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Call Accounting

Call accounting, as defined by Wikipedia:

A Call Accounting System is a telecommunications software or hardware application that captures, records, and costs telephone usage events. Internationally call accounting systems may be referred to as call logging systems. Call accounting systems detect outbound and inbound calls, call ring outs, call routings, abandoned calls, and other activities.

Common Applications of Call Accounting

Service Billing and Provisioning

Call accounting systems may provide packaging, pricing, provisioning, billing, and posting or presentment of telephone services for purposes of revenue generation. Professional services firms utilize call accounting software for account code or client based billing of their phone usage. The hospitality industry uses call accounting to resell phone services to visiting guests and groups. These call accounting systems often provide accessible application-specific rating and provisioning capabilities found generally on carrier-level operational support systems (OSS) and business support systems (BSS).

Departmental and Employee Chargeback

The original purpose of call accounting systems was within corporate entities for purposes of cost allocations within the enterprise. Enterprises use call accounting to allocate costs back to divisions, departments, and even individual employees. Such systems may also provide data directly to corporate accounting and human resource systems.

Cost and Revenue Optimization

Call accounting software can reconcile multiple telecom carrier’s billing reports by integrating telecom invoices, wireless billing, long distance charges and calling cards into a single platform, allowing your business to use the convergent expense software to provide management reports, analytic reports, alerts and robust presentations

Staff Productivity

Call accounting systems provide visibility into the calling patterns and activity of employees and can be used to minimize productivity losses through non-business calling activity. They can also be used to evaluate the effectiveness of revenue-generating staff and sales processes, and manage the responsiveness of customer service staff.

Network Optimization

Companies also use call accounting systems to determine whether their voice and data networks are being utilized efficiently, in a cost effective manner, or to capacity. Call accounting applications are used to monitor network activity and bandwidth, identify over- and under-used trunks to optimize trunking configurations, pinpoint the root cause of circuit outages, monitor call routing effectiveness, queue times, abandoned calls and other information, and report usage trends and statistics. Call accounting can help companies more efficiently allocate telecom resources and make better planning decisions affecting a telecommunications network

Security and Compliance

Call accounting applications enable IT departments to shield companies from a variety of internal and external security threats by monitoring for network attacks, intrusion attempts and telecom activity that exceeds acceptable or established thresholds.

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act established new or enhanced standards for financial reporting by public companies and accounting firms, obliging them to examine and revise their internal governance, accounting and reporting controls. Examples of those “internal controls” include procedures for securing, protecting and ensuring the availability of critical infrastructure (like telecommunications systems), monitoring those systems for performance issues, and preventing or quickly detecting unauthorized attempts to acquire company records or assets.

Call accounting applications help facilitate regulatory compliance by providing tools to aggregate, monitor and analyze telecommunications data in order to correctly track and report expenses. They can be used to enhance corporate accounting practices by documenting fraud-related costs to substantiate telephony-related disputes with carriers. And they can automate the monitoring of internal communications to improve visibility into sales and financial processes.

Call Accounting In Hospitality

Hotels make more sophisticated use of call accounting systems than many corporate entities. First, hotels require realtime processing from their call accounting systems. Also, while corporate call accounting systems largely provide departmental chargeback, call accounting systems in hospitality provide more sophisticated chargeback and markup algorithms for revenue based resale of phone services to targeted visitors, staff, partners, and guests. Also, the hospitality industry frequently leverages centralized enterprise call accounting and fully managed call accounting services as hoteliers often lack on-property staff that can operate on-premise systems and seek simplicity and bottom line cost savings. TSPS was an early method of providing such service.

Traditionally, hotel chains and management companies have suggested that properties keep their call accounting systems up-to-date and accurate. They have done this for four main reasons: (1) to recover the cost of long-distance calls, (2) to properly allocate, account for, and charge customers for their phone usage, (3) to generate revenue through the resale of phone calls, and (4) to track phone calls made to and from their property for marketing, planning and other purposes. However, given the low cost of telecommunications capacity available to the hoteliers today, the low phone usage rates in hotels, and the limited qualified staff available within individual hotel properties, such activity is increasingly problematic. Call accounting is therefore increasingly bundled within more comprehensive telemanager services provided to the hotel by third parties or by the hotel’s corporate staff. Such services manage the more complete financial aspect of telecommunications usage and facilities.

Learn more about TEL’s call accounting software and call accounting systems.

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