When you become a Starfish client, it’s an exciting time for both of us! We want to get things rolling as soon as possible, but there are a couple of legal processes we have to conduct first. Before we can dive into the good stuff, we have to do anti-money laundering (AML) checks. 

An AML check is a quick identity assessment that makes sure the business owners and directors are who they say they are, and doesn’t impact on your credit report. Don’t worry! It’s something all accountants have to do for every client they work with. In other words, we don’t do it because we think you’re up to anything dodgy!


The AML check must be done before we can work together

We’re just as excited to start working together as you are, but we have to make sure the AML checks are conducted before we can take the next steps with your onboarding. 

To speed up the process, we kindly ask you to keep an eye on your email where we’ll request you to upload the necessary documents to complete the AML check. Once we’ve got those, we can complete the check and it’s full steam ahead.

Here’s how the AML check works:

  1. We’ll get in touch with you (and any of your business partners or directors) to request certain documents. We’ll ask for proof of your home address, for example a recent bank statement or utility bill, and a copy of either your passport or driving license. This will all be done on a secure, third-party portal which is specifically designed for AML checks. You’ll be taken to a form where you can input your details and either upload a photo of these documents or take a photo of them in the portal directly.
  2. A verification report is generated with all the electronic checks carried out on your submitted document. We then use this information to verify your identity.
  3. Once all the checks have been completed, we continue with the rest of your onboarding!


We have to conduct them as a legal requirement

Regulation introduced in 2007 means every UK accountant must verify their clients’ identities before they can act for them, including keeping AML records. If an accountant doesn’t do this, they’re liable to penalties which can be anything from fines to imprisonment. As registered members of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, we strictly follow their guidelines to ensure the total protection and wellbeing of our clients.


Performing AML checks sets high standards from the start

When we conduct an AML check, it’s not only to fulfill a legal requirement. It also gives our clients peace of mind that we never take any shortcuts. We’ll always follow the correct processes and meticulously follow accounting regulations designed to keep you safe, even if it means things may take a little longer!


Your sensitive data remains protected at all times

Your financial and personal data is private to you, so we put stringent systems in place to make sure it stays that way. We use a secure platform called XAMA to conduct all our AML checks, guaranteeing the protection of your personal information. Everything is securely processed and stored through the platform, meaning we’ll never ask you to pop in the post or email us any of your sensitive data. It also makes sure everything stays GDPR-compliant. 

Feel free to ask us any questions about your AML check

We know the thought of an AML check might be a bit daunting, so we’re here to answer any questions or wonderings you might have. Just pop us over an email and we’ll be in touch.