Revenue Assurance and IA – Partners in Crime and Loss Prevention

datePosted on 05:34, December 10th, 2009 by admin

Recently, we finished yet another breakthrough-training event for GRAPA. I was privileged to provide our core curriculum class to a room full of experienced telcom internal auditors from around the world.

This event, sponsored by Protiviti, Internal Audit provider to telecoms across Asia, Africa and the Middle East, saw 30 IA professionals certify in Revenue Assurance, with many opting for the special training and testing verifying their expertise in IFRS, GAAP, FRAUD and Internal Audit.

The group was brilliant, providing excellent proof of the professional competency and caliber of the internal audit profession. For those who thought internal auditors were not qualified to understand or wrestle with complex RA, Systems, Network and Operational Issues I can only say that “the proof is in the test scores”. As is common at training events, we had our share of controversy, and the revelation of a wide range of different personal experiences and “war stories” helped everyone better understand how big the IA and revenue assurance job really is.

This event reinforced my belief that in the battle for revenue assurance and fraud protection, there is a clear synergy and need for cooperation between the Internal Auditor and the Revenue Assurance Professional. This imperative is not new. GRAPA benchmarks have shown that Internal Auditors are traditionally the primary providers of requirements, and feeders of new domains into the revenue assurance arena.

More importantly, what became clear to this group of auditors was the many ways they can look to revenue assurance as their partners in discovering and containing revenue risks. Time after time, an auditor has come to me and said, “Oh my goodness, I should have turned this over to the Revenue Assurance team immediately!” Or, “I had no idea that things were this bad everywhere. I always assumed I simply didn’t understand what was going on, even though I thought something wasn’t right”.

Most interesting were our discussions about the various ways fraudsters penetrate the environment and steal money from the most obscure corners of the operational framework. I know that I speak for many revenue assurance professionals when I say that the enhancement of the knowledge, skill and insights that the internal auditors bring to the organization is a welcome addition to the battle that revenue assurance professionals fight every day.

Too often, I hear stories about revenue assurance professionals, when after identifying risks and communicating them to the CFO, were told the Internal Auditors signed off on them and they were overreacting. Nothing can be more frustrating then to have the proof of a problem and then have it dismissed because another operational area misread the situation. For this group of auditors, and the dozens of Internal Auditors we have already certified, this will no longer be the case.

The Auditors in our class came away with a great belief in the GRAPA standards based approach to revenue assurance; specifically that:

  1. The primary purpose of revenue assurance is to:
    1. Build consensus based solutions within the organization
    2. Do their job with integrity and fairness
    3. Be sure that solutions are rationalized

And that the revenue assurance professionals’ primary responsibility is to:

  1. Identify risk of loss
  2. Quantify it into financial terms that everybody can relate to
  3. Address that risk based upon managements appetite for that risk
  4. Assist in the implementation of Corrections, Controls and Compliance reporting

Just imagine a world where the Auditors and Revenue Assurance professionals are on the same page. That is an exciting prospect.

For more information about what our internal auditors thought about the training and testing, and how they are putting it to use, check out the following sources:

  1. The RA-Academy – Testimonials Page
  2. The GRAPA Certification Site
  3. The GRAPA Peeps – Blogs and the GRAPA Voice Newsletter

Yes, it is amazing what we can accomplish when we get together and work based on the same playbook. That is exactly what GRAPA is trying to accomplish (and what we actually are accomplishing in location after location).

Stay tuned for more partnership stories and opportunities to advance your career and the revenue assurance of your operating companies.

Until next time, this is Rob Mattison saying.. “ BE SAFE”.

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