Case Study – Large Mid-Size Educational Publishing Company
The mission of this educational publishing firm is to make learning and teaching easy and fun by providing superior educational products, training, and promotional materials to educators and parents. The company is the leader in providing easy-to-learn, easy-to-teach, developmentally appropriate, and inclusive materials to preschool and elementary students throughout the U.S. A few million students across all 50 states use their educational products and curriculum every year.
Until recently, the company managed its sales tax compliance efforts applying manual processes in a limited number of states, with a small number of local jurisdictions. The tax tables required manual updates of the city, county and state tax rates. This labor intensive manual process was bound to be error prone. Just getting the rates, let alone performing the updates themselves, was a costly process. In addition, foraying out to the e-commerce environment meant that the tax rates had to be maintained in two different formats and environments – the company accounting program as well as the online shopping cart. Efforts would also have to be dedicated to minimize the discrepancy between the systems.
Leslie, the company controller, says that had the company continued down the path of self-compliance, she would have had to dedicate at least 2 full time employees to these compliance efforts. These dedicated employees would focus on tracking tax rules and rates, updating the two systems, and generating and filing the tax returns.
The company decided to seek an outsourced service that would provide an end-to-end solution, with high levels of accuracy, scalability and seamless transition between the transaction and the reporting phases. Leslie says that Exactor addressed all of these needs, and more. On the pricing side, using Exactor’s outsourced sales tax compliance service is saving the company over $50,000 a year (net of service related expenses) in direct expenses alone.
Before deciding on Exactor, Leslie interviewed different providers, but settled on Exactor for many reasons. In addition to the preferred pricing model, the company showed a high level of flexibility and customization, which she felt, would be required in order to coordinate an intricate implementation with both her online and ERP system providers. “Exactor showed a high level of patience, willing to work with whatever barriers were presented. Bottom line is that they are very service oriented” says Leslie. Exactor has provided technical expertise, when required, to create what she describes as a “stupid friendly” system. That is, one, which she and her non-technical staff can access at any time and immediately know where to go and what to do, even without training or having to resort to lengthy manuals.
Leslie concludes by saying that the Exactor system looks simple upfront, however the robustness of offerings and capabilities, coupled with the intuitive and easy to use interface, all indicate that there is a complex system under the hood.” The benefit is that the “user can easily get to what they need, and does not get bogged down with intricate details of an enterprise level solution.”