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Gem found a faster path to growth with Anrok

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Case studies
Last Updated

Gem found a faster path to growth with Anrok

Learn how Gem protected their revenue from the costs of non-compliance.

Anrok | Streamlined sales tax for SaaS

Talent engagement and CRM platform Gem was founded in San Francisco in 2017. By 2021, the finance team at Gem was looking ahead to raising a Series C round, and getting the infrastructure in place to support their future growth.

Gem’s controller Temi Vasco knew that meant getting sales tax compliant to protect the company’s revenue—but she wasn’t sure where to start.

Non-compliance put Gem’s revenue at risk

Vasco knew that growth meant more potential exposure for the company’s revenue streams.

“We were at an inflection point in terms of our sales,” says Vasco. “I felt we needed to get compliant pretty quickly. We didn't want to get to the point where states were coming to us.”

But the path to getting compliant was anything but clear. Vasco evaluated several tools but found the pricing structures confusing. And after talking to sales reps for those tools, she still had unanswered questions about how to deal with sales tax.

Once Vasco was connected to the team at Anrok, she quickly found the clarity—and SaaS-specific expertise—she was looking for.

“I had a lot of questions that the Anrok team was able to answer,” Vasco says. “What are the typical steps for a company like ours? How do we know when we’re getting close to compliance issues? And what other risk factors am I not even looking for?”

Gem was ahead of many companies in addressing sales tax at Series B. But companies getting started with compliance at this stage often need to first look backwards, making sure to square up any historical liability before making a plan for the future.

Most sales tax platforms don’t support this step in the process, pointing companies to accounting firms instead. This can cost between $4–10k for a one-time historical exposure report. And companies still need to take steps to act on any findings from the report, requiring even more time and money to resolve.

“With other tools, getting to compliance was going to be a long and expensive journey. With Anrok, the journey was simple, and the team provided white-glove service along the way.”

Temi Vasco, Controller

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Anrok | Streamlined sales tax for SaaS

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A fast and easy path to compliance

The Anrok team guided Gem through the process of importing their historical sales data to see where they had outstanding liabilities—a part of the core Anrok onboarding experience, at no extra cost. That support was a huge relief for Vasco, who was worried about the resources it would take to tackle sales tax.

“With other tools, getting to compliance was going to be a long and expensive journey,” Vasco says. “With Anrok, the journey was simple, and the team provided white-glove service along the way.”

Once imported into Anrok, Gem’s sales data was translated into an easy-to-read map showing where they had exposure, or unpaid sales tax. Vasco especially appreciated that visual heatmap as the Gem team navigated the decisions and steps to deal with their historical liability. 

From there, it was simple for Vasco to monitor the heatmap each month, getting a real-time look at any new exposure. And the Anrok team was there to help guide Gem all the way. 

“It was just really easy to get it done,” Vasco says. “I knew enough about sales tax to have a general idea of it, but I was by no means an expert. You need an expert who knows what to do and can provide thought leadership as a partner.”

Gem can focus on future growth

With sales tax checked off her list, Vasco can focus on looking forward. Having a system for compliance in place gives Gem a more accurate picture of their financial growth over the coming quarters and years.

“Compliance is just the first step,” she says. “We’re thinking about the future state for Gem. Now we can look at our sales plans, and use our sales tax data in Anrok for forecasting.”

The ability to rely on their future projections is a boon for Vasco’s team—and it’s far from the norm for companies of Gem’s size. It’s common for early-stage companies to put off sales tax compliance, only to face unplanned audits and end up paying uncollected sales tax (plus interest and penalties) out of pocket. By getting compliant up front, Gem is able to pass those costs on to their customers and avoid surprise hits to their bottom line.

For Vasco, it’s also about bringing the full spectrum of billing and payments in line with Gem’s company values.

“We ask ourselves: When we’re making a sale, how do we make it really transparent?” Vasco says. “And in our own financial audits, if we need to present this information, how easy is it to make it visible?”

As Gem takes care of compliance each month, they’re also building an audit trail and more transparent relationships with their customers. And those are the kind of results that help Vasco’s team face the future with confidence.

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