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The Power Of Audits For Cost Reduction And Revenue Recovery

NGA audit

by Jim Dudlicek / NGA director of communications and external affairs

In the grocery industry, every penny counts. A single line entry can represent several charges that may or may not be accurate or applicable to your stores.

This simple truth can cost your operation thousands of dollars. A simple utility bill audit provides a guaranteed, no-risk solution to lower your business’ operating expenses and increase your bottom line. An audit can be the way to reduce monthly costs and obtain substantial refunds from providers of electricity, gas, waste removal, telecommunications, shipping, merchant processing, water/sewer, 401k, payroll and even workers’ compensation insurance.

In a recent webinar hosted by NGA, Util Auditors outlined their simple yet highly effective audit process that can produce thousands of dollars in refunds and future savings for your stores, all with no upfront costs and minimal staff time.

Speakers included Bill Kurtzner, managing partner and founder of Util Auditors; Barry Robinson, Util’s VP of business development; and Michael Stella, manager of refrigeration and energy in North America for Agro Merchants Group, a global temperature logistics company with 18 facilities.

Here are some key takeaways from the discussion:

The cost of doing business adds up. Dozens of expenses from a variety of entities, both public and private, impact the bottom line, so it’s a must to make sure these routine charges are accurate. Municipal services like electric, gas and waste removal; private services like tech services and bank fees; as well as property taxes are all areas where calculation and billing errors can cost you dearly. In the case of one Util client, savings from an audit of these services topped $400,000 over a five-year period.

You have nothing to lose and much to gain. In the case of Util, there’s no fee for an audit unless savings are realized. Audits are performed remotely, and refunds can be obtained for historical overbilling.

Nothing beats a second set of eyes. Auditors add value to the tasks that, in most cases, your staff is already doing but with a finer-toothed comb. By fine-tuning your profitability on an ongoing basis, you can enjoy cost reductions typically in the 10 percent to 20 percent range.

Sometimes you can fight city hall. Stella recounted when Agro was back-billed by the power authority over its largest facility, to make up for alleged past billing errors. The company otherwise would have paid the huge bill “because it’s the cost of doing business,” Stella said. But an audit revealed the back-billing was in error because the facility straddled two jurisdictions.

“It was pretty eye-opening,” Stella said, noting the audit process has reduced Agro’s operating expenses “by tens of thousands annually.”

To learn more, visit utilauditors.com/.

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