OVERVIEW

Our Customer, a machine tool manufacturing company based in the Northeast, had installed Vertex tax compliance software for their business needs. However, the software had not been correctly customized during its installation and was not performing correctly. The Customer did not have an in-house expert capable of fixing these problems, requiring them to bring in an outside consultant from Surety Systems for a comprehensive software review and upgrade.

The Customer was running JD Edwards (JDE) EnterpriseOne (version 8.11) as its primary Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) tool. This platform was the central ERP system where all master data was stored. To meet their business needs, the Customer required functionality beyond what JDE alone could provide. This led to the initial integration of Vertex tax compliance software (version STQ4.0) to increase the Customer’s tax management capabilities.

 

CHALLENGE

Unfortunately, the Customer discovered that their Vertex software system suffered from several configuration errors. Recently applied tax updates to the Vertex system had been improperly installed. The error was revealed when the Customer was penalized by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for incorrect tax payments, particularly those in the state of California.

Vertex Software Lessons Learned: Challenge

Updating these automated tax decisions was a manual process; although Vertex software performed as intended, user error created an inefficient and incorrect system of tax reporting that damaged the company’s profitability.

 

SOLUTION

The Customer reached out to Surety Systems to correct the errors. Surety’s senior Vertex Consultant began by performing a complete top-to-bottom assessment of the way the Customer used Vertex software. This initial review provided insight into the client’s pain points and where their system could be optimized for better overall efficiency. The consultant first noticed that the software system had been incorrectly installed out of the box, preventing the Customer from applying the software’s full functionality from its initial installation. The Vertex tax compliance software was pre-programmed to accommodate tax exemptions across different states—yet these exemptions had not been customized to meet tax compliance guidelines across each state’s unique parameters. Surety’s consultant first corrected the tax exemption configuration to align with the requirements of each state. These corrections involved entering freight exemptions and getting freight line items up to date to guarantee that exemptions wouldn’t be applied to incorrect states.

Vertex Software Lessons Learned: Solution

However, the incorrect tax determinations were only a symptom of the Customer’s larger problem. The Vertex Tax Decision Maker software version in use was outdated and cumbersome to manage. The system required frequent updates that the Customer’s team was unfamiliar with. These barriers created system-wide inefficiency and exposed automated business processes to potential user error. Surety’s consultant needed to assess the software infrastructure of their system and take a piece-by-piece inventory of each part of its platform. After reviewing what changes were necessary, the consultant had to relay this information to the client’s team and ensure that necessary personnel were trained on the software. Without having a well-trained team to guide the installation, upgrades, and manual processes of Vertex software, the platform was not able to function in the way the client required. This enhanced training process was made easier by the upgrades themselves—after simplifying the Vertex software model with necessary improvements, the software became easier for the Customer’s team to manage. These upgrades, combined with Surety’s training protocols, empowered the Customer to perform their Vertex tax determinations at maximum efficiency.

 

RESULTS

The upgrades installed by Surety’s consultant brought the Customer back into tax compliance and ensured that each aspect of Vertex’s Tax Decision software worked together seamlessly. Even though Vertex software is designed to be user-friendly and simple to operate, expertise is necessary to ensure that the platform is optimally installed and integrated with other software. The post-upgrade training provided by Surety’s consultant ensured that no further software errors or tax compliance missteps would occur. These elements allowed the Customer to get the best possible outcome from their team’s use of Vertex software.