Accounts or account holders are customers of Aria Systems’ clients and/or are billed for those clients’ goods and services by Aria. Aria’s client’s customers. In the context of the Aria Solution, "account" or "user account" refers to Aria Client end-users. Aria has clients and partners. Partners also have clients. However, only clients have account holders. An Account holder is the consumer of client services and is billed for those services by Aria.
The ability to link one account to another in a hierarchical fashion. If two accounts are linked, one is deemed the parent and the other is deemed the child. You can have several levels in the account hierarchy. This enables various functions within Aria.
Alternate Rate Schedule
An alternate rate schedule is a rate schedule other than the default rate schedule for a plan. A client can assign alternate rate schedules to specific customers. See Rate Schedule and Default Rate Schedule (definitions appear on this page).
The day of the month on which a single account is “examined” by the Aria batch processes that perform the constituent tasks of the billing process.
API (Aria Web Services)
The Aria Web Services API (Application Programming Interface) provides Aria Systems’ clients with API methods that can be used to:
- Develop applications for creating and modifying customers’ accounts.
- Integrate Aria with ERP and finance systems.
- Deliver real-time sales information to clients’ portals.
- Populate critical business systems with customer information.
Aria Subscription Billing Platform
The Aria Subscription Billing Platform (also known as Aria) is a web-based application that Aria Systems’ clients and Aria Systems’ staff can use to:
Select options for managing clients’ implementation of Aria.
- Maintain customers’ accounts.
- View dashboards summarizing data such as revenue and account holder activity.
- Manage plans, coupons, promotions, and inventory items.
- View, schedule, print, and download reports.
Aria UI/Admin Tools
The browser-based application, developed and hosted by Aria, wherein our client’s personnel and Aria’s own service/support personnel perform three basic sets of functions:
- Build and maintain the clients’ individual implementation of Aria.
- View and manage our clients’ customers (accounts) in support of Customer Service Representative (CSR) style functionality.
- Produce and view reports related to the client’s individual implementation.
An “umbrella” term covering the set of constituent tasks that comprise the overall act of managing the financial responsibility between an account holder and the provider of services to that account holder (Aria’s client)
The main constituent components of Billing are:
- Usage Loading
- Statement Presentation
A billing group contains information critical to the billing process, including contact details, payment method, statement template, dunning process, etc. An account can have one or more billing groups, and multiple master plan instances can share the same billing group.
The frequency used by Aria to calculate the recurring service charges on an invoice.
A cash credit immediately reduces an account balance and is treated as a monetary credit to the balance of an account holder.
In the context of the Aria Platform, clients are companies that use the Aria Platform to monetize, bill for, and manage their subscription-based offerings. A client is not to be confused with an account, which refers to an end-user/account holder/customer of an Aria client. Also can be referred to as “company” or “customer."
For account holders with an electronic form of payment on file, collection is the act of collecting funds due from that form of payment and depositing those funds into a client’s merchant account. Each instance in which Aria tries to collect funds from an account holder is called a “collection attempt."
In the context of the Aria Platform, “company” and “client” are interchangeable; although to minimize confusion the term “client” is preferred.
A contract is an optional overlay on a plan assignment. It can be applied to a master or supplemental plan. By default, plans are assigned to an account in perpetuity unless a change in account status or plan assignment causes the plan to be removed from the account. By creating a contract, you can specify a duration for which a plan should be assigned to an account and what action should be taken after the contract has expired.
End of contracts options:
- Suspend Service and Billing at contract expiration—if Master Plan, Account and Plan are set to Contract Expired. If Supplemental Plan, plan only set to Terminated.
- Suspend service and billing—prorate final invoice. Same as a. above. In addition, it will result in the creation of a prorated charge for the plan’s recurring fee(s) for that final period by using the contract’s designated end date as billing end date.
- Continue existing service without contract.
- Continue existing service without contract with standard rates—if rates were customized as part of contract, they will revert to standard.
- Renew existing contract automatically.
A coupon is a method of applying a service credit to an account. A coupon has a start date, expiration date, and/or a maximum number of uses. Service credits can be applied as a percentage or flat monetary amount. A coupon can be configured to apply service credits over time (Examples: 10% discount per month, for 3 months). Coupons can be associated to a Credit Template or Discount Rules / Discount Bundles.
A CSR (Customer Service Representative) is employed by the client to provide customer service and account assistance to the client’s account holders. Clients may have one CSR or they may have an entire call center. CSRs, based on the permissions they’re given, are able to modify an account holders’ information, take payments over the phone, and per-form various adjustments as dictated by client policies and procedures.
CSR Tools is a legacy name given to the “Accounts” section of the AdminTools application. This suite of tools is a web-based administration interface for CSRs to view, manage, and report on customers’ accounts.
Currency refers to the medium of exchange that a customer uses to compensate a client for purchases of goods and services. Master and supplemental subscription plans can monetize goods and services in one or more currencies. The Aria Platform supports all currencies. Furthermore, currency is set and maintained at the account level based on initial Master Plan purchased or default/account setting if Master Plan contains more than once currency. Once an account is created and the currency is defined, the currency type cannot be changed if that account has been invoiced in that currency. In order to provide services under a different currency, a new account must be created. Also, all accounts within a parent/child account hierarchy must share the same currency. Global rollups are not supported by Aria nor are currency conversions.
Custom rates consist of a set of fees that a client charges a specific customer for the services offered through a master or supplemental plan. These rates can be applied to only a specific customer or saved as reusable rate schedule for a plan.
Customers are accounts or account holders of Aria Systems’ clients and/or are billed for those clients’ goods and services by Aria.
Default Rate Schedule
The default rate schedule is the rate schedule that will automatically apply to all customers who have subscribed to a plan. If a plan contains rate schedules, it must contain at least one default rate schedule.
The Direct Post Payment Handler (also referred to as Direct-Post) is a feature that you can use to secure the pages in your applications on which customers enter credit card and bank account information.
Disambiguation (of Common Terms)
- Inventory Items = Non-Subscription Offerings = Orders—These are NOT "Order Management" terms, which are much larger in scope and complexity.
- Product Fields = Supplemental Object Fields (old UI name) = Supplemental Fields (in APIs that are “context specific”).
- Account Fields = Client Defined Fields (still exists in UI) = Supplemental Fields (old UI name) = Supplemental Fields (in APIs that are “context specific”).
- Event Notifications = Provisioning = Event Based Provisioning.
Dunning is a term used to describe the business process followed for accounts that are delinquent or for which a transaction against a credit card on file has been declined. In the Aria Platform, clients can configure their own dunning rules to follow for delinquent accounts. Delinquent User Notifications.
A dunning group is a collection of master plan instances that should be dunned together. To be dunned together, master plan instances must belong to the same dunning group.
The “active” or “in force” plan and inventory item purchases made by an account from the product catalog.
In support of Provisioning/Event Notification functionality provided by Aria, the predefined list of supported “events” that can occur on an account record. Aria’s Event Library has more than 200 available events within it which are grouped into six event classes:
- Account Events (e.g., “Account Created”, “Account Plan Changed”)
- Order Events (e.g., “Order Created,” “Order Paid”)
- Financial Transaction Events (e.g., “Payment Created,” “Invoice Paid”)
- Notification Events (e.g., “Statement Message Sent to Account Holder,” “Dunning Message Created”)
- Usage Thresholding (e.g., “Month To Date Usage Threshold Exceeded”)
- Products (e.g., "Plan Created," "Plan Rate Schedule Added")
Event notification is the means by which the Aria Platform interacts with clients’ service delivery system(s) (typically machine to machine notification), informing them of any creation/modification of accounts. This interaction provides timely and accurate data that allows clients to make decisions about providing or discontinuing services to customers. Events are grouped into six classes: accounts, orders, financial transactions, account notifications, usage threshold notifications, and products.
Clients can subscribe to various events in each class.
Clients must specify the number of attempts that Aria should make to send event notifications. Aria will log each attempt. In addition, clients must specify the message that should be sent to Aria when event notifications are successfully received.
One of several defined real-world currency charges or credits, booked against an account, resulting in either an increase in that account’s balance (a “charge”) or a decrease in its balance (a “credit”).
A constant or fixed charge used in conjunction with a recurring service or a usage service.
Implementation refers to setting up a new client, defining plans and services, as well as other business-critical tasks necessary to get the client “up and billing."
Inventory items are physical or virtual goods available for one-time purchase by account holders. Also called Non-Subscription Offerings.
An invoice is a financial transaction representing new charges owed by an account holder for a specific purchase and/or subscription period.
Invoice Line Item
An invoice line item represents each charge or credit on an invoice.
The determination/calculation of new charges owed by an account holder to be represented on a financial transaction, booked to the account in question, called an “invoice,” the core financial transaction on an account.
Each Aria account must have at least one Master Plan. A Master Plan:
- is a container of services (billable or non-billable).
- can be the parent plan of any number of supplemental plans within a plan hierarchy.
- can be empty (e.g., when the client sells only inventory).
See Supplemental Plan.
Master Plan Instance
A master plan assigned to an account. Master plan instances may have one or more supplemental plan instances as children within a plan hierarchy assigned to the same account. The same master plan can be instantiated multiple times under a single account.
Clients maintain merchant accounts with banks or other institutions known as payment processors.
An order is a set of inventory items purchased by an account holder.
A payment is a transaction in which an account holder compensates the client for charges on an invoice.
A payment method refers to the means by which a payment is made. Examples: credit card or ACH (Automated Clearing House or electronic cheque).
A payment processor is a banking entity that accepts and processes credit card transactions (as well as other transactions using other payment methods). Clients maintain merchant accounts with payment processors. Aria manages payment transactions through payment processor API calls. Aria never accepts or handles transactional monies but initiates financial transactions between the payment processor and the client’s merchant account on behalf of the client.
PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) is the industry standard for securing online credit card transactions. The standard was created and is maintained by the Security Standards Council. Companies like Aria are required to maintain a specific level of security for handling data associated with online transactions. The standard can be found online at www.pcisecuritystandards.org. Aria is PCI DSS compliant and is monitored by TrustWave, an independent 3rd party that validates PCI compliance.
A pending invoice is an invoice that has not been approved or discarded and will not be collected on until it is approved. For example, a client can generate a pending invoice during the account registration process for the purpose of verifying that sufficient funds are available on a customer’s credit card before attempting a collection (this verification is also referred to as a credit card authorization). After the authorization has been successfully completed, the pending invoice can be approved and a collection can be attempted.
The ability to link one plan to another in a hierarchical fashion. If two plans are linked, one is deemed the parent and the other is deemed the child. You can configure n levels within a plan hierarchy. This enables various functions within Aria.
A promotion allows clients to provide account holders with access to reduced-rate plans and/or access to specific channel-based plans. A promotion has a start date, an expiration date and/or a maximum number of uses. For example, a client could offer a promotion for the northeast sales territory to provide account holders in the northeast with plans featuring low introductory rates.
A legacy term for “event notification." See Event Notification.
A rate is the price assigned to a service.
A rate schedule is a set of fees charged by a client for the services offered through a master or supplemental plan.
Recurring refers to the amount of a recurring-based service on a plan. Example: $4.99 for 10 GBs of storage, regardless of amount used. Recurring Services are billed at the beginning of each billing interval for the fulfillment of that service during that billing interval.
Recurring In Arrears Service
Recurring refers to the amount of a recurring-based service on a plan. Example: $4.99 for 10 GBs of storage, regardless of amount used. Recurring In Arrears Services are billed at the end of each billing interval for the fulfillment of that service during the prior billing interval.
A refund is the return of money previously paid by an account holder. Issuing a refund usually involves two transactions: reversing a payment and optionally reversing one or more invoice line items.
Registration (also referred to as “Account Registration” or “Onboarding”) is the process in which a prospective account holder visits a client’s account registration website, enters contact information, login credentials and billing information, and signs up for one or more of a client’s subscription plans as part of an account creation process in Aria. The act of registration can occur via a Customer Relationship Management application such as Salesforce.com (SFDC), directly from Aria’s UI, or from Client built and hosted registration web pages that interface with Aria’s APIs.
Applications dedicated to the act of allowing would-be customers of our clients to create an account record in Aria under that specified client
From an accounting perspective, the exact opposite of a given financial transaction type. Used as a bookkeeping/auditing tool throughout the system for many purposes.
In the context of the Aria Solution, a "service" is a construct that describes the billable part of a plan. There are recurring services, one-time services, usage-based services, activation services, minimum fee services, and cancellation services.
A service credit is a credit applied to future charges. A service credit may be in the form of a monetary credit against a future billing cycle, or it can be in the form of usage credit.
Service Usage Threshold
Service usage thresholds are used to trigger notifications based on usage at the service level. Thresholds are defined in the product catalog, and after plan assignment can be managed at the stack level.
A statement is a grouping of all financial transactions that took place on an account during a specific time period.
The act of internally “grouping” all financial activity on an account since the last time statement presentation was performed on it.
The act of internally “grouping” all financial activity on an account since the last time statement presentation was performed on it
A supplemental plan is an optional service plan associated with a master plan that can be purchased based on an account possessing the appropriate Master Plan (plan dependency is enforced). It allows a client to provide account holders with additional services that are not offered in a master plan. A supplemental plan may contain one or more services.
Supplemental Plan Instance
A supplemental plan assigned to an account. Supplemental plans must be instantiated as the child of a master plan; supplemental plans cannot be assigned directly to an account. The same supplemental plan can be instantiated multiple times under a single master plan instance.
There are several types of templates. The template most commonly referred to is an email template, also known as a “notification template." These email templates are used for tailoring the content and appearance of messages sent to account holders. Most email templates can be customized to include client and account-specific text. The templates are grouped into classes (Examples include account welcome, invoice and dunning).
Usually associated with usage services, Aria supports three tiered rate types.
- Flat rate
Usage refers to the amount of a usage-based service consumed by an account holder. Examples include an account holder can consume 100 minutes or 3 gigabytes of a usage-based service.
Usage Billing Interval
The frequency used by Aria to calculate the usage service charges on an invoice.
The act of collecting and loading raw usage data from external service provider systems into Aria
Usage refers to the amount of a usage-based service consumed by an account holder. Example: An account holder can consume 100 minutes or 3 gigabytes of a usage-based service, and is charged based on actual usage.
A usage type is a category of a usage-based service available for an account holder to consume. Examples include cell phone minute usage or email storage.
Usage Unit Type
Usage unit types are descriptions of the units consumed in usage-based services. For example, if the usage type is cell phone minute usage, a usage unit type of minutes might be used. If the usage type is email storage, a usage unit type of gigabyte might be used.
User roles provide clients with access to different features in AdminTools based on their function. For example, a Billing Administrator role might be able to add/edit account information and generate reports. An Operations Administrator role might have access to all of the features in AdminTools.
User Self Service
User Self Service (or USS) refers to one or more web pages that are constructed and hosted by the Client to allow users to view and change details about their account, review invoices and various other account holder-related tasks. USS is designed to reduce overhead by encouraging users to "help themselves."