Access Rate Step Downs: Are You Stepping Up to Ensure Accurate CABS Billing?

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Stacy Mock, Manager - CABS Services

 

 

As access rates are transitioning due to recent FCC reform, it is more important than ever to ensure that your carrier access billing is accurate.  Are you processing CABS status quo by running monthly processes and producing a CABS bill, sending bills to carriers, and hoping to receive payment? Is your amount of revenue billed and collected month to month declining? Are you receiving disputes that you don't understand? It is definitely worthwhile to be proactive in ensuring that you have sound practices in place to make certain all applicable usage is being billed and you are maximizing your revenue potential. Numerous steps can be taken on a monthly basis to validate your CABS billing and make certain no money is left on the table.

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There are process dependencies, beginning with your usage processing, which will help you confirm all usage is billed and accounted for. Verification of properly recorded switch output is integral to accurate billing. Call codes should be reviewed and test calls made for correctness of your switch recordings. Direct trunks should also be identified and set up correctly to bill.

Usage analysis by call date for each usage source will assist in finding any gaps of missing data. An overall view of monthly usage may not be sufficient enough to catch missing usage, but drilling down to call date and provider views will deliver a much clearer picture. Usage volumes should be trended monthly by major traffic types such as terminating, originating 800, and originating. 

Analysis of usage error logs will provide an understanding of usage that may not be making it to CABS processing for billing. This should also be monitored as an increase in errors should be a directive for further research. An acceptable percentage usage variance should be set and adhered to on a monthly basis.  If usage volumes fall outside of this threshold, additional analysis should be required. Fluctuations may exist for various reasons. Seasonal fluctuations, including tourism or colleges in your area, could be present.  There can also be sporadic fluctuations, like calling campaigns, which will affect call volumes from month to month. Knowing your customer base will help provide explanations to your usage trends. An overall monthly objective would be to match your usage input to your CABS billing output to ensure usage is billing as expected. 

Tariff rate verification is another measure of revenue assurance.  With annual tariff filings, rates need to be monitored for accuracy. A monthly rate audit can be implemented and performed to validate that all billable rate elements are being correctly applied.  If transport elements are applicable, factors such as airline miles and billing percent should also be reviewed. 

Does your tariff language outline methods to follow when jurisdictionalizing traffic? Being familiar with how you are implementing PIU factors within your CABS billing is another assurance safeguard. Monthly trending of your CABS revenue by jurisdiction will identify anomalies.  If there is a significant change in a supplied PIU factor from one quarter to the next, are you knowledgeable of your tariff to determine a process of requesting the data that supports the factor you have received? Tariff language can also assist with dispute resolution. Use your tariff in responding to disputes that do not provide adequate information. 

Finally, once billing is complete and invoices are sent, staying on top of timely access payment is another role in revenue assurance.  Make efforts to develop and maintain contact with carriers who are not paying invoices timely.   Mechanized invoices may be beneficial in getting invoices to carriers quicker. Inquire about FTP or email options for invoice distribution vs. mailing invoices. Quicker receipt will hopefully correlate to quicker payment.

Utilizing a customized process checklist, combined with a monthly review that consists of validation points at each CABS billing process, is vital in maximizing your CABS revenue and minimizing any potential disputes. An additional advantage of all of the above mentioned steps is a valid audit trail of your monthly CABS processes.  Documenting your findings and having a clear view of your company's usage and revenue trending is a recommended proactive approach to quality CABS processing. If there is any uncertainty, seek out CABS expertise to answer your questions or assist you in implementing revenue assurance practices within your company.  

For info on CABS, please contact Stacy Mock at either 713.351.5111 or at stacy.mock@chrsolutions.com

 

Written by Stacy Mock at 00:00

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