Telecom Contracts: Is This Where The Money Is?
Let’s talk about how most people envision telecom expense and their budget. They get their bills and someone approves them for payment then they are off to the Accounts Payable department for payment. Most business aren’t aware that there could be many ways to reduce their expense (without carrier changes required) since everything appears to work correctly and nothing jumps out when they do look at their telecom bills. When looking at the telecom budget the CFO may call the provider and ask about contracts and rates, as these are the biggest ways to affect the bottom line quickly (they think).
We telecom auditors are of a different mindset. We have been auditing and investigating bills for years, and we know, based upon experience what works, and what doesn’t. Barbara Clements, President and founder of Auditel Inc. says “For almost fifteen years we have focused on telephone and telecom expense auditing. We have seen how companies change providers, and modify their contracts year after year with high expectations of dramatic cost reduction in their telecom expenses and budget. I challenge you to look deeper into your telecom invoices and don’t just focus on your telecom and telephone contracts.”
Large corporations aren’t the only ones who need to be watchful of telephone and telecom invoices. Many bills are showing timelines on them. These are found on your telephone or telecom bills and they have a term in which you can request any refunds or credits be applied for these accounts. Most experienced auditors have to dig through the bills to find this timeline, but they are appearing on more and more bills.
What does the timeline mean to you as a customer? If you are like most people, you think that if you find a billing error or mistake at any point in the future that the phone companies and telecom providers should make it right. You probably think that any of these billing mistakes would qualify for a refund. Unfortunately, this just isn’t true. The Phone Company Representative will be happy to correct the billing mistake but won’t mention a refund to you, and if you do mention a refund don’t be surprised if you are told that its your responsibility to review your bills and that there is a time limit (or term) on the errors you may find within your bills. Why should your company fall prey to these billing errors when there is a solution? Don’t forfeit this money.
Errors are found in upwards of 90% of telephone and telecom bills. You are sure to have billing errors and mistakes. Have a telecom audit performed. Many companies produce them on contingency basis and then you split the savings and refunds. If you wait until these bills are past the term, then you will have paid for mistakes that can be corrected but you will not receive the credits and refunds that you or your company is due. Another way your company will forfeit this money is when you change carriers. It is imperative to correct telecom and telephone billing mistakes before changes are made, not after.
As many companies tighten their corporate belts they look toward outsourcing job functions to reduce expenses. The loss of Telecom Managers and staff increases the chance for errors going unnoticed.
The Corporate World is either unaware of telecom and telephone billing errors, or they feel the time spent on bill correction, or clean up won’t substantiate the costs. This is a very expensive assumption to make. They couldn’t be more wrong. If CEOs, CFOs, Controllers, CIOs and Purchasing Managers were educated in telecom billing analysis and contracts, they would have a change of heart. They find it hard to believe that an audit can make a big difference in their telecom budget. But chances are they haven’t given a telecom auditor the opportunity to review their bills (not a sales person whose primary concern is to sell services).
• A telecom auditor should reduce your telecom expense without carrier changes.
• Research the telecom consultant by contacting references.
• Make sure you are in control of the audit and give permission for any changes.
• Request before and after bills before paying for telecom services.
• A complete audit will cost more than a software based audit and when done properly they are worth it, as they will produce significantly more savings.
Everybody that is in charge of your fixed operations and the corporate budgets should know that there is money to be found in your telecom expenses. And this is money that you are wasting every single month. Just because you have a deadline to get the bills paid quickly, as not to incur late fees, don’t let it discourage you from taking advantage of doing the smart thing for your company or stockholders. This is a painless way to save what could be millions of dollars a year!
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