What’s in a Bill?

Everyone hates getting bills in the mail, but we all realize that they are a necessary evil. Have you ever wondered who does the tremendously exciting job of creating those bills? We do! Matsch has been providing billing services for many, many things over the years and has shined in the areas of telecommunications/IT and wireless billing.

For the past 25 years we have been developing (and supporting in-house) the software we design. It is no small wonder that our customers value our service, as so many firms are outsourcing this sort of thing. Our customers realize that when it really matters (we are talking about money after all!), it is best to work with people you can actually talk to! Since billing is so important to all sorts of companies, it makes sense to work with a company who truly strives to provide accurate billing services to both internal and external customers.

In recent years we have provided billing applications for wireless resellers (think Mobile Virtual Network Operator or MVNO), state and local governments, colleges and universities, and hospitals. We also provide internal billing or charge-back for a variety of other IT services, including servers, virtual machines (VM’s), SAN storage, networking, and support. Providing accurate, well-organized bills and reporting enables managers to affect P&L line items in a way they’d otherwise be unable to.

We subscribe to the school of thought that “You can’t manage what you don’t measure”, so if your company is looking to better manage its telecommunications/IT resources and thereby save money, by all means, contact us!

VoiceCon 2010

Having just returned from VoiceCon 2010 in Orlando, (known as ‘Enterprise Connect’ going forward) we are attempting to digest the vast amount of information presented during the conference.  As this was our first visit to VoiceCon, we were unsure of the audience the show would attract.  It became clear almost immediately that the show is targeted to large enterprises with corresponding IT budgets!  The following represent some of the ‘takeaways’ from Matsch’s perspective.

  • Most of the prominent exhibitors are touting what we would refer to as ‘Complete Solutions’ to enterprise communications needs, voice being just one of the communication platforms.
  • There was an abundance of ‘Telepresence’ (aka ‘video conferencing’) providers.  Can you say ‘Bandwidth’?
  • Avaya, Cisco, IBM and Siemens each provided demonstrations of their UC (unified communications) solutions.  Though all claimed to integrate with existing components of enterprise’s communications platform, only IBM successfully persuaded us of their willingness to act as an actual integrator.
  • SIP trunking is a hot topic these days, with many of the attendees trying to get their arms around this apparently complex technology.  We question the validity of SIP in enterprise communications, as nearly all those we talked to spoke of the complexities involved.  As we all know, those complexities seem to have a way of ‘eating’ much (and in some cases ALL) of the savings that some technologies promise.  Full disclosure: We don’t fully understand SIP currently.  As with any new technology, it will undoubtedly make sense for some and not for others.

Keeping abreast of developments in telecommunications is part of our ongoing commitment to our customers.  Feel free to drop us a line with any questions pertaining to the above.  We’d be happy to help you in any way we can!

My Wireless Expenses are Killing Me!

While analyzing cellular data for a prospective client it became apparent that they were being hit by overage charges unnecessarily. This particular employer provides over 300 cell phone subscriptions to its employees in a corporate liable environment that is less than fully managed.  One of their carriers billed $11,274 for 120 subscribers in the month of October.  On the surface, you might think this is not an unreasonable amount.  Upon closer inspection however, it was discovered that there were overage charges of $822, international roaming charges of $603, and directory assistance charges of $131.  That’s over $1500 or 14% of the total bill that was due to improper provisioning and possible misuse!  Amazingly, the overage charges were incurred in spite of the fact that as a whole, the company used roughly half of the minutes they purchased from the carrier  (approx. 45,000 of the 80,000 peak minutes purchased were actually used).

Public and private sector employers can avoid situations like the one above and thereby optimize their communication spend dollar.  Proper analysis and reporting are required if employers are to effectively manage their wireless expenses.  This analysis can be tedious and frustrating, however working with a Software as a Service provider like Matsch can offer tremendous benefits.  Imagine being able to distribute costs equitably (with no manual entry required!), having high quality reporting available to all levels of management, and having a set of professionals available who work with this data every day!  Contact Matsch (info@matsch.com) to see how we can help you take the pain out of managing your cellular expenses!

Fall 2009 ACUTA Conference in Portland, OR (Oct. 25th – 28th)

Track 1: Managing and Financing the Converged Environment
Track 2: Mobility and Wireless – Where Are We Going?

Matsch recently exhibited at the Fall ACUTA (The Association for Information Communications Technology Professionals in Higher Education) Conference and found it to be a very worthwhile event. Matsch discussed its PBX, VoIP, Wireless, and Cellular management service offerings with the attendees. Many of whom complimented our approach and efficiency for helping them to manage their telecom environment effectively. We also provided attendees with our recent whitepaper on “Employer Provided Cell Phone Reality”. ACUTA attendees were presented the latest information on PBX, VoIP, Wireless Networking, and Cellular services. Matsch strongly supports the networking opportunities and direct access to critical knowledge offered by ACUTA and organizations like ACUTA http://www.acuta.org

IRS Enforcement of Wireless Devices as ‘Listed Property’ seems Sketchy

Last week we were quite interested to find out about an employer that had in fact been audited by the IRS for compliance on this issue. As most of us know, many larger employers have decided to implement a stipend policy in an attempt to avoid the possibility of an audit. While some employers feel this makes sense for them, they may want to reconsider once they see Matsch’s upcoming whitepaper on stipends and their effect on employer cell phone costs. In any event, it is a topic that many involved with telecom are wary of.

The official IRS wording of the rule is actually straightforward in that it requires employers to document the personal use of employer-provided cell phones. Though most employers believe this would be burdensome, it is not nearly as burdensome as they think it is, and is a lot less expensive than the other options. The thing that interested us as Cellular Information Management service providers is that the end result of this specific audit was that each employee with a provided cell phone would pay the IRS (directly via payroll deduction) a flat tax payment per month via payroll deduction! Let that sink in for a moment…

As you might imagine, some of the employees of this organization were a little ahem… ‘put out’ by the decision. Though this is a seemingly simple thing to do, and is much more acceptable to the employer, since it resolves all their concerns regarding IRS compliance, it is hardly fair to those employees that did not use their employer provided cell phones for personal use, but purchased their own personal plans

Stay tuned for more on this topic!!

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