Avalara, founded in 2004, is a developer of cloud-based sales tax and compliance systems. They are one of six Certified Service Providers available to retailers, and representatives from Avalara joined us on a recent #QBOchat to answer questions and provide insights about what they do to make life easier for customers. Avalara started out with bugs and kinks typical to complex systems over the last several years, and they covered a great deal of information about their functionality and shared a little about their business culture with us during the chat.
The evolution of Avalara
When Avalara was first developed they had to deal with the inefficient, time-consuming challenge of every day sales tax compliance and working to offer solutions to calculate sales tax quickly and accurately wherever transactions occur. By providing an audit proof solution to simplify sales tax, they worked to provide a platform that could scale to meet the compliance needs of companies ranging from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies. They wanted to allow businesses to focus on areas of their company that generate revenue (hint: not sales tax).
Which companies and users are the best fit for Avalara?
The companies and users that are the best fit for Avalara are obviously QuickBooks Desktop and QuickBooks Online users, one of their largest customer bases,. Avalara offers solutions for exemptions, 1099s and other ways to keep them compliant. Avalara is great for online sellers and omnichannel businesses, because their ecommerce abilities and integrations are unrivaled. Avalara has them covered when selling via ERP, POS and mobile. For companies and users expanding into new states, Avalara makes the major headache of multi-state sales tax relatively stress-free.
Features and benefits of working with Avalara
There are tons of features and benefits of working with Avalara, but there are a few unanimously agreed upon favorites. Accurate calculations, automated returns, and exempt certificate management to help users remain fully compliant is a biggie. And since Avalara is a cloud solution, there’s never a need to update. Another strong feature is when users expand into a new state. A simple click of a button is all that’s needed for Avalara to begin calculating the proper sales taxes.
With Avalara, users never have to look at rates to calculate sales taxes manually, and users moving to new platforms are most likely to still be serviced by one of the 350+ platforms integrated into Avalara. Customer support is automatic with AvaTax, with upgrade options including personal go-live coordinators and extended hours for user questions, problems, and concerns.
Avalara’s business culture and leadership
Avalara’s culture and leadership is comprised of a professional, fun, and happy bunch of people. They refer to themselves as “Avalarians” and for some quirky reason, they love orange on everything everywhere. They have an incredibly passionate founder and CEO , and interestingly, their biggest competitor is the manual tax process. Some people are so accustomed to manually managing taxes sans technology without realizing the risks involved. For the smaller businesses, this might be OK, but owners need to be aware of other options like Avalara and know when it is time to dump manual tracking because it is “cheaper.”
Top 3 most requested usability issues and feature requests from Avalara users
Users want more integration options as more platforms emerge, like the ability to calculate sales receipts within Quickbooks, and for Avalara to be able to work beyond only accrual based accounting. Before, Avalara did not have the ability to integrate with Amazon or Ebay, a common usability issue, so they built Trustfile, which is free for users.
What are Avalara’s future enhancement plans?
Avalara wants to extend certification to bookkeepers, accountants, and ProAdvisors, and to certify all current integrations quickly. They intend to continue working on enhancing Trustfile to help Amazon and Ebay sellers and growing mobile and POS capabilities to work wherever there is a transaction. And the most exciting plan? More integrations for QuickBooks Online!
Does Avalara have any programs for QuickBooks ProAdvisors?
Avalara offers partner programs for ProAdvisors, CPA’s, and bookkeepers and are partnered with CPA Academy to offer webinars for free CPE credit. They allow use of all Avalara marketing content to grow your practice, and clients can get discounts when referred by an Avalara partner. The most exciting thing coming in the future, though, is Avalara Certifications. We can’t wait for that!
Keep up with the most current happenings about QuickBooks Online and other informative chats in the accounting world by joining us for our weekly #QBOChat on Twitter, every Thursday at 3:00pm EST. You can find previous chats on Storify. Hope to see you there next week!