How to address historical issues before they become your problem!

We have seen an uplift in enquiries from in-house customs specialists who have recently moved to a new organisation and are looking for support in their new challenge.

A common theme we come across is that firms are hiring customs managers as Brexit significantly added to their import/export activities in terms of increased transactions and compliance.  Prior to the arrival of the new hires, there was often no clear process in place for this increased administrative burden. As such, the new entrant often needs support to:

  • Access the necessary information quickly;
  • Understand what is going on with the various touchpoints in the business, including logistics, procurement, and finance;
  • Get to grips with relationships with various customs brokers;

  • They need to bring order to this chaos by creating information flows, processes, checks and controls and a way of reporting to the broader business.

Such a challenge can feel overwhelming for the most experienced professional.

The good news is that the new entrant usually has a short honeymoon period to take control of this situation and ensure any skeletons come out of the closet as quickly as possible. Even the most demanding organisation cannot hold them responsible for historical issues as long as they get them on the table as soon as possible.

The typical honeymoon lasts approximately 90 days before historical issues become YOUR problem. The hard part is finding and quantifying these issues quickly enough for them not to be your issue!

What are the benefits of using Barbourne Brook in those early days?

  1. This demonstrates to your employer that you are taking your role seriously by engaging a team to quickly assess the lay of the land while you focus on getting up to speed on the day-to-day role.
  2. We will look for overpaid duty going back 3 years and are usually successful in finding a substantial sum of money that fully finances any project’s cost many times over. This makes you look excellent in front of the senior team and puts your name up in lights with the board.
  3. We know the common pain points for specific industries and can quickly drill down to the high-risk areas. This will give you clarity on where the fires are and what to prioritise first.
  4. Using Barbourne Brook will ultimately fast forward your progress exponentially, and allow all the historical problems to be brought to light before you inherit the responsibility.

Case Study 

We recently worked with a manufacturing business in the North East to employ a Customs Landscape project. The new entrant was a customs specialist from a supply chain background. They had come in to cover someone on long-term sick leave who had not shared much of the data with the team.

Our contact was in the dark about what to do first, and their time was already stretched thin putting out fires. We performed a deep dive into their customs sphere and highlighted some serious issues around their use of free trade agreements and rules of origin. We also found £246,000 of overpaid duty where their broker had not claimed preference correctly. The recovered funds financed our ongoing support service, and we are now working with the business to implement customs planning in line with the proposed roadmap.

A great strategy needs strong foundations. Our team of experts can help build these foundations so we are needed less and less over time.

Barbourne Brook has developed a client journey
to assist in this exact situation

Our job as a consultant is to complement and support you in your role; these early days in a business are vital and we have a number of solutions including Customs Landscape, CAT360 and Customs Support.

The Barbourne Brook Journey diagram image

Customs Landscape

This a deep dive into your customs sphere covering everything, including:

  • The core customs elements of classification, origin & valuation
  • Systems, processes and procedures for instructing agents, carrying out checks, fixing ongoing issues, and reporting Key Performance Indicators (KPI)
  • Identifying opportunities to reduce customs duty costs through implementing reliefs, changes to current practices etc.
  • Specific historic errors leading to overpaid customs duties (reclaims) and underpayments (potential duty demands)
  • We use our tried and tested methodology to find the risks and opportunities quickly. We will then produce a roadmap focusing on high-risk and reward areas and break the remaining projects into bite-sized chunks for you to work through- with our support if necessary.

CAT360, our customs analytics software

Our digital solution will drive savings of time and money. This is a fantastic tool for getting the information you need quickly.  Our unique stand-alone software enhances your customs data by pulling in other data sets we use in consultancy, automatically applies algorithms that mirror the checks we use in customs reviews to find over-payments, under-payments, anomalies etc. and outputs findings in a business-friendly way.

The software supports the business in actioning these insights by generating formatted reports to support the reclaim of voluntary disclosure process, speeding up issue resolution.  Critically, when the errors resolution process is accepted by HMRC it updates your original data, maintains audit trails, and prepares your business to face any customs regulatory audits.  Our Customs Analytics software allows real time updates so your data is always uptodate.  Particularly useful if you should find yourself called for HMRC audit.

The output is a blueprint for your first year in the role, guaranteeing the business sees customs management as clearly adding genuine and quantifiable value. The company will also understand the resources needed to realise this value sustainably.

Customs Support Service

Our managed service offering can be tailored to suit your needs.  Our flexible monthly support can include ad-hoc queries, technical updates, monthly data and analytics reporting and a wealth of resources at your fingertips. By engaging with Customs Support you can future-proof against changes in customs regulations, commercial practice, and the wider environment. 

Data Analytics Decisions

Customs Strategy Meeting

A great strategy needs strong foundations

Our team of experts can help build these foundations so we are needed less and less over time.

Tap into our wealth of consulting experience today
About Barbourne Brook

Barbourne Brook are a proactive team of customs duty planning experts with a wealth of knowledge and insight in the customs sphere, offering scalable solutions backed by industry-leading technology.

Get in Touch

The Hop Merchant
21 Sansome Street

+44 (0)1905 914031


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