PracticeAccounting FirmsMoney laundering failure revealed

Money laundering failure revealed

Accountants have failed to respond to the obligation to report money laundering suspicions, according to the National Criminal Intelligence Service.

Link: Play fair on laundering pleads NCIS

Accountants have filed just 100 ‘short form’ reports each month since the changes in March, in contrast to a 60% increase in submissions across all sectors. A spokesman confirmed that there had been ‘no significant increase’.

The news will cause great concern to the profession, whose members can now be jailed for failure to report. It will also disappoint legislators, who introduced the changes partly to tackle perceived auditor apathy on the issue. But last week accountancy bodies expressed surprise at the picture painted by NCIS. A spokesman for ACCA said: ‘This is the number one topic of calls to our advisory section; many have resulted in reports being made.’

The ICAEW and CIMA also insisted members were complying. David Cafferty, chairman of CIMA’s fraud and risk management group, demanded better feedback from NCIS. ‘There’s a fear the reports will go into a black hole and the profession will think, “what’s the point?”‘ he said.

One expert warned the majority of accountants might not have grasped the extent of their responsibilities. David Winch said the average accountant might describe as commonplace ‘over-estimation’ for tax purposes.

Yet, he added, ‘ask him if any of his clients were engaged in money laundering and he might laugh at you.’

NCIS said that the reports might come later in the financial year as ‘a natural function of accounting practices’.

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