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Handling Post Audit Claims
By Michael C. Dennis, MBA, CBF

A post audit claim is a demand for payment, typically made by a third party post audit company. Typically post audit claims involve claimed overpayments or claims of credits owed but never issued. Appropriate ways to handle post audit claims include:

Reject the post auditor's time line. Provide the customer [not the auditor] with an estimate of the time it will take you to review the claims received, but warn them it may take longer.

Prepare a specific, detailed, lengthy and comprehensive list of the documents that you require from the post auditors in order to begin your analysis. Make it clear to the customer that your clock starts once you have received all of the required documentation. As your research continues, continue to request additional documentation from the post auditors. Make all such requests in writing, and copy the customer's CFO or controller on all your correspondence with the post auditors.

Communicate your findings with the customer's CFO or the Controller rather than the post audit team.

Make it clear from the beginning that any post audit deduction taken unilaterally and/or based on an unrealistic time line will be grounds for an immediate credit hold.

Reject certain types of post audit claims immediately. For example, assume a claim indicates that a particular shipment was never received. Assume also that the post auditor requires proof of delivery, but the POD cannot be obtained from the carrier based on how long ago delivery took place. This would be the type of claim that the creditor should reject promptly and in writing to the CFO with a copy to the auditor.

One Final Thought: The post audit claim process works well only if the customer is convinced that taking a post audit deduction will not result in the account being placed for collection or placed on credit hold. To the extent that you can dispel the idea that a deduction can be taken with impunity, you will put your company, the customer and the post audit firm on equal footing --- and be in a position to require the post audit issue be handled in a systematic and professional manner.

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