Should you use a qualified telecommunication auditor?
I know what youíre thinking, "they are auditors, of course they are going to say yes." Though this isnít meant to be a trick question, our answer is, "sometimes." Let us explain.
First of all, look at the size and complexity of your companyís telecommunication bills. If you get one bill from a local service provider (lsp) and one bill from a long distance provider (ldp), and the total of the two bills is under $1,000, there is a good chance that an outside audit will not be any more helpful than your own efforts. You can call the lsp and get a breakdown of the fixed monthly cost, then verify that you have, and want, everything billed. You can also review the long distance and verify your cost per minutes are what were promised, and are in line with current rates.
If there are no charges you donít understand, if you are aware of every line being billed, if you have reviewed your long distance for potential slamming and cramming (weíll talk about these in another tip) and if you have built a spreadsheet of all this data; then we would say no, you do not need an outside auditor.
So, when would you need an outside telecommunication auditor? If your company gets multiple bills and has multiple locations, it may be too time consuming for you to review every one of these bills. This alone makes you an excellent candidate for an outside audit.
If you are not sure what every line is connected to, or if you are billed for a number of complex items like Circuits, Trunks, ISDN, etc., you are an excellent candidate for an audit. Even the less complicated bills may have one item that is not easily understood. This alone may produce a large refund and therefore makes you an audit candidate. Have you ever called your lsp two or three different times and were given two or three different answers?
If your ldp sends bills without summary pages and it is difficult to determine what your costs per minute are, you are an excellent candidate for an audit. If you are unsure what the average long distance rates are these days or if your long distance bill has monthly charges, you should definitely hire an outside auditor. Did you know that not all companies bill the two new FCC approved surcharges the same? Did you also know that in most states, sales tax should not be billed on certain long distance calls?
Despite being in the auditing business since 1987, we still see things we have never seen before. There are many new services, and new companies offering these services, arriving every day. Why not hire a company that is "vendor-neutral" to help decipher bills, contracts and new proposals? If the fees are on a contingency, you have nothing to lose.
Next: How to choose an auditor