Meet our colleague: Tom De Jonghe, Customs Expert at Customs Square

Mid-April 2022, Tom De Jonghe started as a customs expert at Customs Square. He is looking forward to expertly advising companies on complex customs and excise issues. As a domain expert Trade Compliance at Umicore, he gained a lot of expertise. Meet a passionate customs professional!

Starting out as a freight forwarder at Umicore

During his studies SME Management, Tom developed a strong interest in the field of tax & accountancy. In addition, he became very fascinated by customs-related topics. “I’ve always enjoyed analyzing and interpreting figures, combined with problem-solving thinking. I like to get to the bottom of complex issues, translating them into clear advice for colleagues and customers. After my studies, I started working as a freight forwarder at Umicore. Thanks to this job, I got the opportunity to deepen my knowledge of various customs topics: from goods classifications to customs value, from origin to AEO… Those first years at Umicore were a good learning experience.”

Intensive study track in customs

Tom complemented his work experience with various customs training programs. “From the start of my professional career at Umicore, I decided to brush up my customs knowledge through (evening) courses and training sessions”, he confirms. “I took courses to become an assistant and chief customs declarant. I also successfully completed a postgraduate course in customs management. In addition, I invested in various one-day courses in both customs and VAT.”

“That wealth of new information opened new doors with my employer” indicates Tom. “For example, I was allowed to train my Umicore colleagues, which again boosted my own expertise. This was a very enriching experience!”

Wide range of tasks

With a career of over 10 years at Umicore, Tom can present a impressive professional track record. “As a domain expert Trade Compliance, I was able to dig into a wide range of tasks. “One of those tasks was to ensure that imported and exported goods reached their destination smoothly, in accordance with the compliance regulations. Instructing customs agents was daily business. Giving advice in inward and outward processing, approved exporter’s authorisations and bonded warehouse was also part of my daily work. I enjoyed contacting customers and suppliers worldwide to ensure them the handling of their customs and VAT files was in good hands.”

Ready for a new professional challenge

When Linda Fierens contacted Tom to sound out about working as a customs expert at Customs Square, his interest was piqued. “In November 2021, an initial conversation took place between Linda, her co-associate Tom Verbrugge and myself. There was a good click right away. The offer to work as an independent consultant for a wide range of customers really appealed to me. I am joining a close-knit team of customs specialists who set the bar very high in terms of customer advice and who complement each other very well. I already knew my new colleague Bert Van Bosch through a joint training program.”

Welcome to Customs Square!

How does Tom want to make a difference as a customs expert? What are his strengths? “I usually manage to quickly see the bigger picture in complex customs issues. Because I analyze issues quickly and think in terms of problem solving, clients and colleagues can always count on me for clear advice. I also like to clarify complex customs terms in a clear manner.”

Tom is looking forward to playing to his strengths within the Customs Square team. “My new colleagues each have their own skills: one is strong in setting up automation and digitalization projects, while another colleague excels in practical or theoretical knowledge. I hope to be able to contribute to each aspect. My new colleagues form a nice and warm team, in which we can spar with each other in an informal and down-to-earth way about customs and excise topics. I am ready for this new start!”

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