Hedley Lawson: Contributing Editor
Cell phones. BlackBerrys. Smart phones. Newly introduced and up-to-date wireless communication tools have become a growing cost to businesses, large and small.
Many telecommunication expenses go without the close scrutiny of other business costs, except as an expense item on your monthly P&L. The problem is that these costs add up.
Regardless of the size of your company, experts who specialize in managing telecommunication costs advocate these few cost management strategies.
Some companies have a “hands-off” policy when it comes to telecommunications, allowing employees to choose whatever devices or plans they wish. Like anything else, if you don’t want your staff to take advantage, you need a definitive written policy detailing what is and, more importantly, what isn’t allowed when it comes to telecommunications.
For convenience purposes, many companies grant an array of employees, from procurement to IT, the authority to sign off on telecommunications expenses, like cell-phone bills. There are many favorable terms, volume discounts and other available provider perks that can be missed. So, make one capable employee your telecommunications ‘guru.’
When it comes to telecommunications carriers, remember this: Fewer carriers equal greater leverage. Why? The more business you do with a carrier, the more power you have to negotiate terms and discounts. But it’s important to have a balance. Having a single carrier for your entire company may not be prudent, either. For one, the presence of another carrier can greatly enhance your chances of getting favors from your main carrier.
If you want staff to be more conscious of telecommunication charges, make them submit expense reports when it comes to their cellphones, BlackBerrys and other electronic devices, right? Not necessarily so. For one thing, it adds more steps to your monthly process and makes it easier for reporting mistakes to crop up. Cut out the expense reports and pay all employee bills directly.
Hedley Lawson brings over 25 years of optical industry experience to JMI. For over 10 years, he has been a contributing editor to VM, most recently as writer of the monthly column Business Essentials. In addition, he is the Contributing Editor of VM’s E-Newsletter Business Essentials. ■