Don’t Neglect Bill Payment in Telecom Expense Management

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TEM Telecom Bill Payment Alleviates Worries
Telecom and related technology is one of the largest items in most organizations’ budgets. Telecom Expense Management (TEM) has become a necessity for organizations seeking to reduce costs and improve processes.

Invoice management, automation of manual processes, audit and optimization, procurement tools, asset management, call accounting and wireless management are all good places to start. However, one of the most neglected areas is bill payment processing. Here are a couple of misconceptions:

1 – Accounting systems that are configured to prevent duplicate invoice numbers protects against duplicate payments. [True or False?]

False! The fact that an accounting system is configured to not allow for payments to duplicate invoice numbers does not prevent duplicate payments. First, processors in the Accounts Payable department often find ways to “trick” the system into accepting a duplicate invoice. Second, this control only works if the invoice number was entered correctly the first time. Often there are slight variations in the names entered in the system for telecom service providers’ that allow duplicate payments to be made.

2Telecom carriers return all duplicate and erroneous payments immediately. [True or False?]

Again, False! Few telecom carriers will voluntarily return any duplicate and erroneous payments that they receive! Telecom carriers process so many invoices, that it is common to see situations where checks clearly made out to competitors get processed…. Yes. AT&T will cash checks made out to Verizon, and Verizon cashes checks made out to AT&T. Sometimes these become those infamous credits the accounts payable identifies six months later. Other times, organizations just issue a new check to the carrier and the funds are lost forever.

Best Practice Considerations for Telecom Bill Payment

Detailed instructions for carriers regarding duplicate payments are a good start in applying best practices. Unfortunately, most organizations find they must log all payments and research errors when payments are not properly applied to invoices. For this reason, many organizations prefer to make separate payments for invoices.

Increasingly, firms are outsourcing this last step in managing carrier bills to their TEM providers. Bill payment may actually simplify things for the TEM solution providers. It helps them to close the loop on the last step in the payment process. Providers can also streamline their investigations into misapplied payments and other procedural errors made when carriers receive funds for payment of invoices.

Did you know that Comview provides optional Bill Payment as part of our Telecom Invoice Management services to ensure bills are processed accurately and on time?  That means less headaches for your organization!