Authorised Economic Operator top tips vs. Reality Check

We recently hosted an Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) Masterclass. The participants got great value out of the session and were keen to note our AEO Top Tips and our AEO Reality Check.

We share a short summary here for businesses thinking about applying for AEO

Top Tips when applying for Authorised Economic Operator

  • Read HMRC Notice 117 AEO- it’s easy to understand and covers all the bases.
  • Document your business processes – it will really help.
  • Decide which AEO status you need, Customs (C), Safety & Security (S) ,  or both (F). Understand why.
  • Perform self audit before applying – most noteworthy action. Without it you will struggle.
  • Above all, for security, access to your premises must be controlled.
  •  3rd party transportation companies must have minimum AEO standards/declarations if applying for AEO S
  • Record , and report appropriately, any irregularities


3 Tips for maintaining Authorised Economic Operator

1. Expect a drop-off in business wide focus following approval. Plan ahead. Business focus changes quickly. People are therefore easily distracted once AEO has been achieved.

2. Things will change, “they” won’t tell you. Check / Verify !

3. Actively notify HMRC of issues, changes and any irregularities as they occur.


Reality Check

  •       Applying can be time consuming, consequently requires a high profile / sponsorship internally.
  •       Overcoming business culture may be a challenge.
  •       Prior to applying – above all – preparation and effort is needed.
  •       Changing (or adopting) procedure & documentation is to be expected.
  •       HMRC audit visit/s to your sites is likely.
  •       Exposes business and compliance issues.
  •       Effort needed to maintain AEO status once approved.
  •       Internal resource issues (time/people/expertise).
  •       Probably exposes organisational weaknesses.
  •       Staff co-operation – change management may be important.
  •       Competing business priorities can be challenging.


AEO Masterclass

Clearlight Customs provide Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) Masterclasses. We provide public sessions via Greater Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and design bespoke, in-house events to support individual businesses of all sizes in all sectors.

We provide AEO training , consultancy , gap analysis and ongoing support for any business need relating to AEO and Customs. Please get in touch by phone on 01283 553099.

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