“We’re here to take away your pain.” That might seem like an odd thing for a software company to say. But if you think about it, what is one of the most painful parts of doing business? Taxes. They’re complicated, and the consequences of doing them wrong can be drastic. So when Avalara’s founders started the company more than a decade ago, that was the goal: a pain-free solution that would let businesses do whatever it was they got into business to do and leave taxes to the experts. More specifically, to a software solution.
Developing a great tax automation solution meant really taking apart what the pain points are for businesses when it comes to taxes, specifically sales and use tax. Three things make this process challenging:
  1. Keeping up with regulations
  2. Accuracy in calculation and audit protection
  3. Cost in time and money
Regulations
Sales tax regulations vary by state, and the rules change frequently. To address this, our solution, AvaTax, works in the cloud, so customers get the most up-to-date information as it happens. There are no CDs to update or tax tables to upload; the process is automated, and updates are immediate. Avalara also has an entire team devoted to tax content and keeping up with changes in tax regulations globally.
Accuracy and audit protection
Being in the cloud allows us to be more precise tax rate calculations. AvaTax uses longitude and latitude to calculate the correct jurisdictions and make sales tax decisions and calculations instantly. Most of the competition uses ZIP codes, which are often inaccurate, or manual tables, which are slow and error-prone. There are more than 12,000 taxing jurisdictions in the US alone; AvaTax is able to assess location, determine jurisdiction, and assign the correct tax rules for that area to deliver the most accurate tax calculation. Adding online sales and extending to new areas increases complexity, which is why it’s critical to have a solution like AvaTax that scales as fast as business and tax needs do.
Cost
Cloud also helps keep costs down. Our pricing is a transaction-based model, making it affordable for companies of any size – and they save on servers, server maintenance, security concerns, tax preparation help, and, potentially, hours of zero-profit-generating activity.
Avalara is also committed to making adoption of tax automation painless for our customers, which is why our partnership with Microsoft and other systems providers is a vital part of our business. We rely on our partners to bring our solutions to their customers. And we work with them to make it easy to use AvaTax in existing ERP, ecommerce and accounting systems with pre-certified integrations. Our Microsoft Dynamics partners have played a vital role in educating their clients on the ever-changing sales tax landscape, the risks of managing compliance manually, and why outsourcing to a third-party solution like AvaTax is a much better alternative.
We don’t leave all the “educating” to our partners – we’re big believers in demonstrating thought leadership and sharing knowledge to build trust. Our e-book, Sales and Use Tax Compliance for Dummies, teaches readers the basics of sales tax compliance in a fun and easy way.
Tax automation may not sound all that exciting, but we’re always excited when we’re able to take the burden and anxiety of tax calculation off of our customers, knowing we can provide accuracy, security, and speed.
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