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“What I think the film has done is improve people's perception of how important anti-money laundering (AML) requirements are,” says Rachel Pugh, Client Director and Money Laundering Reporting Officer at Seymour Taylor. “It's helped bring it up their priorities list.”

Seymour Taylor is one of the longest established accountancy practices in High Wycombe and the Thames Valley. The firm has seven client directors and a team of over 50 in total, supporting clients of many different sizes and sectors.

Rachel first watched the film with a colleague who helps support the firm’s AML compliance. “We were both really impressed with it,” she says. “And we thought it would be good to share with the team because it would be much more engaging for them.”

All the firm’s staff, including the administrative team, watched it in small groups. Then, at the end of each screening, Rachel asked questions about what people thought, what they felt was important, and what they drew from it.

Different and engaging

Staff feedback from some AML training courses in the past has been that they are uninspiring and not directly relevant to their work. “And I'm inclined to agree,” says Rachel.

“What do people really learn by remembering what date certain things came in? What relevance does that have to their day-to-day work and in terms of bringing an AML issue to me that's relevant and appropriate?”

But staff found All Too Familiar different and engaging. “They said it made it more real,” says Rachel. “It put AML in perspective. And it related to their world.”

“They could see how it was relevant,” she adds. “It was an accountancy office, and they were running a payroll and doing the things that we do. Too often, when you read about AML, it’s not related to an accountancy firm. So it was great that it was.”

“I think they also liked it because it was like a movie, and with actors they might have recognised from TV as well.”

Rachel and her colleagues found the short follow-up video that explains what happens next to the characters in All Too Familiar particularly useful.

Staff were interested in who got drawn into the events, and the fact that just because a director says not to look further into something, that doesn't mean you shouldn't.

“This was something that really stood out for them: who was held responsible,” says Rachel. “That was very impactful – the fact that they could be held responsible. I think that really hit home.”

“So having that wrap up at the end – what happened next – was really helpful.”

More of the same

Rachel believes the film has helped improve everyone's understanding as to why they have to do AML checks and follow other requirements.

It has especially helped the administrative team to better understand why they have to do certain things. “Because I think they sometimes used to just see it as a bit of a burden,” she explains.

One of the firm’s trainees found the film particularly useful, partly because for the first time it helped put AML requirements in context. Based on this, Rachel thinks showing the drama to trainees and new starters in future could help with broader induction training.

“If ICAEW can do more training like this, that would be great,” she says. “It's certainly engaged our team. I'd like to think we won't have to use so much of the dryer stuff anymore if there can be more material like this.”

“The whole team really appreciated it, and I think it certainly helped our AML training this year.”

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