Conducting a technology-enabled comprehensive statement audit is a top best practice.
Nowadays, large enterprises have to deal with millions of financial transactions and thousands of vendors every year. At the same, both the business environment and structure of transaction terms are changing at unprecedented speeds.
You have to keep track of countless mergers, consolidations, acquisitions, centralizations, and new system improvements. Achieving 100% payment accuracy and efficiency seems more like a frustrating science-fiction scenario than an essential and clear business requirement. Unfortunately, we’ve only scratched the surface of more severe and complex problems.
The inevitable complex character of modern purchasing environments, combined with the overwhelming transaction volumes and ever-changing price structures, can only lead to one or more of the following:
- Expensive accounting errors
- Lost and problematic discounts
- Improper, late, and inadequate pricing
Even if you manage to achieve the “optimal” 99.9% payment accuracy, when you apply it to the significant enterprise business where billions of dollars are being spent yearly, you’ll end up with millions of dollars lost in transition, sitting on your suppliers’ AR ledgers.
Additional Problematic Areas
As you go deeper into the heart of the financial sea of problems, you realize that lost dollars feel can hide in the following areas:
- Problematic allowances, rebates, and pricing
- Pending contract compliances
- Pricing detail includes purchase information
- Products related to and included in the family
- Point of sale and purchase data in conjunction
- Questionable timing of promotions and deals
This list can go on and on, mainly when you include unavoidable processing errors, multiple payments associated with a single invoice, vendor master data errors, and miss-applied credits. You are walking through a minefield of financial troubles, where you can make so many wrong moves and only very few of the right ones.
Comprehensive Statement Auditing can help.
Without any exaggeration, we can say that only a technology-enabled comprehensive statement audit allows you to identify and eliminate many of these financial anomalies.
To make an impact, you will need the capability to communicate with your entire supplier population continually and on-demand. Only with the aid of technology can you hope to achieve compliance.
Also, if you want to build an investigative process, you will need to include a tremendous amount of disparate, unstructured data. This data will come from both your internal business systems as well as from your suppliers’ systems.
The Comprehensive Statement Audit Process Elements
First, you must consider the arduous steps related to managing the supplier communications and the documents that you collect
1) Data requests
2) Supplier document collection
3) Client Spend file collection and digitization
4) Digitizing and imaging of disparate content
5) Logical storage of all the information
Then once the information is collected, you must analyze it to identify anomalies.
6) Run the proprietary algorithms.
7) Display content for the auditors to perform the human review.
Once completed, you will need to validate and package any found recoveries.
All of which need to be delivered to your clients in a clean, easy-to-use web interface.
8) Package all relevant supporting.
9) Communicate the documentation to the supplier.
10) Collect the supplier sign-off online items.
From there, you will need to connect it all together on an easy-to-use web interface where all parties can receive the data and interact with it collaboratively. This interface needs to inform the clients not only about the recovery line items but also offer detailed root cause information as well.
11) Present the recoveries and the reports to the clients in a real-time online interface
The final step may just be the most important. You take the learnings from the 11 steps above and feed them back to the AI decision framework engine to optimize the process going forward. This is where all the technology systems come together.
12) Feed the results back into the AI Decision framework engine to schedule “Next Steps” for each and every supplier based on the hundreds of points of data collected.
When all of that is understood, you can see why the old traditional Statements audits can no longer suffice
Albert Einstein defined insanity as an unreasonable repetition of the same thing, with an optimistic expectation of achieving different results. We still can’t tell for sure that this was his exact famous quote, but we can describe a business suicide as a blind faith that your company’s dollars will recover miraculously by themselves.
Without conducting a comprehensive statement audit, you can only expect your complex transactions and other financial anomalies to multiply progressively and mercilessly based on the ever-growing number of your company’s suppliers and purchasing transactions.