Telecom Invoice Validation: Do you really validate your Telecom Expenditure?

How can a Telecom Invoice Validation function help your business?

By Dan Firmin

Does the term “Stare and Compare” sound all too familiar? As an approver, do you really know what you are signing-off for payment every month?

Very often, threshold validation is the method that organisations use to validate millions of dollars’ worth of technology invoices going through their P&L every month. Does the value look similar to last month? Within 5%? Ok, let’s go ahead and pay it.

Would you be happy applying that same methodology to other areas of your life and expenses? For example, is it ok to know that your personal bank balance looks “about right” each month? Or that your grocery or energy bills are about the same each month? It’s doubtful – if you are anything like most people, you check to make sure your incomings and outgoings are as expected, and that there are no errors to be found. And if you do find an error you’ll raise it with your bank immediately. Similarly, when it comes to domestic energy bills, we know that we use varying amounts of gas and electricity at different times of year, so of course the bills should differ from month to month.

This is exactly the kind of approach that should be applied to each technology invoice that an organisation processes. And that’s where a Telecom Invoice Validation function comes into play.

Telecoms invoices and transactions

Telecoms invoices in particular can be complex in nature, and often thousands or millions of transactions make up the cost of a single invoice; with limited resource in house to validate these charges, often the path of least resistance is to do a simple threshold check vs. the previous month.

The problem is that with varying volumes, call classification types and bundled or complex product combinations and charging algorithms, telecom invoices can easily hide underlying errors and anomalies that are not obvious to spot at a summary level; as a result, billing errors can often run into hundreds of thousands of dollars when backdated to their origination date.

Why is this happening?

It’s not that Suppliers are out to rip customers off, but all too often we see cases where contract pricing has been entered incorrectly into billing systems or tariffs amendments have not been implemented on the agreed date or simply not implemented at all. Indeed, suppliers are often not aware of billing errors themselves due to the same complexity issues, so clarity on billing through a Telecom Invoice Validation function can be beneficial to the relationship, as both parties can be reassured in the knowledge that services are being delivered and paid for in line with their agreements.

The solution

A good Telecom Expense Management solution should be capable of validating supplier invoices automatically at the lowest level in line with the agreed contract pricing, whether it is a simple recurring monthly product charge, varying call transaction types or a more complex bundled product deal that you find in a mobile contract. Furthermore, by automating the telecom invoice validation process, discrepancies can be highlighted immediately on the loading of an invoice and reviewed to establish if a dispute should be raised with the relevant supplier for a rebate, or whether the invoice can be passed for payment with confidence.

Organisations do not have the resources available today to manually check invoices; indeed, it’s arguable that it’s not even humanly possible to manually check all telecoms invoices at a forensic level each month due to the sheer volume of transactions and data involved. Time and resource would be better served managing the output of automated invoice validation, such as raising and managing disputes where necessary with suppliers and ensuring that future billing is corrected, and liaising with procurement staff that their negotiated cost reductions/tariffs have been implemented by the supplier as and when agreed.

How can Veropath help?

So, don’t be satisfied with “stare and compare” invoice validation. We can do the hard work for you and automate the driving of savings back into your business; after all, it is a fundamental benefit of what a modern TEM solution is built to do.

Contact a member of the Veropath team for more information on Telecom Invoice Validation.