Greystone originated as an IT Managed Service Provider (MSP), oddly enough – mostly focused on IT services. When we needed hardware, software and other products we typically went through a 3rd party for purchasing. In 2014, a decision was made to take on product sales. The reality was, we could save our customers money, make some ourselves and provide a higher quality of service because we were now in control of the whole procurement process.
We evaluated several quoting and proposal solutions and QuoteWerks quickly rose to the top primarily because of it’s simplicity and ease of use, but also because of it’s flexibility and the strength of their out of the box integrations to ConnectWise and Quickbooks (our other core systems).
Product sales went from “0 to 60” in less than a quarter. We learned a few lessons the hard way, but we were all focused on solving all the business process problems to keep up (and accelerate) our momentum. We were focused on streamlining the process and making sure systems stayed in sync. Heads came together and everything started to click. Communication with distributors improved because, quite simply, it was just us and the distributor. Escalations on shipping delays occurred faster. End customers were happier because of the quicker turnaround, better communication and simple invoicing. We knew we had made the right decision to take on product sales and to use QuoteWerks to do it. Yet there was a problem brewing.
Sales Tax was not as easy as it was when we were purely a services company. Nexus wasn’t being taken into account in any of our systems. In many cases, this means that even though you have all the rate tables up to date you are collecting too much tax, a disservice to customers. None of our systems applied different tax codes and different tax rates across products or categories. We were wasting time reconciling across systems. Colorado also happens to be, shall we say, overly complex when it comes to tax jurisdictions so accuracy down to the zip code wasn’t good enough – we needed tax rates at the rooftop level (lat/long). Bottom line – we knew we had to automate everything sales tax or it would hinder our growth and leave us open to risk.
Enter Avalara. Avalara’s AvaTax was everything we needed to automate sales tax compliance. It literally solved every problem mentioned above. The elephant in the room was that they didn’t have QuoteWerks among their many integrations. Interestingly, Greystone has a development team focused on new software products. We looked at our trajectory and asked ourselves where do we want to be 12 months from now with product sales and customer satisfaction. The decision became a simple one. Build the Avalara for QuoteWerks integration for ourselves and share it with others. We started using it in Q4 of 2015.
It’s hard to quantify the total impact, not because of any lack of measurable indicators but because the positive impact is increasing and varied. Less clicks per quote. reduced shipping errors. Increased tax accuracy. reducing monthly reconciliation by hours. reducing quarterly reconciliation and tax remit by 10+ hours per quarter. Peace of mind when it comes to audit preparedness.
Greystone Technology built the Avalara for QuoteWerks integration to grow our business and we hope it does the same for you. We created ConnectTax because we believe in the services Avalara provides and would consider building additional integrations between Avalara and other systems. Whatever your tax compliance automation need, let us know. We’re listening.
Tom “Monty” Montgomery
Co-Founder | ConnectTax