How will AML/CTF laws apply to accountants and accounting firms?
The Australian Government is introducing new anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing (AML/CTF) laws that affect accountants and accounting firms.
As an accountant, you have a special relationship with your clients. You look after and advise them on the financial and strategic aspects of their business and personal affairs. This also potentially puts you at risk of being exploited, particularly if your client is doing something that may not be within the taxation, AML/CTF or criminal laws. That's why the Government is putting in place new measures.
The laws may come into effect in 2019. How you're affected will depend on the type of services you provide to your clients. The new rules will affect your business if you:
- Manage your client's funds, accounts, securities or other assets
- Give your clients advice about buying, selling or transferring assets or money
- Help your clients buy, sell or transfer assets or money
- Help your clients create new legal arrangements or structures
- Manage trust accounts for your clients
- Act as, or arrange for someone else to act as, a nominee director or nominee shareholder for your clients
- Provide your clients with a registered office or business address
Accountants will have to meet new regulatory obligations
Under the new laws you will need to:
- Assess how risky your clients are. This may involve conducting due diligence on them and their related businesses to determine who the beneficial owners are. This will be particularly important where there are high-risk transactions.
- Undertake due diligence on your employees
- Nominate someone in your firm to be your AML/CTF Compliance Officer
- Put in place an AML/CTF Risk Awareness training program
- Put in place an AML/CTF Program
- Provide reporting to AUSTRAC on your compliance
- Report anything suspicious to AUSTRAC
- Have an independent party review your AML/CTF Program
It's time to start preparing
It's estimated that it could cost accountants and accounting firms across Australia over $900 million to comply with the new AML/CTF laws. You can keep your compliance costs down by starting to prepare now.
At AML Experts, we have helped accountants prepare for and implement AML/CTF Programs in other countries that have similar laws like UK and New Zealand. So we know what you need to do. We can help you by:
- Helping you identify the risks that your firm faces
- Giving you advice on how to mitigate your risks
- Advising you on the AML/CTF Act and how it applies to your business
- Training your employees on their obligations under the AML/CTF laws
- Designing and implementing your AML/CTF Program
- Conducting an independent review of your AML/CTF Program