5 challenges in your telecom expense audit

Running a telecom expense audit has 5 key challenges to overcome

The workplace is constantly evolving. Companies are investing heavily in mobile assets and technologies to adapt to the changing environment. 

This means telecommunication expenses are now a major part of doing business. As a finance professional, you have the responsibility of not only tracking all telecom-related expenses, but also delivering ongoing process improvements and cost savings for the company. 

Conducting a telecom expense audit can deliver value, but it has its challenges. It is a massive and sometimes painful process but if done properly, the audit can help you optimise assets, review bills and identify areas where you can reduce expenses or improve process efficiencies. 

In this post, we will highlight some of the challenges in doing a telecom audit and how you can overcome them to deliver optimum performance from your mobile services

What is a telecom expense audit?

A telecom expense audit is a process that helps you gain visibility into your full telecom environment. It is much bigger and a lot more complex than just reviewing the line items detailed on your monthly invoices. The audit goes beyond your phone bills and investigates all other expenses relating to your telecom network, hardware (and software), usage, and activities. 

When you implement a telecom expense audit, the process can help: 

  • Monitor ongoing expenses on assets and services 
  • Create a register and inventory of assets 
  • Track under or over-utilised assets 
  • Identify areas of inefficiency and overspending 
  • Consolidate services, resources and billings, and 
  • Recommend new technologies to improve the process.   

Challenges in auditing telecom expenses

 While a telecom expense audit provides numerous benefits to the company, it is a huge undertaking for your finance team. The work and processes involved in performing the audit can be extensive, time-consuming and require a significant amount of manual labour. 

To help avoid them, we have identified some of the major challenges you may encounter on your next telecom audit. 

1. Lack of visibility

One of the main goals for doing an audit is to have greater visibility across your telecom environment. However, depending on the size of your business operations, this environment can be very confusing and complex. You need to keep track of all devices, equipment, networks, plus fixed and mobile infrastructure. You also need to manage departmental and individual activities, including data usage and software or mobile app subscriptions. 

It’s hard to conduct a full audit if you’re not sure where all the assets are – how they’re being used and who is responsible for them. It takes time and a lot of hard work to monitor every telecom asset or service across all the teams in your organisation. 

The initial telecom audit is usually the most difficult. But once you build a register and inventory of assets, it becomes a lot easier to perform regular audits and be on top of everything that’s happening in your telecom ecosystem. 

2. Massive, time-consuming and labour-intensive task

A telecom expense audit is a mammoth task for any finance and IT team. 

It requires a lot of time, manpower and resources – to go through line items on individual invoices, track specific assets, and record data manually on extensive excel spreadsheets. And if you are auditing multiple assets across different teams in several locations, the task becomes so much more complex and takes a lot longer to complete. Plus, it opens the door for more human error and inaccuracies in recording all the data. 

One solution is for companies to establish regular “hygiene” processes to keep data accurate and up-to-date. Replacing giant audits with smaller, more regular tasks, means that when you do have to do an audit, it’s much easier and faster.

3. No software to automate tasks

As mentioned, the audit can be a very manual process. Data can come from numerous sources: 

  • Reviewing bills line-by-line  
  • Documenting errors and overcharges  
  • Tracking devices
  • Listing down services used 
  • Matching fees with agreed contract rates 

…and more.  

All this information is then recorded manually on Excel spreadsheets. But because Excel cannot link with other systems or programs, the responsibility falls on individual teams to physically manage  and update inventory records, update expenses and monitor service changes and usage. Team members also need to coordinate with other departments within the organisation to report, share, and consolidate data. 

Without a software or platform to automate tasks, the telecom audit puts a lot of pressure on individual staff members and teams to record data with 100% accuracy – making the process nearly impossible to complete. 

4. No clear action on results

So, your team has worked hard and spent weeks gathering, recording, and analysing all the data relating to the company’s telecom costs. Your team has done the impossible and completed the telecom expense audit! 

What happens now? How do you collate and report on the results? Who needs to take action? One major challenge in doing a telecom audit is the lack of clarity and guidelines on what to do once the audit is finished. Everyone seems to be focused on the tasks involved in the process that nobody really knows what to do with the results. 

Completing the audit is just the first step in the project. The results need to be shared, reported and distributed across the teams involved – IT, procurement, accounts payable, financial planning, budgeting and of course, senior management. This way, the results can be actioned by each team to make the necessary changes, improve processes and realise the cost savings. 

5. Lack of internal expertise

Let’s face it. Many internal teams lack the experience and expertise to deal with the complexities of telecommunications and mobile technologies. This is one of the reasons why telecom audits take longer and become confusing and stressful for the individuals doing it. 

Have you considered outsourcing your telecom managed service partner to assist? They can provide the necessary resources to track and manage all your telecom expenses. And because they are telecom specialists, they know what to look for and require less time to complete the tasks. Plus, with their years of experience, these providers can deliver best practice knowledge and expertise to optimise your mobile assets and services on a regular basis. 

Many Managed Service Providers and Organisations use an audit opportunity to implement a change in business process with the introduction of new platforms like Bluewater. Bluewater is a TEM and lifecycle management platform that provides all the data and insights you need in a single, centralised location. It streamlines the review process and establishes a new platform-based approach to manage workflows, assets and expenses on an ongoing basis, including improvements such as: 

  • Automate manual tasks, processes and workflows 
  • Consolidate records and data across teams and departments 
  • Digitise manual tracking of assets and services 
  • Analyse expenses and usage easily 
  • Implement seamless user and cost-based reporting 
  • Keep your inventory accurately up-to-date, visible and manageable for the future. 

 Implementing a platform like Bluewater in business streamlines the time and resource to do future periodic audits, and in many cases eliminates the need as you will have the inbuilt controls in your day-to-day telecom management. 

More articles

Ready to get started?

Find out how Bluewater can help you save time and money to achieve a positive ROI.