As of today Accountants will now come under the obligations of the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009 (or AML/CFT).

What is AML/CFT?

Each year 1.35 billion dollars of fraud and drug-related money is laundered in New Zealand through seemingly legitimate business transactions.

The purposes of the AML/CFT Act is to detect and deter illegal activities associated with money laundering and terrorism financing, and in doing so increasing public and international confidence in the New Zealand financial sector as a safe place to do business.

Professional service groups such as lawyers, accountants and real estate agents, by way of the services they provide, have financial involvement in high-value business transactions. Changes to the AML/CFT Act have now extended to include them in being responsible for reporting suspicious activities.

What does this mean for me?

If you are joining an accountant or accounting firm as a new client from today, you will be asked to supply identification documents to verify yourself as an individual, as well as due diligence being undertaken on any entities you may be involved with, whether these are companies, trusts or partnerships. It may also require the accountant needing to understand the exact nature of your business, and your source(s) of income and/or funds.

This information will need to be obtained and verified before the accountant is able to set you up as a client and commence any work for you.

If you are already with an accountant you may need to provide additional information when there is a change to the nature and/or range of services being provided to you.

Your accountant will let you know what, if any, information is required from you when they set up their AML/CFT compliance procedures.