Busy contractors. Busy Facilities Managers. A lack of process and automation. It’s a fatal combination that leads to significant revenue loss from invoicing mistakes. But it doesn’t have to be like this. With the right CAFM you can control the accuracy of contractor reporting and invoicing in real time.
Invoicing mistakes are a persistent problem in FM and they’re not always being picked up by accounts. One study recorded that 25% of invoicing errors pass unnoticed through the accounts payable system of a typical business. Another study found 1% of all invoices raised in surveyed companies were, in fact, duplicated - and paid.
When simple errors can account for thousands on the bottom line, it’s no wonder cost recovery and invoice auditing services are such big business. And while investigations like these can help detect human error and potential malpractice, clawing back valuable funds - if you can prevent this happening in the first place, that will be an even bigger win.
And that’s how a CAFM platform can help.
5 ways a CAFM can help with real-time cost and invoice auditing
1. Going mobile
Contractors working on mobile and without the tools to record their hours effectively are prone to making mistakes. That’s understandable. Ensuring you give your contractors a mobile friendly platform to appropriately record their hours and submit invoices when they’re done will help you instantly improve the accuracy of their submissions. It’ll also incentivise your partners to use your systems as they can get paid more quickly and with less queries arising.
2. Setting spend limits:
Ensure you have the ability to set spend limits per work order. You need to control costs to avoid them spiraling out of control. It helps to keep within budgets, but each job is different and one size fits all spending caps can soon stop your business in its tracks. Your system needs flexibility, but it still needs to impose controls and be strict enough to trigger warnings with the FM team to prevent overspending.
3. Controlling accruals in real time
Accruals are inevitable. Unexpected challenges crop up with jobs all the time, with more money and effort needing to be spent on a fix than intended. You don’t want your contractors to present you with unsanctioned spending at the end of a job. But without a central communication tool, work can just stop as they phone round for permissions and give complex explanations by email or text. At the end of the day, you may have lost time on your fix, and you can be left with no audit trail to justify your decision making.
The right CAFM system will use a single platform to:
- Trigger contractors to request spend uplifts for additional time and spend
- Support requests with video/ images uploaded straight from the site
- Allow FMs to accept requests at the touch of a button
- Help FM team manage communications in a single thread
- Keep an audit trail of requests for future checks
4. Auto-billing from agreed rate cards
When you’re dealing with multiple suppliers all on different rates, it can be hard to keep track of each individual agreement and ensure you’re being billed appropriately as invoices pour in. Choosing the right CAFM will let you set up agreed rate cards for each contractor and then ensure they can only bill against those rates. Recording their times in the CAFM platform will let them auto-bill for callouts and labour when the job is complete and give you complete confidence that it’s all been done on the right terms.
5. Automate cost auditing
There will always be discrepancies in billing, and they can be difficult for busy teams to spot. The right CAFM will use AI to sweep the system for typical billing issues that humans often miss.
- Duplicate call out fees
- Manual rate overrides
- Hours recorded/hours invoiced mismatches
Your CAFM should give you the tools to request resubmissions of queried cost lines as required, ensuring you keep the billing workflow moving through the system and expediting accurate payments.
In one study, 31 working days per year were spent by businesses correcting billing mistakes and auditing invoices. If your FM team can control the accuracy of your contractors’ submissions from the beginning, audit your costs rapidly and approve with confidence then you’ll face less expense and corrective admin later on.
The trick is to choose the CAFM tools that make your suppliers’ lives easier, while increasing the visibility and control you have over the way they work.