BAINBRIDGE ISLAND, Wash.–()–The CloudSolutions Alliance, an accountant-focused educational collaborative comprised of Fujitsu Computer Products of America, Inc., XCM Solutions, SmartVault, and FreshBooks, today announced the addition of Avalara, the market leader in automated, up-to-date transactional tax compliance solutions, including sales and use tax, and 1099 reporting.

“3 Key Tech Strategies of Successful 21st Century Accounting Firms”

Avalara pioneered the online sales and use tax compliance model in 2004, and has continued to enhance and refine the technology related to transactional tax, including next-generation geocoding capabilities that allow for the most accurate sales and use tax rate determinations available anywhere.

Avalara is an important addition to the CloudSolutions Alliance, representing Cloud-based technologies that address statutory requirements affecting accounting professionals and their valued clients. Avalara’s founders and other in-house expert resources will contribute to and participate in ongoing CloudSolutions Alliance initiatives, with an emphasis on helping firms to create a better client experience and become more competitive.

Avalara has approached the SME market with a clear-cut message regarding customer needs – Sales and use tax calculations, returns, remittance, and certificate management, in addition to 1099 reporting, should be automated and outsourced, just as companies outsourced burdensome tasks like payroll to trusted providers. Avalara also shares the strong conviction of fellow CloudSolutions Alliance members that best-of-breed SaaS, Cloud and paperless solutions should be integrated in order to create easy-to-use, fully-connected solution suites that accountants and their clients can access from any location, at any time, without the need for extensive IT infrastructure.

“We’ve been watching the CloudSolutions Alliance develop and mature over the past year, and are very pleased to now participate in and help guide the Alliance in this shared mission of educating accountants on the benefits of Cloud, SaaS and paperless technologies,” said Scott McFarlane, CEO at Avalara . “I predict that one of the most valuable end results of the Alliance will be the ongoing product integrations already taking place within this group, and the inevitable improvement of the overall client experience that occurs through connected technologies that are easy to use and share a familiar look and feel.”

“The CloudSolutions Alliance continues to attract interesting solution providers that all seem to have something valuable to bring to the table with respect to education and the accounting profession,” said Jim Hart, Practice Manager at SingerLewak Systems and Cloud Accounting Works. “With the onboarding of Avalara, they’re adding a necessary element to the mix – statutory, overly-complicated, cumbersome transactional tax requirements that are begging for automation – and continuing to develop creative initiatives that spell out what firms need to do to exceed client expectations and become more competitive. I’m looking forward to seeing what they come up with next.”

Avalara will participate in upcoming CloudSolutions Alliance educational initiatives directed at CPA firms of all sizes, including an ongoing podcast series from the THRIVEal+CPA Network, called THRIVEcasts. More information on the CloudSolutions Alliance’s involvement with the THRIVEcast series will be forthcoming in a news announcement later this month.

Educational initiatives undertaken by the CloudSolutions Alliance in the past year have included:

  • A research study of Top 100 accounting firms conducted by Bay Street Group focused on profit margins, competition between firms and getting up-to-date with technology. Managing partners, partners, senior executives and senior staff from Top 100 firms participated in the survey, which shows that the best-managed, most successful firms are aggressively adopting Cloud, SaaS and Paperless solutions. The survey results show that firms are adopting these technologies in order to become more competitive, provide better client service, and improve client retention.
  • A white paper by James Bourke, CPA.CITP, and Partner at WithumSmith+Brown, “3 Key Tech Strategies of Successful 21st Century Accounting Firms,” describing how competitive, growth-oriented firms are leveraging technologies like document management and SaaS to better serve clients and improve internal operations.

About CloudSolutions Alliance

CloudSolutions Alliance is a CPA-focused educational collaborative formed in 2010 as a response to the rapid shift toward Cloud, SaaS and Paperless technologies in the accounting profession, and how this shift has impacted the capacity of firms to better meet client needs and expectations, and to grow by becoming more competitive. Just as firms are now reevaluating long-established processes and metrics used to run firms – the move toward Value Billing being a key example – the prospect of continuing to serve clients in a non-automated fashion, moving paper-based tax and other documents through the firm, and utilizing outdated, on-premise software no longer promotes firm growth or keeps pace with the level of client service being offered by fully-automated firms.

The CloudSolutions Alliance will continue to help educate the CPA community with a variety of initiatives that address the key tenets agreed upon by Alliance members:

  • Cloud/SaaS/Paperless is the new normal. Mature Cloud, SaaS and Paperless solutions are readily available, and gaining widespread adoption among firms of all sizes. Accounting professionals should consider the positive impact of these technologies and services on their firms, on their staff, and on their valued clients.
  • Increased firm efficiency. Choosing to work in a Cloud environment supports highly efficient processing and the ability to establish standardized operations, so everyone is following the same procedures.
  • Newfound mobility and efficiency. Staff can easily and effectively work from any remote environment with Cloud and SaaS tools.
  • Focus on client service. Clients benefit directly from Cloud, SaaS and Paperless technologies and applications that support real-time exchange of data and new levels of convenience.
  • New pricing power. Firms that optimize their operations with Cloud, SaaS and Paperless technologies and services gain the ability to confidently charge a premium for their enhanced services with little risk of losing business to a competitor.
  • Access to Cloud equality. Firms of all sizes, with or without IT staff, can leverage SaaS solutions to offer their clients the assurance of the highest levels of data security and privacy, via their service provider(s). This key aspect of Cloud computing allows small firms to compete aggressively in the market with a service offering comparable to the Top 100 firms.

Visit CloudSolutions Alliance on FaceBook and follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/cloud_alliance.

About CloudSolutions Alliance members:

About Avalara

Based near Seattle, WA, Avalara, the market leader in web-based sales tax solutions, continues to transform and enhance the sales and use tax compliance process for businesses of all sizes. With point-and-click ease, Avalara provides the fastest, easiest, most accurate and affordable way for companies to address their statutory tax requirements. Avalara is the industry’s most trusted provider of sales and use tax automation solutions, serving more than 40,000 registered users located throughout the U.S., Canada, and abroad, delivering more than 350 million sales tax transactions, and filing and remitting more than $10 billion in sales & use tax collections per year. Avalara is one of America’s fastest growing companies and Microsoft’s SaaS Partner of the Year for 2010. For more information, please visit www.avalara.com.

About Fujitsu

Fujitsu is a leading provider of information and communication technology (ICT)-based business solutions for the global marketplace. With approximately 170,000 employees supporting customers in over 100 countries, Fujitsu combines a worldwide corps of systems and services experts with highly reliable computing and communications products and advanced microelectronics to deliver added value to customers. Headquartered in Tokyo, Fujitsu Limited (TSE:6702) reported consolidated revenues of 4.5 trillion yen (US$55 billion) for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2011. For more information, please see: www.fujitsu.com.

About Fujitsu Computer Products of America, Inc.

Fujitsu Computer Products of America, Inc. is an established leader in the Document Imaging industry, delivering innovative scanning solutions and services that enable our customers to solve critical business productivity issues and streamline operations. We provide cutting-edge document capture solutions for business and personal environments, backed by a comprehensive portfolio of service and support programs. For more information about Fujitsu Document Imaging solutions and services, visit http://us.fujitsu.com/fcpa or call us at 800-626-4686.

About XCM Solutions, LLC

Founded by CPAs, XCM Solutions, LLC provides accounting firms with web-based workflow management solutions that increase efficiency, productivity and profitability. The company’s management team has drawn on its extensive experience in public accounting and clear understanding of the paper-driven workflow issues facing the profession to develop technology that addresses those challenges.

XCM’s customer-guided development process has helped the company continuously raise the bar for business process automation solutions for the accounting profession. The award-winning XCM™ workflow management software has become a key piece of the technology equation for firms re-engineering paper-based processes as they move toward a paperless environment. In 2010, CPA2Biz, a subsidiary of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), and XCM Solutions formed a strategic alliance to bring the XCM workflow management software into CPA2Biz’s Trusted Business Advisor(SM) Solutions cloud computing platform. For more information, please visit www.xcmsolutions.com.

About SmartVault

SmartVault is a leading provider of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) document management solutions, providing accounting professionals and business users with an easy and affordable solution for going paperless. SmartVault’s unique integration with popular small- and medium-sized business applications, such as QuickBooks®, creates a seamless user experience for scanning, attaching, and finding documents within a familiar application. With SmartVault, users can securely store, access, and share all their documents any time and from anywhere. SmartVault has earned top honors from Intuit as a QuickBooks Gold Certified Developer. For more information about SmartVault, contact us at 866-674-6785, or visit us at www.smartvault.com.

About FreshBooks

FreshBooks.com is planet Earth’s leading online invoicing and bookkeeping service for small businesses, freelancers and service based professionals. Since 2004, FreshBooks.com has helped over 2.5 million people experience painless billing. Dedicated to designing extraordinary customer experiences, FreshBooks.com helps people focus on what they love to do, instead of their paperwork. Get a free account and learn more about why over 1500 accountants and financial professionals are referring FreshBooks to their small business clients at www.freshbooks.com/jointhemovement.

Contacts

Avalara
Director, Accountant & Industry Relations
Brian Austin, 707-799-9838 (Mobile)
brian.austin@avalara.com