The introduction of the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009 on 1 October 2018 (AML/ CFT Act) required Baker Tilly Staples Rodway to ensure that processes were in place to remain compliant, reduce fraud risk and protect themselves and their clients. They needed to carry-out customer due diligence (CDD) on both new and existing clients which would include verifying identity, address and, in some cases, Source of Wealth and Source of Funds.
Baker Tilly Staples Rodway is a New Zealand independent accountancy firm. The organisation has a country-wide network of accountancy and business advisory firms providing practical, responsive, and business-focused services to a broad range of clients from start-ups to significant businesses across all industry types. Operating for over 70 years, with seven branches and 500 staff, remaining compliant across the entire business was vital under a new Government Act.
Nicola Hankinson is the National Technical Manager for Baker Tilly Staples Rodway. Nicola’s role is to provide financial reporting and audit support for the teams and ensure compliance with internal and external policies to meet legislative requirements – so she was ideally placed to manage the implementation of a solution that would meet the requirements of the AML Act and the demands of the business and its clients.
Nicola Hankinson, says “As well as compliance with the Act, which was the key driver for the changes, we needed to achieve consistency across all seven offices, increase efficiency in onboarding and managing new customers and also reduce the amount of paperwork within the business”.
…..it was clear that 2Shakes was the best way for Baker Tilly Staples Rodway to go.
Nicola advised that “We were approached by quite a few vendors with solutions for AML ahead of the new Act coming into effect and we also considered developing our own document management system however, within seven offices using a variety of software, that wasn’t an ideal solution for us. Many of the vendor solutions were based on us supplying client names and the vendor doing due diligence then reporting back, but we wanted to retain ownership of the client, keeping the data securely in-house. The legislation is premised around knowing our clients and retaining ownership would allow us to do that better and be able to get to know them on a deeper level”.
….we wanted to retain ownership of the client, keeping the data secure
Nicola had previously worked with one of 2Shakes’ employees and over a catch-up she mentioned that they were looking for an AML solution. After a brief overview of the solution, Mike Kelly, CEO of 2Shakes, gave a demonstration to Nicola who was impressed that it could deliver everything they needed, and with minimal disruption to the business. Nicola reviewed the proposed solutions from a number of different providers, but it was clear that 2Shakes was the best way for Baker Tilly Staples Rodway to go.
The 2Shakes solution was perfect and met the compliance requirements for our business in a really practical way. The team was very down-to-earth and knowledgeable, nothing was a problem for them and their response times to our questions was very speedy. Above all, their industry and business knowledge was amazing, they really understood our business, our requirements and what we needed to achieve. Mike’s Police IT background added a layer of credibility too as he understood the security issues involved with keeping client data in a secure and trusted environment.
Says Nicola “Mike and the team are really approachable and go well beyond what we expected from a software provider – they know so much and understand the business, so nothing got overlooked. They provided the platform, software, training and support – they know the terminology and requirements and understand what’s happening in the accounting industry so we were always confident that our solution would ensure that we met our compliance requirements as well as being user-friendly for our clients”.
2Shakes helped to create a plan for the implementation which demonstrated their understanding of the business goals. Each firm appointed an AML officer in their office as well as local office administrators. Mike ran webinars to demonstrate 2Shakes and its functionality so the team were able to ask questions on the spot to help understand how the 2Shakes AML solution worked. These webinars included onboarding, CDD, administration, documentation and reporting etc. It reduced the apprehension about changes required to comply with AML/ CFT Act.
Utilising the 2Shakes platform means we have a great AML solution in place across the country, enabling us to be compliant with the new legislation and adopt best practice in this area as it evolves. We have consistency across our offices and increased efficiency when we’re onboarding new customers. We’ve reduced the amount of paperwork we process as the 2Shake solution is paperless, and we’ve been able to produce all the AML annual reports and statistics with great expertise from 2Shakes who guided us on what we needed to do and how to do it.
Without the new in place, the business could have been at risk of non-compliance, data loss of customer information, higher levels of work in-house and potential reputational damage. The 2Shakes solution ensured that there was less for the business to worry about. All relevant steps and processes were covered in detail. Testing was done throughout to ensure that the solution met the needs of the business at each stage and that everyone was comfortable using it.
Nicola advised that the 2Shakes team have been really responsive to suggestions to improve the AML platform and have continued to add in new functionality over time, such as the biometric functionality which provides another layer of security to the CDD process.
We’ve really enjoyed working with 2Shakes, they’ve been fantastic. The fact that they are based in NZ means they have local business knowledge and support. They care about their clients; nothing is a problem for them.