SWK AIMS TO BUY HIGHTOWER
Sage partner SWK Technologies has
signed a letter of intent to acquire the
assets of Hightower Inc., a Chicago-based Sage business and development
partner, including Hightower’s customers
and all intellectual property.
SWK has officially taken over support
for all Hightower customers and business partners, and some Hightower staff
are currently engaged with SWK to help
provide client support.
In addition to its own branded products, which were sold to other Sage
partners, Hightower sold and supported
MAS 90, 200 and 500, along with Net-Suite and SysPro.
BAKER TILLY PARTNERS
Baker Tilly Virchow Krause and cloud
accounting and financial technology
provider FinancialForce.com have inked
an agreement to deliver FinancialForce
Professional Services Automation implementation and best practices to Baker
Tilly’s professional services organization clients. The partnership will initially
focus on PSOs using Salesforce in North
America with FinancialForce PSA systems
experts working alongside Baker Tilly’s
Cloud-based sales tax automation service
provider Avalara has revamped its Accounting and Advisory Services Program
to provide CPAs, professional accountants and advisory services professionals
access to sales and use tax compliance
content, educational resources, and
tools to expand their service offerings.
Avalara is targeting firms of all sizes. The
company previously had an accountant
program, but it was more focused around
use and familiarity with the product.
ERP LOGIC INKS PLM DEAL
SAP partner ERP Logic has partnered
with cloud bill-of-materials and change
management software provider Arena
Solutions to provide a cloud-based product lifecycle management solution for
SAP Business ByDesign customers.
Leveraging Arena’s ERPExchange module, ERP Logic has developed a connector that will eliminate the need for
manual data entry from the PLM application to the ERP application.
those levels. ADP delineates its editions for
use by midsized businesses and enterprise
businesses, and offers complete systems
(such as those offered by its payroll editions,
or a tax engine that adds sophisticated tax
calculation and compliance capabilities to
an existing accounting or retail system and
can be in-house or host-based).
ADP segregates business size, at least
in some of its marketing materials, by the
number of employees, which is a relatively
common method. Midsized businesses are
defined under this criteria as having between
50 and 999 employees, with enterprise companies having a thousand or more.
Don’t let this be the criteria that you use for
considering ADP for your clients. More important than the number of employees is the
complexity of the sales tax situation that the
client has. It’s quite conceivable, especially
given how popular Internet shopping has
become, that a much smaller client of yours
would benefit from a high-power solution.
Some of the vendors in this roundup have
very targeted audiences and products. Avalara has a selection of modules that make up
Ava Tax that target many of the compliance
concerns and are appropriate in a wide variety of your clients, from SMBs to enterprise-level businesses.
These products, which can be purchased
or subscribed to separately, include Ava Tax
Calc, Ava Tax Certs, Ava Tax Returns, and AvaTax API Developers’ Tools for custom integration with applications not already supported
by Avalara. The names pretty much describe
the function each addresses. Calc is the ta-ble-lookup and calculation engine, Returns
manages filing and remittance, and Certs allows your client to maintain a database of
exemption certificates. These products tie
directly into more than 150 accounting, ERP
and e-commerce systems. TrustFile provides
secure e-filing and e-payments. With more
states insisting that sales and use taxes be
filed electronically, TrustFile may be a valuable adjunct for your clients.
While the above products are the mainstay of Avalara’s offerings, they aren’t the
only ones. AvaRates has been upgraded to
employ a proprietary geolocation technology to provide even more precise rate and
applicability determination. Also new this
year are mobile versions of the AvaCalc product for the iPhone, iPad and Android phones
Bloomberg BNA Sales &
Use Tax Portfolios
One of the most pressing concerns is keeping
up with the changes in sales and use tax regulation, rates and applicability. Some companies have huge departments to handle just
these aspects of the sales tax process. Others
have less capability — and look to your practice to help them maintain compliance.
The Bloomberg BNA Sales Tax & Use Tax
Rate Finder offers rates for more than 58,000
jurisdictions. The product can be configured
to automatically deliver the rates you or your
client need, when they’re needed. This service also provides on-screen cues to let you
know when unique tax circumstances exist.
Other Bloomberg BNA products address
sales and use tax research. Both the Sales &
Use Tax Chart Builder and the Sales & Use Tax
Navigator fall into this category, providing different levels and approaches to researching
issues that may affect your client. The Sales &
Use Tax Monitor extends this capability, providing your practice with daily news coverage
of all sales tax developments.
CCH, a Wolters Kluwer business
As a cloud-based product, Speed Tax is very
appropriate for the small and midsized business market. There’s no layout for capital
equipment, and software and tax rate updates are handled by Speed Tax, not your client. Transaction-based pricing also makes it
an attractive option for your smaller clients.
Speed Tax has a number of solutions available. Speed Tax Core is a fully automated calculation service that integrates with existing
financial or e-commerce systems that your
client already has in place. If your client needs
a more robust sales tax system, Speed Tax Plus
extends Core by providing automated return
preparation, filing and remittance functions.
Finally, if your practice includes providing
sales tax services for your clients, Speed Tax
Pro provides the ability to automate and
manage the sales tax process.
SpeedTax was acquired in 2011 by CCH,
and now uses CCH’s tax rate tables, which are
among the most accurate available. CCH has
also expanded the number of accounting and
ERP systems that Speed Tax integrates with.
With one exception, the companies included
in this roundup derive their revenue from the
client. That exception is Fed Tax’s TaxCloud.
Fed Tax is paid by the states that have adopted
the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement. Your client pays nothing to use the
Web-based tax lookup and calculation service, which is basically targeted to businesses
that operate on an e-commerce platform.
The features available to your client are
actually based on whether the state in which
your client reports is a participating member
in SSUTA. If it is, the lookup and calculation
engine can be tied to an e-commerce system
through a simple application programming
interface. In the states that are not members,
TaxCloud prepares reports so that your client can file accurate returns. If the state your
client files in is a member, TaxCloud can file
the return directly. TaxCloud also manages
exemption certificates, and there is no fee for
this service either.
This year, TaxCloud has been integrated
into 10 leading e-commerce and shopping
cart systems. But it is not suitable for every
one of your clients. It’s really intended for use
with companies that are e-commerce-based.
With more and more of these springing up
every day, it might provide just the right solution for certain of your clients.
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