When most companies need to lower expenses they start by lowering the number of employees instead of looking for other solutions. One way to lower expenses is to have a phone bill audit and reduce billing errors that cost (in most cases) more than several employees annual salaries.
If you are overwhelmed by telephone bills and contracts as a consumer, how do you think Corporations keep track of their phone bills? If you canít be certain all your bills are correct, just imagine having thousands of bills paid monthly without anyone reviewing them or analyzing them. Most Fortune 500 Companies donít have a dedicated telecom auditor on staff and they rely on the information they obtain from their carriers. During the past 14 years weíve seen only a handful of Corporations with an accurate inventory of all their phone and data lines. Do you think Corporations and mid sized companies have time to check their advertised lines monthly, or even annually?
Iíve just mentioned several ways to reduce expenses, but I think you may still be skeptical so here are further details. Most companies have late fees, but having late fees might mean that an AP Dept. is extremely busy and can't pay all the bills prior to the due date. Some bills may be set aside for review, and others may be held while the AP Rep. is trying to determine a bill's accuracy. An Accounts Payable employee doesnít have the tariff training to identify tariff billing errors (through no fault of their own). Most corporations have a telecom department concentrating on keeping their services online and working properly. These service technicians arenít billing experts and most donít understand contract and billing review to determine if they are getting the rates their company should be receiving. Without them the telecom equipment failure and service outages would play havoc on the entire company. Auditel has found that many large corporations have a telecom service department, but almost none have a telecom billing department.
Having a complete audit is like having a car washed versus having the car totally detailed. While the corner gas station can wash the outside of your car, to thoroughly clean it the way you would like it done, you either need to do it yourself, or consult a car detail professional. The same is true of an audit. While it may be more convenient to scan the ďtopĒ of the bills, the devil is in the details. Most companies donít take the extra time to do a complete and total audit, eliminating all the wastes. It is time consuming to consolidate bills, and to correct every billing error and tariff, but to do a thorough audit the entire process needs to be completed. Every mistake needs to be corrected.
In our experience there have been very few firms with tariff trained auditors reviewing the telecom bills on a monthly basis. We recommend that every company have a telecom bill audit to review their telecom services and ensure each vendorís accuracy. An audit can be primarily based on telephone bills, or expanded to include the entire telecom departmentís billings, including frame relay, data, and wireless, etc. Donít forget your contracts need to be reviewed as well. If you have never had a telecom audit performed, or if you thought that all telecom audits were centered on long distance, you need to re-consider a tariff based analysis of all your telecom bills. Every company can benefit from having all their telecom contracts reviewed on an annual basis.
Here is a question for those of you with more than one phone line on your telephone bill: Does your telephone company provide you with an updated inventory of all your phone lines? The detailed information outlining your existing services is given to you by your phone company through a Customer Service Record (CSR). Some of these CSRs look like hieroglyphics. With a large corporation gaining information from all the phone companies is time consuming and can be a headache. If you need a detailed inventory which will encompass all of your locations this can be provided by full service auditing firm. Why the need for a detailed inventory? Your company needs to know what fees are associated with each line you own, and pay for monthly. Most importantly your customers need to be able to reach you! How often have you had each line tested for accuracy? Have you ever had your advertised lines tested to verify correct forwarding is in place? Checking where your lines are routing is very important since your customers can't reach you if your lines aren't working, or if your lines are forwarding to the wrong place.
We want to make the industry aware that the telephone companies arenít out to intentionally overcharge them. Most companies donít have a trained billing auditor, and many have never had a detailed telecom audit. Why are there overcharges on your bills? It normally happens by human error, or can occur when many people are placing orders and some are unsure of the correct way to place orders. Do you keep accurate records for all your telecom orders? If you donít keep detailed records then it will be difficult to prove any billing discrepancies. Letís say you cancel a phone line today. Tomorrow you dial the number and it gives a disconnect message. Do you go to the next bill and check it for accuracy? Does anyone in your company have time to monitor each and every bill that comes into your office on a monthly basis, and check for every order that was placed? Having the correct documentation equals a refund.
What companies offer these auditing services? Most firms advertise on the internet, or in the local phone book. Many audit companies around the world perform telecom audits and each has their own spin. Some just audit the low hanging items and conduct an overview, while others do a deep cleaning audit. As with any business there are many who do a great job, and some that do as little as possible. It is up to you to do the research and find the company that best fits your individual needs. Choose a company that fits your budget. Some firms offer fee structures based on contingency fee basis, splitting the future savings and credits and refunds with you. While others, charge a fee based on the size of your audit. No matter which company you choose, make sure to contact their references, along with the Better Business Bureau for their area. If companies have had complaints they arenít likely to inform you.
Are you interested in learning how to audit your own bills? If so we highly recommend telecom workshop based training. These workshops are not seminars and these courses teach you how to actually audit telecom bills. Though there are many seminars available on the market today, most donít provide a process. You may leave the seminar with a wealth of information, but will throw your hands in the air when you actually try to conduct an audit. Locate a company with experience and contact references for the firm to fit your needs. Make sure the instructor has actual auditing experience. The experience you will get from a workshop will outweigh any seminar you may attend, saving you time and money in the long run. Make sure you are provided with auditing software to help you track your telecom inventory and to log all of your orders submitted to the various vendors.
After you have completed a telecom audit you need to determine how to maintain your audit savings. If you donít have the time to learn tariff, and if you donít have the staff to audit your bills on a monthly basis, perhaps you should consider outsourcing your telecom project. Many companies provide outsourcing to those in need of a telecom project completed, or a monthly audit to maintain their telecom bills. The size of your billings will determine how often you will need to have your bills reviewed. If your company spends more than $150,000 on a monthly basis, you should consider a monthly audit. If your company has mergers or acquisitions on a regular basis you will need a telecom audit to keep track of the inventory and an experienced auditor can pay for their services 20 times over. Would you like to have a lot of months where you could say ďwe are below budget?Ē The choice is yours. Telecom audit, outsourcing, or training each may be what your company needs to get a handle on your telecom spending.
Auditel Inc. of Florida provides training and auditing for many corporations and government entities. We recently opened a Colorado branch to service the Western States providing training workshop courses to suit every telecom training need. Training now available to the Entrepreneur and to those wanting to start a home based business. http://www.auditelinc.com
Auditel, Inc. is the brainchild of Barbara Clements, a value focused person who realized in 1990 that companies were needlessly spending valuable assets. Barbara understands that the main objective of her clients is to keep their businesses running properly. Auditel's goal is to give clients the skills necessary to manage their own telecommunications bills. Meticulous work has led to many years of business generating referrals and satisfied customers. Barbara was interviewed on television by Alexander Haig last year and this interview can be viewed on the Auditel website. http://www.auditelinc.com