Catherine Pyman MICB shares what to expect when an ICB AML Inspector visits your practice

Catherine Pyman MICB is the owner of CPY Business Solutions Ltd, based in Knaresborough, North Yorkshire. Her practice was visited by an ICB AML Inspector last summer and we spoke to her to understand what it was like, how she prepared for it and what she learned.

  • Did you have any idea of what an Anti-Money Laundering (AML) visit was like?

It certainly helped that our North Yorkshire Branch has had a speaker talking about AML on numerous occasions. There has also been an increase in AML content at events such as the Inspire Tour and Bookkeepers Summit.

  • How did you prepare for your visit?

I referred to the ICB website in the MLR section. This section contains everything you need to know and as it is on the website, you know it is up to date. I used the MLR to-do list as a checklist to make sure I was completing everything I was required to complete.

  • How did you find the visit itself? Were you nervous?

I was apprehensive beforehand but, on the day,  I found it was actually okay. Steve Hardwick (ICB’s Director of AML Compliance) who carried out my inspection was really friendly and made me feel at ease. I was surprised at how much focus was on the policy and procedures part. I thought it would be all about due diligence of clients. By the end of the visit, I was quite relaxed. When I was asked about my clients, it made me realise just how well I know them and understand their businesses.

  • What did you learn?

I learnt how important it is to regularly check, not just your client information, but also your practice information like policies and procedures, training records etc. The regularity of these checks can depend on your relationship with your clients. I have good relationships and regular contact with all of my clients, so even if I don’t see all three directors of one client, for example, I can always contact one of the directors to see how the others are doing. I also learned how rewarding it is to know you are running your practice correctly.


  • What do you think other members should look out for/how to spot signs of money laundering?

We should all be looking out for activity that is out of the ordinary for the business or a director/shareholder of the company. For example, if you have a client working in the confectionary industry and you see a huge purchase or credit in the books relating to something outside of the client’s business, it's good to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask clients to clarify transactions if you feel you need to know more information. Prior to bookkeeping, I worked in banking for twenty years, so it is second nature to ID my clients.


  • Do you think that ICB offers enough information about AML?

Definitely, with regards to making sure you have everything in place. I think members should be encouraged to use the Money Laundering Internal Report more and familiarise themselves with the NCA website and how to complete a SAR. I also think AML webinars would also be useful for members in practice who are unable to attend branch meetings and other ICB events.

Catherine Pyman MICB is the North Yorkshire Branch Chair, a member of the ICB Advisory Council, Luca Award winner of Branch Chair of the Year 2018 and shortlisted finalist for Branch of the Year at the 2018 Luca Awards. You can find her business here.

Further guidance for practices:

There is an ICB AML Inspector presenting an AML Update at each Inspire Tour. It's not too late to book tickets for Southampton, Crawley, London, Birmingham and Dublin. You can book your tickets here.

Online MLR resources hub: www.bookkeepers.org.uk/Resources/MLR

AML Online compliance tool: www.bookkeepers.org.uk/AML

AML telephone support: 0203 405 4000 (Mon-Fri 9am-5pm)

AML email support: aml@bookkeepers.org.uk