Rockford Associates, a leading UK Accounts Payable Review provider


2021 marked an important milestone for Rockford Associates as we celebrated our 20th anniversary. This 20 year milestone gave us a chance to reflect on our past achievements as well as preparing for the road ahead.

Since 2001 on behalf of private and public sector clients Rockford Associates have;

• Completed 700 Audits
• Audited over £300bn supplier spend
• 100% Success Rate
• Recovered £100m overpayments

All our major Public and Private Sector clients invest significant trust in us by sharing their Company transaction data and we take that responsibility very seriously.

Rockford Associates are Cyber Essentials Plus accredited – one component of the policy and procedures we undertake to reassure our clients of our commitment and adherence to the highest data security standards.

Our clients include commercial organisations operating in all market sectors, as well as County, City and Metropolitan Borough Councils, NHS Trusts, Housing Associations, Universities, Charities and Government Departments.

After 20 years longevity, Rockford’s name is synonymous with Quality. During the Covid challenge of 2020 it excelled in its quest for continuous Quality improvements. It migrated its signature recovery techniques and robust processes to continue to deliver 100% of its risk- free review services on an entirely remote working basis without disruption to Clients.

AP Audits

The core service, the analysis of payment records to aid the identification of purchase ledger overpayments and their subsequent recovery from suppliers.

The audit consists of a review of historic payment transaction data. We use our proprietary in-house forensic software to uncover overpayments resulting from:

• Goods or services being paid for twice
• Payments being made to the wrong supplier;
• Payments being made in the wrong currency;
• The by-passing of existing software duplicate checks;
• The same invoice being paid across different Accounts Payable systems, divisions or ledgers
• Credit notes being paid as invoices
• Unclaimed or under claimed UK and International VAT

As part of the Audit process we will examine your accounts payable transactions to identify any unclaimed or under claimed UK and International VAT. We will liaise with your VAT team and prepare a claim schedule including copy VAT invoices for each recovery item and provide all the necessary assistance in submitting a claim to HMRC.

Our Pathfinder software produces over 18 audit reports, each looking to identify overpayments using different criteria and algorithms. Where applicable, our software will look for overpayments across data from different entities, countries, divisions and systems within our client organisations.

Energy Audit

Significant overcharging is still commonplace within the Energy industry. The market has seen an increase in the number of suppliers all offering various tariffs. This coupled with the variety of additional charges and environmental levies means that even the simplest energy invoice can have up to 24 separate billing elements.

Basic supplier ignorance, inputting errors and an over reliance upon software all add up to an ever-increasing array of ongoing overcharging issues. The result is a level of confusion amongst customers that means it’s difficult to be 100% certain that the bills you receive reflect the service you’re getting.

To combat this Rockford offer an Energy Audit service that understands the full spectrum of charging structures from generation, through transportation to end user supply.

• Historical spend review at sites that you may have closed or amalgamated
• Our process will not affect any current suppliers
• We manage the negotiation and money recovery
• We can instigate an estate/site audit where faults may also come to light.

Using proprietary software and experienced industry professionals we check to ensure that the charges invoiced for match the allowable industry charges and the clients contracted agreement. We’ll identify all recovery opportunities, ongoing savings and undercharges, liaise with the energy supplier and arrange the refund of any overpayments.

Our software and skilled audit teams enable us to interrogate bills far more extensively than any in-house teams or traditional Cost Reduction Consultancies

Telecoms Audit

The telecommunications industry is a minefield, keeping up with numerous contracts, complex invoices and a significant potential for overcharging can be challenging, or impossible, for many companies.

Rockford Associates helps companies identify and recover savings by auditing telecom spend. Recovering overpayment due to supplier billing errors. These cost savings can then be sustained by establishing better telecom category management processes.

The audit process is pain free for you and your company. We offer our professional services with no upfront costs, or hidden fees. We will communicate with you throughout the audit process. Ensuring that you have a clear understanding for each step of the audit process.

We offer professional telecoms audits which produce refunds, credits, and future savings for our clients. We are proactive and thorough when auditing your telecom spend. Rockford Associates begin by collecting all supplier invoices and contracts for the telecom services to be reviewed. If data is not available or inadequately detailed, Rockford Associates will work with your suppliers to gather the required documentation.
Our Audits include;

• Reconciliation of billing with contracts, customer services records and internal data
• Validate services are billed in accordance with the appropriate contract or tariff.
• Verify that any surcharges are appropriate and calculated correctly
• Ensure telecom services that are being billed are being utilized
• Check existing supplier contracts meet with both client expectation and usage.
• Reduce costs by identifying opportunities to optimize the telecom services being purchased
• Establish policies to eliminate rogue spend
• Recover overpayments due to carrier and provider billing errors
• Align telecom services with users, locations and departments
• Rogue spend of services at a site level vs. under corporate agreements
• Carrier failure to satisfy terms of agreements
• Unnecessary telecom service features
• Excess services at a location or services billing to a closed location
• One-time administrative charges
• Services provided at rates higher than market average

Our clients have over a 90% success rate as a direct result of our services. They obtain their outcome without changing any of their day to day activities, the results come from only the audit and examination of their utility bills.

Property Audit

Property costs represent a significant overhead for most businesses in the UK. Companies in a wide range of business sectors are looking to save costs and identify any historic overspend.

The Rockford Property Audit will establish what our Client was contracted to pay within their property estate and ensure that this corresponds with what they have actually paid.

The scope of the audit will include Business Rates, Landlord Payments, Service Insurance, Development Costs, Deposits, Tenant receipts. We research records, gather relevant data and use this to determine the true liability in respect of the various costs arising in connection with the occupation of premises. We then interrogate your transaction data to determine that the correct billing and payment of these costs has occurred.

The Property audit includes;

• Business rates and Council Tax historic payment audit
• Rent and insurance historic payment audit
• Are all heads of expenditure permitted under the lease?
• Is the apportionment of costs appropriate according to the lease?
• Does the apportionment of costs properly take into account benefit of service to client?
• Payments made prior to occupation dates
• Payments made beyond disposal dates
• Unclaimed exemptions for void periods
• Incorrect calculation of void exemptions / Unclaimed void exemptions
• Refunds not refunded by Councils
• Overpayments hidden in sundry accounts by Landlords
• Incorrect calculation of back dated charges following rent review
• Duplicate insurance charges following changes in Landlord/Agent
• Payment of gross instead of net for rent, service charge and insurance
• Payments of gross instead of net for professional and legal costs
• Payments of gross instead of net for utility costs

The Rockford Property Audit can recover significant sums of money even when your estate is managed by a managing agent. Our specialist property auditors can claim back significant cash savings for clients which otherwise, without a thorough property audit, may be lost for ever.

Compliance Audit

The complexity of today’s customized goods and services contracts makes it extremely difficult for suppliers to bill accurately and even more difficult for companies to verify the accuracy of billing prior to payment.

More time is typically spent on the negotiation of goods and services agreements, than on the verification of recurring billing thereafter. Invoicing errors can be significant, costing companies large sums of money over the lifetime of an agreement.

A retrospective Rockford compliance Audit is an essential part of the whole contract agreement. A successful contract compliance audit should include a review to determine if a contractor is executing on the terms of the agreement, such as delivering services at the agreed cost and in the most suitable manner.

While it does take time to conduct, an audit can help you save money in the long run by reducing risk and improving processes and controls. Below are some details you should consider before commencing an audit.

There are many benefits to a compliance audit;

• Recovering costs
• Improving processes
• Deterring fraudulent activity and managing risk
• Mitigate risk through improved contract language
• Proactively address root causes leading to future cost savings
• Create a culture of audit oversight, encouraging future compliance

With these ongoing steps in place our clients can be confident that their supplier contracts are well-managed and controlled. Suppliers themselves recognise when a client is taking an interest in the contract and in most instances it makes the ongoing management of the contract easier too. Eg: If a discrepancy is identified the problem can be resolved quickly, rather than allow delays to allow it to become a bigger issue later on.

VAT Reviews

Accounts Payable & Accounts Receivable

Most of the issues found within Accounts Payable Departments and Shared Service Centres (SSC’s) are common to all industry sectors. Rockford is a leading professional firm of recovery audit specialists. Since 2001 it has conducted over 700 audits and recovered over one hundred million pounds on behalf of private and public-sector clients on a contingent no recovery no fee basis.

The Rockford VAT Compliance Review (VCR) is an enhancement of the review of underclaimed VAT in the AP ledger to include analysis and identification of potentially overclaimed or underclaimed VAT in the both the AP and AR ledgers thereby assisting organisations with regulatory compliance.

An initial scoping meeting is held at which the precise objectives and deliverables of the VCR are established.

This includes:

• The VAT registration (single or multiple)
• Nature of VAT supply and areas of VAT exemption (by supply or customer / supplier type)
• Any specific areas to be excluded (eg entertaining expenses, intercompany)
• The data extract and system access requirements
• The processes for recording VAT and VAT exemptions
• The expected deliverables from the VCR – for example
• Statement of integrity to assist SAO in monitoring process
(FA2009 Schedule 46 “reasonable steps to ensure appropriate tax accounting arrangements in place”)
• Listing of VAT errors / omissions and their causes and recommendations to improve processes
• Assistance in recovery of VAT