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Taxing Times

Bergquist Inc. figures sales taxes faster with several clever solutions


Photos by Jim Rohman

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Customer: Bergquist Inc.
Headquarters: Toledo, Ohio
Business: Distributor of propane-related equipment and supplies
Challenge: Tackling complex sales-tax issues
Solution: Deploying several tax-specific solutions that integrated with its core ERP suite, thereby reducing many of the manual processes involved in tracking sales taxes
Hardware: An IBM Power Systems 520 Express and an IBM System i 520
Software: The Infor A+ ERP application, Commerce Plus Services, and Avalara’s SalesTaxII and Laserbridge+

Most people are used to paying a sales tax—whether state, local or both—on the goods they purchase. After all, what’s an extra 6 percent (like I pay in Michigan) on top of a 99-cent drink from a fast-food joint? (If you’re buying a car, well, that’s a different story.)

Behind the scenes, that fast-food restaurant passes those payments on to state and local authorities—and must keep a thorough accounting of it. And when that restaurant, perhaps one of many in a national chain, has 1,000 customers a day ordering not just sodas, but also burgers and fries, it can become an arduous task to make sure all of its tax information is in order.

Although not a fast-food restaurant, Bergquist Inc., a distributor of propane-related supplies to retail marketers, faced similar issues. Sandi Lemmon, accounting specialist with Bergquist, says she was spending 10 to 12 working days a month reporting and filing state sales-tax reports. Certainly, the company decided, there had to be a better, more efficient way to conduct this side of its business.

Well, thanks to a suggestion by business partner Aktion Associates, it found several solutions, including Avalara’s SalesTaxII and LaserBridge+, as well as a product from Commerce Plus Services (CPS) that bridged the gap between the Avalara tax software and Infor’s A+ ERP suite. The solution freed up nearly half of those captive days.

Thanks to its implementation, Lemmon, who admits to wearing many different hats, now has more time for other aspects of the business.

“In many cases, all I have to do now is create a report ... print it out and sign it. ... It’s unbelievably simple.”
—Sandi Lemmon, accounting specialist, Bergquist

Jim Utsler, IBM Systems Magazine senior writer, has been covering the technology field for more than a decade. Jim can be reached at jjutsler@provide.net.


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Taxing Times

Bergquist Inc. figures sales taxes faster with several clever solutions

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