Avoid These Top Mistakes That Are Costing You Money When Auditing Shipping Invoices

Auditing shipping invoices is a crucial task for any business that ships goods to customers or receives goods from suppliers. It ensures that the charges are accurate, and any discrepancies are identified and resolved promptly. However, auditing shipping invoices is a complex and time-consuming process that requires attention to detail and a thorough understanding of the shipping industry. In this blog post, we will discuss the top mistakes to avoid when auditing shipping invoices.

Not Understanding the Shipping Terms

Shipping terms are essential to understand when auditing shipping invoices. These terms determine who is responsible for paying shipping costs, and they can significantly impact the invoice’s total cost. It’s crucial to understand the shipping terms, including Incoterms, FOB, and CIF, to ensure that the correct party is being charged for shipping costs. If you don’t fully understand these terms, you’ll miss out on finding errors that are costing your company extra money.

Failing to Review the Carrier Contract

Many businesses have contracts with carriers that outline specific rates, discounts, and other terms. When auditing shipping invoices, it’s important to review the carrier contract to ensure that the charges on the invoice align with the agreed-upon terms. Failing to review the carrier contract can result in paying higher rates than necessary.

Overlooking the Insurance Costs

Postal insurance is an important aspect of sending a package. Too often retailers end up overpaying on these costs. By comparing rates and seeing if there is a difference between FedEx and UPS insurance costs, for example, you could save money on overall shipment. Once your company accounts for insurance and the other fees, one company could have an overall lower price.

Not Verifying the Shipment Details

Before auditing a shipping invoice, it’s essential to verify the shipment details, including weight, dimensions, and destination. Any discrepancies in these details can result in inaccurate charges, and it’s important to ensure that the charges align with the actual shipment details. For instance, a package that’s listed as a pound overweight from one tier of pricing can bump you into a higher price bracket.

Overlooking Accessorial Charges

Accessorial charges are additional fees that carriers charge for specific services, such as lift-gate service or residential delivery. It’s essential to review shipping invoices for accessorial charges, as they can significantly have an impact on the total cost of the shipment.

Failing to Check for Duplicate Charges

Duplicate charges are common in shipping invoices, and they can result in overpaying for shipping. It’s important to check for duplicate charges, such as fuel surcharges, to ensure that they are only charged once.

Ignoring Discrepancies in Charges

Discrepancies in charges can occur for various reasons, such as incorrect weight or destination. It’s crucial to review shipping invoices for any discrepancies in charges, as they can result in overpaying for shipping. Some of these differences can cost a company thousands of dollars extra a year if they don’t audit their shipping invoices.

Not Having a Standardized Process

Auditing shipping invoices requires a standardized process to ensure that all invoices are reviewed consistently and accurately. Someone should review invoices the exact same way each and every time. Failing to have a standardized process can result in missing important details and inaccuracies in auditing.

Not Keeping Up-to-Date with Carrier Rate Changes

Carriers frequently update their rates and fees, which can impact shipping costs. When auditing shipping invoices, it’s important to verify that the charges align with the most recent carrier rates. Failing to keep up-to-date with carrier rate changes can result in overpaying for shipping. One way to stay informed about carrier rate changes is to subscribe to carrier updates and newsletters. These resources often provide information on upcoming rate changes and any other updates that may impact shipping costs.

Relying Solely on Automated Auditing Tools

Automated auditing tools can be helpful in streamlining the auditing process and identifying errors. However, relying solely on automated tools can result in overlooking important details and inaccuracies. Automated tools may not catch all errors, such as discrepancies in shipment details or accessorial charges. To ensure accurate auditing, it’s important to combine automated tools with manual reviews. Manual reviews can catch errors that automated tools may miss, and they can provide a more thorough review of shipping invoices. This can help businesses avoid costly mistakes.


Auditing shipping invoices is a vital task for any business that ships or receives goods. It’s essential to avoid the top mistakes discussed in this blog post to ensure accurate and fair charges. By understanding shipping terms, reviewing carrier contracts, verifying shipment details, checking for accessory charges, identifying duplicate charges, reviewing discrepancies, and implementing a standardized process, businesses can effectively audit shipping invoices and optimize their shipping costs.

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