PracticeAccounting Firms‘Report clients’, NCIS tells accountants

'Report clients', NCIS tells accountants

Accountants have again been warned that they are not doing enough to report suspicious transactions by their clients and as a result could be hampering the UK's efforts to combat terrorists and money launderers.

Links: Terror war to target launderers

Speaking at the weekend, Jon McNally, head of the economic crime unit at the National Criminal Intelligence Service, said he was ‘frustrated’ that accountants and lawyers had done relatively little to help the police since September 11.

McNally told The Guardian that many firms were not making appropriate checks to ensure clients were honest and dealing with legitimate funds.

According to NCIS figures, motoring organisations such as the AA and the RAC have submitted more reports than accountants in recent years.

Banks are also submitting more suspicious transactions reports, a trend that helped generate 31,251 reports last year, up 70% on the previous year. NCIS attributes this to the aftermath of 11 September and the focus on terrorist finances. It expects a further rise in response to new anti-terrorist legislation.

But only 0.35% of the total were referrals from accountants. Lawyers accounted for 1% of reported transactions.

McNally told The Guardian that the police would not hesitate to use new laws to prosecute lawyers and accountants who failed to show ‘due diligence’ by effectively turning a blind eye to corrupt activity. He said: ‘Half of all money laundering cases involve funds handled by solicitors or accountants, yet the number of reports we get from them is low.

‘There’s no doubt that some firms could be more diligent. They have to understand where money is coming from and where it is going to. Solicitors and accountants need to know their customers.’

Mr McNally also said that the professions ‘may benefit from an independent review’ of their practices.

Related Articles

Sexual harassment – is accountancy next for #MeToo?

Accounting Firms Sexual harassment – is accountancy next for #MeToo?

4d Karen Baxter, Lewis Silkin
Johnston Carmichael CEO appointed as ICAS president

Accounting Firms Johnston Carmichael CEO appointed as ICAS president

4w Emma Smith, Managing Editor
British Accountancy Awards 2018 – entries open!

Accounting Firms British Accountancy Awards 2018 – entries open!

1m Emma Smith, Managing Editor
Is the accountancy sector facing an international talent crisis?

Accounting Firms Is the accountancy sector facing an international talent crisis?

1m Lewis Silkin
RSM appoints new Chief Operating Officer

Accounting Firms RSM appoints new Chief Operating Officer

2m Alia Shoaib, Reporter
RSM announces 11 partner promotions

Accounting Firms RSM announces 11 partner promotions

2m Emma Smith, Managing Editor
BDO hires former AstraZeneca creative director as head of digital and innovation

Accounting Firms BDO hires former AstraZeneca creative director as head of digital and innovation

2m Emma Smith, Managing Editor
What does the future hold for listed accountancy firms?

Accounting Firms What does the future hold for listed accountancy firms?

3m Fergus Payne, Lewis Silkin