When a client trusts you and your accounting firm implicitly, that’s the basis for a long-lasting, valuable client relationship. But these lasting bonds don’t happen overnight. They require a lot of work and exceptional service. And, as any accountant will tell you, the client relationship can quickly falter if your workflows, interactions and transparency with the client don’t meet their expectations.
One point of friction can often be when you start carrying out due diligence, especially when you begin asking for IDs and other potentially sensitive documents. Unfortunately, these checks are unavoidable, they are a critical part of meeting your AML obligations, and they help you understand and learn more about your customer. It’s not just when onboarding a new client either, there will be times when you have to update records for a number of reasons with your existing clients. So if things don’t go smoothly, and are a bit of a pain for both you and the client, these checks could become a flaw in your firm’s otherwise positive service.
What can you do to minimise the friction and promote a positive client relationship?
We designed our AML software to do just this, offering firms a streamlined, digital solution to the challenges of onboarding new clients from an AML perspective, and staying on top of ongoing due diligence.
We’ll explain how Firmcheck helps you:
- Improve your client/accountant relationships
- Remove friction in your client onboarding process
- Reduce firm risk and create true transparency with your clients
1. Improve your client/accountant relationships
Interacting with your clients is a major part of making an engagement run smoothly. Whether it’s onboarding a new client, holding a monthly catch-up meeting, or having to gather new evidence or run further due diligence checks, you need to know that these touch points are seamless.
Firmcheck manages AML across the entire client lifecycle. The software is designed to make AML as simple and straightforward as possible. There are many capabilities that help you speed up your client interactions, improve communication and drive the best possible relationships with both new and established clients.
Firmcheck boosts the client-accountant relationship by offering:
- Increased transparency – Firmcheck gives you a centralised place for storing and managing all your clients’ AML data. Having this ‘one source of truth’ helps you improve your transparency and accountability with clients and makes it easier to pull up the relevant documents and data when you might need them next.
- Reduced compliance risk and better peace of mind – Our workflows help simplify your key requirements for AML compliance, both for new and existing clients. Giving you peace of mind, but also giving your clients confidence in your processes and credibility as a firm.
2. Remove friction in your client onboarding process
Running onboarding checks when you take on a new client is an essential task. As a firm, you need to know that your new client’s company, identity and documents are bona fide and that there are no links to criminal or terrorist activity. However, asking probing questions and requesting sensitive business information can sometimes cause friction with new clients.
What’s needed is a simple, seamless and centralised way to run this onboarding process. And this is exactly what Firmcheck brings to the onboarding of new clients when it comes to assessing AML risk.
Firmcheck removes the friction from onboarding checks with:
- Integrated biometrics and ID verification – With just the click of a button you can easily request a client to verify their ID and who they are. Clients receive everything they need to action in an email, and it’s all done via a web-based platform (no downloading of apps required) – so you can spend less time going back and forth, freeing up your time, and also making it pain-free for the client.
- A single source of truth – Firmcheck keeps all your AML compliance data in one place. Meaning all your team members are working from the same set of data and can collaborate on the AML component of client onboarding as they need to. There are dedicated workspaces for both new and existing clients, making it easier for you to stay on top of new clients, but also manage ongoing due diligence more efficiently. Having all this information in one place also improves communication and collaboration between your team and should you ever need to access the records for other purposes, finding your digital ‘paper trail’ is effortless.
3. Reduce firm risk and create true transparency with your clients
Managing and minimising risk is the main goal of any AML process. As we’ve mentioned, the components on AML required during onboarding can be somewhat sensitive, and clients might feel like they're a little intrusive.
The need for all of this information, and the sensitive nature of it is typically what creates this tension. There are several ways that you can reduce risk for your firm, but also make sure your clients are happy and understand the process.
- Secure due diligence - Firmcheck makes it easy to verify the identities of your new potential clients. Because our Biometric integration delivers a report with the verification outcomes, you never actually need to hold copies of your client's identity documents (such as passports or driver’s licences) on file – using a secure browser-based process clients can be confident that their data and documentation are being used for the purpose of verifying who they are. You won’t always need to run Biometric checks, but you may still collect documents manually, so Firmcheck gives you a place where you can document the outcome of those manual checks whilst still ensuring you have that “paper trail” of what steps you’ve taken.
- Centralised data – in addition to a secure ID verification process, the benefit of Firmcheck is that all your AML data sits in one centralised and encrypted location. We place a lot of emphasis on ensuring our systems and technology adhere to strict security standards so that you can have confidence all your AML records are safe and sound. This not only reduces your risk, but gives clients the confidence that you’re taking the security of their personal information seriously – no more storing copies of passports in a desktop folder, and requesting proof of address or source of funds via email.
Want to see more of Firmcheck?
If you’re curious about what we’ve spoken about in this article, and you’re looking for software that’ll help you sleep better at night, then let's talk.
Don’t let AML be the deal breaker in your client relationship – let us give you the software, education and tools you need to make managing AML seamless, so you can spend more time delivering value to your clients.
Schedule a quick 20 demo minute to see more.
(NB: This article doesn't constitute legal advice and is intended for general informational purposes only. Always consult with a legal expert or compliance consultant for guidance specific to your firm.)