Things to Consider When Shopping for VoIP

As the Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) market broadens, there will be plenty of choices available to accounting firms and their clients. That means great opportunity to make the right decision or the wrong one.

 

Advertisement

 

 

If you are your firm’s go-to person on internal technology or if clients look to you for technology advice, bear in mind that while VoIP typically cuts costs by digitizing phone calls messages so they can be sent over computers, you can lose money or spend more than needed by making the wrong implementation choice.

While VoIP is slowly becoming the installation of choice at many new business operations, it also is proving particularly worthwhile when added at existing businesses, which have multiple locations, traveling staffers or telecommuter employees. and already use either a local or wide area network. Typically these companies can keep all their existing telephony features while they add the ability to make interstate calls for free.

The best solution at existing business locations is to use existing phone wires within the main office and VoIP for calls between locations, according to buyerzone.com, one of several Web sites with a host of VoIP installation information. This combination works particularly well at businesses that have relatively new telecom equipment.
In many cases, companies’ existing Private Branch Exchange (PBX) internal phone systems can be VoIP-enabled with new software and some minor hardware additions. That approach means considerable savings over installing an entirely new system.

However, buyerzone.com warns that some vendors, particularly those whose background is in data networking, sell VoIP-only systems, and may try to discourage customers from using a combination of VoIP and traditional technology systems.

Also watch out for vendors that simply add VoIP to existing networks whether or not they’re fully ready to support voice traffic. Buyerzone notes that those vendors may later charge for upgrades if the customer decides that the call quality falls short of expectations.

After looking at as many buying guides as possible, the next obvious step in shopping for VoIP is to visit licensed and certified resellers. While they will no doubt push their own vendors’ products, they should provide a point of reference when you look at offerings from other vendors.

There are plenty of VoIP buying guides vendor listings on the Internet to help you proceed with your shopping. Most also link to rudimentary VOIP installation guides. The publishers of VoIP vendor/buying guides and companion materials include:

When comparing vendors’ different systems, investigate the details carefully. As buyerzone notes, “Exactly what makes up a ‘complete’ system varies from vendor to vendor, so be sure you are comparing equivalent systems” However, as in implementing any new technology, plan for the future and consider implementing more VoIP capacity than you now need. That may be more cost effective than making expansions later.

Also, check with your state utility commission or some other regulatory body to make sure the vendors are licensed and therefore more likely to be bonded and covered by insurance.

You may like these other stories...

No field likes its buzzwords more than technology, and one of today's leading terms is "the cloud." But it's not just a matter of knowing what's fashionable. Accounting professionals who know how to use...
There is a growing trend of accountants moving away from traditional compliance work to more advisory work. Client demand is there, but it is up to the accountants to capitalize on that. What should accountants' roles be...
 Event Date: April 24, 2014 In this session Excel expert David Ringstrom, CPA introduces you to a powerful but underutilized macro feature in Excel. David will introduce the Macro Recorder, which transforms actions...

Upcoming CPE Webinars

Apr 17
In this exciting presentation Excel expert David H. Ringstrom, CPA shares tricks that you can use with pivot tables every day. Remember, either you work Excel, or it works you!
Apr 22
Is everyone at your organization meeting your client service expectations? Let client service expert, Kristen Rampe, CPA help you establish a reputation of top-tier service in every facet of your firm during this one hour webinar.
Apr 24
In this session Excel expert David Ringstrom, CPA introduces you to a powerful but underutilized macro feature in Excel.
Apr 25
This material focuses on the principles of accounting for non-profit organizations' revenues. It will include discussions of revenue recognition for cash and non-cash contributions as well as other revenues commonly received by non-profit organizations.