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News & Press: Blog

Why Businesses Need Better Customs Skills

20 April 2018  
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customs skills

With so many changes to come in the international customs environment, there has never been a better time for companies to invest in their internal customs competency. Regardless of Brexit, the customs environment is constantly changing with new programmes and regulations coming in at the international and national levels. With the technologies of businesses constantly changing, the customs environment will also be in a constant race to keep up, so expect a flurry of new initiatives and regulations to be always on its way.

In recent years, these significant changes include the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement and the introduction of the SAFE Framework for global trade. Authorised Economic Operator Status is also an initiative that is starting to make waves in the UK and has been long adopted on the continent, while in the UK HMRC is also set to introduce a new Customs Declaration System in January 2019. These are all changes that customs professionals will need to be continually keeping abreast of in order to ensure that their businesses are exporting compliantly and also efficiently.

Read more about the international customs landscape here

Preparing for Brexit

And then, of course, there is the greater demand on companies’ customs competency that Brexit – in whatever form it takes – is likely to generate. Put simply, it is unlikely that businesses will be able to send goods overseas onto the European continent with the same ease it is able to at the moment as part of the EU customs union. Companies that aren’t prepared for the regulatory and customs compliance requirements that could come in once the UK leaves the EU face the threat of fines, delays, and significant amounts of paperwork that they won’t have the right knowledge for completing.

As Arne Mielken, a customs expert through the Diploma in World Customs Compliance and Regulations provided by the Institute, told us: “Businesses certainly cannot wait for negotiators to come to a conclusion in 2019. Businesses have strategies and finance budgets for 2019 and beyond that they need to agree already. Customs professionals must also be provided with continuous training! Customs professionals must keep up-to-date with regulatory changes and be able to analyze the impact that these have on a business. Staying abreast with what’s going on will help to contribute to a more stable business environment.

Customs professionals a precious commodity

It is through the Diploma in World Customs Compliance and Regulations that Arne, also our Young President and now working at Amber Road, gained the knowledge and skills he’s needed for what is already a fascinating and varied career as a customs professional. Customs professionals in the UK are, at the time of writing, a precious commodity. We simply do not have the right skills – are right number of people with the required skills - in the UK needed to deal with the challenges that Brexit will no doubt present – especially in regards to the impact of new customs controls and checks.

There are two consequences of this. First, businesses need to be able to either train or recruit employees with the customs skills and understanding needed to ensure their processes and customs regimes are compliant and up-to-date. Secondly, for individuals looking to enhance their career prospects in an international business setting, customs competency is set to become a significantly valuable skill.

Why resorting to external customs support isn’t sustainable

At present, when companies find themselves with fines or delays, the first instinct is often to hire in a consultant who can implement quick fixes and solutions to the company’s customs and compliance regime. The problem with this approach is again threefold. Firstly, it’s expensive. Second, the customs environment is constantly changing so businesses need to be constantly adapting, not just fixing things when they go wrong. Thirdly, external support will never have the same level of business knowledge that an internal employee will have.

Our Diploma in World Customs Compliance and Regulations is an important solution that a) trains your internal customs competency so that is as good as it can be and able to adapt constantly; b) saves you money in the long term by removing the costs associated with bringing in external customs support, as well as saving money through the prevention of fines and delays at the border.

Further, the Diploma is geared towards the needs of the businesses of the individuals studying it. If you put a student through our Diploma, each module is related to the real life concerns of your business – essentially allowing the student to be guided, by our tutors and trade experts, through the customs requirements and concern that your business faces.

Further, the course is designed to fit around a full-time career, using online study through webinars, video sessions, and podcasts, meaning you don’t lose out in terms of your employee’s time with your business.

What customs professionals say about the Diploma in World Customs Compliance and Regulations

Michael Alexander, Grant Thornton

“The IOE Level 5 Diploma in World Customs Compliance & Regulations course content could not have been a better fit. Each module was directly linked to my work. The course has helped me to develop internal policy and processes and oversee the implementation of compliance regimes for the department and work with delegated points of contact across the business to provide guidance and embed best practice. I look forward to a challenging and fulfilling career enabled by the mentoring and support by the IOE."

Charlotte Prescott, Deloitte

"I have worked in the public sector for 19 years and have moved around the country enjoying various roles.”

 “Since undertaking a review of Tax Compliance, I have been fortunate to take on the role of the Departmental Customs Compliance and Policy subject matter expert. I wanted to gain a recognised qualification to assist me in implementing new Customs Policy and Processes and begin driving efficiencies.”

“The IOE Level 5 Diploma in World Customs Compliance & Regulations course content could not have been a better fit. Each module was directly linked to my work. The course has helped me to develop internal policy and processes and oversee the implementation of compliance regimes for the department and work with delegated points of contact across the business to provide guidance and embed best practice. I look forward to a challenging and fulfilling career enabled by the mentoring and support by the IOE."

Rachel Stockton, Sports Direct

"When I became involved with the Import of the goods, I decided to study and understand the process as much as I could. This led me to the Institute of Export (IOE) who I have been studying with for the past 4 years. Through the IOE I have been able to learn and understand both the Importation and Exportation of goods and this has helped my confidence considerably. I would like to thank the qualifications department for their invaluable help and patience, without them, I am certain I would have found the course a lot more daunting and difficult, they are a credit to the IOE.”

Interested in taking the Diploma? Find out all the details here.