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Do “Accounting” firms hate AML compliance.


AML Hated by accountants?

  1. Apparently, it’s no secret that AML is hated by accountants as they see little value in complying with its regulations.
  2. In a recent article, the AccountingWEB community were asked whether anything positive could come out of AML and the answers weren’t promising.
  3. One of the comments came from regular commenter Tax Digital who said,
    • “With AML there is zero value out there. For firms, it’s a pain having to spend billable time on compliance paperwork and responding to professional bodies.”
  4. This was echoed in another article where AML was perceived as a full-time job and too burdensome.
  5. Kevin Lord, managing director of Firmcheck said,
    • “I’ve spoken to hundreds of practices who express guilt and fear regarding their current AML management, which they view as disorganised at best and potentially non-compliant at worst.
    • At the heart of it, I believe the industry needs a solution that consolidates all aspects of AML, making compliance easier to manage.
    • “As accounting firms grapple with the complexities of AML compliance, our research provides invaluable insights and practical strategies to address these challenges effectively,”

6. These responses are further illustrated in a recent AML survey of 250 firms.

Firmcheck survey

  1. Firmcheck surveyed over 250 accounting firms of different sizes, types, and regions throughout the UK to gauge feelings towards anti-money laundering (AML) as well as understand how firms are currently managing compliance.
  2. The survey asked organisations what their AML processes were, and the most common answers given were, Know Your Customer (KYC), checking and verifying IDs for new clients, and updating KYC and expired IDs for existing clients.
  • 36% of accounting firms perform regular anti-money laundering checks despite 90% being confident in their compliance measures.
  • 91% recognising the importance of AML compliance,
  • 60% viewed AML compliance as burdensome.
  • 50% felt like it was just a box-ticking exercise.
  • 30% did not have a standardised client risk assessment.
  • 28% did not have a firm-wide risk assessment in place.
  • 40% of firms adopting technology to help them with IDV.
  • 36% of organisations conducting regular reviews
  • 53% performing an annual review.
  • 65% of accounting firms use software for AML.



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