Five Checkpoints of Great Customs Consultancy

What should you look for in a Customs Consultant?
Checkpoints for Consultancy

Entrusting a customs consultant with your supply chain can be daunting. The customs landscape is ever-changing, and you are at risk of audits, delays, and lost business if you do not have your procedures in check. Therefore, regular customs consultancy is key to maintaining your business. However, what do you look for when choosing a company for such an important task?

In this article, we will cover the 5 key areas that a great customs consultancy service will provide.

1: Deep customs expertise

A good customs consultant will be able to give you an overview, but a great customs consultant will have in-depth knowledge of customs clearance and compliance – as well as any particulars that are relevant to your industry and trade lane.

In addition to having an extensive knowledge of customs, a great consultant will be able to give you clear and simple advice during your consultation. You should be able to ask your consultant questions and come away with answers and understanding, not more questions.

2: Independent advice

Great customs consultancy is solely focused on you, your business, and customs compliance. If a customs consultant is working alongside another organisation – that could have an ulterior motive or a bias view – then there is a risk that this will affect your service.

For the best results, choose an independent customs consultancy service. Not only can you be assured of their neutrality, but they will likely have greater experience from working with the wider industry instead of only with companies that fit a particular profile.

3: Deep analysis

Customs consultancy doesn’t begin and end with shipment declarations. Although the entry of data is important, the process of how your select that data – and why – is also a key area. By analysing these procedures, a great customs consultant will help you to stay compliant long term.

In addition to declarations and data, customs consultants should also investigate your licensing and other authorisations. If there are risks from incorrect applications, or opportunities that a new permit will grant, then your consultant should be able to help you with these.

4: Flexibility and scalability

As the demands on your business change, you need a customs consultancy service that adapts with you. If you have a trade lane you are interested in, or want to expand your business with new commodities and markets, you need a consultancy partner that can provide consistent expertise.

Getting a consultancy partner that can offer expertise across every trade lane and commodity is impossible, so it’s important that you have options to work with varying specialists. A great consultancy service includes a team with different strengths, so you always get what you need.

5: Up-to-date knowledge

In an ever-changing landscape, expertise has an expiration date. A customs consultant’s advice could be out of date after just a few months, so they may be putting your supply chain at risk if they are using information that hasn’t been refreshed. Ask them when they last updated their knowledge.

A good customs consultant is continually refreshing their information and looking to the horizon to ensure that you adopt best practices in anticipation of changes. They should be looking to optimise your supply chain for both today and tomorrow, so a quick health check is all you need in future.

BONUS: A digital approach

Border models are changing, and data is more important than ever. Your consultancy partner should look at how your data is collected, protected, and sent on so that you can develop your processes. Digitalisation is the future of customs clearance, and a good consultant is working towards it.

Do you need customs consultancy?

Customs Support provide customs consulting services across the EU and Europe, with over 25 consultants operating in 7 countries. They worked on 500 projects with over 200 businesses in 2021, giving them independent advice to protect their supply chains and keep their goods moving.

If you’d like to give your business a compliance health check or investigate how digitalisation can benefit your business, contact us for more information.