Is your Accountant or Bookkeeper committing a offence?
We find ourselves in a odd situation. Anyone can set up in business and call themselves a Accountant or Bookkeeper in the UK. This also applies to getting help with your accounts or invoicing, as anyone can provide help “freelancing” as a Accountant or Bookkeeper.
But many individuals and businesses, as well as the Accountants or Bookkeeper do not seem to be aware that they must be registered and comply with the Money Laundering Regulations if they want to be freelance, self-employed and supply their services. By not doing so, they could be committing offences under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 or the Terrorism Act 2000.
Registration is separate and specific. If they are not offering their services for a fee, they have no need to be registered.
But anyone who is, have the option to register with HMRC or a approved professional body if they are a member of one. Many think because they are registered as a Agent with HMRC, or a student, become qualified by a professional body or even become a member of a professional body they are automatically registered. This is not the case. Registration is not automatic as there are many additional requirements they have to go through. They are required to appoint a AML supervisor who will check they are doing it correctly.
Now ALL individuals offering Accounting, Bookkeeping or Payroll Services to the public risk financial penalties and/or prosecution under the Money Laundering Regulations 2017. If the person helping you with your accounts, invoices, tax return or other bookkeeping related work is not on your payroll, and if they or their business does not have a AML supervisor, they are most likely committing a offence.
As a client, you may not care if they are registered or not, but do you really want someone who does not know that they should be registered or some one knowingly ignoring the regulations looking after your accounts, invoices or other financial records?