As an accountant, you know how important it is to carry out Customer Due Diligence (CDD) as part of your onboarding. And you also know how important it is that you're documenting, managing and keeping tabs on your overall Anti-Money Laundering (AML) processes. Besides the fact that regular training is a key component of meeting your AML obligations, the level of knowledge and the quality of training your staff receive can have a big impact on how robust your overall AML compliance programme is.
Let's take a look at what AML training involves and why it should be a regular part of your practice team's ongoing training and development as a practitioner.
Understanding the basics of AML
An awareness of AML regulations is non-negotiable for your team. A good starting point is to make sure that every relevant role in the firm has been through basic AML training. This gives the whole practice team a grounding in the fundamentals of anti-money laundering and the AML risks and red flags to look out for, especially those dealing with client accounts and financial information on a daily basis.
A basic introduction to AML should include:
- Understanding anti-money laundering – this gives your team an overview of AML and why it’s required to combat financial crime, fraud and the funding of terrorism.
- Getting to grips with the basic legal framework – a summary of the legal framework helps your team understand how the law works and what’s required of the firm (ensuring you’re meeting your legal obligations).
- The accountant’s role in AML – this helps you understand where you fit into the bigger picture and how you can help contribute to reducing financial crime, through robust AML compliance practices.
Diving deeper into AML risk and onboarding
Understanding the basic context and UK legislative requirements around AML is an excellent foundational exercise for all your staff. It can also be really valuable to do some deeper training that’s more hands-on and prescriptive in nature.
Those who are managing client onboarding should know more than just the basics, typically by virtue of carrying out KYC and onboarding you’ve got greater insights into a client, and as a result, have greater exposure to potential risks or red flags.
This sort of training should include:
- How to assess risk during onboarding – a critical component of AML laws is to take a risk-based approach to decision-making when taking on a new client – this involves looking at a range of factors and then making a risk-based decision based on all the information you have at your fingertips. Knowing how to decipher this information and being aware of what a money launderer might do, or what red flags might be present can help reduce your firm's overall risk.
- An overview of CDD, and when to go deeper – getting to know who you’re working with and the organisation’s background is essential. You should have an extensive grasp of CDD, how it contributes to your risk management, and when you should carry out more enhanced due diligence based on the information you’ve collected.
Firmchecks free AML training is here to help
Each year the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) releases an AML supervision report, consistent training has been identified as a gap, and firms have been found to be providing insufficient training for their staff when it comes to AML. Good AML training and awareness is a fundamental part of your firm’s overall approach to compliance and risk, and as we’ve already mentioned a requirement is expected of you as part of AML laws and regulations.
But where do you start? There are lots of different courses, and options out there, and some with hefty price tags.
The good news is that Firmcheck has already created a range of AML courses (with more coming soon) to help you meet your training requirements, and also improve your overall awareness and knowledge of AML. Our online training courses are completely FREE, and you’ll also get a certificate to put towards your unverified CPD hours once you’ve completed them.
To get started just head to the education section on our website and sign up to the course of your choice.