A new report by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) is warning accountants to maintain “fraud vigilance” when carrying out anti-fraud checks.
The professional association’s worldwide survey of financial professionals found only 49% of respondents ran any form of online checks on new clients.
Furthermore, the group’s report revealed that 65% still relied on manual record-keeping of physical documents.
Jason Piper, head of taxation at ACCA and the report’s author, said: “For verification of identity, with so much business now operating on the basis of formal regulated frameworks rather than personal recommendation, is there a case to be made for accountants likewise to rely more on tools than intuition?
“For the vast majority of every accountant’s client base the global economic downturn consequent upon the Covid-19 pandemic will have increased the risk of non-compliance one way or another.”
He added: “As businesses struggle to survive and cash flow is squeezed, the temptation to cut corners or take advantage of some ‘too good to be true’ opportunity will increase.
“Clients who two years ago might never have considered any unlawful activity may now present a significant risk of involvement in money laundering, whether wittingly or otherwise.”