Telecom Invoice Management and Processing

The Cass Invoice Management solution facilitates the monthly management of telecom invoices for both fixed and mobile expenses. Processes include invoice receipt, invoice data entry, electronic loading, cost allocation, approval routing and automated interfacing of voucher and general ledger-related information specific to a customer’s needs for payment disbursement. Further, the solution systematically consolidates complex telecom billing information from multiple sources into a single repository for automated invoice processing, inventory and asset managementauditing and dispute management and enterprise reporting. The solution presents information real-time, in a common format, organized by business unit, geographic location, service and vendor.

The Telecom Invoice Management Checklist

Not sure if you already have strong process controls for telecom invoice management? If you are in charge of IT infrastructure and you want to assess how good your process is today, ask these questions:

  1. Do you receive invoices in paper or electronic format? Give yourself 10 points if you said electronic. Paper invoices require manual effort to scan the pages and enter the data into your system for vendor invoice management.  
  2. Rather than a generic invoice management system, do you use specialized telecom expense management software – either software used by your in-house team or software that your outside service provider uses? Give yourself 20 points if you said yes.
  3. How does data – from invoices, service orders and contracts – get into the TEM software or system? Give yourself 20 points if the system is completely accurate and maintained by your TEM service provider; give yourself 5 points if you do it yourself, and subtract 15 points if you can't get a clear answer.
  4. Do telecom costs get accurately charged to the appropriate accounts in your ERP/general ledger? Is this a simple, automated and trustworthy process? If so, give yourself 10 points.  
  5. Do you have both an automated process and a team of professionals that audit these invoices or does someone only take action if the amount varies from month to month? Give yourself 20 points if you audit invoices systematically.
  6. What amount of savings did you derive from last year's telecom invoice audits? How much in savings YTD? If you can't answer both of those questions with just a little research, subtract 20 points. 
  7. Is the invoice approval and routing process simple, easy and systematic, or does someone have to chase approvals? Give yourself 10 points if invoices can be approved easily via a Web portal or some other simple process.
  8. Are invoices paid electronically or via paper check? Does the Accounts Payable department bemoan the process or smile when they talk about it? Give yourself 10 points if the process is electronic and no one hates it. 
  9. If your team identifies a billing error, does that create more work to chase down the credit from the carrier, or does your TEM provider manage such reimbursements for you? Give yourself 10 points if your TEM service successfully manages these credits.
  10. Because of your strong process controls, do you have reliable accurate information about how much you spend on telecom, making it easy to bid out services and negotiate new contracts with suppliers? If the procurement team agrees that they get reliable data from this process, give yourself 20 points. 
  11. Can you easily report how much your organization spends on telecom services – voice, data, mobility, conferencing, etc.? Can you report these costs by location, by work group, by individual? If it takes less than a day to get this information, give yourself 5 points. Less than an hour, give yourself 10 points. If you can obtain all this data in minutes from one web portal, give yourself 20 points.
  12. Most organizations incur late fees, but they consider them negligible because these amounts are usually 1- 2% of their total telecom spend. Do you track late fee costs? Do you know if your late fee costs are more or less than the industry average? Give yourself 10 points if you track late fees and 20 points if your late fees are less than 1% of your total spend. 

If you didn't score at least 100 on the quiz above, your process can be improved, and with less effort than you might imagine. By working with Cass, you can ensure that you have strong controls, low costs and optimum visibility into your telecom costs. In other words, Cass clients score big!

Applying Best Telecom Invoice Audit Practices in EDI

The hallmark of Cass’ best-practice, telecom invoice management methodology - charge-level audits - only becomes feasible when invoices are received via EDI ANSI 811 format, which essentially provides 100% of the invoice documentation.

The Cass TEM platform receives over 85% of all invoices electronically. As part of ongoing operations, Cass will move as many invoices as possible to electronic delivery. All invoice data is displayed in a common format, regardless of the input method.

Converting paper to EDI means that, instead of receiving summary information, invoices can be analyzed at the most granular level possible – the charge level, which some carriers refer to as the Universal Service Order Code (USOC) level. Many other TEM methodologies:

   1. Depend on paper invoices as the primary source of data content
   2. Accept EDI ANSI 811 invoice files, but don’t use all the data content, or
   3. Use alternative EDI file formats that don’t contain all USOC detail

Enterprise Telecom Audit a Critical Component

A critical component of telecom invoice management is a an enterprise telecom audit process that systematically applies business logic against incoming invoices to look for billing errors. The Cass telecom expense management team reviews audit results and savings recommendations regularly with clients. Our team works alongside our clients in ensuring positive business results.

Secure & Timely Invoice Payment

Most Cass TEM customers select Cass to provide bill payment services, which streamlines the payment process and improves payment tracking. Cass Commercial Bank, a Federal Reserve member bank and subsidiary of Cass Information Systems, facilitates payment transactions for Cass TEM customers through the Automated Clearing House (ACH) network wherever possible. Cass confirms receipt of electronic payments, which greatly reduces vendor late payment claims. The Cass invoice payment engine flags remit addresses electronically if there is a change, ensuring payments are directed correctly. No other telecom expense management service provider offers this unique level of secure payment capabilities because no other TEM provider operates a bank subsidiary.

Find Out What Cass Clients Say About These Services

Cass serves many industry-leading organizations including Clorox, Kohls, Michelin, Nationwide Insurance, Staples, Sonoco and many others. See what these clients say about the value they derive by working with Cass.

TEM Vendor Selection

Telecom Expense Management Best Practices