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Addressing AML Head-On: Firmcheck Responds to the ICAEW's Call for Compliance Excellence

January 29, 2024

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In the wake of the ICAEW's emphasis on Anti-Money Laundering (AML) compliance during practice assurance reviews in 2023, Firmcheck is standing shoulder to shoulder with accounting firms navigating the complexities of regulatory scrutiny.

Key Highlights from ICAEW's 2023 Practice Assurance Monitoring Report:

In its 2023 Practice Assurance Monitoring Report, the ICAEW has underscored AML compliance as a paramount area of focus. A staggering 545 firms out of those reviewed exhibited at least one finding of non-compliance with the Money Laundering Regulations 2017 (MLRs). This trend highlights the critical need for accounting firms to improve their AML practices.

The report also sheds light on the significant weaknesses identified, with almost 40% of the 45 reports considered by the ICAEW Practice Assurance Committee in 2022 relating to non-compliance with the MLRs. This signifies the gravity of the issue and the urgency for firms to address AML vulnerabilities.

In contrast, other issues like the use of the title "chartered accountant" when ineligible and significant breaches of clients' money regulations were secondary concerns, reinforcing the pivotal role of AML compliance in the eyes of regulators.

ICAEW's Expanded On-Site Reviews:

In response to the escalating importance of AML compliance, the ICAEW has expanded its on-site reviews to delve deeper into crucial aspects. These include:

  • Money Laundering Reporting Officer (MLRO): Assessing the pivotal role of the MLRO to ensure robust AML oversight.
  • Firm-Wide Risk Assessments: A critical examination of firm-wide risk assessments to identify and mitigate potential AML risks.
  • Sanctions Compliance: A detailed examination of compliance with sanctions regulations, ensuring firms navigate clear of legal pitfalls.
  • Prohibitions on Provision of Accountancy Services to Russia: Heightened vigilance in compliance with prohibitions related to accountancy services in the context of geopolitical considerations.
  • Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs): A meticulous review of SARs to enhance reporting accuracy and effectiveness.
  • Client Due Diligence (CDD) Processes: A comprehensive examination of CDD processes to fortify the initial onboarding phase and ongoing client engagements.

Firmcheck recognises these changes and in response offers support to accounting firms looking to align with these heightened standards. As the ICAEW elevates its scrutiny, accounting firms partnering with Firmcheck gain a strategic advantage in ensuring robust AML compliance practices.

Against this backdrop, Firmcheck extends an invitation to accountants to participate in the upcoming AML Summit. Scheduled for February 27 to 29, this free CPD-verified virtual event is tailor-made to equip accountants with actionable insights and strategies, ensuring compliance excellence.

Secure your spot now at Don't miss this exclusive opportunity to secure your AML practices and stay ahead of regulatory expectations.

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