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Telco Call Accounting

Call accounting is a telecommunications software or hardware application used to capture, records, and monetizes 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.


How Call Accounting Systems Work

Generally, call accounting systems:

  1. Collect data from a key system, a PBX, iPBX, or Voice over IP (VOIP) gateway generated by service activity on all or selected phone extensions or devices.
  2. The system attaches costs and possibly revenues to that activity.
  3. More sophisticated call accounting systems will actually provision services on the PBX's and communications servers.
  4. Traditional PBX's and send calling activity information out of a serial port or via a proprietary TCP/IP network service.
  5. The call accounting system has a capturing module or a capturing hardware device that is then able to store the data and feed data to and from the rating engine.
  6. More recent iPBX's provide access to information by retaining it in online data bases for extraction by external systems.
  7. The voice related data collected usually includes calling party, date, time, duration, destination party and authorization or account code. This data is sometimes called Call Detail Recording (CDR) or Station Message Detail Recording (SMDR).


Common Applications of Call Accounting

Typical uses for Call Accounting include:

  • Cost and Revenue Optimisation
  • Staff Productivity
  • Corporate Accounting - Service Billing and Provisioning / Departmental and Employee Chargeback

Cost and Revenue Optimization

Telecommunications professionals use call accounting to support enterprise voice quality of service analysis, to manage costs downward, to manage revenue and profit yield upward, for carrier invoice reconciliation and teleco negotiation, and for monitoring phone misuse and abuse.

Staff Productivity

Call accounting systems are also used within inbound and outbound call centers to provide data from which to manage staff on-phone productivity and effectivenes.

Corporate Accounting

Service Billing and Provisioning - Call accounting systems providing packaging, pricing, provisioning, billing, and posting or presentment of telephone services for purposes of revenue generation. This type of system is commonly used by professional services firms for account code or client based billing of phone usage. 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 - to allocate costs back to divisions, departments, and even individual employees. Data is often connected directly to corporate accounting and human resource systems.


Forms of Call Accounting

Call accounting capabilities can be acquired in several forms:

Stand Alone Hardware Device

Generally static with limited features, intended to support a single telephone switch.

Stand Alone Server Software

Has more robust features to support a single or small number of phone switches and users. These solutions need management self standing system[s], adding to the total cost of ownership.

Centralized Enterprise Software

Call accounting provided from a hosted multi-property enterprise server solution. Centralized Enterprise solutions provide more robust features to support large numbers of distributed phone switches and users, without the complexity of many distributing systems scattered across the enterprise.

Enterprise call accounting systems centralize management and monitoring of call accounting across an enterprise. They may be deployed over an enterprise WAN, VPN, or public internet.

Key benefits of centralized, rather than distributed call accounting systems include:

  • Lower cost of ownership
  • Consistent distribution of features and functions across an enterprise.
  • Operate from a single, real time databases
  • Capable of supporting more than one telephone PBX/PABX
  • Provide an easier upgrade path to deploy new services, such as VoIP

Software as a Service [SaaS]

Call accounting software functionality can be accessed as an online software service, typically hosted by the software vendor.

SaaS providers often offer optional levels of:

  • Systems monitoring
  • Management
  • Analysis services

The advantages of using this model are:

  • Operational simplicity
  • Provides greater software capability
  • Better return on investment and total lifecycle cost of ownership
  • Avoids need for management resources

Web Services

Web services is a recent approach to call accounting when using VOIP enabled phone portals and devices. This is achieved by embedding call accounting information into telephony devices as part of a service oriented architecture (SOA). This is distinct from embedding an entire call accounting software package into your voice solution.

Instead, it refers to embedding integration to a centrally hosted call accounting web service with your overall telephone solution.

Web services is generally a very inexpensive way to get customized access to sophisticated call accounting features and eliminate the need to manage technology to get that capability.


Trends In Call Accounting

There are several trends in call accounting:

  • Integrating Call Accounting and Management Services
  • Centrally Hosted Call Accounting - where Telco systems fail to provide what the customer needs to manage cost effectiveness.
  • Integrated Call Accounting and Management Services - Call accounting systems are increasingly augmented with telemanagement/telemanager services. Call accounting data often requires expert analysis from which to leverage its value.
  • Integrating voice and broadband internet accounting into one accounting platform - to support voice and data convergence. These call accounting systems also provide billing, provisioning, and accounting for broadband internet services. Often called "communications accounting systems", and may be distributed or centralized.
  • Centrally Hosted Call Accounting - displacing distributed standalone premise-based call accounting systems. Application service providers (ASP's) also provide call accounting as an internet based service, usually bundled with related telecommunications services.


Call Accounting Solutions

Advanced VoIP - VoIP Billing - Internet Telephony Service Providers (ITSPs) providing voice and data services.

Atreus Systems Atreus xAuthority - Flexible, carrier-grade operations support system (OSS) based on a "one platform, many services" architecture model.

Axiom Systems AXiOSS- Platform that empowers communications service providers with the ability to design, create and deliver next generation Triple Play services such as IPTV and VoIP, over agnostic broadband and IP networks.

Osage Software Systems FUNL - Provides telcos with real-time collection, analysis, and monitoring of call detail records.

Telecost Telecost - Web Centric call logging, call accounting, and call management software system.

Telesens Tinterconnect - Manages settlements between Telcos; large international and national carriers and small regional carriers.

Telsoft MegaCall - Telecom Expense Management With A Web-Enabled Call Accounting And Billing System

Teradata Call Accounting -


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