Call Accounting Featured Article

What is Call Accounting?


August 04, 2011

A telecommunications software or hardware application that documents telephone usage is called a call accounting system. This system has the ability to capture, record and assign costs to all telephone usage with the small business or the large enterprise. 

Most systems can also detect both inbound and outbound calls, ring outs, routings and abandoned calls. In other parts of the globe, call accounting may be called call logging. 

These systems collect data from the initial source’s phone extensions or devices, whether that system is a PBX (News - Alert), iPBX or VoIP gateway. Costs are assigned to those calls which can become a revenue stream. The North American Numbering Plan regulates the metered rates used in the United States and its territories. A cost and surcharge must be applied to all phone activity.

Hospitality is probably the biggest industry to utilize call accounting systems. Hotels and other facilities require the most up-to-date solutions to handle their chargebacks and markups for revenue-based resale for phone services of its guests. 

As the world of telecommunications evolves, more and more tele-management services need a call accounting system to provide analysis of retention data. In order to optimize and operate their telecommunications business more efficiently, many telemanagers will implement the most proficient call accounting solution you can buy. These systems not only unify reporting and technology management, but apply subscription services not offered anywhere else. Using the same platform, call accounting applies an integrated voice and broadband internet accounting solution. This includes billing and other provisions to the telephone usage accounts like Internet supported systems that are centrally hosted.

There are several options for acquiring call accounting. From stand alone hardware and software servers to web-based solutions and centrally hosted software systems. Both forms of standalone systems are more expensive to manage and operate. They are also proprietary and have limited features. 

A centralized enterprise software solution might be a better choice. With more robust features, this form of call accounting supports larger numbers of distributed phone switches and users. This option is a more economical and has the ability to change with technology and its updated environment.

If you’re looking for a software service hosted by the vendor then an application delivered through Software as a Service may be a good fit. This option provides various levels of systems monitoring, management and analysis besides the call accounting software. Like other forms of call accounting services, SaaS (News - Alert) eliminates distributed call account with related management to operate, refresh and keep current the call logs.

A current approach to call accounting software would have to be the web-based angle. This system uses VoIP phone portals and devices to detail call accounting data into telephony devices in a service-orientated architecture. This latest development in call accounting could be the most cost-effective solution for a business. It also allows for more customization and access to top features not seen with many other solutions.


Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for eastbiz.com. To read more of Susan’s articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Juliana Kenny