Information Technology

Reviewing and Approving Telephone Bills in the Postal Service

Effective May 10, 2007, the procedures on reviewing telephone bills submitted to the Postal Service™ by Profit­Line, a third party billing aggregator, were revised. This arti­cle is a review of those procedures. Managers must ensure that these procedures are followed.

ProfitLine is a Telecommunications Expense Manage­ment (TEM) company who is under contract with USPS® to receive and pay for all local telephone service invoices. In addition to invoice processing, ProfitLine is responsible for auditing, complying with carrier contracts, and filing dis­putes and claims with providers on behalf of USPS. A web portal is established for invoice review and approval as well as completing moves, adds, changes, and disconnects (MACD). A service order management (SOM) is centralized for all carriers and for ProfitLine to maintain accurate invoice inventory records.

Review of Telecommunication Bills

This article provides basic information and guidance to the appointed Postal Service representative concerning the pro­cess of reviewing and approving telecommunication bills for the Postal Service. This section describes responsibilities for facility managers and approvers, and provides guidelines and procedures for allowable and unauthorized charges.


The following policies apply to the processing and dis­position of telecommunication bills:

1. The appointed representative listed in the MyTelcoMan­ager Client Batch Approval (CBA) module must review and approve telecommunication bills before payment.

2. Postal Service employees must reimburse the Postal Service for the cost of all personal toll calls in accor­dance with current policy.

3. In cases of suspected fraudulent use, the appointed representative must make an “Approve and Flag” no­tation in the MyTelcoManager CBA, notifying Profit­Line of the suspected fraudulent use, and whether a claim should be filed on behalf of the Postal Service. Report confirmed fraudulent use of telecommunica­tion services to the Office of the Inspector General (888-877-7644).

4. Charges for collect calls are permitted only in the case of an emergency.

Postal Service Personnel Responsibility

All managers must ensure that the Postal Service does not incur unnecessary telecommunication expenses. While specific circumstances may require procedures different from those described here, adhering to the intent of these guidelines and procedures will help to eliminate unneces­sary, wasteful, or fraudulent telecommunication charges and reduce costs to the Postal Service.

Facility Manager

Each facility manager is responsible for the daily opera­tions of voice and data communications in the facility he or she oversees. ProfitLine is responsible for processing, auditing, and paying the telecom invoices associated with those services. The facility manager’s responsibility includes the following:

1. Ensuring that only official obligations are paid from Postal Service funds.

2. Contacting the designated approver to remove ser­vices that are known to no longer be required. Con­tact your local Information Technology (IT) office for guidance regarding removal of services.

3. Reviewing and researching inquiries from the desig­nated approver in cases where billing variances are flagged for further scrutiny.

4. Reviewing bills, as requested by management, for services or calls related to accredited organizations, such as credit unions and canteens.

5. Collecting the amounts, where appropriate, due from employees or organizations, and furnishing a receipt us­ing PS Form 3544, USPS Receipt for Money or Services.

Designated Approver

The designated approver is responsible for the billing approval process. The designated approver’s responsibili­ties include the following:

1. Reviewing telecommunication bills for any discrepancies that fall outside of accepted parameters prior to approv­ing the bills. The selected representative must place ap­propriate approvals or flags in the MyTelcoManager CBA module ( Pay at­tention to the following:

a. Bills received from locations where telecommuni­cation services have been disconnected.

b. Bills received for areas where service is not provided.

c. Ongoing service issues that may affect payment to telephone companies.

2. Marking bills as “Approved,” “Approved and Flagged,” or “Denied” and submitting the bills through the MyTelcoManager CBA module. Provide a detailed explanation for bills marked “Approved and Flagged” or “Denied.” A ProfitLine auditor will follow up on these bills.

3. Following through with ProfitLine to remove unneed­ed services and associated charges.

4. Noting all issues in CBA at the time of approval, or through the Customer Care Center (888-660-6647) at the time of occurrence.

Guidelines and Procedures

The following guidelines and procedures are provided to assist the designated approver in processing telecommu­nication bills for approval:

1. Typically, the designated approver reviews two types of telecommunication bills: local exchange carrier (LEC) bills for local calls and primary inter-exchange carrier (PIC) bills for long distance calls. The two types of bills may be combined, and both must be approved.

2. Consult field IT to identify new or changed services that may cause fluctuations in monthly billing.

3. Permissible charges on telecommunication bills in­clude the following:

a. Primary inter-exchange carrier charges for long distance toll calls.

b. Local service line or trunk charges. These charges include installation, lease of the line or trunk, use of the line or trunk (local calls), and long distance access.

c. Telephone equipment lease charges.

d. Telephone equipment maintenance charges (may be a monthly or one-time nonrecurring charge).

Note: Local IT offices must approve additional features.

4. Conduct periodic inventory reviews of all leased equipment and lines used in the facility. Have the les­sor remove any unnecessary equipment from the lease. Ensure that the charges are appropriately ad­justed or removed as a result of changes to the equipment lease and review of the line/equipment in­ventory.

5. If it is cost effective, purchase the leased equipment or replace it with Postal Service–owned equipment. For more information on telephone system procure­ment, contact local IT.

ProfitLine Responsibilities

ProfitLine is responsible for:

1. Following up with telecommunication vendors to re­solve any federal tax charges, and reviewing applica­ble state or local taxes. ProfitLine will file claims on behalf of the Postal Service and follow up directly with the vendor until the issues are resolved. Note: Surcharges are not considered to be taxes.

2. Flagging calls to telephone numbers with a 900 area code; bill-to-caller charges from 800 and 976 area codes; third-party calls; and other bill-to-caller charges. ProfitLine will follow up directly with the telecommunications vendor and place blocks where available and file claims where appropriate.

3. Requesting blocks on collect and third-party calls from local exchange carriers, per Postal Service policy. The Postal Service may incur a charge for these services.

4. Asking local exchange carriers to cancel wire mainte­nance plans and remove the charges from bills, per Postal Service policy. These charges generally cover the cost of servicing in-house telephone wire, a ser­vice that is rarely required, particularly in smaller fa­cilities.

5. Itemizing telephone equipment maintenance charg­es, detailing hardware, labor, and other costs associ­ated with the service. If a bill does not supply this level of detail, ProfitLine will request the information from the service provider to accurately verify the charges.

6. Auditing vendor contracts to confirm accuracy of bill­ing, filing all appropriate claims on behalf of the Post­al Service, and following through until the issues are resolved. Issues are considered resolved when a credit appears on an invoice or the Postal Service re­ceives a refund check.

7. Following up on all “Approve,” “Approve Flag,” and “Deny” actions submitted by the Postal Service. These terms are defined as follows:

a. Approve: The Postal Service selected representa tive confirms that this account belongs to a facility within the confines of a specific district. Further batch approval confirms that you understand that ProfitLine is responsible for reviewing and accounting for all related charges.

b. Approve Flag: The Postal Service–selected repre­sentative confirms that this account belongs to a facility within the confines of a specific district and requests that ProfitLine take specific action on a specific account. Further, the Approve Flag action confirms that you understand that ProfitLine is responsible for reviewing and accounting for all related charges.

c. Deny: The Postal Service–selected representative identifies that an individual account does not belong to a Postal Service facility, that the Postal Service facility is not responsible for funding the identified services, or both.

8. Paying telephone bills it receives before the due date. Profitline is responsible for the late charges if the bill is not processed for payment by the due date. How­ever, if the telephone company sends the invoice to the Postal Service and the account holder or the Postal Service–designated approver fails to forward the invoice to Profitline before the due date, the Post­al Service will pay the late charges.