case, ADP’s Taxware Enterprise or another
vendor’s offering may be the way to go.
Vendors in the sales and use tax market tend
to focus on one particular area — providing
current rate and applicability tables for lookup or integration with a currently installed
accounting system, or in-house or service
bureau calculation and reporting. Avalara
doesn’t try to be all things to all people, but
it does a good job of covering a wide field with
comprehensive product offerings, many of
which are applicable to entry-level accounting systems like QuickBooks or Peachtree,
as well as enterprise systems like SAP and
Oracle. Avalara has integration with over 90
products, and a software development kit to
enable integration with an application that it
doesn’t already support.
In addition to sales tax filing services, and
exemption certificate management (a real
time- and effort-saver for your nonprofit
clients), Avalara has sales tax automation
software as a cloud-based offering, Ava Tax
OnDemand, or an in-house application, Ava-Tax OnSite. Both of these offer comprehensive sales and use tax rate and jurisdictional
AvaFile is a Web-based service that tracks
your client’s sales and use tax liabilities and
prepares and files the necessary returns, with
TrustFile available for larger businesses.
of change orders. The biggest change in thinking will need to be internal, as most clients
understand this model.
3. New technologies are available that
provide 24/7 services based upon digital
platforms. To be more specific, Web-based
content management systems, including client portals, are affordable and reliable while
increasing client privacy and security.
4. Multiplier leaders who can double the
production of their people through increased
training and improved technology will be able
to increase margins and revenue per full-time
equivalent substantially. Technology is the
accelerator that allows you to produce more
with fewer resources.
5. Mesh-based businesses are based upon
network-enabled sharing — on access, rather
Another offering from Avalara is AvaRates,
which provides rate tables and current updates to your clients simply by entering a
city or area code. These databases can be
integrated with other applications that your
client may be using, and you and your client can get a good idea of what is available
by accessing the free rate database, which,
with rates for over 12,500 taxing jurisdictions,
is a much smaller database than the full
BNA Sales Tax & Use Tax
Rates and Forms
(800) 424-2938 opt. 3
When it comes to recording and filing sales
and use taxes, not every client will have the
same needs. Clients with somewhat simpler
requirements, perhaps collecting taxes in
only a few taxing jurisdictions, can often rely
on their accounting software, especially if
they are using POS software, to calculate the
requisite sales tax if the sale is taxable and if
you know what the correct rate is for the particular taxing jurisdiction that the sale must
be reported to.
Keeping abreast of what the correct rate is
at the moment, and any changes in taxability
of particular items, can be a chore, whether
you perform it or your client does. These rates,
and the items that they need to be applied to,
change frequently, and checking the Internet frequently to track these changes is both
time-consuming and inefficient. Explaining
to a sales tax auditor that you or your client
forgot to check the rates and applicability be-than ownership. The mesh-based business
requires extremely high levels of trust and
transparency. CPAs are the No. 1 trusted
business advisor. The Web platform (
infrastructure) exists and firms already have their
community of clients who respect and trust
them. Clients are waiting for their CPA firms
to provide value (leadership, relationships
Sales Tax Solutions
CCH, a Wolters Kluwer business
While CCH is well known to accountants for
its practice-oriented ProSystem fx Suite, it
is also very active in providing enterprise-level corporate solutions. These offerings do
not encompass accounting software, but do
by moving up the value chain to the role of
trusted advisor. As I said earlier, the market
and the technology are in place and growing.
You need to position your firm to focus on this
opportunity and leverage your strength as a
provide ancillary features and enhancements
to an enterprise-level accounting system that
your client may be using.
Of interest to this review is CCH’s CorpSystem Sales Tax Solutions. With six offerings
that comprise both research and compliance,
CCH has your client’s sales tax needs well in
hand. Of the six product lines, compliance
issues are most directly addressed by the
CorpSystem Sales Tax Returns Online. This
directly creates required sales and use tax returns from data contained in your client’s ERP
system, and allows your client to e-file them
where applicable or download detailed filing
reports so that your client’s accounts payable
department can cut the required checks.
The other products in the lineup address
tax applicability, jurisdictional issues and
current rates. These include the CorpSystem
Sales Tax Rates and Taxability Database, updated monthly and offered in subsets so that
a client doesn’t pay for more than they need.
CorpSystem ZIPSales Lookup makes it easy
to find a specific rate and taxability rules by
entering the ZIP code of a location.
For ERP systems that can accept sales tax
tables, CorpSystems Sales Tax Load Utility
provides a means to update rates into Microsoft Dynamics, and Sage MAS and Accpac. Finally, CorpSystem Sales Tax Online and Sales
Tax Office offer up-to-the-minute tax rates,
tax calculation and return preparation.
As with many of the applications and services included in this roundup, the CorpSystem applications and offerings aren’t targeted
at small or even most midsized businesses.
But for those clients of yours that have more
robust needs, CorpSystem is very much
worth looking at.
See REVIEW on
Talent does make a difference, and a learn-ing/training culture will allow you to meet the
needs of the client. You can do more with less.
According to Gartner, for every hour you train,
you increase your capacity by five hours.
10. Today human resources exist at both
ends of the spectrum. Baby Boomers who
have relationships and business savvy are
willing to work beyond normal retirement
age, while the younger generations have skills
and capacity. With a training/learning culture
both groups can benefit. Compensation is
only one of the motivating components. The
old carrot-and-stick approach is no longer
relevant for many people. They prefer training, recognition as a valued team member,
increased responsibility, and flexibility. You
can meet the needs of most individuals with
communication and planning.
Think — plan — grow. Be an optimist and
start the ball rolling in your firm today. AT