Audit Your Import Shipping Documents

Despite what many people think, auditing your import shipping documents can sometimes save companies thousands of dollars. With a missed click of the keyboard, one number in a harmonized tariff code can move you from the footwear rates to rates for soap for US customs clearance. This will not only affect your percentage costs with US customs, but it could also affect what your shipping company charges if they are working off the customs documents. It can be a domino effect. Another thing that can sometimes happen is that you receive a rate increase without proper notice. If you are not shipping regular shipments with the same company or haven't shipped in awhile, rate increases that went into affect months ago can pop up as your new rates. Many times accounts payable will not catch these changes since they expect the agreed upon rates from your carriers. Also if there are any additional charges such as inspections or changes in the routes, they will need to know the proper amounts that are owed. One last thing you can be looking out for is that all documents are in order and are being kept properly within your own company. US Customs expects companies to have their shipping documents available for five years and this includes supporting documents. Therefore if you are the person in charge of your company's imports, it is only in your best interest to have a direct hand in the invoices and bills of lading that are coming in regarding your shipments.