for packages that only do one thing and which won’t necessarily integrate with the system already in place. Or where there is a minimum usage commitment which requires upfront expenditure, not ideal where the Accountant needs to keep a left eye on their bottom line.
Fortunately, that’s not an issue Capium’s clients face.
“We don’t believe the costs of changes to the law should be passed on to accountants, or that compliance should cost the earth.
That’s why we’ve chosen to work with Veriphy to perform AML compliance and provide our own frictionless solution for identity verification and record-keeping for just £3.00 per check. No upfront costs or usage commitments.
If your accountancy practice is already powered by Capium, it’s simply a matter of setting up our anti-money laundering add-on and you’re good to go!” says Tushir Patel, Director, Capium.
Key changes introduced with 5MLD
The new rules incorporate international standards set by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and convert the terms of the 5MLD into domestic law.
The UK Government has actually gone above and beyond the requirements of the EU directive, however, extending UK AML legislation to cover a broad range of “crypto-activities”.
Some specific changes accountants will want to be aware of include:
When you take on as a client a limited company or limited liability partnership (LLP), you'll have to confirm that information about people with significant control has been recorded with Companies House and report any red flags.
If you're involved in a transaction in which either party is based in a high-risk nation, or where the transaction is "complex or unusually large", you'll be expected to carry out enhanced due diligence. That is, extra checks, with thorough records, in case an investigation is triggered.
Additional risk criteria have been specified, too. For example, you're now expected to look hard at "golden visa applicants" or any client who won't or can't meet you face-to-face and can't provide electronic proof of identity.
There's also a new emphasis on electronic verification of identity – a nudge, for now, but a clear indication of the direction of travel. We'd expect secure eID to become compulsory in coming years.
Compliance without the cost
To find out how Capium’s cloud practice management and accounting software can help you meet the challenge of 5MLD in the post COVID era without going through the wringer, get in touch on 0203 322 5578 or book a demo now.