Tax Manager at Northern Tool + Equipment
"We decided on Avalara CertCapture. It made it so that our retail stores could be more assured of collecting valid certificates using the online step-by-step wizard."
Northern Tool + Equipment
By 2010, we were up to 44,000 customer sales tax exemption certificates to manage, with at least 50 new certificates being added daily.
Our old method was entirely manual; each store collected and maintained its own set of certificates, which meant that headquarters had limited access to the information.
Exemption certificates are the same thing as cash money; missing an exemption certificate can cost you thousands of dollars in an audit.
Using a manual process is a recipe for disaster. Our audit exposure and the time it was taking us to complete the audits was gaining the attention of senior management.
We needed a flexible solution that would enable us to import our existing certificates and easily handle collection for each retail store, while maintaining a central repository for easy access by headquarters.
We developed training guides and “train the trainer” sessions, which enabled us to educate store sales personnel who could help customers complete sales tax exemption certificates using the Avalara AvaTax wizard on the store’s floor computer.
It is really easy now. No more looking in file drawers or calling the store; no more calls and faxes to customers requesting certificates. It is a lot easier to have them ready up front than to obtain them in the heat of the moment.
If we had implemented Avalara CertCapture three or four years ago, the audits being concluded now could have been fully supported by CertCapture. The only regret I have about Avalara AvaTax is that we should have done it sooner.