As part of our roadmap for 2020 and as we move into 2021, we are dedicated to improving our AvaTax for Communications SaaS PRO REST user experience. We are excited to announce that we have built several new account settings that you are applicable to start taking advantage of immediately. We have built out capabilities for creating and managing the following customizations:
- Custom tax settings
- Safe Harbor overrides
- Features videos
How to begin using the new settings
Given the impact on your customizations, we will provide access to these features only to users within your organization who are specifically requested. In order to take advantage of these new settings we will send emails inviting you to participate and we ask that you reach out to our support team using submit a case to coordinate the transition. Include the following information in your support case for efficient processing:
- Company Name and Client ID to which the customizations will apply
Please note the features are currently available only to our REST API users
- User IDs that you want to have edit access to these features
We suggest only assigning access to your more advanced users
- Date and time that you want us to enable these features in your Sandbox account
- Date and time that you want us to enable these features in your Production environment
We suggest that you schedule this during a time when you will not be processing transactional data and/or processing minimal data
- The files associated with the current settings for exclusions and bundles
- Overrides are not currently available in the portal, but will be in the future
- Alternatively, you can request to use the current production settings and files
We will be building a more robust auditing of these customizations as part of our second phase of this project, which is why we want to limit the users who have access. All users with access to these features currently have permissions to add and edit customizations. We plan to add read-only permissions in the future. The timeframe will most likely be in 2021.
We do recommend that you test these features in your Sandbox environment first before we will provide access for you in production. This will ensure accuracy prior to production.
Once you have provided all of the above information, we will then need to migrate the profiles, exclusions, bundles, advanced tax settings and/or safe harbor overrides data to make it visible on the portal. Once this data has been migrated, you must customize your profiles in the Customer Portal going forward. You will not be able to use the AFC Desktop Manager to manage exclusions, bundles, advanced tax settings, or safe harbor overrides after you have requested the data migration. Please note, because Overrides are not yet available in the Customer Portal you will still need to use the AFC Desktop Manager and submit the file to Support until finished. To reiterate, once these features are migrated, you will manage your Profiles, Exclusions, Bundles and Advanced Customizations on the AvaTax For Communications Portal and Overrides will need to be managed on the AFC Desktop Application until fully integrated in 2021.
Let’s get started on the next steps and best practices.
Preparing for the transition
To prepare you for the transition, we suggest you take the following steps to ensure a smooth transition:
- Become familiar with the user experience of new AFC Portal customizations by watching this set of videos following the order in which they are listed:
- Once the migration is completed you can pull up the files in the AFC Manager and compare with what is displayed online.
While the new AFC Portal is rolling out during the week of your scheduled migration, we suggest you do the following:
- Run a series of test transactions or simulate a bill run in your sandbox environment prior to the scheduled migration date and record the results locally.
- In the AFC Portal, notice when the Setting tab is available. This indicates that the transition is complete for your organization. You will also receive an email notification from support when complete.
- Rerun the exact same test transactions or simulated bill run in your sandbox environment and compare the results you stored locally. Notice that the new AFC Portal Settings tab is available to all users for whom access was requested.
- One you have completed testing in the Sandbox environment, please submit a case for support including the required information you provided for the sandbox request.
- Once the data has been migrated in production, users will no longer need to send files to AvaTax for Communications support to update Profiles, Exclusions, Bundles, Custom Tax Settings or Safe Harbor Override customizations.
Note: Overrides will still need to be created using the AFC Manager desktop application and the file will continue to be sent to Avalara support for updates while we actively develop this feature for the new AFC Portal.
After the transition
We recommend you inform your users who do not have access to the new AFC Portal Settings Tab of the new process and have one advanced user in charge of managing these settings going forward. In addition, we recommend you have the same person manage the overrides with the existing process.
Once you have migrated to the new settings on the portal, files will no longer be accepted for the settings and Avalara support will be guided to remind users to make updates in the new AFC Portal experience for customizations, apart from Overrides.