Control of accounting offices and counteracting money laundering

Accounting Offices

Along with the amendment to the Anti-Money Laundering Act, it is possible to carry out extensive audits of accounting offices. What exactly is anti-money laundering? AML (Anti Money Laundering) is an issue that is gaining momentum in our country every year. For this reason, for several years, Polish legislation has been trying to tighten the provisions related to AML in such a way as to give the least scope for entities that use this procedure to gain material benefits. The Act on counteracting money laundering and financing of terrorism introduced a change, according to which also accounting offices may be subject to control of the performance of all obligations related to counteracting money laundering.

Counteracting money laundering and new obligations imposed on accounting offices

Why are accounting offices one of those entities that must implement any anti-money laundering processes? Due to the provisions of the act, which specifies that all institutions are obliged to apply all security measures in a situation where an occasional cash transaction of at least EUR 10,000 is carried out as part of one or more transactions.

For this reason, accounting offices must, inter alia, keep a register of transactions that meet the above condition. However, this is just the beginning of the changes that have come into force this year. Additionally, accounting offices must accept statements related to the holding of exposed political positions by the client.

Other duties include performing regular risk analysis, suspending suspicious transactions, collecting and storing financial information, as well as providing all information to the General Inspectorate.

How to prepare for changes in AML?

Due to the complicated scope of the issue, each accounting office had to prepare in advance for changes related to the anti-money laundering procedure. As part of the basic preparations, it is necessary to conduct training in the field of AML, create clear risk assessment procedures, as well as prepare internal procedures related to all AML issues.

The accounting office is additionally obliged to appoint a whistleblower, i.e. a person who will be responsible for reporting any irregularities related to the implementation of procedures aimed at counteracting money laundering.

Possible controls of accounting offices

As part of the amendment to the act, inspections are also provided for the fulfillment of the AML obligations of accounting offices. Pursuant to the regulations, the inspections are carried out in accordance with the previously prepared inspection plan, and the leading entity responsible for the correctness of the inspection is the Inspector General.

The inspection must be carried out by at least two employees who are duly authorized to carry it out. Such authorization should be shown to the representative of the accounting office, who can verify the legal basis for the inspection, its scope, date and place, as well as personal data of the inspectors on the document.

What are the duties of the controller?

The regulations very precisely define the nature of the control and all organizational issues, including the duties and powers of the controlling and the controlled person.

Thus, the control takes place on the days and hours of normal operation of the accounting office, unless there is a likelihood of committing a crime - in such a situation, activities are usually taken on days off from the operation of the facility or at times other than customer reception hours. A controller without permission can move around any premises in the company's seat, without the need to have an appropriate pass.All control activities should be performed under the supervision of a representative of the controlled entity. After the inspection, the inspecting person has the right to accept explanations, any information and conduct interviews among persons authorized by the accounting office, office employees and other persons who work for the accounting office.

What are the duties of an audited accounting office?

Time to discuss the obligations of the controlled entity. The accounting office must first of all ensure the timely delivery of all information and documents that may facilitate control, as well as make available all devices that will enable the person controlling communication. The accounting office is obliged to consent to the making of copies of documents, taking photos and making sound recordings. What about financial documents that are not in Polish? The inspected entity must present an official translation of each document, especially if it is relevant to the control result. The result of the control is the control protocol, which defines the description of the activities performed together with the factual findings and descriptions of any irregularities. Each irregularity should contain a description of the scope as well as the details of the person responsible for it.