CNS recommending monthly review of billings
By Lynne Schaefermeyer,
associate director, CNS
Spectrum Volume 20 Issue 21 - February 19, 1998
Directors, managers, supervisors and employees are strongly encouraged to review telecommunications bills on a regular basis. Monitoring the telecommunications bill will deter misuse and identify services that are no longer effective or no longer required. This memo includes some information which should prove helpful in reviewing your monthly telecommunications statements.
Some departments keep telephone logs and/or spreadsheets which enable them to monitor cost effectiveness or quickly identify problems. Identify all telephone numbers and services for which you are billed and make sure any toll charges are reviewed by the person(s) responsible for use of the telephone or calling card which originated them.
We suggest that individuals review, sign off and return their individual bills to his/her supervisor to maintain for future audit reviews. Be sure someone checks to confirm there is no toll detail for numbers that would not normally initiate long-distance charges (i.e., conference rooms, labs, photocopying rooms).
Voice, Data, PID and Video Options: Review regular monthly charges. For new installations or moves, the demographic data should also be reviewed.
Direct Dialed Tolls (Toll Calls Section of Bill): Review for the following: total amount of long distance, total number of calls, total number of minutes. Review places called to determine if they are locations where your department could reasonably be doing business; review the day of the week and time of day that calls are placed to determine if they are periods when departmental personnel would normally be at work. We encourage you to limit calls to directory assistance whenever possible.
Some ways to reduce charges for this service include checking directories, WEB resources, printed material previously received from a company, etc. for telephone numbers. If a directory-assistance call is necessary, write down the number obtained for future reference. Call 411 for ANY number inside the 540 area code. Ask for two numbers at a time when possible. Try to obtain an 800 number by calling (800) 555-1212. Where appropriate, ask vendors/colleagues to call you. Use an 800 number, if available, to place the call. If a person called is not available, leave a message to have your call returned.
Non-Direct Dialed Tolls (Toll Calls Section of Bill): Review for the following: total amount of long distance, total number of calls and minutes, places called and originating numbers to insure that departmental personnel were in originating locations on the days calls were made, type of call (i.e., calling card, collect, etc.).
Calling-card fraud is a major problem in this country. Long-distance charges for calling-card fraud can add up to thousands of dollars in a short period of time. If a department has limited resources for reviewing monthly telecommunications charges, non-direct-dialed calls should be the first priority for review.
Other Important Information: Insure all university personnel are aware of the general structure for toll rates. Direct-dialed calls are least expensive while calling-card calls and operator-assisted calls are usually more costly, due to the surcharges placed on non-direct-dialed calls.
Insure that travel-related calls for university business (calling-card or collect calls) conform with travel regulations. Personnel should check telephone bills for each calling card or collect call they may have made while traveling. Personal calls made during travel should NEVER appear on the university telephone bill.
For more information regarding billing or suspected telephone abuse, please call Communications Network Services Accounts Receivable at 1-6460.
Reminder: The university telecommunications systems are for official use. Personal use is strictly prohibited and is considered to be misuse of state resources.