Could you pick two more exciting words to pair together than ‘telecom’ and ‘audit’? I know, the negative connotations associated with each of these words makes their pairing seem like the thing of nightmares. While some would sugar-coat it and re-brand a telecom audit as WAN budget optimization or some equally obnoxious colloquialism, my personal vote is that we call a spade a spade and address the benefits of the tool rather than give it a fancy name.
Whether it is procuring, managing, troubleshooting or just researching telecom connections; few things bring IT professionals more headaches than dealing with carriers. Equally frustrating is the job of the accounting department who has to juggle all of the bills that come in from various carriers, combing through them for errors and making sure the rates being charged match the services that you are actually contracted for. Add to the mix the countless line items on many carrier bills, official sounding fees (which in most cases are far from official or mandatory) and the fact that somehow the bill is different every month despite no changes to the service. So while both terms in the pairing are in their own way disappointing, a telecom audit can actually solve many problems across multiple departments at a company.
Gartner has found that 80% of bills contain bills that companies can easily go months without catching and 90% of bills go completely unaudited. Anybody who has ever worked with a carrier knows that their billing department is not going to under-bill you, they always get their money. So in many cases those errors will be directly negatively impacting your company’s bottom line and inflating operating expenses. While it may feel invasive to have a third party roll their sleeves up and go through your bills and contracts, the savings could fund a new project to drive revenue or significantly decrease your overhead and improve profitability.
The fear most people have of audits is that they will be a drawn out process that will involve a lot of work for themselves or somebody at their company. Since time is money and you aren’t sure what you are going to fine; who is to say that the time it costs your team won’t be in excess of whatever savings you will find?
To that end, let’s go through the process of a typical telecom audit to give you some peace of mind.
The first and most time-consuming, step in the audit is simply getting your partner the information they need to start finding savings. If you get your bills in email this is as simple as hitting ‘Forward’ on a few emails. Worst case scenario you are getting paper bills and you need to scan a copy of each bill to pass it along, or just send over the physical bill and let your partner worry about digitizing it if they need to. Can we agree that wasn’t that bad?
The other key piece of information needed during this process is the contracts that were signed in relation to each of the services being provided. If you have a well organized file storage system this is just as simple as step 1. Assuming you don’t, then don’t waste time digging through emails or filing cabinets for hours on end, just reach out to your vendor and have them pass along a copy of your contract. They will have it readily available and if they don’t they can put in the work to track it down; no reason for you to put in the work if you can’t put your hands on it right away. Another step that seems fairly painless so far right?
Once all of this information has been gathered it is time for somebody other than you to go to work reviewing the contracts and bills page by page and line by line to make sure you aren’t paying a dime more than that you should be. Once they have identified any and all errors, you will have to sit through a meeting to review those errors and learn how much money you will be saving every month. If they haven’t found anything this meeting will be short and painless (extremely rare). If they have found errors, then get comfortable, sit back and enjoy hearing about all of the money you will be putting back into your pocket each month!
Now to get your money back…. Great news, also not your job! The auditing company will spearhead the process of remediation and make sure you get the money that you have coming to you. Yet again, you get to sit back and relax. Failing to see what is scary about this process yet.
Are you afraid of the cost? Almost every company in this space works for a percentage of savings; meaning if they don’t find savings they don’t get paid. If they do, then you pay them a portion of money that you would’ve lost to the carrier anyway and the rest gets to go right back into your budget!
They say not to judge a book by its cover and the same is true of a telecom audit. Telecom is a pain, audits sound painful; however, if done correctly a telecom audit should be a painless process with nothing but upside for you and your company. Want to get into more details around the types of errors typically found or the process in greater detail? Just reach out and we would be happy to talk in more detail!