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May 12, 2016

That Moment When… You Discover Your Accountant has a Criminal Record for Fraud

employee criminal background check

There are few things in business that are likely to make your blood run as cold as quickly as discovering that the person you trust with your books and finances has a less than crystal clear record. Whether it’s a pending charge or a conviction, this is a very serious situation, and one that is best avoided. Here is what you can do to prevent this from happening with employee criminal background checks and other measures, or to deal with it properly if and when it happens to you.

Financial Fraud Charges

Financial fraud charges can vary greatly, from falsifying information to actual embezzling, and there can be a wide range of consequences for those offences. Regardless of the severity of the charges, however, there are no good reasons to have someone with a record of financial fraud working with money or in a finance related job. Perhaps more important and more worrying, if your employee lied about their history it speaks volumes about their character in general.

Certification and Ethics

One of the easiest ways to weed out candidates with potentially shady histories is to look for candidates who are current members of industry bodies. Chartered accountants, for instance, have a very strict code of ethics to uphold, and if they are charged and convicted of any crimes, there’s a good chance they will lose their certification.

There are other industry bodies and organizations, and while membership in many of these bodies is voluntary and not necessarily a requirement to be qualified for a particular position, the choice to be a member does indicate a certain level of character.

Financial Career Background Checks

One of the easiest ways to kick off a background check for an employee working in finance is to find out whether they are members of a particular industry body or association, and then check their license or membership standing. Because these organizations promote transparency, in most cases, their records are easy for the public to access.

Of course, not all jobs require that candidates be a chartered accountant or similar, and in that case, you need to dig a little deeper.

The good news is that it’s expected in the financial field that companies will conduct in depth screening, and that that screening will include credit checks and employee criminal background checks. It’s always a good idea to tell candidates that these will be done, to weed out unsuitable candidates early on, and because of sensitive confidentiality regulations, it’s best to leave this to a third party, who will be objective and careful.

Top Up Checks

Of course, even if you screen every employee carefully, there’s always a chance that they may be charged or convicted of offences at a later date. In order to ensure that you are protected from the risks and liabilities associated with those scenarios, it’s a good idea to run regular “top up” employee criminal background checks on all finance staff members.

Not only will this sort of screening provide you with peace of mind, they can also be crucial to your legal position, and to your public image. Nothing can lose your company trust quicker than the public finding out some of your employees are less than trustworthy!

The good news is that finance is one industry where these sorts of checks are expected, and there are relatively few candidates who test their luck. Even one is too much, however, and it’s always better to be safe than sorry.



Prior to requesting your own check please confirm, prior to ordering, if our reports will be acceptable to the agency you are providing the report to.

Many countries will not provide official government responses. It is your responsibility to confirm if our reports are acceptable and AIS makes no warranties of their acceptance.

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