A uniform work process around risk policy, client acceptance and AML

Even if your customers already know you by birth. How well do you know their business? And how do you assess risks with integrity? We asked George Schagen AA of SAM Accountants this and more.
Wwft AML oplossingen Compliance Grub Klant aan het woord

Even if your customers already know you by birth. How well do you know their business? And how do you assess risks with integrity? We asked George Schagen AA of SAM Accountants this and more.

It’s 9:00 a.m. and we are talking to George Schagen AA, founder of SAM Accountants, who has been awake longer than we have. His workday started as early as 6:30 a.m. because George wanted to help a client before his flight left. It proves once again that the work of an accountant is more flexible and personal than people sometimes think.

George has been in the business for quite some time and the commitment has not diminished: “I have clients that I have been advising for years. What’s interesting is that I now also help many of their children with their business and bookkeeping.”

SAM accountants

George learned the trade at two mid-sized accounting firms after graduating from high school, before starting on his own in 1982. Now more than 40 years later, SAM accountants is approaching a client freeze with 600 clients. A trend not unknown in accountancy. The number of entrepreneurs is growing faster than the number of (independent) accountants.


So SAM Accountants does not currently have many new client acceptance processes. Only a handful of clients have entered in the past year. Mainly family and acquaintances of existing clients. Because also in George’s firm, there is more demand for accounting services, than accountants available. That puts SAM accountants in the position where they are more likely to part with clients who are in high risk industries. And where, through Grub Risk Safety Net or otherwise, many problems come to light. George: “We don’t have retail or hospitality business in our client base.”

"It's important to have uniformity in the work process."

Customer portfolio and risk policy

SAM Accountants’ customer portfolio consists mainly of wholesale businesses, especially automotive parts, but also ICT, real estate and healthcare. Danny Mourits, customer success manager at Grub notes, “You guys are low in terms of high-risk industries, presumably largely because of the lack of retail and hospitality businesses in your portfolio.” Danny emphasizes that having a high-risk customer is not a bad thing, as long as you identify the risks AND have agreed on how to deal with them. Because, a measure you take, you have to go through it.

>> Read the blog post: Responding to risks with control measures

George recognizes this process: “We did have high-risk clients in the past. Namely notaries. They are a high risk, because they use a Third Party Account. In that, you have to check carefully that the money that is received is also allocated to the person named in the deed.”

Accountancy software

SAM Accountants uses the work program of industry organization SRA. George: “That’s a very extensive questionnaire, though.” Unit4’s accounting software Kantoorgemak. Document Manager. And, of course, compliance software Grub. George: “There are a lot of different data to store. It’s important that we have uniformity in that. What data do we copy from the copy passport? And then do we choose the passport or a digital record? Do we retrieve data from GraydonCreditsafe or do we ask for a CoC extract?”

"More and more is being placed on the advisor's plate."

Role assignment compliance

The workflow and risk policy for this has been established by SAM accountants. In this, George fulfills the role of Compliance Manager together with his colleague Harry de Hond AA. They leave the risk assessment, consideration and recording to each individual accountant. But new clients only receive a quotation once it has been determined that they fall within the acceptance policy. George: “In doing so, we use Grub to look at the UBO structure and who the shareholders are.”

Wwft check

George: “From a government perspective, the AML is going to become more extensive and place even more burden on service providers. This means that more and more will be on the adviser’s plate. For example, we have to work on better recording and demonstrating what we have all done to prevent money laundering and fraud. Many of these questions can be answered with a simple yes or no. Yet that still takes a lot of time.”

SAM Accountants started Grub over 2 years ago partly for this reason. George: “In the beginning, files remained open because there was still unfamiliarity with Grub. But this year when financial statements are compiled, Grub is completed by the accountant.” Through Grub Dashboard, users with management roles can see how much work is pending and how much has been completed. George: “Our goal is to have 80% of the files completed by the end of the year.”

“We do the AML check once every three years. Even though I have known some clients since birth, we still do the AML check and answer all the questions seriously. Because if you want to check seriously, you have to fill it out seriously. And not just when there are changes.”

"Most of your clients you know, but new clients not so well. The Risk Safety Net then does a good job."

Grub Risk Safety Net

Of all the Grub features, the UBO structure feature is a favorite among SAM Accountants. “No more having to record difficult organizational charts in the file,” says SAM Accountants.

Since this year, they have also been using Grub Risk Vangnet. A premium feature that scours the Web for negative media based on AI keywords. Findings can be flagged as “High impact,” “Low impact” or “No impact. And can be added to the file.

George: “You know most of your clients, but new clients not so well. The Risk Safety Net then does a good job.” One of these new clients included a former politician. It was no longer a PEP. But still showed a thousand results in a Web search. George: “I read the headlines and set the review to ‘No Impact.'”

“Sometimes someone comes up with the same name. And at the KYC of a lobbying firm, I didn’t even turn on Grub Risk Safety Net, I already had enough information. But with a new client you know nothing about, it’s a good short check. Who is this? That gives you a better feeling, even prior to client acceptance.”

Curious about the AML solutions Grub can provide for your office? Request a free trial or demo. Already a Grub user? Then read more about our premium feature Grub Risk Safety Net here.