Who likes to sit up at night reading financial statements and footnotes, general ledger transactions, charts of accounts, and other accounting documents? Does anyone actually look forward to reading a royalty agreement?

Most business owners and CEOs would say ‘not me!’ – they just want to get their merchandise into the hands of their customers as quickly as possible. But understanding what’s in your accounting documents is critical. You may not know it, but U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“US CBP”) has the authority to go on fishing expeditions in your books. They can monopolize hours of your valuable time asking questions and demanding explanations, like if there are assets on a US importer’s books that are held outside the US, or how importers can explain any additions to prices paid or payable.

That’s because the truth always lies in the accounting records. Customs imports, exports, sanctions, anti-corruption, anti-money laundering laws, and more: it all ties back to the accounting records. Remember, the U.S. government charged and convicted Al Capone with tax evasion. It took an accountant to bring charges, just as it takes an accountant to keep you compliant and off US CBP’s radar.

If you haven’t had someone review your company’s financials, general ledger account activity, and global corporate structure, someone who is able to understand the difference between U.S. GAAP financial statements and international IFRS financial statement presentation, you may be at risk of missing items that are required for compliance. Yes, it’s complex and time-consuming. Yes, it can take you away from your core objective. But that time and resources are needed to ensure that your financial documents are compliant with US CBP and other U.S. agencies.

Fortunately, a person with the right background and experience knows right where to look in your accounting documents to flag accounts, transactions, and footnotes that can place you on the radar of CBP and other US agencies.

Feel free to contact our subject matter experts at Torres Trade Advisory – with experience working for US CBP, large consulting firms, and importers – to cut through the accounting data and terms to get an evaluation or risk assessment of your financials. They can help you achieve open communication among the customs, accounting, logistics, tax, legal, and sanctions departments within your company to openly share data and information. They can take the time to study your assists, molds, dies, questionable payments, and more. And they can help you stay compliant and achieve your business and strategic goals.