Discrepancy Management…Taming the Beast

Discrepancy Management…Taming the Beast

By: Mitch Blau, Director of Healthcare Auditing, Strategic Audit Solutions

For many, invoice discrepancies are one of those things that keep you up at night and take your team away from the task at hand. We go into a transaction with all good intentions of smooth sailing. We have in place all the elements to provide controls and automation to facilitate and then, something goes wrong. It’s like a wrench in the works and over time, can cripple a department and grow into a wild beast.

Managing discrepancies is often like mopping up an ongoing leak. One by one, we manage each discrepancy (puddles of water), firing off emails to find out who dropped the ball. Why were these items never received? Why don’t the prices match, and the worst, there is no Purchase Order on the invoice? How do I even begin to get approval to pay this invoice?? As these issues mount up, it’s no longer a little puddle but a soaking wet floor. You come in every day, roll up your pants, and slosh around in discrepancies all day. Overly dramatic? Maybe a little; but still, why do we have this constant leak?

The problem is that discrepancies are managed one by one, asking for the proof necessary to pay an invoice or figuring out why our PO doesn’t match the invoice. We don’t spend enough time and effort looking at what is causing the problem (or leak, so to speak) and fixing it. We may be able to see receiving issues, versus pricing issues, but we often don’t see obvious trends and indicators that can point us to the culprits.

Look at your process for reconciling discrepancies. Is it a complete circle where information is fed back to Item Master Management, Receiving Management, a Vendor? Assure that your process includes a “closing of the loop” - where critical information is routed to the appropriate person who can identify and repair the issue at the root cause. With the right information and team, ongoing issues can be identified and repaired to stop future discrepancies, keep your floor dry and keep your team moving forward.

SAS has successfully assisted clients on discrepancy problems and issues of all kinds. Please feel free to contact us for more information about how we can help.