Complexity of Carrier Billing

At Global Strategic Accountants, LLC. (GSA) We are often faced with some very complex issues related to carrier billing.  More often than we would like, our new customers have not reviewed their original tax policy which may have been established years prior.  When this occurs, we often find many costly updates that expose the source of tragic loss of profit or increased risk of audit.  How is billing and tax complexity managed by GSA?

 

In order to properly bill a customer for telecommunications, the products and SKU’s need to be properly mapped to tax logic.  Qualified telecom tax experts like GSA, support most tax logic engines that integrate with telecom billing systems (often called BSS/OSS applications).  These are systems that handle all provisioning, CRM and billing rules for telecommunications and are dramatically different from financial systems like QuickBooks (This is a subject for another time).

 

When the products are mapped to tax logic and the billing system is fully implemented, all that is often needed is simply to schedule the bill processing date and handle changes to a customers’ order.  When the bill is processed by the BSS/OSS billing module, it interacts with the tax logic and calculates the taxes based on three key criteria:

  1. The nexus of the sale (where you sold your telecom products and services)
  2. The type of product (VoIP, SIP, Wireless, traditional loops or some other type of product)
  3. The price you sold your product/Service.

 

The tax engine then builds the taxability for that specific set of criteria and returns the tax and fee liability to the bill or statement.  And based on your bill format, these taxes can be:

  1. “Absorbed” into the actual products and services
  2. “Summarized” by category (Federal taxes and fees; State taxes and fees; municipal; etc)
  3. “Detailed” also called line item listing which is a tax by tax listing for all services on the bill.

 

At GSA, we have helped hundreds of carriers identify their specific tax policy as well as their bill presentment (Customer Experience) through billing and their compliance requirements.  Let us help make this a streamlined part of your business so you can scale with confidence that you are collecting and remitting the right taxes while making the billing experience one that your customers can understand and appreciate.

 

Telecom Licensing – An Asset to Your Business

Did you know that Licensing for a telecom is not a Necessary Evil rather it is an asset! FCC and state level Public Utility Commissions are very clear on who and how a carrier must be registered. And most regulating municipalities are no different. All want to know who are performing necessary communications to their constituency.

But, for the well informed and well planned enterprise, this is an opportunity. By planning for and recouping the cost of jurisdictional registration, licensing and reporting a carrier builds its foundation of business on solid grounds. Those that do not act appropriately spend more money than planned defending their inaction (something we will discuss in a future blog). Yes. Licensing is an asset. How do we know? GSA is often brought in to evaluate a company’s performance to compliance during an acquisition. We have seen the value decline by as much as 75% of the market value due to the target acquisition entity failing to comply with regulatory and indirect tax responsibilities. In today’s sophisticated investor pool, due diligence is designed to root out “successor liability” and for telecom companies the deepest pool of liability is in failed performance to regulatory and tax.

At the root of this failure is usually at the onset of business. Simply put, if you are not licensed to do business as a telecom, buyers may not be interested in that revenue and there goes the value of your company. Licensing, (and reporting) are the fastest way to build confidence for any future sale and if you can make a business perform the right way, your licensing asset will be a foundation others will want to buy.

FCC Alters Filing Requirements

Today the FCC announced it was eliminating certain Federal reports for US telecommunications carriers offering International services; specifically the annual traffic and revenue reports. The FCC sited costs vs. benefits as the reason for this move and infers the savings will benefit both carriers as well as government bodies. To read the full report follow this link https://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-streamlines-part-43-international-reporting-requirements

Lifeline Re-certification

Every year Eligible Telecommunication Carriers(ETC)are required to re-qualify their subscribers’ eligibility for the Lifeline program. This validation along with other required information is filed on form 555. If you need help with this or any other aspect of your ETC compliance please contact GSAssociates for assistance. You can follow this link to get more information on form 555.
http://usac.org/li/telecom-carriers/step08/default.aspx