From the beginning, the Avalara team of revolutionaries has worked day and night to help businesses of all sizes achieve compliance by providing a fast, easy, and accurate way to manage transactional taxes. We asked them 8 questions, as a part of our “What Is” blog series, to learn more about their app and their company.
What is your App’s name, what do you do, & when did you get published on Intuit’s Apps.com?
Avalara’s app was added in June of 2015 and is listed in the app center as Avalara AvaTax, which is our flagship product that provides an end-to-end sales tax compliance solution, including calculation, filing, and remittance. When an invoice is saved in QuickBooks Online, AvaTax validates the customer address and calculates the correct sales tax rate for that state and jurisdiction before adding it to the invoice. From there, users that opt for Avalara Returns will have all of their tax collection data gathered and prepared using the correct tax return form, then Avalara files the returns and remits payments to the proper tax authorities on the user’s behalf. In short, we are your one-stop sales tax compliance solution with a 100% accurate and on-time guarantee!
What was the main problem you were trying to solve when you first developed Avalara?
When Avalara founders Scott McFarlane, Rory Rawlings, and Jared Vogt saw the rise ofe-commercee selling explode across the US in the early 2000’s, they knew that businesses—especially small businesses—were going to need help with the multi-state complexity of sales tax compliance. That was the spirit behind our founding, and our QuickBooks integration is no different. Its purpose is to eliminate the complicated, time-consuming nature of sales tax compliance through automated calculation, filing, and remittance, allowing users to focus on what’s important and get back to work.
What companies (or users) are the best fit for Avalara?
Any business offering taxable goods or services and operating in more than one state will benefit from our app—and for online businesses, even more so. Once a business triggers nexus (i.e. the obligation to collect sales tax) in a state outside of their own, that business’s responsibilities with regard to sales tax compliance become significantly more complex, sometimes overwhelmingly so. Our app is designed to take all of that complexity off of the business owner’s plate.
Tell us about your users’ top 3 favorite features or benefits of Avalara.
Our customers tell us our app’s greatest feature is its ability to continuously track tax rates and rules in more than 70,000 tax jurisdictions, as well as maintain millions of taxability rules and exemptions, and bring all of that information to them accurately and in a flash using exact location-based information. Not only that, but they love how the app can quickly extract all relevant data on its own, and give them the ability to file sales tax returns and remit payments to taxing authorities. This process results in one of the greatest benefits a business owner could hope for: more time. Our small business users, for example, save an average of five hours every week by automating sales tax compliance; that’s more time to focus on everything from day-to-day operations to growing the business!
Tell us about your company’s culture and leadership.
Sales tax automation is not your typical business venture, so it makes sense that Avalara is not your typical business! Most “Avalarians” will tell you that our company’s culture was established during our very first trade show in 2004. While everyone else had shown up in blue and gray suits with poster boards in tow, the Avalara team turned up in bright orange shirts with margaritas, which they served at a tiki bar instead of a booth. We wanted to stand out—we still do!—and the Power of Orange has served us well. People take notice and want to know who we are, and when they learn what we have to offer, most instantly see the value of it.
How is Avalara different from your competitors?
Our app has the capacity to scale as your business grows. Businesses of all sizes, from mom and pop shops to Fortune 500 enterprise companies, are using Avalara software. Additionally, Avalara offers international selling solutions for other transactional taxes such as VAT, with key functionality like Landed Cost (total cost of goods received at doorstep) that can set your clients apart from competitors. Today, Avalara calculates indirect tax in over 150 countries worldwide, and we’re continuing to expand.
What is the pricing for Avalara?
Our monthly subscription pricing is based on the number of a business’s transactions in one year, so you only pay for how much of our services you use! Subscriptions start as low as $50 per year for a total of 250 transactions in our Starter package. Our Plus package is $95 per year for 500 transactions, and our Premium package is $200 per year for 1,500 transactions. Beyond that, users are encouraged to contact us directly if they require a greater transaction allowance.
Does Avalara have any programs for Quickbooks ProAdvisors?
Avalara loves ProAdvisors! We are always looking for ways to highlight and aid tax professionals, and we have a program specifically for ProAdvisors that does just that. In 2015, we launched a new benefits program for U.S. QuickBooks ProAdvisors and their QuickBooks Online clients, giving them access to Avalara’s fully integrated sales tax compliance solution for QBO, referral incentives, and tools to market their tax compliance services. Those benefits include:
- A six-month free trial of the Avalara sales tax compliance app for QBO for ProAdvisors’ QBO clients
- Not-for-resale copy of AvaTax for QBO, which provides real-time access to the most current rates and taxability rules
- AvaBucks, which is a $75-per-referral incentive program for ProAdvisors who refer their clients to Avalara
- Access to Avalara’s marketing center, which has sales tax-specific templates and rich content to use for prospective and current clients
In the words of Marshal Kushniruk, Avalara’s EVP of global business development, this benefits program “give[s] ProAdvisors not only a new range of compliance solutions to offer to their QBO clients but also new opportunities to differentiate and grow their practices.”
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