Customer story

Berkshire Blanket & Home Co. gets cushy with sales tax automation

Results

Improved processes
Increased compliance
Enabled growth

Summary

Outcomes delivered

  • Improved processes
  • Increased compliance
  • Enabled growth

Tax challenges

  • Company growth
  • Tax complexity
  • Process inefficiency
  • Compliance risk


Products used

Avalara AvaTax
Dynamically delivers sales and use tax calculations, based on the latest rules and rates in our system, to your shopping cart or invoicing system at the time of purchase.

Avalara CertCapture
A highly scalable solution to securely collect, store, and manage tax documents in the cloud and automate exemptions at checkout.

Avalara Returns
Automatically gathers data from AvaTax to prepare and file your sales and use tax returns, and remit payments, across multiple jurisdictions every filing cycle.

Company overview


Customer
Berkshire Blanket & Home Co.

Industry
Retail, Ecommerce

Tax type
Sales and use, GST

Integrations
Shopify PlusJagged Peak EDGE

Established in 1993, Berkshire Blanket & Home Co. is the biggest company in its category, supplying more than 130 million premium-quality blankets, throws, and other soft home goods to top retailers around the world.

Tax challenges


When Berkshire sold primarily to tax-exempt retailers, its sales tax obligations could be managed manually with a homegrown matrix. But when the company got serious about consumer ecommerce, it quickly found that its matrix was a risky and inefficient way to manage sales tax.

“I was the one who made things difficult, so that we could bring in inventory and sell one blanket at a time to a single person,” laughs Emily Pfeiffer, Vice President of Marketing and Digital, who was brought in specifically to build the company’s online retail business. “I was not the finance team’s favorite person.”

Emily knew that the “flexibility” built into the existing system actually amounted to a lot of manual work, especially as changing tax rates, rules, and filing deadlines differed across so many jurisdictions.

“In no time we were adding new warehouses, doing more business through Amazon.com, and adding remote employees in new states — all of which further complicated our tax obligations.”

—Emily Pfeiffer
Vice President of Marketing and Digital

“It gets complicated quickly, especially for a core business that is all about wholesale,” she explains. “In no time we were adding new warehouses, doing more business through Amazon.com, and adding remote employees in new states — all of which further complicated our tax obligations.”

When the company switched to a new ecommerce platform, Emily knew the old sales tax matrix had reached the end of its useful life. “We had to find a new system to manage the tax,” she says.

Why Avalara?


It didn’t take Emily long to land on Avalara’s suite of products as the right solution; she had used it in a previous role at a different company. “AvaTax, in particular, is the Cadillac of its category, and has been for years,” she says. “It’s what you should be using if you just want tax handled.”

And Berkshire’s complexity didn’t end with tax determination and calculation. A critical compliance challenge for its wholesale business relates to the collection, storage, management, and renewal of its exemption certificates. Berkshire added Avalara CertCapture to AvaTax to automate these business processes as well.

Customer
Berkshire Blanket & Home Co.

Industry
Retail and ecommerce

Tax type
Sales and use, GST

Integration
Shopify Plus, Jagged Peak EDGE

Tax challenges

  • Company growth
  • Tax complexity
  • Process inefficiency
  • Compliance risk

Products used

Avalara AvaTax
Dynamically delivers sales and use tax calculations, based on the latest rules and rates in our system, to your shopping cart or invoicing system at the time of purchase.

Avalara CertCapture
A highly scalable solution to securely collect, store, and manage tax documents in the cloud and automate exemptions at checkout.

Avalara Returns
Automatically gathers data from AvaTax to prepare and file your sales and use tax returns, and remit payments, across multiple jurisdictions every filing cycle.


Benefits

  • Simplified complexity
  • Grew tax compliance confidence
  • Enabled bold growth plans

“Having Avalara means I don’t have to hire someone just to monitor and adjust our tax settings. None of us wants to be in that business, and we love being able to trust it to Avalara.”

Emily Pfieffer, Vice President,
Marketing and Digital

“Having Avalara means I don’t have to hire someone just to monitor and adjust our tax settings. None of us wants to be in that business, and we love being able to trust it to Avalara.”

Emily Pfieffer, Vice President,
Marketing and Digital

Integrations


Avalara products integrate well with the company’s ecommerce and order management systems. 

“It’s absolutely seamless. In fact, we recently changed our ecommerce platform system to Shopify Plus. A key factor in that decision was that it features built-in integration with Avalara’s software,” Emily explains. ”We just set it up once and forget it. And Avalara was more of a partner than we expected during the transition, offering us the support we needed.”

Results


Emily speaks energetically about mitigating risk, lowering the stress levels of her team, and the peace of mind Avalara has given them. But an even greater impact is what Avalara has made possible for the company’s future. 

“We have some very audacious growth plans,” she says. “The kind of volume we’re planning will rely 100% on Avalara’s ability to help us scale. I can honestly say that having Avalara will enable that kind of growth, because we know we’re covered.”

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