Mediocre at best
October 03, 2019

Mediocre at best

Anonymous | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 1 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Modules Used

  • AvaTax
  • CertCapture
  • NetSuite integration

Overall Satisfaction with Avalara

We compared Avalara against a number of products in response to Wayfair. We liked the Thompson Reuters and SOVOS products and customer service better, but Avalara came in at a better price point and was the only system that currently integrates with Shopify+. We integrated Avalara with our NetSuite instance.

We currently utilize AvaTax and CertCapture. We are still doing our own returns.
  • The system works okay. It helps us manage rate tables and customers with multiple jurisdictions.
  • TERRIBLE and SLOW customer service. In fact, the worst I've ever experienced. It takes over a week to get a response unless you call-in, wait over an hour and get lucky with a knowledgeable rep. They love to pass the buck and point you to Avarala Help articles that are unrelated or not particularly useful.
  • Implementation - We went with their "guided implementation" to cut costs as we have a strong IT team and a lot of great internal and experienced resources. They were not helpful at all. No engagement (we had to reach out to them multiple times to get things moving), no project plan, limited guidance, slow responses and flat-out wrong recommendations. They gave us incorrect configuration information, and their data upload is downright antiquated. We had to CSV upload our customers (oh yeah, they don't know how to bulk upload data). We figured out a way to do it, but they also don't tell you any null values will delete those fields of data, so you get to do it all over again.
  • We then had to manually associate every single certificate for existing customers. We had to go through 3 reps and implementation types to properly handle marketplace facilitators (hint: setup an exempt customers in CertCapture like Amazon FBA/FBM, flow marketplace transactions through those customers, then create tax exemptions for each state that marketplace collects/remits on your behalf). We went live with lots of issues, and we're still working through several of them months later.
  • Their NetSuite integration is okay - but weak at best. Not intuitive at all. Permissions are a headache and we had to open a ticket to request they actually connect CertCapture correctly. All state liabilities also post to a single tax GL. If you want to report by state this is a challenge to reclass and reconcile.
  • Their reporting is mediocre at best . The reports they provide don't actually provide enough data to file your reports, likely because they want you to utilize their services and pay the $50/per filing for them to file on your behalf. If you have budget and you're not a small business, this would probably be fine.
  • UI - their User Interface is really pretty antiquated and frustrating to work with. Instead of having a single place to login and manage your account, there's an AvaTax login, there's an Avalara Admin login, there's a CertCapture login, and you have to handle them all separately. Many aspects just aren't super intuitive, and their Help isn't all that helpful. For instance, you can create a template cover letter to email to customers for exemption certificate requests, but you can't set it as a default form - unless you delete their default form and rename it (it took them 2 weeks to figure that one out).
  • Ehhh... We didn't have to hire someone full-time to manage tax. For our eComm business, we needed a system to be Wayfair compliant as we went from Nexus with 2 states to over 20.
  • It works, and it was cheaper than others. I guess you get what you pay for.
HORRIBLE implementation. I've implemented a lot of systems and worked with a lot of customer service. This was the worst implementation experience, ever. Unprofessional, not knowledgeable, not helpful. They get an F in my book, along with few expletives.
It works, but it kind of sucks.
CertCapture (i.e. exemption certificate management) is okay. It's a pain in the butt to set up, and they are not helpful. You'll have to manually upload/associated and validate each and every certificate with each and every customer. Have fun with that.
Avalara had more integrations, was the only system at the time that worked with Shopify+, which we are re-platforming our Magento site to, and came in at a price point competitive with Vertex.

Honestly - we liked Sovos and ONESOURCE a lot better. ONESOURCE had the tightest and most impressive NetSuite integration. Sovos seemed to have the best customer support and overall service offering. I wish we could've gone with one of these two - maybe in a year or two, we'll be able to switch.
Avalara is fine. It works, just barely. But for as big as they are and as much as they tout how wonderful they are, and for how aggressive as their sales team is, their system feels like it's the beat-up old Buick of tax automation software. Too bad they seem to have more integrations than others and come in at a better price point.

Avalara Feature Ratings

Sales and Use Taxes
Cross-border Taxes
Not Rated
VAT / GST Taxes
Not Rated
Energy and Fuel Taxes
Not Rated
Geolocation for Tax Assessment
Not Rated
3rd-Party Software Integrations
Tax Data Reporting
Compliance Administration Management
Tax Exemption Processing
Tax Document Management
Complex Tax Scenario Management

Evaluating Avalara and Competitors

  • Price
  • Product Features
  • Product Usability
  • Product Reputation
We made the right decision for our organization at the time. Price and functionality were the primary factors, so best cost. It's done what we needed it to, but it's been a struggle. Hopefully we'll grow and have a bigger budget for better product in the future.

Avalara Support

It's downright terrible. It takes weeks to get a response or resolution. First-line reps are useless. We have to escalate everything.
Kept well informed
Slow Resolution
Poor followup
Less knowledgeable
Problems left unsolved
Escalation required
Difficult to get immediate help
Support doesn't seem to care
Slow Initial Response
Yes - Nope
If you get the right rep on the phone (after waiting over an hour), you might, just might get someone who's pretty awesome. I've had this happen twice but only after escalating multiple times and talking to a product engineer or an unusually knowledgeable rep.

Using Avalara

Do not like to use
Unnecessarily complex
Difficult to use
Requires technical support
Not well integrated
Slow to learn
Feel nervous using
Lots to learn
  • Once it's finally set up and integrated, transactions flow decently well without issue.
  • Customer service issues, figuring out issues and what's causing them. The system just isn't wholly intuitive.