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WCO Secretariat develops a dashboard for PCA

2 March 2023

Post-clearance audit (PCA) includes a preparation phase during which data from various sources is collected and then analysed, especially import and export declaration data. The aim is to obtain a comprehensive overview of the auditee’s business structure and, on this basis, identify and analyse specific risk areas of the auditee’s systems. An audit plan would then be drafted, specifying the audit objectives and scope, as well as the methodologies to be used.

This audit preparation is generally an abductive process in which, prior to obtaining the auditee’s data by contacting the auditee, the data held by Customs is considered and analysed to infer high-risk areas of the auditee’s business. While some administrations have developed sophisticated analytical tools, auditors usually rely on software such as MS Excel or MS Access to do the job. This raises several issues, the main one being that it takes extensive knowledge and experience to properly perform risk analysis using such tools.

At the WCO Secretariat, a modest three-person team decided to take up this matter and to develop a prototype dashboard using Microsoft Power BI. Launched nearly a decade ago as a standalone desktop data visualization tool, Power BI is now a business analytics service provided by Microsoft that enables users to easily build different charts and graphs to analyse and visualize vast volumes of data from multiple sources.

The dashboard aims at making the techniques that auditors have traditionally used with MS Excel or MS Access more effective. It enables users to capture the insights of experienced auditors, and is easy to use and to customize.

To take the project a step further, the Secretariat team is looking for Customs administrations to:

  • implement the tool in their PCA division with the guidance of the team;
  • join the team to refine the dashboard by incorporating additional analytical techniques and by providing data such as their import and export data and traders compliance history; and
  • fund deployment and development activities.

Donors wishing to support this project are also invited to contact the Secretariat.

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