One often-overlooked business fact is that all companies are required to comply with international trade and finance sanctions, not just those involved in the shipping of goods and technologies across borders. Examples of transactions that are often overlooked include entering into a business transaction with a denied party on home soil or allowing them to be exposed to controlled technology, also domestically. In the United States, restrictions along these lines are encapsulated in State, Commerce and Treasury (OFAC) laws.
Whilst this is a complex process, the role of Visual Compliance is to make it less complicated. Its strength is that it provides powerful, yet straightforward solutions built on decades of expertise, to help businesses around the world solve complex international trade compliance requirements, both from the ‘at home’ and ‘abroad’ perspectives.
Its success in creating and marketing its intuitive-to-use, state-of-the-art compliance solutions has helped Visual Compliance win Business Worldwide Magazine’s Business Worldwide Global Corporate Excellence Award, 2017.
Visual Compliance’s modular approach is a winner
Visual Compliance President, Marc Roy, explains: “The Visual Compliance way is to make the solutions modular in as many business facets as possible, giving the customer the flexibility of selecting options they need now. This approach enables clients to get their compliance programme up and running within days, while they plan for additional components to bolster it in the future.”
One major advantage is that Visual Compliance can integrate its international trade compliance solutions into a wide range of business systems, including internal home-grown and legacy applications, in just days in comparison to the industry norm, which takes a minimum of several months. This unique Visual Compliance capability allows its customers to take a fast-track, holistic approach to complying with national security regulations where there is disparate enterprise resource planning (ERP), customer relationship management (CRM), e-commerce and other platforms to handle domestic and international shipments, financial activity and technology transfers.
Other merits of Visual Compliance include its suite of cloud-based solutions – from restricted and denied party screening, classification, and shipping documentation, to license and technology transfer management. All of these are continually updated to keep pace with new regulations, and utilise the most advanced technologies. Additionally, clients have access to a customer service professional who is their single point of contact, not only for arranging training, support and responding to ongoing ‘how-to’ questions, but also for encouraging customer feedback for Visual Compliance’s continual product development.
“The strategic concept is that we make our systems straightforward and helpful for our customers. This is particularly important as they are grappling with international trade compliance requirements which are generally complex and time consuming to understand,” says Visual Compliance Vice-President, Director of Technology, Steven Crozier.
Roy adds, “This thinking has been in our blood since the day the company opened its doors in 1981 and our customers literally love us for that.”
Customers “Love us” is no overstatement
“Love us” is definitely not an overstatement. Tangible proof that Visual Compliance has solutions which businesses need and want lies in the fact that thousands of customers, both in North America and around the world, continue to find its software, people and integrated systems to be best in class. Many have been customers for a decade or more and encompass a wide range of businesses: manufacturers, retailers, distributors in a range of sectors from highly-regulated industries such as aerospace, chemical and defence to office supplies and consumer products as well as government agencies, educational institutions, insurers, banks and third-party service providers.
According to Roy: “Visual Compliance is not just software, but a total solution supporting people and processes involved in compliance. The initial maturity or completeness of a customer’s compliance programme doesn’t matter. We start off by closing the critical gaps in compliance and build from there.”
Configurable, scalable, and cloud-based
Visual Compliance’s history dates back to 1981, when it was one of the first companies to help businesses comply with international trade regulations from an automated software point of view. The mission and vision incorporated with that has remained constant since then. The original management team, including Roy and Crozier – who were instrumental in driving global business and solution development – are still the driving force of the company today.
“For the customer, this translates into us striving to deliver the best at all times, and to deliver with as little disruption to their day-to-day business activities,” Crozier explains.
The best means that Visual Compliance solutions are configurable and scalable to take into account the fact that no two customers are alike. This, combined with the fact that Visual Compliance is an online cloud-based system, means that clients can go live with a compliance solution faster than ever before. It also means they can easily add modules, features and functionality and roll out to new locations around the world, as and when needed.
In the realm of export compliance, customers prefer Visual Compliance for its online, batch and integrated restricted party screening and rescreening solutions. These solutions are second to none owing to its state-of-the-art search engine design which provided the required results with minimal false positives, along with workflow capabilities for positive match resolution and other modules such as document creation and filing through the Automated Export System (AES), export license and technology transfer management.
The penalties for non-compliance are high
Most countries have laws which place limits on who you can legally transact business with—there are literally hundreds of government-maintained watch lists that need to be considered. Making sure that you are not conducting business with any party on domestic or international lists, and lists specifically created by countries where you’re doing business, helps protect you and your company: non-compliance can result in fines in excess of $1 million per violation, negative publicity, as well as your export privileges being revoked regardless of whether or not you have items physically leaving the country.
Visual Compliance’s roots help it move forward
Visual Compliance’s tenure in the compliance industry has enabled the company to spread its roots far and wide. The company has earned invitations from governments to participate in advisory bodies to help with new cross border security initiatives, including from the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to establish the ACE eManifest programme. Visual Compliance is also a member of associations such as the NCBFAA (National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America), ICPA (International Compliance Professionals Association) and SIA (Society of International Affairs) and regularly supports events from these associations through sponsorship.
“We are happy to see that we can help so many customers successfully reach and maintain their cross-border compliance and integration goals,” said Roy. “We look forward to continuing this work for many years to come as we move forward in our journey to provide the international trade compliance community with the solutions they have come to rely on.”