Anti-money laundering… hot? Why?

Anti-money laundering

AML compliance may not be a headline grabber, but it’s certainly a big discussion point in the profession. Advancetrack MD Vipul Sheth explains why, and what you need to consider managing your own AML compliance.

While business and the general public seem enthused (or concerned) about artificial intelligence and its seemingly endless array of potential applications, at ‘accountancy ground level’ the topic of anti-money laundering (AML) – in respect of compliance – is a big deal.

Why is it a hot topic? Well, there’s no particular ‘thing’, but a series of developments.

Firstly, the bar for AML compliance has got increasingly higher across various legislative/regulatory iterations – for businesses, practitioners, and licensing bodies alike. Quality assurance reviews by the accounting institutes look at AML very stringently indeed (as they too are monitored). Advancetrack’s own assurance review by the ICAEW certainly had AML as a high priority.

Secondly, AML is closely linked with the onboarding process – certainly in terms of running those initial checks on prospective clients. The onboarding process has been a long-running area for technology providers to offer solutions, and so it makes sense that the increasing compliance requirements of AML would see developments on both sides of that coin. As an example, the launch of Firmcheck in the UK, which offers both AML and onboarding solutions. 

Finally, MTD – or rather, MTD being pushed down the timeline. There is always a big compliance or regulatory area that pushes accountants into looking at how they work, and considering what changes may be required. And, if tech can ‘solve’ that ‘problem’, then the solutions providers like to let us know about their offering.

An ongoing process

There are a lot of old-school AML tech tools in the market - many of which still require a lot of manual intervention. So, it seems ripe for a new wave of AML tech to step up.

But, as with all technology, there are a number of important considerations to be made around how those offerings interlink and interact with other tech you use, and the data in which it accesses. And the ‘manual’ part of all of this mustn’t be overlooked (despite my earlier comment). Do you have processes in place that will flag up issues, and then will you act upon those issues accordingly?

We must never forget that digitalisation, automation, and workflow can support how we run our business, but this is all to support you as an accounting professional, to make informed judgement calls and take appropriate actions.

Finally – AML tech isn’t really about a ‘point solution’, because AML requires ongoing supervision of clients (and an understanding of your firm’s AML policies, procedures and internal management). It’s not a ‘fun topic’; you may not even want to refer to it as a ‘hot’ one… but it is very, very important.

Vipul Sheth is MD of Advancetrack

If you’d like to talk to Advancetrack about support with your practice’s operations, please get in touch by clicking here.

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