Vertex O Series for Leasing clears the way for tax compliance automation!
Updated December 29, 2022
Vertex O Series for Leasing clears the way for tax compliance automation!
Score 10 out of 10
Vertex Indirect Tax O Series
Overall Satisfaction with Vertex
We license Vertex Indirect Tax Returns for our own compliance in addition to a separate license for our third-party "service bureau" customers. We also licensed Vertex O Series for Leasing and are currently in the implementation process. Our Vertex solutions are utilized for tax compliance on US sales transactions, and we plan to incorporate our Canadian VAT sales transactions in the near future.
- Vertex does a great job of building in-house industry expertise (leasing in our case) so they truly understand the tax technical and compliance obstacles we face day to day.
- Vertex actively solicits for and responds to customer feedback on development and product roadmap suggestions. The Leasing users group is an example where Vertex takes an active role in communicating with and taking feedback from our industry.
- Vertex tax updates are very timely and thorough, which makes the compliance process less stressful for our team.
- Their leasing module has fewer customers than say retail, so product content development has been less robust, but still far better than their competitors.
- The sales tax calendar tool is functional, but with a bit more development would probably be used by a lot more customers.
- We need an accurate count of the number of tax returns filed by the legal entity each month. We haven't found an easy way to extract this information which seems like should be readily available. I would like to see some development in the KPI area of Vertex Indirect Returns.
- The Vertex Indirect Tax returns product benefit is focused solely on our tax department but has greatly automated our compliance process.
- Vertex O Series for Leasing we feel will deliver strong ROI once fully implemented. So far we are encouraged with the results!
- Tax content support
- Tax accuracy
We are a micro to small ticket equipment lessor, with a high transactional volume of small deal sizes. We also provide tailored customization for our vendor needs. With offering customized services to a large number of equipment vendors across the US we needed a solution that can automate our manual processes. Vertex fit the bill perfectly!
- Thomson Reuters ONESOURCE, Taxify and by Sovos
Sovos had a leasing module but their content wasn't built out nearly as much as Vertex's. Their product appeared to be pretty decent but it's the small things in tax that can make a difference between automation and manual work. Thomson Reuters missed a couple of demos which turned me off to them as a solutions provider so I can't opine on their product. Vertex was very responsive in the sales process.
Do you think Vertex delivers good value for the price?
Are you happy with Vertex's feature set?
Did Vertex live up to sales and marketing promises?
Did implementation of Vertex go as expected?
Would you buy Vertex again?
Vertex has a commanding presence in the leasing vertical attributed to their investment in really understanding the unique tax complexities we face. Vertex Consulting members are comprised of tax professionals that utilized Vertex O Series for Leasing when they were in private industry. Said simply they get leasing because they've been on the other side of the fence so to speak.
Vertex Feature Ratings
12 - All 12 of our Vertex users are from our tax team, specifically the sales tax and tax accounting teams.
6 - We have 3 Vertex licenses, 2 of which are on premise Vertex Indirect Tax Returns "VITR" and the other is Vertex O Series for Leasing On Demand. We have 2 instances of VITR one is for our own sales tax return compliance and the other is a service bureau license for unrelated third party sales tax compliance (i.e. outsourced return filings). As for the 6 support folks I included 2 from our IT group to assist with the on premise VITR licenses. These individuals assist with database creation, server upgrades, monthly Vertex updates etc. The remaining 4 team members are from tax and are split between VITR and O Series evenly at 2 each. The sales tax support folks are coordinating getting the monthly L Series rate update files loaded and available for download/update by each team member who files returns. They also communicate the GEO code change files and in general any VITR change to the team. The last 2 support folks are on O Series which include myself (Director of Tax) and the Tax Team Leader. We are admins on the O Series license and support it from tax technical perspective. Certainly, our 6 support members don't spend all their time on Vertex, just as needed which isn't a lot.
- Efficiency in the form of automating our sales tax compliance cycle.
- Accuracy in terms of having solutions like VITR and O Series improve the taxes calculated across our lease portfolio, as well in the return filing process.
- Reputational risk in terms of having robust tax capabilities to offer our customers, the equipment vendors, who provide financing opportunities for us in the form of leases.
- Financial risk reduction in terms of better sales tax audit results.
- We are in the process of Implementing O Series for Leasing which when complete will provide a huge lift in terms of automation, increased productivity and audit risk reduction.
Vertex demonstrates commitment to product improvement and new innovations to help their customers with sales tax compliance. This may sound odd, but when configured optimally, Vertex (O Series in this case) we expect will provide us with robust tax capabilities that may be the difference between equipment vendors using us or a competitor. Sales tax is important in the leasing industry and those who are limited in capability often times will lose the financing opportunity to someone who is capabal. This is particularly important in the area of bundled lease offerings that include hardware, software and/or services in a single payment. With this type of bundled charge lease (particularly with numerous assets located in different states) taxation can be incredibly complex, and incredibly important to the equipment vendor. O Series is capable of providing the right calculation(s) again when configured correctly.
Super easy, very professional and understood where I was coming from on my "asks". They also understood the leasing industry which was very helpful. The other thing, and in my opinion this is extremely important, is that I've had very little turnover in my Vertex account rep. It's frustrating trying to chase down who can help with account level questions when the vendor has high turnover, Vertex does not at least not for me.
Evaluating Vertex and Competitors
Yes - Vertex replaced Thomson Reuters. By replace I mean with respect to the sales tax return filing piece. Vertex has steadily become a strong and well known brand in the tax compliance industry and this is shared amongst my tax peers. We talk, we share successes and challenges at conference events regardless of what software is used. We learned more about Vertex VITR product and liked what we heard and saw in demos so we made the change.
The implementation is challenging, make no mistake but will provide much value over time. Make sure you have full support of IT and your major stakeholders in your company. I found that while many people claimed to understand tax was important, they had no idea how deep tax in entrenched throughout the lease life cycle.
- Implemented in-house
- Third-party professional services
For transparency we are still in the implementation process. We are implementing using in house tax and technical talent, in addition to engaging Vertex Consulting. We also engaged DuCharme, McMillan & Associates to assist with more of the blocking and tackling on the implementation such as account reconciliation, reporting etc.
Yes - It was broken up into phases to align with our broader digital transformation project. The first phase was lease origination (i.e. taking a lease application and getting it booked into our ERP). Next phase was the lease invoicing lifecycle followed by end of term transactions (buyout quotes, dispositions etc.).
Change management was a big part of the implementation and was well-handled - Again we are still implementing so much change management yet to come. That said, we expect it will be positively received for the most part in terms of less time spent by operations on tax issues. The biggest challenge will be implementing a communication channel/process with tax to ensure we are made aware of tax related needs well in advance of leases being booked (otherwise tax won't be calc'd correctly).
By training I'm referring to our engagement with Vertex Consulting's professional services group. Each person on the engagement had prior leasing industry tax experience and most if not all used O Series before joining Vertex. Consultants with industry specific tax experience provide so much more than just "training". They are able to engage in deep tax technical discussions with actual experience while in private practice. This coupled with having visibility to how numerous other leasing peers approach similar tax issues is a huge plus on top of the standard training.
Keep an inventory of business impacts that may be unavoidable when using O Series. You'll be tempted to write tax assist rules to do things they way you've always done them but keep an open mind. Vertex Consulting does a great job of challenging your status quo which they do well based on what they've seen with your peers in similar situations. We are still implementing but are finding that by using inherent O Series code, not only does it make sense but it eliminates the need to write work around assist rules that need maintained prospectively.
Some - we have done small customizations to the interface - Not exactly sure what this question relates to but the only customizations we've done have been with regards to override or specific to us tax decisions that differ than the inherent code.
Some - we have added small pieces of custom code - Similar to the question the only customization we've done is to write tax assist rules that allow for tax treatment unique to us and how we think about the respective issue at hand.
The one thing that we hadn't thought about was the issue of tax basis (i.e. the amount that was to be sent to Vertex for the rate to be applied against). Leases taxed over the stream (i.e. monthly) weren't a problem, rather it was the leases where tax was required to be paid upfront at lease inception. Vertex expects you to send them the "upfront tax basis" on the orig call, which would be either sum of the lease payments or asset purchase price. The upfront basis business logic needs to remain in your front end lease origination system as Vertex doesn't compute basis. This was a point of much debate with our operations folks who thought all tax logic should live in Vertex O Series. Basis can and does vary amongst lessors so just something to keep in mind.
Problems get solved
Kept well informed
No escalation required
Immediate help available
Support understands my problem
Support cares about my success
Quick Initial Response
Not yet but we are going to when our O Series for Leasing is fully implemented. I don't want to come this far and have something unforeseen happen post go live that taints the product from our sales and operations teams. Premium support makes sense to me especially in the early go live period.
Vertex O Series has a module for my leasing industry, which is incredibly important as lease taxation can be very complex.
Like to use
Easy to use
Quick to learn
Feel confident using
Lots to learn
- For O Series I would say the taxability mappings were fairly straightforward.
- Setting up BCI upload files for testing was pretty easy and came with a predefined format.
- Tax Assist rule writing is not intuitive and takes time to think through. I highly recommend using Vertex Consulting to help with this piece at a minimum. It's not incredibly difficult, just takes time to understand.
- I'm still a bit fuzzy on the reporting and reconciliation piece of O Series, but we are in the process of implementing so I'm sure it'll become more clear.
Very robust system allowing for significant scalability. We have a number of service clients where we book their transactions, invoice & collect payments as well as provide sales tax compliance services. Our config allows for all clients to initially mirror our own approach for state tax rules, with flexibility to make tweaks as needed. This is a huge benefit versus separate rules written for each client which all needing maintenance prospectively.
We aren't live with O Series yet so I can only opine based upon the outage alerts I receive as a client, and their response/communication times.
We haven't had any issues with integrations thus far...very integration friendly system.
- Yes we purchased a billing & invoicing license with Billing Platform (BP). They hadn't integrated with Vertex but are in the process of the API build.
BP fully supports it as it was a requirement for our purchase of their system.
Relationship with Vertex Inc.
We were an existing Vertex customer (for their indirect tax return filing software VITR) so we got preferred pricing which I'm guessing would be the case for most others in that scenario. We were able to negotiate fixed pricing by executing a multi-year contract of 3 years.
- We've only upgraded on their indirect tax returns product which has been extremely smooth with no real problems.
- The upgrades have been seamless and easily done as part of the standard monthly updates.