BOOM! (why does my brain go boom?!)

  • Mercia Group
  • 20 December 2018 00:00

Sorry, but I can’t hear the term BOOM without thinking of the old song, although it’s brains that are going boom rather than hearts. The cause – the difference in requirements for BOOM (Beneficial owners, officers and managers) criminal record checks from different accounting bodies.

I recently presented on one of our Free Forum evening events and was talking about the ICAEW requirements for Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks for BOOMs. A question came from the floor about whether a recent check obtained for other purposes (say as trustee of a charity) would be acceptable and I said yes. Cue another member of the audience almost hopping in his seat in anger and frustration as he advised that this was not the case and that he was being forced into getting a basic check, despite the fact of having an enhanced check already. 

At the buffet supper after (it’s worth coming to these events!), I heard more about this and the key difference was that the first audience member was from ICAEW (so my guidance was correct, phew!) but the second was a member of AAT and it transpires their rules are very different. Julia Penny did refer to this in her article earlier this year but there are significant differences between the main bodies:


Requires DBS checks but will accept any valid check if it’s recent:

“If you have provided evidence of criminal record checks to other organisations, you can show this during a QAD visit, but it needs to be dated within three months of the date of our request. We only require ‘basic’ DBS checks - so it will be up to you to decide if you wish to submit a ‘standard’ or other check certificate.”

There is no requirement to send the DBS check results to the ICAEW unless requested.


Is not mandating DBS checks:

“It is the firm’s responsibility to ensure that only appropriate individuals act as BOOMs, and for this reason firms will be required to confirm as part of the application process that each of their BOOMs is ‘fit and proper’ and has not been convicted of a relevant offence. An approval given by a supervisory authority will not be valid if the person approved has been convicted of a relevant offence.

Although at this point there is no legal requirement to conduct a criminality check for all BOOMs, some firms may wish to undertake these, and ACCA may request one for certain relevant firms on a risk-based approach as part of the approval process or an AML supervisory review.”


Are mandating basic DBS checks for members and will get copies.

“AAT licensed members who were approved prior to May 4 2018 are asked to apply for their check using a specialist third party – Due Diligence Checking Ltd (DDC). Members will not need to send anything to AAT, as DDC will manage all applications and relay the relevant information to AAT.

AAT licensed members who were approved from 5 May 2018, and current applicants, are asked to apply directly with their appropriate body and send the original document directly to AAT.”

The issue for my poor chap at the Free Forum was that, as his existing check was more than basic, AAT had no right to see it (in their view) so were advising him that he must have a basic check done that could be shared with AAT. He continues to discuss this with AAT but it is worth being on top of what the rules are for your money-laundering regulator.

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