Are You Doing “Profit Recovery” All Wrong?

Written By: David Hewitt, RVP of Sales

As of six years ago, we had 64 clients and nearly every one of them (over 90%) was doing a traditional recovery audit.  Meaning, we were performing a review on our client’s historical AP data.  Typically, we would go back 1, 2, or even 3 years and review aged data.  On average, in a traditional audit, we identified and recaptured .084% in dollar recoveries.  That means for every $1B that our client spent in a year, we validated and returned to them $840,000.  Not bad by traditional standards – and well ahead of our competitors at the time.

Unfortunately, in that model, our work was always at least a year old.  So, if we identified a problem or an unfortunate trend, it had already been left to linger for months – or even years – before we could provide any of the insight that could fix the problem.  In addition to that, we uncovered a large population of errors that were no longer actionable.  Often, we could see evidence of overpayments, duplicate payments, missed discounts, and more, but due to reasons related to timing, and due to decisions made outside of AP, our clients could not recover many of the lost dollars.

Because of these trends, we made a dedicated effort to move our clients away from a traditional aged recovery audit and into a 90-Day Mending Review.  Some clients worried that we would be too close to the transaction, and we would bump into their work, but that was not the case.

We discovered, through a thorough inspection of the data, that 98% of the claims that clients found on their own occurred within 90 days of the transaction.  In other words, if they didn’t find and reverse an error in 90 days, they probably would never find it and reverse it.

We took this concept into our clients and began reviewing transactions that had aged at least 90 days. Of our (more than) 120 current clients we now have over 90% of them taking advantage of our 90-Day Mending Review. Our credit totals have jumped to .14%.  That means, we now find an average of $1.4M per every $1B in client spend.  These new averages account for an 83% increase over the traditional audit model and the dollar amounts far surpass the recovery rates of competitive firms.

What’s even more important than the dollars recovered are the insights and the visibility that we’ve presented to our clients.  In the 90-Day model, we can suggest actionable solutions in near real-time, and we can prevent errors from lingering.

By moving to the 90-Day Mending and by starting audits more quickly, we can also address high dollar issues before they are incorrectly settled by non-AP staff members and vendors.  These lost dollars are often swept from the financial ledger with no opportunity to correctly recover and apply them later.

The 90-Day Mending Review is a steep improvement over a traditional recovery audit.  Our clients are asked to provide the same data and support, but their results are greater and timelier.  If you are using a traditional recovery audit, we strongly encourage you to ask SpendMend how we simplify the process while improving your results.