2020 Partner Directory - ChannelVision Magazine

2020 Directory | CHANNEL VISION 73 PROFILE O wnership is a hot topic in the channel heading into 2020, as partners are increasingly shift- ing away from traditional agent mod- els and seeking ways to control their customer relationships. Altaworx, a leading provider of voice, data, mobile, wireless and IoT services, backed by AT&T, is one company that’s enabling this trend. “We feel the future of the chan- nel is to be a reseller, own that re- lationship, build off your customer base and bill your customers for the services that you’re offering,” explained Altaworx vice president of partner development and marketing Jaime Rawden. “VoIP providers sometimes think they’re too small, for the taxing au- thorities to pay attention to them,” Rawden said. “The fact is that any- one selling VoIP services with annual sales of more than $55,000 is re- quired to collect and contribute to the Universal Service Fund. The penalty for not filing with USF is $25,000 a quarter. Oftentimes, a small business owner may think they’re paying all their taxes and don’t consider USF contributions.” Altaworx provides some different options for partners that are moving in this direction. “You can partner with Altaworx as a reseller, if you have your own bill- ing platform and handle all your taxa- tion and compliance on your own,” Rawden continued. “Just prove to us that you’ve got that taken care of, and we can provide wholesale pricing for our products and solutions. For agents that want to get started as a UCaaS provider, and don’t have a billing system in place that includes taxa- tion and com- pliance, we offer a way to get you into the business of owning your customers and building equity value, without having to pay an excessive amount of money upfront.” Rawden is referring to Catapult by Altaworx, a platform that comes with GSA-supported regulatory and compli- ance features. By using Catapult, a partner can invoice its customers using its branding and build out its unique service offerings. “Of course, we would want you to use our services, but if there’s just one service that you want from Altaworx and you have everything else covered, that’s fine, too,” Rawden continued. “We really want to enable and empow- er partners to be a carrier so that they can grow their business.” Catapult handles a significant amount of heavy lifting. For example, it can cost tens of thousands of dol- lars to get started with a billing com- pany offering taxation and compliance on your own. Plus, there’s about 22,000 VoIP jurisdictions to consider in the U.S., with varying taxes and regulatory fees. With Catapult, you don’t have to worry about this aspect of the process. Indeed, according to Rawden, regulation and compliance is a major problem across the industry right now. “We recently set out to discover and purchase a small hosted VoIP company, and after searching we were unable to find a single one that had done compliance correctly,” Rawden explained. “When we evalu- ate a business, we often end up telling companies they’re not worth anything – and they’re devastated to find out. A company may think they’re worth $10 million, and if they haven’t been contributing to USF, the liability negates the entire value.” There’s hope for businesses in this situation, though. Altaworx can help form a plan to get your business back on track – paying back taxes and help- ing get to a point where you can start building equity. Catapult ultimately can provide a secure exit strategy. Rawden offered a wakeup call for providers. “Many companies won’t make it when government entities start crack- ing down, because the fines are so large,” Rawden said. “We want to make sure that VoIP providers have the facts and stay on top of the com- pliance regulations, so their business equity value is protected.” The key takeaway here is that if you’re running your own operation, and you aren’t handling taxes correctly, you should act now before Uncle Sam turns his eyes on your business. And if you’re moving toward owning your own customers, Altaworx can help you do it safely and cost-effectively. Altaworx Helps Partners Own the Customer Relationship Jaime Rawden, Altaworx V.P. By Gerald Baldino