23 Years of Sales Tax Institute

By Diane Yetter

Today marks 23 years (CRAZY!) since I started Yetter Consulting and the Sales Tax Institute. As I’ve thought about this date and the amount of time I’ve been helping people with sales tax issues, it often feels like it can’t be that long and other times it seems like I’ve been doing this my entire career. So much has happened since 1996 – after all that was just a few years after the Quill decision and now we will measure time against the Wayfair decision. The last year has probably been the most momentous since that first year in business when everything was new and shiny and trying to figure out who I was in this new role, the type of work I wanted to be doing and the types of clients we wanted to serve.

Much has changed in the last 23 years in terms of the type of work we do and how we do it (yes, I did things on a typewriter back then and postage was a significant expense!). But what hasn’t changed is our commitment to being the go-to resource for sales tax information. We launched www.salestaxinstitute.com in late 1996 and our sales tax rate chart and news & tips have been an integral part of our resources. Today, those are still some of our highest visited and used resources but we’ve added so much more to help people better understand sales tax rules. Back in 1996/1997 when we launched our Sales Tax Institute classes, everything was live in-person. Registrations were faxed and mailed in and if payment was by a credit card, we hand-keyed those into our terminal and took a card imprint when you arrived at the class. Today, many of our students experience our training over the web or even through our on-demand classes. No matter all the changes, we still teach sales tax with passion and commitment to education and learning.

So many people have been part of our community and this year, we have been amazed as to how you have all embraced your #salestaxnerd! When we first used this phrase and made a sticker out of a mailing label, never did we think you all would react the way you did. The inquiries for stickers came first, and then so many of you wanted to know when the shirts would be available. And we listened and launch our Sales Tax Nerd store! The response has been unbelievable. When I’m out at conferences, I’m humbled by the people that come up to me and express their appreciation for what I’ve done for them – making them feel like what they do matters and is important. That just warms my heart and I’m honored. We have so many more things in the works to help us continue to be relevant to our community. Keep an eye out for some fun things and new offerings.

Our clients continue to entrust us with their sales tax challenges. We’ve broadened they type of work we do in response to economic nexus and have really enjoyed working with some smaller e-commerce companies. We are grateful to all companies large and small that appreciate the value we bring to their companies and operations.

I can’t write an anniversary post without thanking all the people that have been so important to what we do. My current team of John, Hannah, and Tatisa have been critical. We also work with some amazing people that help us help our clients including Cara Brauner, Christine Cudney, Eric Christian, Florian Hanslik, Kim Rice & Lisa Tillman and the crew at R&M Consulting. Our amazing faculty including BJ Pritchett, Jordan Goodman, David Hughes, Charles Maniace, Carolynn Kranz, Stephen Kranz, Monika Miles, and our special guests that appear for specialty topics. Many organizations have also been a big part of what we do – COST, Chicago Tax Club, Vertex, Avalara, ThomsonReuters, Sovos, Diversified Communications, Chicagoland Chamber, and The University of Kansas School of Business. And a special shout out to my advisors that have helped us do what we do including Brad Farris, Hilary Buuck, the crew at Orbit Media, Gail Zelitzky, Terry Green and the BizEase team, and Clay Hamlin and his team.

Here’s to many more years of sales tax but more importantly the friendships that make this all worth while!

Posted on August 6, 2019