Mastering the Post-Customs Clearance Phase: What traders need to know about Digital Customs Archives

Have you ever wondered about the fate of your customs documents after they’ve been cleared? Do your routines for collecting, archiving, and validating these documents measure up? Can you confidently vouch for the information contained within these records?

All too often, we observe businesses heavily relying on their customs brokers and freight forwarders to ensure precise declarations. This dependency sometimes comes at the cost of not fully embracing their own responsibilities. If you’re fortunate, your customs broker understands your business processes and can provide comprehensive service and support. However, as complexities surge, it’s becoming increasingly apparent that businesses need to seize control of their customs and supply chain responsibilities.

The post-customs clearance phase is where particularly many businesses struggle, often lacking the necessary knowledge and attention required for effective management. These uncertainties can lead to inefficiencies, errors, and potential compliance issues.

Introducing Digital Customs Archives

Digital customs archives, which address the challenges of post-clearance customs management, come into play at the post-customs clerance stage. Developed to streamline processes, enhance accuracy, and provide comprehensive oversight, digital customs archives are cloud-based software platforms that offer universal accessibility and specialised support for customs processes and documentation.

Drawing from our experience with over 4000 clients across Europe, we’ve observed that the concept of digital customs archives often remains relatively unknown until we engage in discussions. More significantly, numerous companies lack the practices needed to conduct internal controls and self-audits of their customs documents after the clearance process.

In response, we’ve created a comprehensive buyer’s guide to shed light on the potential of digital customs archives and how they can revolutionise your customs management practices!

Decoding Digital Customs Archives

Breaking down the phrase “digital customs archives” provides a starting point for understanding what this software is all about:

  • Digital: Referring to cloud-based software accessible universally
  • Customs: Built to support customs supply chain procedures and related documentation
  • Archive: A repository for storing and organizing documents

However, the term “archive” doesn’t do justice to the potential of digital customs archives. They offer more than just document storage. Equally vital is what follows the gathering and archiving of customs declarations—where they are subjected to scrutiny, verification, error identification, and data analysis.

Contrary to what the term “archive” might suggest, digital customs archives are more than just storage facilities. They enable post-clearance processes such as document control, verification, error detection, and data analysis

Unlocking the Power of Digital Customs Archives

Automated Document Collection and Storage

Digital customs archives can revolutionize the process of collecting customs declarations and accompanying documents from various customs brokers and freight forwarders. Once acquired, these documents find a home in a searchable archive, ensuring compliance with the document retention regulations of the countries you operate in.

Spotting Missing Declarations

Within the platform, you can match government statistics—like HMRC’s MSS & CDS statistics report in the UK, Norway’s Customs Declaration Overview, and Sweden’s Import / Export Statistics—with your received declarations. This synergy enables you to identify and request any missing declarations from your customs brokers without having to leave the platform.

Harnessing the Power of Data Analysis

­­­­­Moreover, digital customs archives serve as potent tools for internal controls. You can generate reports, filter data, trace discrepancies, and cross-reference invoices with your accounting records.

A Practical Example: Enchancing Internal Control & Audit Readiness

Let’s consider a scenario where a company adopts a digital customs archive to bolster its customs management, here is what they can easily accomplish:

  • 360-degree view: The platform offers a holistic perspective of all declarations, irrespective of the customs broker or freight forwarder involved
  • Instant insights: Businesses gain immediate insights into VAT rates applicable at the country level for imported goods
  • Effortless searching: The platform simplifies the quest for incorrect declarations, allowing for focused searches based on the Country of Origin and preference codes. This process aids in pinpointing errors and initiating potential reimbursement
  • Compliance at its core: Built-in self-auditing features ensure compliance on both the corporate and regulatory fronts. Moreover, these features furnish evidentiary proof for audits
  • Advanced analysis: The platform empowers data analysis, facilitating revenue and corporate compliance assessments by centralising all declarations within a single, accessible archive

Discover the benefits one of our customers, HydraForce experience using Emma E-Doc in this customer story: HydraForce tackles customs compliance with Emma E-Doc

Incorporating a digital customs archive means complete declaration views, swift country-specific VAT insights, error searches, compliance auditing, and advanced data analysis – all in one platform

Empower Your Customs Operations Today

As the world of international trade continues to evolve, businesses must adapt to the ever-changing customs regulations and processes. Digital customs archives present a solution that streamlines post-clearance customs management, enhances accuracy, and provides vital insights into trade and customs operations. Whether you seek to automate document acquisition, strengthen internal controls, or ensure compliance, these platforms possess the potential to transform your approach to customs management.

To guide you on this transformative journey, we’ve curated a comprehensive buyer’s guide that demystifies digital customs archives and outlines critical considerations when assessing and comparing solutions.

Ready to take the next step?

Download our buyer’s guide today and embark on a path toward efficient, compliant, and streamlined customs management.