I took some bottles to be recycled last week. I must be a revenue assurance zealot because it got me thinking about revenue assurance.
Most people get the idea behind recycling, even if they are too lazy to do it. Recycle existing materials, and you save having to mine for new raw materials, save energy in producing new things, reduce the problem of waste disposal. Think global, act local, saving the world one tin can at a time. Recycling is obvious because it involves something physical, something tangible, but people also get the idea that waste in general is bad – like wasting energy or wasting water. What intrigues me is that people may be able to think coherently about these kinds of waste, but feel differently about the waste implied in a business that is inefficient or sloppy. Not only is the business wasteful in terms of money, but it wastes the human skills and abilities of its people on avoidable and unnecessary activities, and wastes the time and resources of customers when expecting them to challenge poor services, inaccurate capture of their orders, and invalid bills. If everything worked efficiently, and was correct first time, then not only money but also the time of people inside and outside the business would be released for more productive activities. Given the purpose of revenue assurance, and claims made about the size of errors it addresses, surely this makes RA a force for good?
Of course, we can go even further. If RA is a force for good, then it becomes an ethical duty to not only do it, but to do it well, and to encourage others to do it well. If some kinds of waste are obvious, and the steps to reduce them simple – like switching off the lights in an empty room – we can expect all to feel obliged and take action. But if other kinds of waste are harder to understand and to eliminate, the responsibility falls on a more select group. So RA is not just a job in the conventional sense, and not one for oriented purely for commercial gains. At least, RA is ethically equivalent to a recycling business, which also earn a profit but do something good that may not happen without the profit motive. There must have been a time when people who recycled tin cans seemed like zealots. But slowly they are converting the world, and I wish them well. They successfully persuaded me to join their cause. So, as a zealot, I am asking you to join me in spreading the good news of RA. We may be few in numbers now, but we can grow our numbers, and maybe that is our duty.