Implement Avalara ASAP - You Won't Regret It!
February 13, 2020
Implement Avalara ASAP - You Won't Regret It!
Score 10 out of 10
Overall Satisfaction with Avalara
We use Avalara AvaTax to calculate and provide reporting for sales tax which is integrated with our ERP system and more recently implemented Cert Capture to maintain certificates for our customers in the states we sell into that have implemented economic nexus rules to force companies to collect and remit sales tax on sales into their states. We used the partner Avalara for getting licensed in all those new states and we have considered having Avalara file the returns also but have been doing them in-house for now.
- Avatax stays current with all the changes in rates and does an excellent job of calculating the correct sales tax to charge.
- The reporting interface for sales tax reports is easy to use and once you set up a report you can save it as a favorite and rerun it any time with one click. Their UI on the reporting is simple and provides a minimum number of clicks to get the data you want and export it to Excel where every number lives whether it belongs there or not!
- When I file returns myself, I immediately know what the discrepancies are (e.g., discounts for filing, etc.) and can book those adjustments immediately as I record the payments themselves. Avalara necessarily has a gap between when you submit the return to them and when they file it and calculate those differences. It's not a big deal but I don't like having a one month lag in reconciling those differences. I like being able to manage them in real-time. That may just be the price you pay to have them do the filing for you but it is a bit of a deterrent for me at this point.
- For a while there is seemed like musical chairs for the sales reps assigned to us. The current rep has been with us for a while and that really helps.
- We are a sole location manufacturer in WA state that sells to all 50 states and around the world. Prior to the Supreme Court decision allowing South Dakota to force out of state sellers to collect and remit sales tax we had to file in just our home state. Now we file in 24 states and if we did not have AvaTax and Cert Capture we would have had to hire an army to do the work. With AvaTax and Cert Capture, we have not had to add any employees to do the record-keeping and filing. It is all being done by existing personnel. That may change as more and more states get on board but even then we will engage Avalara to do the filings as well and that will take care of that problem.
- Microsoft Great Plains Dynamics
The integration was done a couple of years before I started but I understand it was very smooth and since then any upgrades or changes on the ERP side have gone smoothly when integrating with Avalara's products.
No system is perfect but Avalara has achieved the goal of making a fairly complex problem (almost) go away for companies like ours. Their website and UI are outstanding as they are intuitive and responsive and require the minimum number of clicks to accomplish what you want to do. The system rarely goes down and when it does it does not last. When I had an issue with a report that suddenly began omitting some data I needed to complete my return, I contacted the company and was able to show them the issue and they got it corrected.
- Professional Services (nexus studies, registrations, backfiling, etc.)
Using Avalara to warn us about jurisdictions we were about to qualify for has been very helpful. Once we qualify we use their registration partner to get up and running in the state and we use CertCapture to manage certificates. All of these tools have worked out very well for us. No complaints at all and I know from experience the time sink that registering your business can be in just one state let alone the two dozen or so that we have had to register in.
When I go to the annual Summit conference for Microsoft GP Dynamics I run across other companies who do what Avalara does and to date I have not investigated them since I am happy with Avalara. I believe one of them is a tool from Thomson Reuters but I have not done any evaluation of this product (or any other) to date.
In this day and age, you simply cannot administer your own sales tax calculation and reporting scheme. You will lose more in a single sales tax audit in fees and penalties than you pay to have a competent software package do the calculations and reporting and administration of certificates for you. AvaTax integrates directly with our quoting, order and invoicing modules in our ERP system so it runs in the background and does so flawlessly. If you are invoicing more than 50 customers a month, you need a tool like AvaTax and Certcapture to take away the administrative burden.