With new changes to communications technology, companies are compelled to spend more and more money each year on telecom services. Expenses for American companies are expected to exceed $2 trillion over the next several years, and those numbers will only continue to increase.
Unfortunately, because the invoices and contracts are so complex and difficult to understand, billions of dollars are wasted on unused services and fraudulent charges. The best solution is to utilize a telecom audit to analyze your your company’s expenses, check for billing errors and secure the refunds and rebates to which you are entitled.
What Does A Telecom Audit Do?
During a telecom audit, a team goes over every detail of your billing statements and your telecom contract to look for inaccuracies and discrepancies in actual charges vs. charges promised in the contract. It’s estimated that up to 80% of telecom invoices contain an error of some kind, and the telecom companies are almost always the beneficiaries for overpayment.
In addition, the team looks for any potential credits, refunds and rebates that your company qualifies for and has your telecom provider credit those savings to your account. The team typically concludes their analysis of your paperwork by assessing the terms and conditions of the contract, so you have a good idea about your commitments and services.
A telecom audit goes beyond a simple analysis of your bill and takes a long look at your greater telecommunications needs. The audit takes an inventory of all lines, devices and other hardware to ensure you have on hand, so you know what you need in the future. The final step is to analyze usage vs. expenses to determine if your company actually uses and needs all of the services that you are paying for.
What Kind Of ROI Can You Expect?
A thorough telecom audit can save businesses that spend several thousand dollars a month or more on telecommunications services up to 23% on an on going basis. On top of those savings, your company may see two months or more of expenses refunded to you by the telecom provider because of refunds and credits to your account.
Who Should Do The Audit?
The big question for businesses is who should preform the audit, and the answer comes down to one of three choices:
The first reaction that you may have is to create a team out of your IT and billing departments and allow them to handle the audit.
- The team is in-house, so they know the company, the business and they have a decent idea about the company’s telecommunications needs.
- Since you don’t have to worry about installing software or searching for the right telecom consulting firm, they can get started on the audit right away.
- Ultimately, these in-house employees are amateurs who may understand the basics of a telecom audit, but little else about the process. They are unlikely to have the specialized knowledge and understanding of the terminology to make an accurate analysis of your contracts and billing.
- To do the audit in-house, you must take employees away from the jobs that you hired them to do, leading to a loss of productivity in the areas of the company where they usually work.
- Compounding the time lost to non-job related tasks, the employees must spend time learning the ins and outs of a telecom audit and train for their new task. This is an expensive waste of time and energy that will yield marginal results at best.
Assessment: An in-house team can be a good idea for small companies who just want to go over their billing statements to look for inaccuracies. If your company spends more than a couple of thousand dollars a month on assorted telecom expenses, you need a more specialized solution.
TEM software automates some of the process of analyzing your company’s telecom needs and can spot potential savings in your expenses on an ongoing basis.
- After the initial set-up, TEM provides your company with a flexible framework that you can use for a long time. You can change the terms of the contracts, set up new vendors and make any adjustments that you need, and the software will take those new variables into account automatically.
- As long as the information is put into the system correctly, TEM will spot billing mistakes on its own, limiting the impact human error has on the process. You will see much fewer bogus charges after the implementation of TEM software.
- Instead of seeing multiple reports on different aspects of the telecom situation, TEM can combine all of the information about your situation into a single, easy to read report.
- TEM sets up reminders to let you know when a contract needs to be renewed, but more importantly, it can prevent the auto-renewal of bad contracts.
- A TEM solution only addresses your invoicing issues, and does not look at your greater telecom needs. You may still be paying for services that you don’t use, or have pieces of hardware disappear from the company without a full-scale telecom audit.
- Small business owners tend to find the potential ROI for a TEM investment is not what they anticipated. TEM works best on a large scale and for companies that push into thousands of dollars a month on telecom expenses.
- The installation of TEM software can be a disruption to the business, taking employees away from their regular duties while the system is put in place.
- There needs to be someone to run the system, which means either hiring a new employee to input and analyze TEM data or hiring a new staff member for the job.
Assessment: Large companies will easily see the benefits of an ongoing TEM solution in their company; however, they will want to combine the TEM with an in-person telecom audit to get the best picture of the company’s telecom needs. TEM is only as good as the data that is put in, and a consulting firm will make sure that all of the data is accurate and that the TEM works properly.
A team of experts in telecommunications billing and services preform an extensive audit of all of the company’s telecom needs, while analyzing the billing and contracts for any fraudulent or bogus charges.
- Since they are experts in the field, the consulting firm’s team is able to spot inconsistencies better and faster than any group that you can put together in-house.
- Consultants give an unbiased analysis of your company’s full range of telecom needs. They base their recommendations solely on the numbers and the actual usage rates rather than basing decisions on what they think the company needs. They also examine the hardware and access needs of the business, so you have good information about your physical inventory.
- They provide line-item analysis of every place where your company can save money, so you know exactly where costs can be cut and why the changes should be made.
- A telecom audit can be done off-site, which allows your employees to continue their normal work. All that is required are the invoices from the past several months and contact information for the vendors, and the auditors can find all of the rest of the information that they need.
- While hiring a consulting firm might seem expensive, the risk is very minimal. Most consulting firms charge only when they are able to save you real dollars, either through refunds and rebates on your bill or by cutting your costs. For this reason, consultants are especially motivated to find every spare penny of savings that they can.
- A telecom audit does take some time to be effective, but you should see refunds for any billing mistakes while the audit is in progress.
- Though the auditors do “reset the clock” to bring your company’s telecom expenses in line with what you need, it is up to your company to ensure everything stays in alignment. Ongoing telecom monitoring through TEM gives you the best and most consistent savings.
Assessment: If your company has never preformed a telecom audit, you should start by hiring a professional consulting firm to give you an accurate baseline. You will also want to use a consulting firm if you are looking to add TEM as part of your cost monitoring program, otherwise the TEM will have incorrect input data and will give you inaccurate feedback.
Telecom audits are a necessary part of the business world, as communications technology changes and the services become more extensive. Let a professional team of experts handle the analysis, so that your company has the right information when it’s time to make decisions about your telecom needs.
[author_bio username=”Ken” name=”yes”]