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Nutiliti replaced Avalara with Anrok and saved $42,000 in tax errors

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Case studies
Last Updated

Nutiliti replaced Avalara with Anrok and saved $42,000 in tax errors

Using Avalara cost Nutiliti time and money—and put their customer relationships at risk. Learn how switching to Anrok gave them the freedom to grow their business.

Anrok | Streamlined sales tax for SaaS

Austin-based startup Nutiliti was founded in 2020 to help homeowners and businesses streamline utility management.

As the team ramped up, co-founder and CTO Bowden Kelly began building the technical infrastructure for customer billing. Kelly had implemented checkout flows before, but he quickly realized that optimizing SaaS billing processes for compliance has become more technically complex.

“I hadn't done it with all the new nexus laws in place,” says Kelly, referring to the changes in tax codes across the US since 2018’s Wayfair Supreme Court decision.

The nature of Nutiliti’s business adds to the complexity. “We have hundreds of thousands of bills per month that we process all over the United States,” Kelly says. “At that scale, we knew we needed an automated solution, and that we couldn’t solve the problem on our own.”

Using Avalara strained Nutiliti’s time, money, and reputation

After an initial search, Kelly and his team decided to try Avalara, a legacy sales tax tool. But after going through the process of procurement and implementation, they found that the tool failed to meet their most basic functional requirements.

“It just didn’t work as advertised,” Kelly says. “After four months of being on support calls with them, it still didn’t work. It was very frustrating.”

The issues they encountered with Avalara surprised Kelly. He’d anticipated potential roadblocks in the details of managing compliance across states, but thought the core tax calculation technology should work as expected.

“All we really need is for someone to do the math: Here’s an address, here’s an amount,” says Kelly. “But their system calculated and paid the wrong taxes to multiple states.”

These mistakes cost Nutiliti time and money—and put their customer relationships at risk.

“We had to hire a separate accountant to clean up the mistakes, and refund all the customers who’d been charged in error,” Kelly says.

All told, Nutiliti burned through an unnecessary $42,000 because of issues with Avalara.

“Anrok is the solution we always wanted, but never got from Avalara.”

Bowden Kelly, Co-founder and CTO

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Anrok | Streamlined sales tax for SaaS

Table of contents

A sales tax tool built for modern software businesses

With their resources and reputation on the line, the Nutiliti team was ready to find a new sales tax solution. Kelly polled his network and heard that Anrok was working well for SaaS businesses like his.

Switching software can be difficult and time-consuming, but Kelly was quickly put at ease by Anrok’s modern approach to solving sales tax.

“Anrok’s pricing structure is way more in line with a modern SaaS company,” Kelly says. “Avalara charges fees and penalties if your business grows faster than expected.”

Kelly also found that the Anrok team was well-suited to supporting a business like Nutiliti, with deep expertise in SaaS tax requirements and business models, and hands-on customer support.

“The switch was a lot easier than I thought it would be,” Kelly says. “It took less than a day, working closely with the Anrok team, who really understood what we were trying to accomplish. In comparison, when we onboarded with Avalara, everyone I talked to referred me to a different support person, and you had to get escalated through different tiers of support just to get a question answered.”

Once onboarding was complete, Nutiliti was able to immediately see the impact of implementing a more reliable tax solution.

“Anrok automatically started working,” Kelly says. “We started getting accurate tax calculations right away, and we've never looked back. To date we've run hundreds of thousands of transactions through Anrok with zero accuracy problems.”

Anrok gives Nutiliti the freedom to grow

Anrok has effectively eliminated the burden of sales tax compliance for Nutiliti. Kelly and his team went from spending 30–40 hours a month on troubleshooting their Avalara setup to handling sales tax in less than 1 hour.

“It’s magic,” says Kelly. “It's the solution that we always wanted, but never got from Avalara.”

Kelly especially appreciates the simplicity of Anrok’s sales tax exposure dashboard, Stripe-integrated calculations, and automated return filing.

“Of all the software we use at Nutiliti, Anrok has certainly been one of the easiest to use,” Kelly says. “That’s very valuable, because the problem it’s solving is so complex.”

Most of all, Kelly is relieved that he can put sales tax out of his mind and focus on growing Nutiliti’s business.

“Anrok has given us the freedom to continue to increase our already high volume of transactions, and not have to worry about sales tax,” Kelly says. “I haven’t thought about sales tax since we made the switch, and it has been the most freeing thing.”

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