Revenue Assurance – did we get the name wrong?

I was talking to a finance manager in a non-telco industry the other day and the conversation turned to my life at Telstra in revenue assurance. He seemed very interested in the subject matter and, for someone new to this discipline, he asked very insightful questions about how things could go wrong and what could be put in place to prevent revenue leakage.

Finally, he asked me where the name “revenue assurance” came from in the first place because he argued, that the work I’d just described to him was rarely focussed on revenue. Nothing, he said, is revenue until it is in the financial systems, and yet much of the work I described focussed upstream around OSS and BSS – far away from the financials. This, he argued, is perhaps billing or charging related but not revenue. Next he asked me if I had provided “Assurance” in any of the work I had done. He spoke about what “assurance” means to him, which is a definition that I am more accustomed to now with my current organisation. For finance managers, “assurance” has a more specific meaning associated with the accounting and audit profession and provision of an independent opinion. RA’s more hands on role and the methodologies I’d described didn’t align to his experience of what constituted assurance and working with auditors.

Why this post? Much is discussed within telcos about taking RA to other industries. However, before we do, let’s consider carefully the language we use, as the terms “revenue” and “assurance” when put together already have a clear definition to many people, and it will probably be quite different to what we understand it to mean.

Mike Willett
Mike Willett
Mike is a Partner at Ernst & Young, Australia. He is responsible for enterprise intelligence, helping clients to improve their management and use of data. He can be contacted at: mike.willett@au.ey.com.

Mike was previously the Director for Fraud & Revenue Assurance at Telstra. He started his career at BellSouth (now Vodafone) in New Zealand and then moved to Praesidium Services in the UK. Mike graduated from the University of Auckland in New Zealand with degrees in psychology and marketing.