10 Tips: Choosing a Freight Bill Audit and Payment Provider
When it’s time to select a freight audit and payment provider, evaluate the services and solutions each prospective company offers against what your company needs. Here are 10 capabilities to consider.
1. Consider if the provider has full-time employees outside of North America. If you do business globally, choosing a freight audit and payment provider with global employees can help streamline transactions. Providers with full-time staff around the world can offer multilingual support. A worldwide presence also demonstrates international business is an important part of their operations.
2. Gain transparency with digital images of EDI transactions. EDI transaction imaging capabilities securely document freight expenditures and ensure data is stored securely and is easily accessible. Virtual images also provide transparency throughout the transaction process.
3. Meet country-specific compliance needs. International payments can involve navigating different regional compliance requirements. Global trade demands certain financial transactions to be conducted through local bank accounts and in specific currencies. Meeting the requirements of each region is essential to the completion of payments.
4. Explore online exception management. Online exception management solutions allow shippers and transportation providers to collaborate on invoices requiring additional information or approval for payment—making sure payments are delivered quickly, while ensuring transparency for all parties involved.
5. Increase accuracy with data normalization and cleansing. Data normalization requires that all freight invoices are provided in an electronic format so no manual entry is needed and data can be standardized for accuracy. Data cleansing ensures all invoice information is accurate and up-to-date before entering the payment processing cycle.
6. Leverage a reporting and analytics solution. Choose a freight audit and payment provider that can accurately and efficiently identify freight billing discrepancies, as well as monitor key performance indicators of your carrier partner’s service. Having access to detailed analytics allows for transparency when evaluating costs associated with a carrier invoice and gauging the effectiveness of transportation service-level agreements. A thorough reporting function provides opportunities to gain insights into shipping trends and adjust operations.
7. Prioritize and evaluate experience. With the diverse array of freight audit and payment providers available, it is important to choose one that best aligns with your business needs. When assessing their level of experience, look for case studies, awards, and reviews from past and current customers.
8. Determine if the provider can auto-rate all transportation modes. Auto-rating across all transportation modes helps streamline billing processes and ensures accurate shipment pricing. This functionality is especially helpful for shippers that use multiple transportation providers or manage shipments of many sizes.
9. Automate your invoice processing business rules. Determine if your prospective freight bill audit and payment provider has an automated system that recognizes your unique internal invoice processing business rules. Being able to automate these rules ensures they are always triggered and frees up your time to handle other tasks. This feature can help ensure data accuracy and reliability.
10. Look beyond costs. Beware the economical provider. Consider all of the options available to you before deciding on a freight bill audit and payment provider. It can be tempting to pick the least-expensive option, but be wary. All providers are different, so research their reputation and understand exactly what services they offer when making your decision.