3-part Q&A blog series
This three-part blog series will cover the journey of GoKeyless as they struggle to deal with the initial impact of the South Dakota vs. Wayfair ruling. Told from the vantage point of Skip Graham, network administrator at GoKeyless, this series is an inside look at how manual compliance processes were no match for the onslaught of changing tax regulations, and what ultimately led them to pursue outside options. This series covers the criteria, consideration and implementation phases of the technology that enabled GoKeyless to solve their Wayfair problems for good.
Q: Tell us about the situation at GoKeyless and what the impact of the Wayfair decision has been.
A: As an eCommerce company, GoKeyless is selling to a large number of states and even outside the US. It’s fair to say that we’ve had growth across every department and channel in the past couple of years.
The impact of the Wayfair decision has been substantial. At first, we thought we could manage the changes ourselves through a series of manual procedures and protocols. We implemented several different procedures that quickly proved insufficient for the task at hand.
We got to the point where we were trying things just for goodwill, to show the states that we were trying to do something in order to comply. However, the deeper we got into the process, the more we realized exactly what we were getting ourselves into.
We came to the conclusion that we were becoming completely overwhelmed, and that Wayfair was a much larger problem than we had anticipated.
Q: Where did you feel the greatest stress in trying to remain compliant?
A: The endless list of tax obligations was becoming all-consuming. Post-Wayfair, we aren’t just dealing with states anymore. It was now a matter of dealing with hundreds, if not thousands of individual counties and cities, all with their own rules and rates.
Trying to put in place manual systems to keep track of what rate is charged on what products and in what state, county or city was a nightmare. We literally hired a person here at GoKeyless solely for the purpose of trying to keep track of these taxes. It’s been insane. There really isn’t another word for it.
Q: How successful were you in properly charging taxes and what was the impact on customers?
A: We experienced varying degrees of success based largely on the complexity of the jurisdiction in which we were operating. I’d estimate in the year that we were tracking taxes manually that we only got it 100% right about 5 – 10% of the time.
We pride ourselves on being completely transparent with our customers. When they are doing business with us, we want them to know that we are a company of the highest ethical standards. It’s been an adjustment for both us and the customers as we work to ensure the regular and accurate tracking of taxes.
In the end, we came to the obvious conclusion that we couldn’t do this alone and needed help.
Continue reading about the GoKeyless journey in
Part III: Life with sales tax automation