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ICAEW backs new Accountancy Sector Fraud Charter

Author: ICAEW Insights

Published: 21 Oct 2021

To counter rising levels of fraud, ICAEW has signed up to a new Fraud Charter for the accountancy sector.

Developed in conjunction with the Home Office, the charter has four main actions to be delivered in collaboration between the accountancy profession, government and law enforcement agencies. 

Charters have also been published for the banking and telecommunications sectors. Progress on all sector charters will be overseen by the Joint Fraud Taskforce Board, made up of leaders from across Government, the private sector, regulators, law enforcement and victim representatives. The accountancy sector is represented on the Taskforce by Iain Wright, Managing Director, Reputation and Influence for ICAEW.

To provide the accountancy sector with a deeper understanding of the fraud threat that exists in the UK, the first action relates to improved information and intelligence flows from law enforcement and government agencies with the National Assessment Centre tasked with producing an intelligence brief to identify areas of vulnerability within the accountancy sector.

The second action focuses on fraud education and will be led by ICAEW. This will involve the development of a fraud awareness toolkit including a fraud aide memoire to be used by accountants to help identify red flags of possible fraudulent activity in their client base as well as educational materials on the threats of becoming a victim of fraud.

The third action is an extra commitment from the government as part of the existing plans to reform Companies House vulnerabilities including improving the accuracy of information held on the register and preventing the misuse of UK corporate vehicles by criminals. The accountancy sector will work with BEIS and Companies House to tackle the fraudulent misuse of the details of accountancy firms whereby fraudsters try to gain legitimacy by falsely using an accountancy firm’s address as their registered office address or by falsely claiming to have had their accounts prepared or audited by an accountancy firm.

The final action will aim to increase fraud awareness among businesses and the public by developing an overarching message for a fraud awareness campaign, which will be led by the National Economic Crime Centre and supported by the accountancy profession.

Sophie Wales, ICAEW’s Director of Trust and Ethics said: “As the techniques used by fraudsters continue to evolve, it is important for ICAEW to work with the government to improve understanding of the fraud threat across the sector and help strengthen trust in the profession. We are proud to be a signatory to this charter and look forward to working with our partners to fulfil these important actions”.

The Accountancy Sector Fraud Charter can be found here.

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