When New York first passed its law defining what constitutes a “vendor” subject to collecting sales tax in the 1980’s, the idea of online shopping sounded like science fiction. In retrospect, NY may have effectively enacted the first “economic nexus” law when they drafted their definition of “vendor” to include a person who regularly or […]
Automated Exemption Certificate Management at Bridgestone HosePower
Bridgestone HosePower Selects Sovos for Customer Exemption Certificate Management
Bridgestone HosePower, LLC is a hose sales and service company that offers hydraulic and industrial hoses, hose assemblies and mobile hose services to internationally-recognized manufacturers of cranes, street sweepers, road paving equipment, sanitation trucks, and drilling rigs and other machinery through 40 branch locations in the United States and one location in Mexico. Bridgestone HosePower is a wholly owned indirect subsidiary of Bridgestone Corporation. Company growth, and with the number of customer exemption certificates approaching 10,000, required the company to move from a manual to an automated exemption certificate management process.
Exemption Certificate Management Challenges
Bridgestone HosePower lacked real-time access in a single online solution to all of its customer exemption certificates and had trouble maintaining the data to make sure they were valid as the company expanded operations. According to Andrew Snowden, Controller, auditors are more stringent on what is deemed acceptable and unacceptable and the tax department felt blind. On top of that, pulling the necessary files from various servers, drawers and warehouses could take up to six weeks to satisfy an auditor’s request, and even then they would have to occasionally go back to a customer to track down one that went missing.
As Andrew explained, the company did a good initial job of collecting the original certificate, but after that, there was never any follow up. The certificate would end up in a drawer somewhere and eventually fall out of compliance. With various states having different expiration dates, the team began to run into trouble manually managing the increasing number of certificates they had.
“I wouldn’t know if there was an issue until the auditor knew there was an issue. It wasn’t a good situation or feeling. I don’t like being blind when I’m in an audit, and I felt like I was blind going through the audit on the resale certificates,” said Andrew.
Selecting Sovos CertManager for Exemption Certificate Management
Sovos CertManager has given Bridgestone HosePower a more user-friendly and automated process to collect, validate, filter, maintain and download certificates and proactively alert customers to certificates that need updating directly from the solution. Reports also now alert the team where problems may arise to avoid future compliance issues and help the team get a head start on upcoming audits.
Bridgestone HosePower selected Sovos for automated exemption certificate management based on a solid existing relationship and Sovos’ ability to integrate with legacy accounting, ERP and cloud-based systems. The company also had confidence that Sovos would help it grow into the future. Furthermore, Sovos CertManager was simple to use, and the team liked its cloud-based user interface.
Using a template from Sovos, Bridgestone HosePower’s tax team was able to do a simple data extraction from the ERP system and quickly and easily load their customer exemption data and certificates directly into CertManager, giving them immediate visibility into the gaps they had. Andrew and his team are now able to run reports anytime and get a sense of where they stand, where they have missing or invalid certificates, where potential issues may be and where to focus their efforts. And any new customers that are onboarded are easily validated and go directly into Sovos CertManager.
“Having a single online location and real-time access to our thousands of certificates, with new customers onboarded daily, is saving the team time and effort, enabling us to focus our efforts on growing the business, while safeguarding the company from future audit penalties,” said Andrew.
Sovos CertManager is estimated to reduce the time spent tracking down valid customer exemption certificates at auditor request from six weeks to one day. Additionally, Bridgestone HosePower has increased both visibility into expiring exemption certificates and operational efficiency while reducing the risk of costly future audits.
Learn how Sovos CertManager, backed by the Intelligent Compliance Cloud, reduces burdens and safeguards businesses from risk and penalty exposure by automating customer exemption certificate management. Get a preview, below.
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