Thursday, June 4, 2009

Reconciling Your Carrier Bill

When is the last time you checked your carrier bill? Not just looking at the bottom line to approve the check, but actually checking the bill to reconcile it to your shipping? If you are like many, the carrier bill doesn't easily match up to your shipping records, but you pay it anyway and hope it is right. Add multiple carriers to this, mix in special rate contracts with one or more carriers, and you have a very interesting accounting situation. Now, how do you make those numbers make sense?

Shipping systems can help with this. I'll use our CPS™ shipping software as an example. CPS has settings (we call them environment variables) that can send order reference data to the carriers and this reference data will appear on your bill. CPS also has historical shipping reports that can be selected by carrier. If you have a contract with special rates for a carrier, CPS can also show your company's specific rates, not just the carriers' published rates.

But how does this help? First, you can print the historical report for the billing period, by carrier, so you can pretty easily check the amounts on your bill using your company's rates. Unusual "after delivery" charges, like Saturday delivery and address correction charges (we have a module to help with this, but that's another article) may have to be factored in, but you can see pretty quickly if the bill seems right. Next, if you have shipments you need to verify, the reference data you send to the carrier lets you find the order in question in your records. Of course, the CPS shipping history stores information about the shipment, too. CPS also provides department reports to keep track of shipping costs according to your company's cost centers. Use these report and reference tools and you can take a knowledgeable look at your shipping bills.

Is it still an effort to reconcile a carrier bill? Yes. Can tools like these make it easier? You bet! Look for these tools in your shipping system, or visit if you would like to know more about CPS.

Or, you can just trust the carriers…

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