Aspects of the services offered by the accountancy profession are identified as being attractive to criminals wanting to launder the proceeds of crime and to finance terrorism.

Why will the accountancy profession have AML/CTF obligations?

The services offered by accountants and bookkeepers are vulnerable to money laundering activities due to their link to financial transactions, such as money transfers and trust account deposits, as well as the establishment of legal entities to hold assets.

Some services provided by accountants and bookkeepers may be attractive to criminals seeking to avoid detection and may raise red flags when accessing the financial system.

The services offered by accountants and bookkeepers may also have become more attractive to criminals over the past few years as the financial sector has implemented comprehensive AML/CTF measures.

What are the ML/TF risks faced by the accountancy profession?

The Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (ML/TF) risks associated with the accountancy profession include:

  • Criminals may seek to conduct their financial activity through an accountant to disguise their criminal involvement
  • Criminals may seek out accountants as gatekeepers to the financial system to give the impression of respectability and legitimacy
  • Criminals may misuse accountants’ trust accounts for deposits or international wire transfers to avoid detection
  • Criminals may seek the assistance of accountants to establish companies or trusts which they use to obscure who really owns or controls the funds and assets.


Accountants must ensure their organisation conducts a comprehensive ML/TF risk assessment to identify, assess, mitigate and manage ML/TF risk exposures. This is a critical first step in complying with the AML/CTF Act and Rules.

What services may be covered by AML/CTF obligations?

These are the services offered by accountants and bookkeepers that may be included as designated services under the AML/CTF Act.

  • Acting as a formation agent of legal persons or legal arrangements
  • Acting as, or arranging for a person to act as, a nominee director or nominee shareholder or trustee in relation to legal persons or legal arrangements
  • Providing a registered office or a business address, a correspondence address, or an administrative address for a company, or a partnership, or for any other legal person or arrangement
  • Managing client funds (other than sums paid as fees for professional services), accounts, securities, or other assets
  • Engaging in a transaction on behalf of any person in relation to the buying, transferring, or selling of a business or legal person (for example, a company) and any other legal arrangement
  • Engaging in a transaction on behalf of a customer in relation to creating, operating, and managing a legal person (for example, a company) and any other legal arrangement

If you offer or provide one or more of the above services, your business will be subject to AML/CTF obligations.

What is the risk based approach for Australia's AML/CTF regime?

The AML/CTF regime is risk based, which means that your responses to the AML/CTF obligations placed upon you should be risk-based. 

A risk-based AML/CTF regime requires that you understand and address the Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing (ML/TF) risks associated with the services you offer.

You must then design, implement and maintain systems, procedures and controls that appropriately manage and mitigate your ML/TF risks.

How can Initialism help?

Initialism are the AML/CTF experts, so you don’t have to be.

With over 50 years of expert knowledge and real world experience, our AML/CTF compliance solutions will help you to navigate your legal and regulatory requirements so that your business complies with its AML/CTF obligations in the fastest and most cost-effective way.

Initialism has a range of AML/CTF Program solutions to support your business in becoming AML/CFT compliant and maintaining compliance.

AML/CTF compliance solutions for accountancy practices

Initialism is the only AML/CTF consultancy in Australia to have supported Accountancy businesses complying with AML/CTF obligations. From self-guided to fully dedicated support, our AML/CTF compliance solutions for the accountancy profession draw on unparalelled expertise, knowledge and real-world experience.

Why choose Initialism?


Our expertise covers all AML/CTF disciplines and brings unique perspectives, approaches and solutions to the AML/CTF challenges faced by the accountancy profession


Our AML/CTF compliance knowledge includes working with accountancy firms and we understand what compliance means for your business


We have experience in delivering workable AML/CTF compliance to the accountancy profession


Our knowledge and expertise has been hard earned and comes from working in the area of AML/CTF for many decades


We have experience providing tried and tested AML/CTF solutions, regardless of the size and complexity of your accountancy practice


Our AML/CTF compliance solutions are flexible and can be tailored to your capacity, experience and budget