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The Cost of Ignoring Billing Errors

By 24th June 2013No Comments

“Millions of families are being left up to £400 out of pocket due to errors in calculating their household bills” (Sky News). Suppliers billing mistakes totalled £6.7 billion in 2012. And that’s just the consumer market.

You won’t be surprised to learn that the UK business world suffers from the same malaise. At Auditel, we routinely unearth billing errors to the value of several thousands of pounds per client. A rough estimate is that 25%-30% of invoices that we review and analyse are incorrect.

There’s a good chance that your business is due a substantial rebate from one or more of its suppliers. But how will you ever know, unless you know where to look? By outsourcing the onerous task of purchase invoice analysis to experts who have the knowledge, skill and resource to devote to unearthing these errors and obtaining refunds, businesses can be assured that they are paying no more than they should for their essential services.

As an example, I’m currently working with a financially astute client who, nevertheless, for nearly three years, has been missing out on a 2.5% discount on water bills, amounting to nearly £3,000. Further negotiations may see this amount increase substantially.

So why do so many businesses pay more than they should?

Most often it’s down to two factors. Firstly, many businesses lack the time, resource and analytical tools to fully understand how their bills are calculated. Suppliers don’t always help matters. Although the situation is perhaps improving, some invoices are still infuriatingly difficult to interpret. The process of analysing and subsequently obtaining refunds can be lengthy, which also tends to push it down the priority list of business owners and finance teams.

Secondly, many organisations lack the expertise to complete a comprehensive and accurate review of their purchase invoices. Without specialist knowledge, it can be challenging to identify which charges should and shouldn’t appear on an invoice and whether correct unit rates and VAT rates have been applied. Tariffs are still notoriously complex, despite industry attempts to move towards simplification.

Remember too, that most suppliers don’t proactively identify and correct billing errors. Rightly or wrongly, the onus is on businesses – and their consultants – to verify that they’re paying the correct amount. Are you ignoring billing errors? Isn’t it time for your business to move this to the top of its agenda?

Contact me today to take the next step. For a few minutes of your time, it could be one of the wisest investments that you make in your business.