Why First Pass Accurate Processing Is Your Best Rate Audit Tool
The logistics industry includes multiple factors in the final invoicing and payment between shipper and carrier. The results of an audit are the tools used to evaluate the reliability of the freight invoicing process and the integrity of contractual obligations.
It all starts with quality freight invoice processing. Your best pre-audit tools are the processes you have in place to correctly capture the pertinent information from a freight invoice the first time. This will make auditing less time-consuming and reduce the time for accurate payments.
The rate audit process that follows is always necessary. While the process is less expensive than the mistakes that could occur, it is more costly than the initial capture of invoice and BOL information. So, ensuring both are in place will provide the greatest return on investment.
The Fundamentals of Freight Invoice Processing.
Freight Invoice processing can be time-consuming because of the detail that must be captured from carrier invoices and bills of lading. Some of these include:
Invoice number, PRO number, and other tracking data
Bill of Lading identification code or number
Freight load description
Freight weight, quantity, and size
Origin and destination information
Transport methods and transfer information
Delivery date and instructions
Freight transport costs
Fees and accessorial
The information contained in a freight invoice is the same as in their attached Bills of Lading (BOLs), which are always the more official and accurate documents. This is why, during the initial capture process, all invoice data must be verified from the BOLs or captured directly from them before invoices even reach the point of audit. This will ensure most inaccuracies are caught before they even reach the point of the more expensive and time-consuming audit process. If freight invoice data is accurate, then rate auditors can simply check contract details to ensure correct discounting is applied.
Automation for Freight Invoice Processing
Machine Learning (ML) is the most highly efficient automation technology that allows businesses to process freight bills quickly, accurately, and with minimal human intervention. While it is possible to spend the time and money on the infrastructure to put ML in place within any organization, it’s much more scalable, cost-effective, and accurate when using an outsourcer whose entire job is to ensure ML is optimized for freight invoices. The benefits of Machine Learning are:
- Elimination of human error during the capture process
- Much faster turnaround times
- A lower cost of processing that’s easily scalable and predictable
The relationship between invoice processing and rate auditing is symbiotic. The goal for your rate audit initiatives should be greater efficiency through error reduction during the first pass capture of invoice and BOL information. Minimizing initial freight invoice mistakes means:
Bad invoices can be corrected without going through a more expensive audit process.
Less time spent auditing
Carriers get paid more quickly and avoid under-billing
Shippers avoiding over-paying
This should be done using processes that give you the best combination of quality, turnaround time, and cost. Today, that is AI automation using Machine Learning through an outsourced partner with deep experience.
At iTech Data Services, we specialize in providing outsourced freight invoice processing and audit services that improve profitability while reducing risk. We invite you to contact the iTech team to discuss your freight invoice processing or audit needs.