Bill Audits for Overhead Costs
Cut Utility Costs and Other Regular Expenses
A review of your third party invoices is not really an audit. Many people call it a “bill audit,” because it’s an easy way to refer to the process of carefully examining every line charge on your invoices for errors, overcharges, refund opportunities and rate options. We are not auditors. We are a team of experienced analysts who work daily with the industries that provide the services you need to keep your company running. We are independent consultants and have no alliances with those providers, so our focus is on your business alone. These services might include energy, waste removal, telecom and other overhead costs.
What are Overhead Costs?
Overhead costs are a fact of life that all businesses grapple with. These expenses, also called indirect costs, do not depend on the level of services or goods your business produces. They are usually the costs for outside services that your business contracts with another entity to provide; you pay that entity for those services over a period of time. Overhead costs include utilities such as electricity and natural gas, waste removal, telephones, rent, uniforms, landscaping, snow removal, security, shipping, cleaning services, maintenance, payroll services and more.
It is important to manage overhead costs, because they add up over time and account for a significant portion of an organization’s budget. Don’t assume you have no control over these costs. We can help. Most of our customers found that they were paying more than they needed to. We know how to find hidden opportunities to reduce costs, usually without changing providers or usage.
Find Refunds, Lower Expenses
Our overhead cost reduction programs offer an in-depth examination of your monthly bills that can point to optimized rates and significant savings. Cost Control Associates will:
- Identify areas of improvement
- Uncover billing errors
- Obtain refunds
- Analyze rate choices
It’s important to have an experienced consultant like Cost Control Associates in your corner. We are industry experts who work with you to understand your facilities and usage. We work as a liaison between you and your providers to ensure you have the best rates available to match your business needs. Our specialties include:
- Energy: Regulated energy utility companies offer many choices. Our analysts understand the rates and tariffs for every state and can help you determine the optimal choice for your organization. Because of the complexity of utility billing structures, errors can go undetected for years. We use our expertise to find those errors and get the best rate for your organization.
- IT & Telecom: Telecommunications present an ever-growing expense that changes as quickly as the technology supporting it. Telecom providers offer a variety of services, but rate structures are complex and your usage needs change. Multi-page bills with cryptic line items make it hard to determine the accuracy of your charges and often lead to undiscovered errors on your monthly invoices.
- Waste Removal: Waste removal costs continue to grow as regulations become more restrictive and recycling requirements change and grow. Many organizations do not realize the potential to control waste costs in other ways such as improved recycling programs.
Our Expertise Runs the Gamut of Overhead Expenses
- Steam or chilled water
- Natural gas
- Liquid propane and heating oil
- Water and sewer
- Storm water
- Solid waste (trash), organic waste, recycling
- Medical and pharmaceutical waste
- Hazardous materials
- Shredding/document destruction
- Grease traps
IT & Telecom
- Local, long distance, voice, data
- Internet and TV (cable, satellite, CC)
- Wireless phones, pagers and devices
- Alarm services (fire and security)
- Call centers, ERP support maintenance
- Printers and copiers
- Phone system maintenance
- Hardware and software licenses
- Drive-thru equipment
- Email/website hosting
- Conference lines, music services
- Payroll service
- Education, training
- Background checks
- Drug testing
- HR software
- Payroll tax
Mail & Shipping
- FedEx, UPS
- Postage meters
- Pest control
- Hood/oven cleaning
- Landscaping, snow removal
- Kitchen equipment
- Water systems
- Locksmiths, access control
- Swimming pools
- Street/parking lot sweeping
- Other maintenance
- Print media
- Digital/internet marketing
- Yellow Pages
- Workers Compensation
- Health benefits
- Cyber insurance
- Healthcare claims
- Janitorial services/supplies
- Window washing
- Pressure washing
- Warewashing chemicals
- Floor care
- Medical supplies/equipment
- Medical software
- Medical transport
- Lab services
- Oxygen & medical gas
- CO2 & specialty gases
- Food costs
- Coffee supplies
- Fountain beverage purchasing
- Promotional products
- Office supplies
- First aid kits
- Printing supplies
- Corrugated boxes
- Printed materials
- Property tax
- Unemployment tax
- Sales and use tax
- Uniforms (wash, rent, replace)
- Linen and laundry service
- Mats, mops, rags
Transportation & Fleet
- Fleet leasing
- Vehicle rental
- GPS tracking
- Bank fees
- Armored car service
- Credit card processing
- ATM maintenance
- Purchase cards
Other Indirect Cost Areas
- Document storage
- Food delivery services
- Security guards
- Equipment leasing
- Storage units
- Cellular tower leases
- Corporate aviation
Additional Cost Saving Services
Data Analysis and Review
Benefit by ongoing cost savings. While our Cost Recovery and Reduction program offers a one-time (or periodic) review of your utility and other expenses, we also offer ongoing Data Analysis and Review services which provides continuous analysis of your costs and ensures that you are paying optimal rates going forward. While most cost reduction programs provide automated system checks, Cost Control Associates takes a deeper dive to validate billing and data accuracy. In fact, when we perform secondary reviews for clients who receive such audit services elsewhere, we regularly find additional reductions and refunds.
Cost-effective Lighting Services
Rely on efficient lighting and energy. A lighting upgrade may be just what you need to reduce your utility operating costs. With available rebates, we can often cut the pay-back period to less than two years! Not only do lighting retrofits cut energy costs, but they also cut maintenance costs. Our complete turnkey solution includes an initial review to determine your savings potential, facility audits, recommended solutions and complete installation services. We’ll even remove the old fixtures.
Find cash with deposit recovery. If you’ve opened and closed utility and other accounts with your providers, there’s a good chance you’ve left money on the table. We review company deposit policies and work with account representatives to determine what deposits you have paid. We then negotiate to reduce or recover your deposit dollars and verify that the money is credited or returned directly to you.
Frequently Asked Questions About Our Services for Cutting Utility & Other Costs
Do I have to provide my actual bills or can I supply a billing history instead?
A billing history generally does not contain the full detail of billing components we analyze on your behalf. We can often get past bills directly from your provider. Or, if it helps to accelerate the process, Cost Control Associates can provide copy services.
Both the utility company and our own people already review our bills for possible errors. Do we still need further review?
Utility tariffs are always changing and can be complicated. We regularly review and analyze tariffs across the country and often are aware of riders or special provisions that are obscured in the fine print. Because of our experience, we know when a supplier is not providing the right information or the customer service representative is off track. We know how to ask the right questions and press for the right answers. (Read about real-life situations and how we helped)
I don’t mind paying for you to find refunds, but why should I pay for future cost savings?
Our cost savings recommendations are always subject to your approval; we do not implement any changes until you agree we should. While we have recovered significant refunds for some of our customers, we have found that more than 50% of our findings come from cost reductions to your current bill. Wouldn’t you rather pay a lower cost (which includes our fee for those savings) than continue over-paying your utility company?
How much of our time will this project take?
Every situation is different, and it depends on many things. Without knowing the details of your situation, we cannot say how much of your time we will need. You can rest assured that our team of experienced professionals will respect your time and do everything they can to save you money.
How long does the cost review and recovery process take?
Generally, a report of findings is presented to you within 60-90 days from the start of our review. If you agree that we should proceed, it usually takes about six months for us to request and verify all utility refunds and cost savings findings and issue you a final report. For non-utility indirect costs, it may be sooner.
Who are your clients?
We have performed our services for a wide variety of organizations. Our client list includes Fortune 100 companies such as Walmart, Bank of America, Home Depot, Union Pacific Railroad and General Electric as well as hundreds of municipalities, not-for-profits and small-to-medium sized businesses across the United States and, in some cases, beyond.
Can you provide your services to any type of company?
Each organization is unique, but our procedures are applicable to any type of company. We have dealt with most utilities in the U.S. and beyond and have the versatility to find refunds and cost savings for most organizations.
We had a review by someone else. Why should we get another review?
Our review is detailed and intensive. We often identify findings that our peer companies have missed. (If your review is contingency-based, it may not cost you anything to seek another point of view. You don’t pay until we find something.)
What differentiates your firm from others offering a similar service?
There are many characteristics that set us apart such as:
- Attention to Detail: Some firms concentrate solely on easy-to-find refunds and “cherry pick” only the refunds that justify their time investment. Cost Control Associates enters every account into a master database and systematically checks each one for large and small refund opportunities. In addition to identifying refunds, we analyze all bills for alternate rate opportunities and additional cost reduction items.
- Flexibility: Cost Control Associates doesn’t take a cookie-cutter approach to its services; we customize our services to meet your needs. We do not lock clients into a long term contract nor do we insist that bills be automatically sent to us before you have had the chance to review them in house. You choose which recommendations we pursue on your behalf.
- Professionalism: We always work, first and foremost, for the benefit of our clients, yet we maintain professional relationships with suppliers and carriers. You can trust us to work directly with your providers to correct errors and rate changes we’ve identified.
- Success Rate: We leverage our track record and daily interactions with major suppliers to produce the maximum recoveries and cost savings for our clients.