April 16, 2021

More than 80% of accountancy decision-makers now rely on automation in AML, but trust remains low

More than four out of five (82%) decision-makers in accounting now use automation as part of their AML checks, despite half expressing some level of distrust in electronic checks.

The latest findings from leading AML software provider, SmartSearch, show a distinct lack of trust in electronic checks and verification, with 9% of senior business figures in accountancy saying they don’t trust current automated customer verification checks and 41% saying they only “somewhat” trust them.

While adoption of automated checks became common during the UK’s first lockdown, a surprising 23% of UK businesses across the board still have no automated processes in place when it comes to AML.

The findings are particularly prevalent as the nations braces for another lockdown, which will prevent many physical checks from taking place. With the figures in mind, SmartSearch is urging businesses to consider better automation processes to improve efficiencies and accuracy, to help navigate an ever-challenging business landscape.

Commenting on the findings, John Dobson, CEO at SmartSearch, said: “When lockdown hit first time around, businesses suffered when it came to their AML checks. These businesses rely heavily on those working in the accounting and finance industries to help steer them through challenging times, so it is somewhat encouraging to see trust levels in automation in finance are slightly higher than average – 32% said they fully trust automated processes.

“However, we can see at a UK-level that 23% of businesses still have no automation in place when it comes to AML checks. Lockdown or not, introducing automation in your business is going to create major efficiencies and free up time to focus on other business priorities.”

When asked which of the standard customer authentication checks they would trust to be automated, RCA (relatives and close associations) checks were found to be the least trusted, with just 18% saying they would be happy carrying these out electronically.

According to SmartSearch’s data, the most and least trusted customer authentication checks in accounting and finance are:

1. CDD – 55.6%

2. Credit History – 29.6%

3. SIP – 27.8%

4. Sanctions – 24.1%

5. PIPs – 22.2%

6. Identity – 20.4 %

7. RCA – 18.5%

8. None of the above – 16.7%

The accountancy industry appears best prepared for an age of automation in AML, with higher levels of trust than most. Among those working in this sector, almost a third (32%) said they fully trust the automated processes they currently have in place overall, reaching up to 56% for checks such as customer due diligence. However, 19% still admitted to having no automated checks in place in their business.

Advising businesses on what to consider when it comes to electronic verification, John added: “It’s understandable that there’s still some trepidation when it comes to e-verification and checks. You have to be able to trust that the system you’re using is totally accurate and reliable. However, if this year has taught us anything it’s that businesses simply can’t afford to ignore automation.

“There has been so much innovation in the AML market and we recently launched our market-leading TripleCheck service, so I would urge those responsible for AML checks to research the options available to them. Getting your automation right could be a major help, as we all try and navigate 2020’s challenging business landscape.”

SmartSearch launched its TripleCheck system earlier this year, providing businesses with the most robust AML solution available. The system is a pioneering new electronic KYC (Know Your Customer) and AML solution that combines innovative technology, including facial recognition and digital fraud checks, to create the most powerful AML platform on the market.

For more information about SmartSearch or its TripleCheck service, visit: https://www.smartsearch.com/