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We have been very pleased with the professionalism and the results of our utility audit.  Right up front the auditors discovered that we were being billed an incorrect rate on our electricity, which saved us almost $3,000 when corrected.

We would recommend that any manufacturing business have Utility Audit Solutions analyze their utility and phone bills as a means of insuring that they are being billed correctly and fairly.
Chemical Manufacturer
Greenville, SC


Telecom Auditing

Is it significant?

Think telecom costs are insignificant at your company? Think again!  IDC estimates that telecommunications and network services are the third or fourth largest operating expense for most companies. They found that most organizations now spend $150-$350 per employee per month on communications services.  Forrester Research confirms these findings.  “Communication is one of a company’s top three operating expenses.”

Surprised? You are not alone. An IDC survey of the people directly responsible for buying and managing communication assets, IT executives and managers, uncovered that 40% said they did not know their company’s total annual expenditure on telecommunications.  Some experts believe the percentage of those unaware is much higher. Generally, few companies track their communications expenses with the diligence they apply to other expenses.

Once you realize the significance of telecom expenditures, it is easy to understand why nowadays, so many companies and even municipalities and non-profits are starting to pay attention to controlling communications spending.  This is even more significant given the current economy and business need to drive down all operational costs.  Many enterprises are facing unprecedented cuts in operations. 

A growing method to reduce these costs on local, long distance, wireless, data, and Internet services is a Utility Audit Solutions’ telecommunications bill audit, commonly known as a telecom audit.

What are the benefits of a telecom audit by Utility Audit Solutions?

Significant savings as a result of four factors:

Percent saved:

Gartner found that “Enterprises that are not auditing their telecommunications invoices are forfeiting an extra 10% or more of their network services spending to the network service providers (NSPs). Historical audits recover overpayment, identify stranded assets and increase budget efficiency.”

While 10% is average Utility Audit Solutions has uncovered up to 25% for some clients.

Expenditure amount:

The average Fortune 500 Company, according to Aberdeen Group, is spending 3.6% of revenue on telecommunications. While your company may be spending less, it is probably still significant as each dollar spent is one fewer for profits.

Length of time:

Telecom service providers mistakenly overbill customers. A relatively minor billing error can be magnified significantly when repeated over months and years. Utility Audit Solutions can get as much as 3 years worth of past billing errors refunded by the telecommunications provider. That refund, along with the future recurring savings, adds up to a significant total amount.

Telecom expenses are increasing:

Although the per-minute prices for communications services are declining, the number of communications channels (wireless, Internet access, Web conferencing) is rapidly increasing. Not only are the channels increasing but the use of the channels is also, driven by the growing use of PDAs, texting, VoIP, video viewing, greater cell phone usage and other devices and services using connectivity.

Would your company benefit?

It is highly likely that your company would benefit. Eighty percent of Utility Audit Solutions audits result in cost savings. It is not hard to envision why, given that once such services are in place, their contracts are not reevaluated even as business processes evolve, departments are eliminated or technology changes consume more bandwidth (PDAs, video security, emails on cell phones, growth of video viewing, instant messaging, texting, and web conferencing).

Most organizations negotiate based on their current mix, seeking economies through pooled minutes and volume discounts for maintaining a certain number of lines. They miss the fact that when those conditions change later, the carrier contracts impose penalties like higher costs for excess usage.

Ninety percent of all billing errors favor the utility and not the customer. According to the Gartner Group, telecommunications invoices, on average, have a 7 to 12 percent margin of error.

Predictors of benefits:

Consider the two lists below. If your answer is positive to at least five of these twelve predictors, it is highly likely that an audit by Utility Audit Solutions would prove valuable.

You would save money from a communications audit if your number of:

Or, if your business has any of the following characteristics:

Can you do the telecom audit?

Unlikely, since a poor effort will miss valuable refunds and may cost more than the savings found.  Gartner finds that “Enterprises are challenged with the auditing of their telecommunications invoices (paper and electronic) and reconciling network inventories. The challenge is due to the lack of resources and staff understanding of telecommunication services terms and conditions and of billing formats. The result has been overpayments, stranded assets and the inability to effectively manage the telecom expenditures.”

An internally conducted audit is made more difficult by the lack of software to support such an extensive and exhaustive effort. And once purchased there are additional costs and delays for the training time and hardware required to use the software. Consider that a company of less than 200 employees can easily receive a stack of monthly communications invoice seven or more inches high.  Purchasing communications services begins with lengthy legal contracts and once provisioned, those services generate massive monthly invoices.

An audit is complicated by its detail and complexity - for example, the countless class-of-service data services and how they are rated and billed.  Gartner states
“At the same time, the number of enterprise network services bills, line items and elements within the line item have increased, thereby creating more auditing items. All of this does not equate to a lesser savings potential but rather extra diligence required in the invoice auditing process.”

What exactly is a Utility Audit Solutions telecom audit?

Our audits leverage the use of proprietary auditing software and skilled professionals - professionals with applicable telecom and financial skill sets enhanced by experience. Many even worked for telecom service providers.

We audit telecommunications invoices (paper, CD and electronic data interchange [EDI]) and customer service records (CSRs) for voice, data, long-distance, local and wireless services. Invoices are audited against predetermined criteria (for example, Universal Service Order Codes [USOCs], summary invoices and contract terms). This is not an easy process. For example, there may be one billing line item; however, within that charge, there are multiple elements such as dial tone, taxes, line maintenance, call features/functions, and so on.

Not only does Utility Audit Solutions review the bills to identify discrepancies, we also work with the telecommunication providers on your behalf to resolve errors and refund overpayments without tying up your time. At the beginning of an audit, clients sign a letter of agency that will allow the auditors to act on their behalf when interacting with the carriers. This enables Utility Audit Solutions to obtain records, resolve discrepancies and manage changes, among other benefits.

Is there a cost to delay?

Yes. There are statues of limitations as to how far back billing errors can be refunded from the service provider. This varies by state but usually is in the 3-5 years range. Every day delayed is a day that escapes being refunded.

Contact Utility Audit Solutions today to reduce your operating and telecom costs before more time, and money, slips away.

Being a non-profit, I consider myself a custodian of our finances, so it is imperative that I keep all expenses under control. Thanks to the staff at Utility Audit Solutions for uncovering savings on our utility invoices, which will allow us to put thousands of dollars back to work for the community. Chief Financial Officer, Non-Profit Organization, Greenville, SC