Published in the Jan/Feb 2018 Issue of Mailing Systems Technology
Lost Postage is a serious and pervasive issue for many companies, and yet, most have no idea they are losing millions of dollars because of it. Mailers need to know why this happens, where the money goes, how you can go about recovering your funds, and finally, how to prevent this type of leakage in the future.
THE MOST COMMON REASONS FOR LOST POSTAGE FUNDS
- Expense vs. Asset – Once the funds are deposited in the different postage accounts, most companies write it off as an expense. In other words, the money is considered spent. However, until the postage is utilized, these balances are a company asset rather than an expense and should be treated as such.
- Decentralized Oversight – Often, there is no single location within a company where postage is managed. For instance, it might be managed separately from the permits and mail house funding. There could also be multiple departments managing their own permits for different mailings or reply mail activities. For example, the marketing department might have its own permit for mass mailings, while accounts receivable uses a separate account for Business Reply Mail (BRM) to get payments returned. The decentralization creates opportunity for oversight, allowing cost leakages to go undetected.
- Multiple Locations – Postage management gets even more difficult when each location sets up their own permits or have individually funded postage meter accounts.
- Mailings run on mail service providers permit numbers – Companies typically receive an estimate of the funds needed for mailings, but do not look at the final postage statements to validate what was spent.
- Accounts are terminated or forgotten – In 2008, there were over 1.5 million postage meters in the US compared to less than one million today. This means that one-third of all meters were returned during this period. There is a similar trend with permit accounts as more organizations are eliminating local Business Reply Mail and Postage Due accounts. Was there a process at your company to make sure each closed account got the funds properly returned?