Case study: Snowflake

How Innovate Tax delivered the world’s first Workday-Vertex integration for Snowflake

Snowflake, one of the world’s largest and most successful cloud-based data warehousing companies, recently undertook a major project to implement a new ERP by Workday alongside a new tax engine from Vertex.

We were selected by Snowflake as its implementation partner to work with both Workday and Vertex to oversee a successful project to configure the tax engine product to the client’s dynamic global needs, as well as integrate it with the new ERP.

We achieved:

  • A comprehensive, reliable and successful integration between Workday and Vertex – believed to be the first in the world of its kind!
  • Multi-faceted tax compliance, including adoption of US sales and use tax with multiple European VAT regimes.
  • Seamless tax configuration based on cloud-to-cloud technology.
  • A customer project template to allow for new countries to be brought on-board quickly and effectively.

Here’s the full story:

What tax solution was Snowflake using prior to working with us?

Snowflake was previously using a lesser tax product that was incapable of handling the global indirect tax technology rollout it required. Its previous system did not offer either the capacity or functionality needed by the business as it sought to integrate Workday and subsequently Vertex.

What challenges was it facing?

In addition to its failing tax technology infrastructure, Snowflake was hampered by consequences of its status as a young company that had enjoyed rapid growth. These included inefficient legacy processes such as an inability to ensure transactions flowed effectively through its ERP.

Snowflake was still finding its way in becoming the lean, high-performing business in tax terms it is today and realised the incredible quantity and variety of tax regulations across every country in the world meant it urgently required a solution that would automate tax calculations and determination for each and every jurisdiction.

Why did Snowflake choose us?

Our team boasts extraordinary experience and depth of knowledge when it comes to working with Workday and Vertex; the two systems Snowflake decided to invest in. This was crucial in proving ourselves as the perfect partner for this project.

Many of our team have worked at the world’s largest technical consultancy firms and in-house tax technology teams. We can offer knowledge, insight and best practice advice of the highest possible standard within a creative environment that empowers our team to find bespoke solutions.

Our methodology is designed to bring teams together to drive processes that meet the exact requirements and nuances of the business. We take highly complex and targeted requirements and use our experience, knowledge and understanding to create an efficient and effective solution with the available technology.

We’re also incredibly proud that all our team members boast expertise in both VAT and sales and use tax. This was a critical factor in Snowflake’s decision. Time was at a premium and working with us meant it was able to benefit from working sessions that enabled fast and valuable knowledge transfer across both taxes.

Snowflake was aware that Workday alone does not boast the capabilities in indirect tax a global business in the modern world demands and expects. It was therefore essential to invest in Vertex and to work with a partner that had a track record of success with its products.

What did the project entail?

Our responsibilities covered three key areas:

  • The integration of world-class tax technology.
  • Supporting Snowflake in enabling a functioning tax technology framework.
  • Overseeing a global rollout and future-proofing systems for anticipated growth.

Our functional team designed and shared a full project programme and were able to work to this throughout.

Our team worked to understand Snowflake’s requirements – both locally and globally. To provide an industry-leading tax solution is not only to install the technology; the people are also crucial. We educated the business’ tax team on the new capabilities the products afforded them and worked to refine the master data available to power their new tax platform.

We implemented the technology and leveraged our methodology to manage sales and use tax in the US, where Snowflake is based, while establishing connectors with VAT regimes in European countries it operates in.

Our implementation methodology is a key factor in our continued success. We don’t reinvent the wheel; instead basing each project on our standard playbook for how to enable a successful integration and tailoring features to meet the unique requirements of each client.

What else did we do?

Arguably the greatest challenge of all during the project was to cleanse Snowflake’s master data. Any tax solution is only as strong as the master data it is powered by; and Snowflake had suffered as a result of its previous tax partner failing to validate key information.

For example, an abundance of inaccuracies in ZIP code data became apparent at an early stage and we were able to clean this. We worked with a Workday studio expert to populate all the right financial data elements to allow comprehensive automation across all VAT regimes.

What have we achieved?

Following the completion of Phase One of the project, Snowflake is benefiting from:

  • A US tax system that processes huge volumes of transactions with optimum accuracy and compliance.
  • Workday connectors managed by Vertex that ensure compliance with rules and regulations in every local tax jurisdiction.
  • A flexible and seamless tax configuration based on cloud-to-cloud technology.
  • Enhanced visibility of overall tax performances, as well as transactions that require extra attention.
  • Infinite scalability; crucial to a company with plans for even more growth.

What does the future hold?

We remain Snowflake’s tax technology partner for its exciting global rollout and will continue to work with the business to help it realise the potential of its Workday ERP. Having implemented a solution for the major countries it operates in, we are now in the process of analysing and implementing Vertex with Workday in five further nations of varying complexity and reporting requirements.

By investing in Innovate Tax as a long-term technology partner, Snowflake will benefit from having our tax experts on hand to help with any changes to its system, as well as filing and return data requirements across every country at any time via our 24/7 service desk.

Watch this space for further updates regarding the Snowflake project and the exciting integration plan it has for plenty more countries around the world.

Key points

  • The world's first Workday-Vertex integration - completed by Innovate Tax!
  • Infinite scalability to meet the needs of a rapidly expanding business.
  • Ultimate accuracy and compliance in all tax transactions.
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