What is Smart Auditing®?
Most post audits simply compare your paid invoices to a standard set of criteria to determine if the charges are correct. Smart Auditing® is more than that; it’s applying extensive knowledge and the experience of our auditors, coupled with leading edge, proprietary software, to understand all of the criteria applied to shipping rates.
Freight rates and charges are calculated by a combination of: sophisticated accounting software, transportation management operating software programs, and in-depth, technical pricing agreements. These shipping agreements are complex, containing numerous rules and exceptions that make up the thousands of possible ways to calculate a shipping rate. Because of this, it is almost impossible for the software alone to figure a rate for every possible agreement. To assure that the client is paying the correct rate, a thorough understanding of how these software systems are set up, in relation to the details of the agreement, is crucial. AMTR auditors understand where these situations fall short, why a review of paid bills is needed, and how to apply their knowledge and experience to discover and recover lost money.
New rates and agreements are created all the time between shippers and companies. Our auditors are consistently finding, and working through, these new combinations and scenarios. Where software systems will fail in catching errors, our auditors will find through experience and common sense. Through this on-going discovery process, we create new analytical methods that help us find those errors more easily in the future. That’s Smart Auditing®.
What does 'Discover, Recover & Educate' mean?
Because of AMTR’s experience and in-depth knowledge of the freight industry, along with proprietary IT tools, our freight auditors are able to discover many more discrepancies than simply using a computer program.
When we find discrepancies in your freight invoices, we work on your behalf to recover overpayments. Our auditors can explain in detail where and how the overcharges occurred.
We will take the time to show you how we found problems and errors in your freight billing and teach you how to fix them. We can also work with you to negotiate better contracts in the future.
How is American Truck & Rail different from other auditing firms?
AMTR is a “knowledge based” audit company. We understand the dynamics involved these days in a company’s operating system. Because we’ve been conducting post audits for over 30 years, we understand that over the last decade the role of a transportation manager has changed; it has been absorbed into the logistic and supply chain channels of a corporation. Today, the transportation manager’s mission is to provide value to shipments, not just the cheapest rate. But, because transportation costs get rolled into the overall logistics costs, the crucial details are lost. AMTR understands these complex situations, and the knowledge to accurately review your invoices to find overpayments.
What are the dangers of automated audit & payment systems?
Automated audit systems are only as effective as the data and scenarios loaded into their computer database. This is dependent on a person entering thousands of possible rate scenarios. While this may seem simple enough, it is a complicated process and requires an in-depth understanding of all possible scenarios for a given shipping rate.
It is impossible to pre-program all of these scenarios and it takes human auditors reading and comprehending each rate agreement and applying their understanding of pertinent aspects of a shipment to determine the correct charge. While an automated audit system can save thousands of hours, compared to a completely manual audit process, the system cannot catch the 5-10 percent of shipments that do not fit into pre-programmed criteria.
Why is there 'pervasive knowledge loss' in the transportation industry?
In today’s companies, there is a focus on supply chain management and logistics. Many upper managers do not have an understanding of the basic principles of creating rates, nor the underlying principles that govern private contracts, public contracts, and tariffs.
The Interstate Commerce Commission regulated transportation rates until the late 70’s and early 80’s. The ICC published these rates, and the shippers were responsible for knowing, and applying, these rates. Because of ICC regulation, specialists in transportation industries were required to have an in-depth knowledge of how rates were calculated from the published tariffs. Colleges offered degrees and courses that studied transportation management.
In 1995, after years of tariff and rate deregulation, the ICC was abolished. Rates were no longer published, and carriers were not required to file rates with the ICC. Degrees related to learning and understanding rates and tariffs were discontinued. In many companies, supply chain management and logistics took the place of transportation managers.
This is “pervasive knowledge loss.”
What do you mean when you say 'our service never costs, it pays'?
AMTR works on a contingency basis. That means we receive a percentage of the overpayments we recover for you – and only when we recover lost monies. Our service pays you in the future because the information we learn during your post audit will help you prevent incorrect payments from happening in the first place.
What education and training is required of AMTR auditors?
American Truck & Rail knows that knowledge is the key to success. An AMTR auditor will have completed a five year training program, worked for three years as a trainee, and apprenticed for two years before auditing an account on their own. Because we are a knowledge based company, AMTR auditors are continually training on computer programs and completing continuing education classes in areas such as: transportation law, transportation management, and supply chain management. In addition, our auditors read and study trade magazines and industry publications to stay at the forefront of the shipping and transportation industry. Through this continual education process, AMTR auditors are better able to handle the complex shipping agreements of each of our clients.
If I hire you and you find errors, doesn’t that make me look bad?
No. It makes you look smart for hiring AMTR! Shipping in today’s corporate world is complex and, while all companies have computer systems and personnel to help manage transportation costs, no system can account for all of the possible rates and scenarios. In addition, most professionals in this position have job responsibilities other than reviewing freight invoices.
Freight auditing is all we do at AMTR, and we’ve been doing it for over thirty years. We can spend the time reviewing and researching our client’s invoices, and apply our knowledge and tools to discover and recover your overpayments.
So, how can AMTR services benefit my company?
During a post audit, AMTR almost always finds overpayments. And, not only do we file reimbursement claims on your behalf, but we also show you where the weaknesses are in your current bill-handling procedures and the shortcomings in your freight management and payment software. So, in addition to recovering freight overcharges, our service can also lead to more efficient practices within your company.
In the event that we find no errors during a post audit, your company has the peace of mind that it is not overpaying for freight. Remember, if we find nothing, it costs you nothing, so your company has nothing to lose!
How can you help us with compliance/fraud detection/SOX?
In today’s electronic age it is much easier for the bad guys to disguise themselves as an actual carrier. You read about it every day, some shipper got duped by a fictitious carrier and ends up paying for a shipment twice. An audit of your freight invoices will bring these type of errors and other possible fraudulent activities to the surface. A thorough Post-Audit also provides an audit trail that provides additional input in satisfying internal control requirements of Sarbanes–Oxley.
How do your current clients benefit from your services?
Freight logistics is complicated, and AMTR provides a ‘Smart’ Net between our client and the carrier to assure that we recover over-payments in the freight billing and payment process.
AMTR has recovered thousands, tens of thousands, and in some cases, hundreds of thousands of dollars in freight over-payments, because of incorrect billing from the carrier, computer errors, or data entry errors. We look for discrepancies over any number of issues, both simple and complex. Many of our clients have corrected and improved their internal systems as a result of our audits, and have reduced the possibility of future over-payments.
Occasionally, we will find mistakes in a contract or tariff (as we might in any document drafted by a human being). In addition to recovering any over-payments from errors in these contracts, we also work with the carrier and client to correct these errors on future contracts.
What consulting services do you offer?
AMTR provides consulting services to match our clients’ individual needs. For example:
Negotiating LTL and TL freight contracts.
Determining ways to increase efficiency, and reduce costs, through an analysis of the customer’s rate system.
Specific data mining requests.
These services are included at no extra cost, for our pre or post-audit customers, or can be provided on an hourly or project basis.