Apples to Apples

Just had to write quick about this one thing….. I’ll be quick. Promise.

Telecom managers out there? Please take the time to review your vendor remit addresses.    And please take the time to issue one check per account.   Meaning, even though you may have 5 or 50 account invoices from a single vendor, and you’re tempted to pay for all those accounts with one check, don’t do it! Cut one check for each individual invoice, and I’ll tell you why…

Today I spent hours on the phone with a vendor – we’ll call them “AT&T” for this purpose – straightening out a huge mess.  Valicom recently took over bill payment for a client, so I pulled some reports and noticed that several invoice payments appeared to be missing.

I called the client and asked if they had paid these invoices before Valicom took over.   “Yes, Paid!” said my client, “Let me send you a copy of the cleared check.”   Check. Singular. Uh oh.

I knew right away what had probably happened, so I called the vendor to confirm my suspicions…  Sure enough, I was right.    “AT&T” applied the entire payment to the first account number, leaving off payment of 30 other accounts.  The result was a swarm of disconnection notices, late payment fees,  interest on late payment fees and a very large credit resting on the overpaid account. One would think common sense would prevail in situations like this, but no.

One would also think it very easy to correct this misbilling.   Also not so.    Not only did I spend hours talking to the good folks at the vendor, but I’ll have to track every payment for awhile looking for the billing to be corrected, late payments to be refunded and make sure the creditis reversed.  So it will take at least one billing cycle for this all to be working properly again, maybe longer.

I’m guessing if you’re reading this post, you’re probably not in your company’s A/P department. Maybe you’re in IT/Telecom and would be working with someone in your billing department on a fiasco like this. That means double the labor to find a resolution, and then the additional task of monitoring the situation for over a month. Probably not the best use of your time!

So make sure your Telecom Expense Reduction Analysts take the time to carefully audit each and every telecom invoice – to maximize your expense reduction – and then cut the checks ONE per invoice.    The goal is to match Apples to Apples so the dollar amounts add up….  and the account numbers match, and the payments get applied right, etc etc etc…   Otherwise, next time, this might be YOUR mess….

Pssst –  Need a good tool to help you manage your telecom expenses and telecom invoice payments?  Try out Clearview…  Even if you’re doing it in-house, at least be sure you’re doing it right!