U.S. Customs and Border Protection is in the process of updating its Focused Assessment Program for the first time in more than a decade to align with current Government Auditing Standards and other professional standards, according to the agency’s first quarter newsletter.
The Focus Assessment is a Customs audit to ensure that importers have adequate internal controls to follow customs regulations.
CBP also intends to make the process more flexible by designing audit approaches tailored to the unique circumstances of each importer’s environment and relevant risks. The move away from a one-size-fits-all trade processing and enforcement approach is also evident with the 10 industry-specific Centers for Excellence and Expertise that were rolled out in the past two years.
The Focused Assessment will continue to be a risk-based audit program comprising a pre-assessment survey of non-compliance risk, assessment compliance testing, and follow-up. CBP is in the process of updating the pre-assessment survey and has engaged the trade community through a working group under the Commercial Operations Advisory Committee (COAC), which works closely with the agency on a regular basis.
CBP said it wants to ensure a reasonable degree of consistency across audit teams as auditors are afforded greater flexibility in tailoring audits. Other goals are to communicate enhancements to importers and brokers and create new tools to assist in educating them on how to best prepare for a Focused Assessment; and address small to midsized importers that may have less formal systems of internal control than larger, more complex importers with greater resources.
The agency expects to implement the updated program early in fiscal year 2015.