Timing is everything in rock and roll (and contract audit)

Part of my youth was misspent playing bass in a dodgy rock and roll band. We were a cross between the New York Dolls and the Ramones and everything was played at 200 miles per hour. None of our songs lasted more than about two and a half minutes. All of which called for perfect timing.

Our big break came when “Sounds” (the music paper) came to one of our gigs to review us. The drummer counted us in and we all set off on our first two minute thrash. All of us that is, except our rhythm guitarist, Phil. He was busy attaching his cigarette to the end of one of the strings poking out of the end of his guitar. Phil realised his mistake and launched off. Sadly he started from the beginning. We were all playing the same song only Phil was about four bars behind the rest of us.

It didn’t sound good. It sounded even worse than usual. The Sounds journalist came and saw us after the gig and said we were so awful that he was going to do us a favour and not review us. Our big chance was gone.

Timing is everything.

Timing is also everything when it comes to contract audit.

An independent review of contractual arrangements can bring a number of benefits.

It can:

• Identify commercial opportunities to reduce costs
• Help recover overcharges
• Provide assurance that the contract is being properly applied

The simple application of a fresh pair of eyes can identify things which may not be achieved in the normal run of business. Contract managers are often too busy with operational matters and may not have the appropriate audit skills to uncover issues quickly and effectively.

So when is the perfect time to carry out a Contract audit:

• Just before a Contract is due to expire and is about to be re-tendered: to inform the tender process and to take the last opportunity to recover any overcharges
• At the beginning of a Contract: to set the tone and make sure the right behaviours are ingrained
• Whenever there are problems with the delivery of a contract: to get to the bottom of commercial issues and understand if the Contract is sustainable
• If you become aware of wider problems with a supplier such as poor performance on other clients or profitability issues: to see if there is any impact on the delivery of your Contract

Anything else just isn’t rock and roll.