BlogAutomated Telecom Invoice Management: Your First Step Towards Fast ROI

Automated Telecom Invoice Management: Your First Step Towards Fast ROI

June 8, 2017, Expense Management

By: Scott Davis

Telecom Expense Management (TEM) helps organizations take control of their communications networks and reduce telecom expenses. Organizations are often able to uncover sizable savings employing advanced TEM. Many of our clients realize an ROI that covers the cost of their solution in less than 60 days.

While the value of TEM is clear, many organizations are not prepared to deploy a comprehensive solution. The good news is that there are many ways to reduce telecom expenses and if you are like many organizations, the question is not whether to invest, but which aspect of TEM to address first.

For organizations that decide to take a phased approach, an automated telecom invoice management solution pays off. It offers exceptional hard and soft dollar returns and therefore makes a good starting point. It’s a great way to demonstrate value internally as invoice management produces immediate ROI and visible corporate efficiencies.

An effective invoice management solution can help you eliminate overcharges and drive long-term savings with stronger contract negotiation and compliance. It also provides valuable business intelligence to help organizations more deeply understand and control telecom usage and spend. These solutions will also reduce labor costs through process improvements. In a BPO solution, invoice management eliminates the need to allocate in-house resources, allowing employees to focus on more critical tasks.

 

Components of Telecom Invoice Management Solutions

Automated Processing – To get started, solution providers load and receive all electronic and paper invoices into the system.  Other elements include:

  • Invoice Approval for automating workflows, notifications and audit trails for payments based on your business rules governing payment thresholds by service, locations, vendor, etc.
  • Accounts Payable for aggregating invoice charges assigned to specific general ledger chart-of-accounts to facilitate payment to your carrier.
  • Bill Payment to pay carriers on your behalf.

Invoice Validation – A vital first step to controlling telecom costs is invoice validation. It ensures you are paying the right price for the services you use, exposes billing errors, and provides the hard data needed to win carrier disputes. It’s also a great way to verify carriers are complying with SLAs and to optimize service plans.

To fully verify the accuracy of invoices, charges must be validated against:

  • Usage – Were the services billed for actually consumed?
  • Contract terms and company policies – Rates applied to delivered services, as well as taxes and other charges, should be validated against terms defined in the carrier contract. Charged activity should also be checked against company policies governing appropriate use.
  • Inventory and MACDs – In complex communications networks, the inventory of services in effect and the technology deployed are constantly changing – especially with wireless services. Systems that validate invoices against inventory in real time can immediately identify charges for technology that’s not in use or for services that have been or should be discontinued.

In this area, we provide clients advanced audits that encompass sophisticated analytics for comparisons to contracted rates, misrepresented tariffs and fees, statistical analysis of usage records for inefficient, fraudulent or abusive activities, identification of services that may be underutilized, inactive or exceeding contracted usage thresholds.

Dispute management – This is considered the “business end” of invoice validation. An automated dispute management system can help you quickly and efficiently work with carriers to achieve credits and/or corrections for discrepancies identified during the invoice validation process.

Best-in-class dispute management systems include an automated workflow component that provides full lifecycle tracking of the disputed charges, including disposition, amount recovered, important dates, and more.

Contract negotiation and optimization – Negotiating favorable rates and selecting service plans that match usage needs are powerful ways to reduce telecom spend. The spend and usage data collected for other invoice management efforts provide valuable business intelligence that can be leveraged to reduce present and future telecom spend.

Invoice processing provides you with critical information for negotiating carrier contracts and selecting wireless plans. Invoice management solutions with spend analytics capabilities can help you analyze this information and project future requirements and costs. This helps you make informed decisions that result in significant cost reductions – such as moving to pooled plans or limited wireless data services – without jeopardizing overall quality of service.

As you consider how to initiate a TEM project, starting with an automated Invoice Management solution is a proven approach for delivering rapid ROI.

To learn more, download the white paper Reducing Telecom Costs: Why Invoice Management Is the Best Place to Start.