Interview With Yosef Rabinowitz, Managing Director:
How long have you been doing what you do and how did you get to be an expert in Telecom Expense Management?
In 1994, after working in a CPA firm for more than 3 years auditing financial statements, preparing tax returns and consulting on profitability strategies, I decided to consider new opportunities. While examining several possibilities, I received a biz-op solicitation in the mail from a company that offered to train me in how to audit phone bills for errors and obtain refunds for clients on a no-risk (to the client) basis. The opportunity seemed like a slam-dunk, so I paid the training fee, received their materials and started the business in my spare time under the name Telephone Bill Reduction Consulting ("TBRC"). After all, what business wouldn't want to get money back from the phone company?
All was not as it seemed, though. The company was primarily a re-seller of AT&T Long Distance service and strongly encouraged its agents to sell, sell, sell! They didn't really care much about teaching me how to audit phone bills, as they would never see a dime in revenue from it. All they sent me was a single textbook. The auditing was to be used mainly as a sneaky method of getting access to prospects' phone bills so that I could determine if the carrier could beat their current rates.
That didn't sit well with me, so I stuck mainly to selling their Long Distance service, without offering a "free audit" (I didn't even bother to read the textbook beyond the 2nd chapter). I quickly learned that even at a discount of about 10% to AT&T's regular prices, the re-seller's rates were still rather high compared to many other carriers. So I began selling those other carriers' services, as well.
I eventually took a closer look at the auditing textbook. And then I asked some of my friends and accounting clients for permission to examine their bills. I was absolutely shocked at what I found. After a lot of digging through FCC and state tariffs, I uncovered wrong rates, discounts applied incorrectly (or not at all), dubious surcharges and much more. Sure enough, there was something to the auditing after all.
If there's one thing in this life that generates a knot in my stomach, it's people (or companies) that take advantage of other people's trust and ignorance. In early 1996, I left accounting to examine phone bills and sell long distance service full time. Over the course of the next several years, I looked at countless phone bills and got to know the sleazy sales tactics and billing practices of many carriers, some of whom are household names, even today.
After I left accounting, I periodically returned for tax season in order to stay current on tax laws. In February, 2004, I joined Shanholt Glassman Klein Kramer & Co. for what I expected would be 10 weeks. After April 15, we agreed to pool our resources/skills and launch TBRC Cost Recovery, LLC. More…