When we look across our customer base, we can identify two very common similarities:
(1) Is that they typically have many locations and
(2) Is that they have recently been involved in M&A activity.
These two factors, amongst other complicating factors like ongoing employee turnover and systems/technology changes, generates tremendous complexity within the client’s communications network. This makes the need for centralized management and automation within the invoice management process clear.
Utilities by Location
Each location has gas, electricity, water, waste, and recycling invoices. These ongoing expenses are ever present alongside most corporate activity as of 2021. This daily reality collides with a myriad of disparate influences such as: regulated markets and deregulated markets, separate and unique vendor contracts, hazardous waste challenges, and an infinite array of carrier billing formats.
You add these factors along with the additional complexity of price fluctuation, hedging, and usage demand regulation – and one can quickly become overwhelmed with the management of utility expenses.
Utility Expense Management – It’s not TEM
Because the management of utilities is just as daunting and challenging as the management of telecom expenses, it is extremely important to manage this very proactively. Otherwise, organizations unnecessarily expose themselves to five-figure, potentially even six-figure over-payment and waste.
Many organizations rightly find themselves awakening to the fact that this needs to be attended to in addition to telecom expenses. While some of the processes are similar as with Telecom Expense Management, the expertise and market knowledge needed for utilities management is vastly different. Having resources that know the market and monitor the pricing is essential for any successful program.
When utility invoicing is received for a client, it is important to first benchmark the rates against those of the industry. It is a best practice to assess a client’s current state relative to where they ought to be in a more competitive and ideal state.
Reaching out to the market to renegotiate rates where necessary to receive rates more competitive and in line with current market conditions delivers real value for clients. It is key to remember that it is not enough that an invoice is billing “accurately” as per your contract; if the contract houses bad rates, then the audit only serves to confirm that you are overpaying because of bad rates.
Having a partner that is closely monitoring market pricing, and contract structure ensures that each client is receiving the best rates along with the requisite expertise on when to buy.
The value provided by a thorough benchmarking exercise becomes evident via market activity and prediction reports provided to clients; they can feel confident and assured that they are receiving the most competitive market rates available.
Systems Management & Billing Integrity
Storing contracted rates within the billing system is a must. It is the secure housing of the data, along with strong daily management processes, that ensures the accurate billing of client invoicing.
Upon accurate billing verification, it is very important that your billing system/process automatically allocates charges and executes vendor invoice payments. This methodology guards against late payments and subsequent late fee charges.
At Tellennium, our client teams can access their data in real time to view usage and spend analytics across the entire company profile. Users can quickly run reports and view spend against their budget.
Utility management is much more than just simply paying bills to keep the lights on. The benefits can be summed up in three primary ways: