Auditing Tips

How to select a qualified telecommunication auditor

Previously we discussed the topic, "Should you use a qualified telecommunication auditor?".

If your answer is yes, this article should assist in your selection process. The importance of not making a hasty decision is fourfold.

  1. Your time is valuable, so you don't want an inexperienced auditor wasting precious days, weeks, or months.


  2. Your telecommunication services are vital, so you don't want a careless auditor disconnecting something that is in use.


  3. Your costs are considerable, so you don't want a lazy auditor that won't find everything.


  4. Your relationships with your vendors are important, so you don't want an auditor representing you in a negative way.

The opposites of the four bold words are Experienced, Careful, Motivated and Professional. These are the four traits to look for.

How do you determine which auditor has these traits? The following might help.

Determining the experience of an auditor is easy. Numbers of years in service, total monies recovered, customer references and previous history in telecommunication are all measures that can be compared. There is no hard and fast rule that says only hire auditors that used to work at any of the original Bell Companies or have at least 1 million dollars recovered. But if you compare the above measures between different auditors, you should be able to determine who the more experienced ones are.

Carefulness is a little harder to determine. But asking the auditor how an unknown line is dealt with could prove valuable. Just because a line rings no answer doesn't mean it isn't being used. It could be connected to an alarm, a dial backup or a credit card reader. Simply disconnecting the line because it isn't answered is careless.

You would rather have the auditor find the line on your local telephone company demarcation jack. You would then hope the auditor traces it through the inside wiring of your building to see which wall jack the line connects to. If the line is impossible to trace, it can be temporarily disconnected in such a way that you have control of reconnecting it. Before temporarily disconnecting it, the auditor should check with the local telephone company to see if any information exists that indicates who ordered the line and when. The auditor should also offer to run a traffic study to see if there is any usage on that line.

Doing all of the above is being careful. The responses you get when the potential auditors are asked about lines that ring no answer could prove very useful.

Motivation or laziness is a trait that could turn up through your inquiries. We are often asked to reduce our contingency fee. We don't recommend doing this because it could reduce the incentive to uncover everything. Any auditor that readily agrees to reduce their contingency amount should be avoided. They may be agreeing to do this because they are only looking for the obvious things anyway. The more difficult task of tracing unknown lines and circuits as discussed previously, could be abbreviated or overlooked altogether. When we are asked to reduce our fee, we usually respond by describing our procedures. For example, we have qualified technicians trace all unknown lines and circuits at no cost to the customer. We need the 50% fee to justify this.

Professionalism is best displayed by customer references. We like to provide the savings and refund amounts with our references. Calling the references and asking how the auditor handled the refunds is a good way to determine professionalism. Did the auditor discuss the justification for the refund with the previous customer? If not, the auditor could be someone who would go after a refund that just isn't deserving and that could jeopardize the relationship between you and your vendors.

In summary, try to ask questions to the potential auditors that will help you determine the levels of experience, care, motivation and professionalism that exists in the auditing company representatives. We know there are good ones out there besides PhoneSense.

One last important aspect of your hiring process is to make sure you don't hire a long distance salesperson in auditor's clothing. Some people who may contact you as auditors are motivated by the potential contract you might sign for new local and/or long distance service. These people will get commission on your usage. This is acceptable as long as you get the audit you want first and have it done by someone capable.

Good Luck!

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PhoneSense
10330 Lake Rd, Ste W
Houston, TX 77070
713-896-8896 or 800-324-6060
Fax 713-896-6778