Trust, but Verify.
This phrase was used by former President Ronald Regan many times between 1984 and 1987 while he was negotiating the end of the Cold War with the Russian President. President Regan felt it was imperative to promote a feeling of trust to his potential partner, however, he also knew that he would need to verify that promises made were being kept.
Fast forward to 2001 when the US experienced a large number of high profile business bankruptcies, some of which were due to financial reporting cover ups. Because of these inconsistencies in reporting, or “cooking the books” the government stepped in and created the SOX Compliance laws (which have subsequently changed to SSAE no. 16) to include not only financial areas of concern, but Information Technology aspects of a business as well. These rules of compliance apply to any company that presents an invoice or makes a payment on behalf of your organization involving your vendor that provides Communications Lifecycle Management (CLM), Wireless Expense Management (WEM) or Utility Expense Management (UEM) services.
So often we are asked, is it possible to fully trust your Outsource partner? Our answer is always the same; yes, but you must always verify that they are accomplishing what is promised during the proposal and contract process. Today, we will address the first step, Verifying for the Vendor Selection. Verifying the Vendor Selection is key to choosing the correct vendor for your organization while building a trusting relationship through verification that the services and processes promised are being delivered.
Verification steps for the Vendor Selection – Don’t Assume
1.Meet with each department that will be affected by the outsourcing of invoices and services and identify each department’s needs. Most often the departments that are affected are Accounts Payable, Treasury or Cash Management, Telecom, IT and Facilities Management.
2.When creating your RFP be sure to include every need provided by each department. Verify that your proposal contains each and every aspect of work that you require to be completed. For instance, the process will involve someone changing addresses to redirect the mail to your expense management vendor, so make sure the proposal covers these tasks and where the responsibility lies.
3.Create a Matrix of all questions and have each vendor complete their answers in the Matrix. When multiple vendors are involved there will be a lot of information to parse in order to determine if it meets your organization’s needs. During this time, it makes for an easier review if a concise list of service requirements are provided to each potential vendor and they are tasked to answer each requirement.
Once you are sure that all of your requirements have been answered by each vendor, it is easier to then compare costs. It will also eliminate the “gotchas” (unexpected surprises) that sometimes happen during the contract negotiation phase.
Ensuring that each of the steps above are addressed, in writing, will create a long lasting partnership where both parties’ expectations will be met. RadiusPoint provides comprehensive proposals for the services that are provided with a detailed Statement of Work, Set up documentation with a timeline and a Work flow document which is approved by our Clients and revisited every six months.
Check back next week for Part Two (2) of Trust, but Verify. In Part 2, we will address the Set Up process and Ongoing Services. If you would like more information on how RadiusPoint can assist your organization, please contact us.