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Upload Documents

This article applies to:Avalara CertCapture

CertCapture uses two types of information to manage compliance documents. You create customer and document records in order for CertCapture to store, apply, and queue your compliance documents for renewal. This information is about document records, and as a final step, you'll link the documents to customers.

There are five phases to adding documents:

  • Import - Add compliance documents to CertCapture
  • Claim - Take ownership of documents
  • Merge - Change how the document looks and break it into separate pages
  • Validate, digitize, and link documents - Verify a document is valid, digitize it, and link it to a customer
  • Escalate - Flag a problematic document for review

When you upload a new certificate in CertCapture to replace an existing certificate, the new document doesn't automatically replace the existing one. Understand the difference between active and historical certificates to learn how CertCapture uses a set of rules to determine which of the two certificates is the active exemption document.

Import documents

Before you can process documents and link them with customer records, you'll need to add the documents to CertCapture. There are several ways to add customer records to CertCapture:

  • Your customers can submit documents online, at your request
  • Your customers can submit documents by fax
  • If you have access to CertCapture for Retail, your company's retail associates can submit document images using a mobile app - or your customers can upload their documents as a part of an eCommerce experience
  • You can upload documents to CertCapture using an upload feature within CertCapture

If you have physical or digital copies of documents that need to be imported into CertCapture, you need to upload those documents to make them available for processing.  

  1. To upload digital copies of documents, first convert them into PDF format. The easiest way to do this is to scan them to PDF.  
  2. Within CertCapture, click Data Entry on the toolbar, and then select Validate Documents from the drop-down. Next, click the Upload Documents button on the Validate Documents screen.
  3. In the Upload Stacks – [Your Company Name] dialog box, at the top, do the following:
    1. Click Choose File. Navigate to and select a PDF image that contains any number of pages, and then click Open.
    2. Under Priority, select Low, Normal, High, or Critical.
    3. Under Auto-Split, select No or Yes. If you select Auto-Split: Yes, CertCapture separates the documents automatically into different documents.
    4. Under Claim Stack click the checkbox next to (Auto-assign stack to yourself) to take control of the stack as soon as it uploads. No other users have access to the stack after you claim it. That's why most stacks are not claimed when they are uploaded—so that any user can claim and process them further.
    5. If your account has more than one document type enabled (exemption certificates, excise licenses, and/or federal withholding), you may see a Document Type drop-down. If so, select the document type you are uploading.
    6. If you know the exposure zone covered by the document(s) you're uploading, select it using the Exposure Zone drop-down.
    7. If you know the exempt reason associated with the document(s) you're uploading, select it using the Exempt Reason drop-down.
  4. When ready to proceed, click Upload Stack.
  5. Once documents stacks have been imported or uploaded to CertCapture, they're available for processing within the Validate Documents screen. Click Data Entry on the CertCapture Toolbar and select Validate Documents.

Claim documents

There are two ways to claim uploaded documents: 

  1. If you selected Auto-Claim Stacks during Upload, you can move to the next step because you already own the document. Click Data Entry on the CertCapture toolbar to get to your document stacks, and then click Validate Documents. Select My Unfinished Documents from the Available Documents dropdown.
  2. If you didn't use Auto-Claim Stack during the original import of your documents, claim one document stack or a group of document stacks in order to move to the next phase of processing.
    • In order to claim one document stack, start on the Validate Documents screen. Choose Data Entry on the CertCapture toolbar. Then click Validate Documents. In the processing queue, click anywhere on the line that contains the document stack you want to claim.
    • In order to claim more than one document stack, start on the Validate Documents screen. Choose Data Entry on the CertCapture Toolbar. Then click Validate Documents. Click the check boxes in the first column of each document stack you want to claim. Then click the Action button and choose Claim Documents.
    • If there are a lot of document stacks in your Validate Documents queue, use the search feature on the Validate Documents page to narrow the list. Filter by Customer keyword or number, Exposure Zone, Exempt Reason, or Stage.

You know what to do next with a document by its label:

  • Ready for Merge: you need to okay or change the appearance of documents, and split them into individual compliance documents, which can be processed separately
  • Ready for Validation: you have completed the Merge phase. You now need to check the validity of submitted forms, digitize document information, and link each document record to a customer.
  • Ready for Validation (Escalated): you have completed the Merge phase and started the Validation phase. The document was found to be problematic and was escalated
  • Reviewed: Pre-validation

Merge documents

Within the My Unfinished Documents processing queue, for any document stack that’s marked as Ready for Merge – and that you’d like to begin merging – click its Certificate Id to initiate the merge workflow. A modal (separate) window will open.  View and adjust the format of your documents.

  1. On the My Unfinished Documents: [Your Company Name] page, click the Certificate Id of any document stack you'd like to begin merging.
    1. If there is only one compliance document within the imported stack, use this area to define the document type, identify the exposure zone associated with the document, or to specify an exempt reason. You can also rotate, flip, increase contrast, decrease contrast, and delete pages from the document here.
      • At the top, click Release Stack to send the stack back to your company's repository in CertCapture so someone else in your company can work with it.
      • Use these image tools to adjust the appearance of uploaded documents.
    2. If the document stack contains more than one form, click Mark Split Here between each separate form, to identify where one document ends and another begins. 
      Document stack pages that precede and follow a Split marker will be treated as separate compliance document records in later processing phases – and can be linked to different customer records.

  2. Once you’ve adjusted the appearance of documents and have separated them into individual document records, either click Submit, which will make the documents available for the next phase of processing – or click Release Documents, which will return documents to the Available Documents queue within the Validate Documents screen.

Validate documents, digitize information, and link to customer record(s)

When documents have been merged and submitted, they become available for validation. During the validation process:

  • Check validity of documents
  • Digitize the document information, so CertCapture can store the information and you can search based on it later
  • Link documents to your customers' records
  1. Access documents that you have claimed and that are available for validation. On the CertCapture toolbar go to Data Entry > Validate Documents and from the Available Documents drop-down, select My Unfinished Documents
  2. Access all documents available for validation, no matter who else may have prepared them for validation. On the CertCapture toolbar go to Data Entry > Validate Documents and from the Available Documents drop-down, select Available Documents.
  3. To begin the validation process, click in the line of any document that's marked Ready for Validation within the document processing queue - or begin validating multiple documents by placing check marks in the boxes beside each document you want to validate. When you've selected a document or stack to validate, a modal (separate) validation pane appears.

    If the document you're validating is a multi-jurisdictional exemption certificate (one form that records a customer's exempt status in more than one jurisdiction), the Certificate Id for the document at this stage is the Id that was assigned during upload. Once you've validated the document, each of the certificate's jurisdictions will assume a new Certificate Id. For example, the original document you uploaded might have a Certificate Id of 500. Then once you've validated the document and have indicated that it's multi-jurisdictional, by selecting more than one jurisdiction during the validation process, the new Certificate Ids might be 501, 502, and 503. 
  4. Within the Data Entry document validation pane, enter all relevant, requested information about the document. Fields include:
    • Customers: Search for an existing customer record or use the blue plus sign button to add a new customer record.  The document you are validating will be attached to the customer(s) entered here 
    • Exempt Reasons: Select an exempt reason. The reason you select should match the exempt reason indicated by the document you are validating
    • Exposure Zones: Type to search for specific exposure zones. The zone(s) entered should match the exposure zone(s) indicated by the document you are validating
    • Effective Date: Enter the date the document should become effective
    • Location
    • Single Use: Check if the document you are validating should apply only to one purchase order
    • Invalid Reason: If the document is invalid, note the reason. Use the drop-down to locate possible invalid reasons, or type to search for an invalid reason you already know exists
    • Customer Code: If your team tracks customer attributes such as Business Closed, Address Change Needed, etc. assign those attributes here
    • Certificate Code: If your team tracks document attributes, such as Multi-Jurisdictional, Drop-Ship, etc. assign those attributes here
    • Validation Fax / Email Updates:
    • Notes:
    • PO Numbers: If you checked the Single Use box above, provide the purchase order with which the document should be associated

      If at any point during this validation, digitization, and customer-linking phase you decide to stop work processing this document, click the Release button at the top of the Data Entry document validation pane. The document is returned to the Available Documents view of the Validate Documents screen.
  5. If you complete data entry for a document, click Validate. The document is no longer a part of the Validate Documents queue, and the information you’ve entered is now searchable at the customer and document levels. In the future, if you perform a search for documents with specific attributes – or for customers who are linked to documents with specific attributes, the document you’ve validated may be surfaced as a search result.

    If at the top, you click Release, the stack returns to the Available Documents view of the Validate Documents screen, where another user can validate it. Release does not process the documents further or move them to complete status. If you neither finish processing a stack or release it, but leave the data entry area by closing the window or if it times out, CertCapture automatically assigns the stack to you for further processing. You can find any of those stacks under the My Unfinished Stacks view of the Validate Documents screen.

Escalate problematic documents

  1. On the Validation page, click Escalate.
  2. In the Escalate dialog box, use the first drop-down to select the reason for escalation. Choose one of the following:
    • No Customer Number.
    • Other, and in the text box below, type a reason why you’re escalating the certificate for review.
  3. Click Escalate.
  4. Continue validating any other certificates in the stack. If you need to escalate any other certificates, repeat these steps.

Reprocess documents with errors

For a small number of documents, errors can occur during the upload or merge phase. If you've uploaded a document and it's failed to process correctly, try re-processing it.

  1. On the CertCapture toolbar go to Data Entry > Validate Documents. Look at the document processing queue to see a list of all uploaded documents. Each document is a line-item with its stage displayed. For documents that either failed to upload correctly, or that failed to process correctly during the merge phase, the stage label is Error: Re-Process Document.

  2. If there are many documents in the processing queue, use the search options at the top of the screen to limit your processing queue to documents with errors. Click the Stage drop-down, and select Error: Re-Process Document to filter your queue.

  3. In your queue, click the check the box next to any of the failed documents you want to re-process. Then click Action > Re-Process Document.

  4. You can attempt to re-process documents this way three times. If the document fails to process correctly after the third attempt, the stage for the document in the queue is Failed to Process, and you need to upload the document again.