Anti-Money Laundering Requirements for Accountants

From 1 October 2018, New Zealand launched a law called the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009.Justification of this law considers New Zealand’s commitment to the international enterprise to counter the impact of criminal activity that has on people and economies internationally.

Previous changes to the Anti-Money Laundering/ Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009 mean that from 1 October 2018, all accountants are required to follow with its requirements. This law requires accountants to do several things to help oppose money laundering and terrorist financing. Also, to help Police bring in the criminals who need justifying. The AML/CFT law is established because the services accountants introduce can be appealing to people who are involved in criminal activity.

The law says that accounting firms and other professionals like a lawyer firm; must minimize the risk they may face from the actions of money launderers and people who finance terrorism and to identify potentially suspicious activity.

For the evaluation, accountants must hold and verify information from potential and existing clients of what is called the AML/CFT law which is, “Customer Due Diligence” (‘CDD’).

This (CDD) requires an accounting firm to manage background checks before providing services to their clients. Accountants must make sure the information they receive from the clients are correct, so they need to ask for documents that shows client’s full name, date of birth, and their proof of residential/company address.

It is a legal requirement to ask for information below:

  • your full name; and
  • your date of birth; and
  • your address.

To confirm these details, documents such as your passport, driver’s licence or your birth certificate, and documents that show your address, such as a current bank statement will be required for clients to be sent to the accountant’s office.

For Company or Trust business, information about the Company or Trust including the people associated with it (such as Directors and Shareholders, Trustees and Beneficiaries) are needed. If we are not able to acquire the information from you, it is highly unlikely for the accountant’s firm to process or act for the client.