Will Frei of Avalara takes a look at the changes we’ve seen in the growth and use of technology and the way it’s affected sales tax management.

When you were a kid, could you have imagined using the technology that we have at our fingertips today?

Here’s another question: could you imagine going back to a pre-internet world?

In the video below, Will Frei talks about the evolution of sales tax technology, with a little help from his son, Will Jr.

Hi. Welcome to Will’s Whiteboard. I’m Will. And this is Will, Jr. I’m hoping that one day he’s going to take over this whiteboard video series for me. You like that idea? Yeah.

When I was growing up, I remember a time when we didn’t even have Internet. When we wanted to correspond with people, my parents would hand-write letters. My grandparents would use a dial-up phone, and we had a land line. I remember the day when we got a computer and then the day we got dial-up internet services. We could dial into America Online (AOL) and send emails back and forth as a way of corresponding.

Will, Jr. on the other hand, will never know those days. He’s been in a connected world from day one. The power of the Internet and the cloud is all around him. It’s fairly easy to access. Here you go, buddy. When he takes over this whiteboard series for me, if he wants to, can you imagine the things that he’s going to look back on that we do today, that he’s going to think of as just arcane or outright crazy?

Can you imagine him standing up here and still talking about people manually filling out sales tax forms by hand to file them? Or doing rate table calculations on a one-off basis using tables from the Internet? I don’t know. That seems pretty crazy. It seems like people are going to rely more on the power of the cloud and technology to do all of that for them. What do you think, buddy? I’ll take that as a yes.

Thanks very much. I’ll see you next time. Say bye-bye. Bye-bye.

Author: Will Frei covers sales tax news including best practices, legislation and sales tax technology. He leads social media programs at Avalara.