This two part series on auditing telecommunications will focus on two internal audits that may reveal savings off the invoice bottom line: contract compliance and inventory audit. Both require some collaboration between the invoice reviewers and the technical group who actually understand the application of the items on the invoice. Sometimes they are the same person or group of people but many organizations are not lucky enough for this to be the case.

Auditing invoices for compliance with the contract can sometimes be tricky, to say the least. It is helpful to first identify an inventory of lines, locate those items on the invoices, and then to attempt to reference them against their respective contracts. But identifying the inventory in its entirety can be difficult. Circuits and lines get added willy-nilly over the years, end up on disparate invoices and people forget what they are for or where they are located. So how can one ever be confident that they understand one hundred percent of their telecom spend?
The key to inventory identification is triangulation. Just like on your favorite crime show where the good guys find the bad guy by calculating the distance of his cell phone from three different towers to figure out his location, you can employ a similar strategy to understanding your telecommunications spend. Though it is a bit of a misnomer in this case, because we have more than three data sources to work with, the idea remains the same. To wrap up this part of the series, you should see what information you can pull together from a variety of resources and documents in order to identify a complete inventory.
  • Contracts
  • Invoices
  • Carrier Customer Service Records (CSRs)
  • Internal records of circuits, lines, trunks, etc.
  • Visual tour of telecom closet and the facility
  • Accounts payable records of telecommunications category (and related) spend as well as spend by vendor
  • Voice and data networks and diagrams
  • Interviews of Telecom and IT personnel, help desk employees, administrators and end users

In my next post, I'll expound on how to use this information to your advantage in order to identify opportunities and how to capitalize on them to achieve sustainable savings on telecommunications.
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David Pastore

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