The biggest problems you may have when applying for AEO

For those who may not already be aware of this, AEO (Authorised Economic Operator) status is one of the internationally recognised quality marks that indicate that your role in an international supply chain system is secure. And contrary to what some business owners think, AEO accreditation isn’t mandatory. However, it allows a business quicker access to particular simplified customs procedures and in many cases, AEO certification gives the exclusive right to ‘fast-track’ your shipments and in the process, bypass a couple of ‘arduous’ safety, customs and security procedures.


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That said, the process of applying for AEO status – especially for customs simplification purposes (AEOC) – is not as straightforward as it seems. There are a variety of issues that put business owners off – even if, in the long run, the benefits are worth it. Here we list some of the most common AEO issues, and talk about how to get around them.



1. Strict Security Requirements


Truth be told, complying with safety and security guidelines as directed by HMRC is not exactly a walk in the park if you’re not sure of what you’re doing. Bearing in mind that HMRC insists on conducting a thorough assessment to ascertain whether or not your company can meet AEO’s strict security requirements, it’s a good idea to look for outside assistance. In the audit visit, you should be in a position to avail the following to the visiting officer:



  • All the relevant details of steps taken to protect cargo in transit
  • Relevant documents that prove vetting of permanent staff and visitors to the premises
  • Any outsourcing contracts for third party hauliers etc


However, it is well worth ensuring your business is secure as far as your supply chain goes, but if you’re really not handling cargo that much – e.g. freight forwarders that don’t perform warehousing duties, there is the option to go for a more customs specific AEO certification that doesn’t have such strict requirements for physical security of cargo.


2. Laborious Record Keeping


To be awarded customs specific AEO status, you have to be in a position to make available all relevant records covering your customs declarations. Now this is where it gets a little bit tricky. It is no secret that some have a very poor/inefficient book-keeping culture and where declarations are made on behalf of customers, specifically on their deferment accounts, accessing and salvaging the information required becomes quite a laborious task. However, by going through ASM it’s possible to access reports you may not already know are readily available. There is usually a fee for this, but in terms of time saving, it can really help. Talking to your software provider may also bring up options to mine this information without the need for heavy grunt work.



3. The Time Needed To Go Through an Application


Unlike other application processes, securing Authorised Economic Operator status is quite a demanding task. The process, can eat unnecessarily into your valuable schedule and if you factor in the fact that you’ll still be required to attend to your firm’s other managerial duties, you will appreciate the reason for outsourcing this tedious application process to an experienced third-party.


The good news is that there is no shortage of help available, and here at Synergos Consultancy, we’re always happy to help. Why not call us to talk over your AEO application on 01484 817 444 or email to enquire as to how we can help.



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Jenny Kilburn
Jenny Kilburn
Completed my Masters in Business Administration (MBA) in 2012 I was looking to start my own business. With over 10 years improving and streamlining business systems, I grasped an opportunity to assist a local business to improve their quality and communication processes by researching the requirements of a quality management system based upon ISO 9001 and conducted my first internal audit that resulted in 97 improvement recommendations. After a successful outcome, I was recommended again and again with glowing reviews and in February 2014, Synergos Consultancy was born. I now have the role of regularly reviewing and planning the strategic direction of the business to ensure that Synergos continues to develop, whilst at the same time, still actively working closely with some of our clients. In my spare time I love to attend the theatre to watch musicals, dance productions and plays. In 2019, I attended the theatre a whopping 24 times. I follow a plant-based diet which I absolutely love. A keen tick-tock follower, I have picked up a lot of interesting recipes. A firm favourite is Brussel sprouts and sriracha sauce baked in the oven. Delicious!
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