A Hole in the Company’s Pocket: The Challenge of Auditing Freight Invoices—and What It Really Costs

Bad math. Duplicate invoices. Agreed-upon discounts lost in the shuffle. There’s a lot that can go wrong with freight invoicing when a company isn’t paying attention.

Unfortunately, it’s hard to catch every little slip-up when there’s a whole business to run. But when it comes to a company’s logistics operations, those little slip ups can add up to big problem—and a substantial dent in the bottom line.

That’s why freight invoice auditing is essential. It’s also a complex and time-consuming process that not enough companies have mastered. But without an efficient and cost-effective auditing process, it’s impossible to keep costs down and remain best in class.

Why is freight auditing so complicated?

Shipping rates are rarely stable things. A company’s shipping needs may change over time, and they may drop and add carriers as demand dictates. Combined with factors outside a company’s control, like rising fuel prices and tariffs, it can be hard to keep track of what they’re paying when.

Adding to the complexity is the tendency for different carriers to invoice in different formats. To the untrained eye, this can make auditing virtually incomprehensible.

Auditing is a specialized skill; it’s not something that can just be dropped on the intern’s plate. To make sure that every invoice is accurate, staff need to be diligent, and a close attention to detail is vital. The company also needs to ensure that bills of lading and carrier contracts are properly stored and easily accessible in order for staff to quickly compare invoices with terms to pinpoint errors.

But manual auditing is immensely time consuming—and the window to prove an error and file a claim can be incredibly short. So companies let auditing slide and commit to swallowing the costs of any errors. After all, how expensive can they really be?

What’s the harm in a few freight invoicing errors?

Let’s say a company processes ten freight invoices a day. Every day, one of those invoices is inaccurate, costing the company an average of $5. Over the course of one year, those tiny discrepancies cost the company almost $2,000.

Within five years, the company’s profits have been slashed by nearly $10,000. That’s $10,000 that could have been reclaimed with relative ease—if the errors had been spotted and the claims processed efficiently.

It’s death by a thousand cuts. And if the rare duplicate invoice is factored in, along with the occasional invoice billed to the wrong party entirely (it happens), that price tag just keeps climbing.

Don’t grin and bear it. Catch it and claim.

Mistakes happen. But with the right technology, companies can embrace auditing and put money back in the bottom line—without the hassle.

With a powerful suite of freight audit and payment (FAP) tools like those offered by CTSI-Global, it’s easy to audit each and every invoice and rapidly process claims. If these tools are integrated with a transportation management system (TMS), tracking and data collection are built-in. This enables companies to more accurately forecast their future spend, compare what they’re paying, and find avenues to save.

Don’t leave money on the table. Grow your margins and take the weight off your staff’s shoulders with leading freight audit and payment services from CTSI-Global.

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