PracticeAccounting FirmsCrime Act fears are unfounded

Crime Act fears are unfounded

Accountants have nothing to fear from the Proceeds of Crime Act - as long as they cooperate fully with the police, according to the director of criminal justice at the Police Information Technology Organisation, Sandy Gilchrist.

Link: Laundering reports to snowball

With the Act requiring accountants to report all suspicions of money laundering, there are fears that it will undermine client confidentiality.

But Gilchrist said this week that accountants could protect themselves by being ‘up-front’ with clients.

‘The Act recognises that professionals, like accountants, are used – whether they know it or not – to launder money from proceeds of crime,’ said Gilchrist, who will be delivering a similar message at this week-end’s 2020 Group conference in Birmingham.

‘If accountants can take appropriate precautions to protect themselves from being caught up in the criminal activity by working with the police more efficiently then they have nothing to fear,’ he told Accountancy Age.

Gilchrist, who is head of the criminal justice administration division at PITO, the government agency that provides IT support to police officers, acknowledged that the Act, which is being championed by Home Office minister Caroline Flint, ‘might’ harm client confidentiality. But he added: ‘If there is well-managed communication it won’t necessarily do so.’

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