A denied party screening software solution empowers your organization to protect itself from sanctions violations by ensuring every entity you work with is not on a restricted or denied party list. The right solution will keep you in full compliance while optimizing the workflows of your existing denied party screening processes. 

Violating export compliance regulations by inadvertently transacting with a sanctioned party incurs fines, penalties, reputation damage, and legal expenses. However, it’s not worth risking non-compliance — all it takes is one sanction compliance violation to incur steep fines. 

How much should your business pay for a restricted party screening software solution? That depends on a number of key factors such as the deployment method, number of users, and screening volume. While it is essential to screen every entity you do business with, you can still minimize costs by carefully selecting the right denied party screening provider and the core features that align with your business priorities. 

Keep reading to learn more about key functionalities you need in a sanction screening platform, what will affect its overall costs, and how to minimize these costs while still getting everything you need. 

The Importance of A Denied Party Screening Software Solution 

A denied party screening platform enables you to screen any entity you transact with, including vendors, customers, clients, and partners. Some of the core benefits of these specialized solutions include: 

  • Prevent the cost of non-compliance: Staying in full compliance with all sanctions is the core benefit of this type of software. Violating export compliance and international trade regulations will incur steep fines and penalties, even if unintentional. The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has already issued US$33 million in fines in Q1 2023 — it’s well worth avoiding adding to that total. 
  • Keep your reputation intact: The cost of violating sanctions is more than just the immediate fine and extends to reputation damage, loss of business opportunities, and legal fees. The right platform protects both your financial health and reputation. 
  • Streamline processes and workflows: Your organization may be screening with internal, manual processes. Handling sanction screening by manually checking every entity is significantly time-consuming, error-prone, and unsustainable. The right platform will enhance both the accuracy and efficiency of these processes. 

To reap these benefits, you have to select the right solution with the capabilities to deliver a good return on your investment.  

Each Feature of a Denied Party Screening Software Impacts Cost 

What’s the total price of a sanctioned party screening tool? Fortunately, you can control your total cost by choosing the specific features and capabilities you need while avoiding paying for anything you won’t use. 

Let’s review core features, why they matter, and what types of organizations need them. 

Online Ad-Hoc Screening 

Choosing an online screening solution allows you to use a web-based portal to screen entities on demand. Instead of paying for a specific amount of denied party screening requests, you’ll pay for what you use, avoiding underutilizing your plan. It enables you to meet your compliance objectives without huge investments in denied party screening especially when your risk profile does not require more complexity. Another benefit of this option is that it is quick to deploy – leading vendors can have you set up and running in 1 business day. 

Online ad-hoc screening is ideal for entry-level compliance programs with a low volume of entities to screen or for non-recurring denied party screening requirements such as one-off events and one-time transactions. Online ad-hoc screening will help you minimize costs by only paying for what you need while preventing transactions with sanctioned parties. 

Authorized Users 

How many users need to access the platform? Depending on your business, various types of users may need to access the denied party screening software to maintain compliance while they take care of their responsibilities. For example, user licenses may be required for more than just the risk and compliance team but could also include sales, HR, research and development, IT, operations, and executive management.

Your company size will have an impact on the final cost of a denied party screening software solution based on the number of users as such it is essential to carefully consider and prioritize who those users need to be in order to avoid over-licensing and increasing your costs. Based on our experience, we estimate the following user accounts based on business size: 

  • Small business: 1-5 users 
  • Mid-market: 5-10 users 
  • Enterprise: 100+ users 

Sanctions List to Screen Against 

There are thousands of global sanctions lists to screen against, frequently changing in response to geopolitical events. The choice of which lists to screen against must be considered carefully to manage costs as well as provide comprehensive coverage for your business. Before making a decision, think through several key questions such as  

Focusing on the lists relevant to your business minimizes subscription fees and improves the performance of your denied party screening program by eliminating avoidable false positives.  

Take the time to learn which sanction lists you need and which ones you don’t to keep costs under control. 

Audit Trail Capabilities 

To comply with regulatory requirements, many highly regulated industries must prove due diligence during a government audit. For these industries and any organization seeking to ensure compliance and transparency, it is crucial to choose a platform that provides a detailed record of: 

  • The user who screened for denied / restricted parties. 
  • The date the denied party screening was performed. 
  • The search terms used in the screening exercise.  
  • The results of the search performed. 
  • The actions taken after receiving the search results 

How long the record is kept is another important consideration for the solution you select. 

This capability helps improve efficiency, operational integrity, and proof of compliance which will significantly benefit organizations required to track transactions, handle sensitive information, and undergo frequent third-party audits. However, it could also increase costs, so evaluate all potential expenses associated with maintaining audit and history records.  

Automated Daily Rescreening 

Daily rescreening continually ensures that none of the entities you transact with have become sanctioned or added to a restricted party list since you initially began the partnership.  

Businesses with a high volume of transactions, long sales cycles, and operating in volatile areas can stay protected with this feature. Avoiding a single international trade compliance violation may be worth the added cost that denied party screening software with this feature attract. 

Integrated Denied Party Screening   

Integrating denied party screening into your business processes can have a dramatic impact on the cost of your software solution but in turn, it also provides immense benefits. A survey of businesses that implemented integrated solutions revealed that up to 98% reduced risk, 71% enjoyed time savings and improved efficiency and 70% found it easier to perform frequent/daily rescreening. The type of organizations whose needs are best met with this deployment option include: 

  1. Organizations with high volume data to screen 
  1. Large operations that need to perform compliance across several departments and business processes such as customer onboarding, order processing, staff screening, visitor management, etc.  
  1. Globally dispersed teams requiring consistent and reliable screening. 

Best Practices to Minimize Cost While Getting the Solution You Need 

It’s not worth risking violating sanction compliance regulations by foregoing an effective screening platform. However, you also shouldn’t spend more than necessary for the capabilities you need. Above, we explored how choosing the right features helps you control costs. Let’s distill that advice into a few critical best practices to help you avoid overspending: 

  • Have a strong understanding of your needs: How many users do you need? What denied parties lists should be screened against? Do you need recurring screening? All of the capabilities available to you affect costs, so knowing exactly what you need is essential to pay for only what’s necessary. 
  • Start small, add capabilities as necessary: Be aware of your contractual obligations and flexibility to change capabilities. If able, based on your agreement, start with only the core features you need, then add on more advanced features as you go. For example, you could start with five user accounts and upgrade to additional accounts as your compliance program grows. 
  • Consider your overall budget: How much can your business allocate to a screening platform? Remember, violating sanctions a single time can result in steep fines and other penalties. Yet, paying more than necessary will have diminishing returns if you don't need all the capabilities provided by the platform. Instead, evaluate your available resources and organizational needs, and find a budget-friendly compromise. 
  • Evaluate the impact of customer support: The total cost of your denied party screening program as well as the return on investment can be greatly affected by the level of customer support you receive. A vendor whose support team is experienced and readily available to you will make it easier to achieve your sanctions compliance goals. Additionally, providing periodic training, webinars, and rich resource centers as part of their solution will help save on cost while ensuring you get the most out of your software subscription. 

Overall Estimates for the Price of A Denied Party Screening Software by Business Size

How much should you expect to spend on a sanction screening platform? The below table provides estimated annual costs based on organization size and volume of screening. If the price estimates provided below are not within budget, there are some free options available such as government search tools managed by OFAC and the U.S. Commerce Department’s Consolidated List Screening. However, it is important to note that their capabilities are severely limited and only suitable for extremely small screening volumes. 

Table 1: Price Range of a Denied Party Screening Software for Small, Medium, and Enterprise Businesses 

Business Size Est. Annual Cost 
Small  Up to $5,000
Medium  Up to $20,000 
Enterprise $100,000+ 
A table showing the estimated annual costs of a denied party screening software 

Remember, the exact costs of your denied party screening software will depend on your chosen features, which can be optimized to minimize expenses by only choosing the capabilities you need.  

Partner with Descartes for Effective Restricted Party Screening Software Solutions 

Using a restricted party screening platform helps reduce the risk of heavy fines and reputational damage while enhancing the efficiency of screening parties against sanction lists. Choosing the right partner with a flexible pricing structure will help minimize costs without sacrificing effectiveness. 

Descartes is an industry leader in trade intelligence, and we’ve developed solutions to keep you in full compliance with all international trade compliance regulations while reducing the risk of negative impacts to the bottom line.  

But don’t take our word for it, see what users are saying about our denied party screening solutions. For more information including a demo and a trial, contact our export compliance experts today. You can also learn more about how to select a software solution that fits your needs with this denied party screening buyer’s guide.