How to Choose the Best Freight Invoice Processing and Audit Partner
Recent years have seen a dramatic increase in the practice of outsourcing as companies look for ways to reduce overhead without compromising on quality, speed, and other essential qualities that lead to success in the business world.
This trend has emerged as a very popular one in the freight industry, where a majority of freight invoice processing and freight invoice auditing tasks are no longer performed in-house. These processes are now outsourced to third-party logistics companies that provide invoice processing, data capture services, freight bill auditing services, and much more.
Transportation and shipping companies stand to see many benefits when they outsource freight auditing and invoice processing since the top outsourcing companies have deployed innovative software technology to cut costs, increase speeds and improve accuracy. This brings major benefits to a company, that chooses to outsource, bottom line, especially when you consider that freight bill audits and invoice processing account for expensive in-house resources.
Choosing the Right Freight Auditing and Freight Invoice Processing Company as an Outsourcing Partner
When you examine this equation, it is clear that outsourcing freight invoice processing is a beneficial and cost-effective solution for companies in the transportation or shipping space. A freight bill processing outsourcing partner can deliver accuracy, speed, and efficiency in a manner that far exceeds what can typically be achieved in-house. And the costs are typically far lower than what you would spend to build out your company’s in-house resources and infrastructure, in addition to implementing the appropriate oversight in an attempt to maintain quality.
But how do you choose the best freight invoice processing and audit partner to handle these mission-critical tasks? Consider the following points as you weigh the possibilities.
- Understand the technology trends and who is implementing them. Take the time to research what companies have the best technology and software at their disposal because these service providers hold the potential to bring the greatest benefit and value to their clients. By researching the latest technology trends in 3PL invoice processing, you will be better positioned to identify the partner that will most benefit your company, its invoices, and your bottom line. This will also give you the ability to engage with prospective service providers on an informed and intelligent level when you discuss their processes, software, and technology. The best prospective freight invoice processing and audit partners will be happy to take part in a discussion about their tech and the capabilities that this tech affords them.
- Shortlist companies that have technology and certifications. Certifications provide an added sense of confidence for you as a client and it shows that the freight invoice processing company maintains a commitment to professionalism and excellence. Certifications also show that a potential outsourcing partner has been independently audited by outside governing bodies to ensure that you will receive the service and output you are promised. The number 1 certification you should ensure a prospective outsourcing partner has is an SOC II. This certification shows that they have been independently reviewed for Data Treatment, process, and methodology by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).
- Interview prospective freight invoice processing companies. It is important that you do not select the first company that you encounter. Take some time to explore the possibilities because this is the only way you will find the ideal outsourcing partner for your 3PL company and its needs. Remember to ask lots of questions too, with plenty of hypotheticals so you can get a good feel for how the company would handle various challenges or obstacles. Performing everyday freight invoice processing and auditing is the easy part; it’s how they overcome challenges that can make the difference between a good partner and a great one.
- Provide an accurate needs assessment and allow them to provide a plan that details quality, turnaround, and cost. This plan will give you a solid idea of what it would be like to work with a specific freight bill processing service provider. It also provides you with information that will allow you to perform an apples-to-apples comparison if you’re considering multiple companies as a prospective 3PL outsourcing partner.
- Ask for proof of concept for proprietary 3PL software systems. Many companies in the freight invoice processing service providers use proprietary software systems and other technology that has been custom developed to suit their service offerings scope and their clients’ needs. But it can be a bit nerve-wracking to work with a company that claims to achieve great things, yet they are using technology that you’ve never encountered before. Don’t be afraid to ask for proof of concept and evidence that both their processes and technology work as promised and that they can deliver the results that will meet your needs. This proof of concept should be in the form of a real-world demonstration.
- Ensure your SLA needs are heard and will be met by the service provider. Service-level agreements in the shipping and logistics industry can be very detailed and comprehensive. While all is well and good on paper, a service provider may not always deliver. For this reason, it is important that you are familiar with all aspects of the SLA and that all your needs will be met. If something has been omitted, you must bring attention to this as soon as possible in the engagement.
With these tips in mind, you will be well-positioned to choose the best freight invoice processing and audit partner for your company and its bottom line.
At iTech, we use innovative freight invoice processing and auditing software, designed to bring maximum benefit to our clients when it comes to speed, accuracy, and overall efficiency. We invite you to reach out to discuss your freight invoice and audit needs and we’ll tell you more about what iTech can do to benefit your bottom line with today’s most advanced 3PL solutions.