Avalara: tax compliance made easier
October 05, 2018
Avalara: tax compliance made easier
Score 9 out of 10
Overall Satisfaction with Avalara
We use Avalara to calculate the proper sales tax on our invoices. Avalara also manages our exemption certificates for our customers and files all applicable monthly, quarterly or annual sales/use tax return to all jurisdictions that we are registered with. Currently, the product is only used by our back office teams in accounting and operations. The two biggest problems addressed by Avalara are exemption compliance and proper rate calculation and remittance.
- Monthly review and approval of returns is clear and concise. It is easy to see what is being proposed on the returns and balance it back to your invoices and GL.
- Database of exemption certificates on file are easy to retrieve and review.
- Getting an exemption certificate loaded for a customer is difficult. There are numerous steps that require waiting for the system to do something before you can move on and validate/approve the certificate.
- If you use multiple products from Avalara you have individual credentials for each product.
- Avalara has reduced our time on tax greatly. There is no guesswork on rates or what is taxable and returns are filed timely once your filing calendar is set up. We have saved 10 hours per week on tax compliance and have not had to add any staff to manage tax or the software.
Overall the implementation is very straight forward and easy. However, expect to spend time on setting everything up and having a team that knows what your products are and the intent behind your sales material. You have to decide what the tax codes are based upon Avalara's very extensive tax code list, this is determined by how you position your products to a customer and what they do. If you are integrating Avalara with your CRM, ERP or financial system make sure to get with that vendor to see how long their side of the integration will take, Avalara did not do this for us.
We have a direct integration between Intacct and Avalara. When an invoice is created in Intacct it connects to Avalara to gather the correct sales tax or marks the invoice as non-taxable based upon the products or customer exemptions. All of this is done in 2-3 seconds before the invoice is posted and recognized in Intacct.
Avalara is pretty intuitive to use and easy to navigate through. The only negative in usability is having to log in to multiple products (avatax, CertCapture) instead of logging in once and accessing the different products through a single interface.
We use both Managed Returns and Exemption Certificate Management. Both capabilities have been a huge benefit for our company. We have nexus in 14 states some which have multiple jurisdictions or home rule, with Avalara filing these returns we do not have manually do these return it is all handled by Avalara. About 65% of our customer base is State/Local Government or Education having CertCapture for Exemption Certificates is a huge time saver as the customer can enter their certificate and it is stored on their record. You can also report on when certificates are about to expire to insure you get updated certificates and stay compliant.
Before choosing Avalara we used tax tables in Intacct, which required us to always know when rates were changing and add new rate tables when we were in new jurisdictions. We also had to manually calculate and file all returns. This was ok for a short time frame when our sales were still small and our customer base was mostly exempt. We chose Avalara due to the integration capabilities with Intacct as well as other reviews on the functionality of the system.
If you have multiple jurisdictions that you file/remit to or have products that are sometimes taxable Avalara is great for this. They maintain the rates for all states/cities/parishes, etc and file returns timely and accurately. They also have a massive tax database that you can code your products with and the system will figure out if it is taxable based upon where you are selling. This takes the guess work out of compliance.