There are newer employer reviews for Avalara

Helpful (2)

Many atypically smart, kind, dedicated putting in heroic efforts to solve a huge, real problem.

  • Comp & Benefits
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Senior Management
  • Culture & Values
  • Career Opportunities
Current Employee - Senior Software Engineer in Seattle, WA
Current Employee - Senior Software Engineer in Seattle, WA

I have been working at Avalara full-time (less than a year)

Recommends
Positive Outlook
Approves of CEO
Recommends
Positive Outlook
Approves of CEO

Pros

The people are the best thing about the company. While there is a little bit of the usual griping that goes on in any high-pressure workplace, it's striking just how warm-hearted, professional, and capable the workforce as a whole is.

The company itself is in a great position and on the right track but it's not a guaranteed thing. They are in a relatively uncontested position to dominate an greenfield SaaS space, but they will need to execute masterfully to lock-in their advantage. It will be hard to meet that bar, but if they do the potential externalities that accrue will be disruptive, game changing, buzzword-of-the-week-worthy.

Cons

Avalara is growing up into a big-kid company now and throughout the near future, and that is always an awkward process no matter how hard to keep things running smoothly. There are a lot of people running around with their hair on fire -- some of them for good reason, but others just because it seemed like what everyone else was doing.

Oh, and there is no parking. But Bainbridge Island is so awesome, and the office is so great, that I'd call that a wash.

Advice to Management

Streamline the vision (not the mission statement, the direct operational goals) and provide better visibility into that operational strategy all the way down the org chart.

Sweep out the cruft that's accumulated in software and start making some bolder moves. Have cross-functional project teams or even happy hours to spread organizational knowledge and camaraderie.

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  1. Helpful (10)

    Great Idea, horrible implementation!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Information Technology in Seattle, WA
    Former Employee - Information Technology in Seattle, WA

    I worked at Avalara full-time (less than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    I got to work with a ton of cool technology. I worked with a good team of people before we either quit or got forced out of the company. The only good benefit was a Orca Card (Bus Pass) for cheap.

    Cons

    The company has way too many politics going on. Putting people in senior level positions that have no relevant experience. Avalara is a marketing company not a technology company. While I was there I was expected to work insane hours. I was already working 60+ weeks including the weekends, and a high level director was given an option of continuing to work on option A, or work on option B and delay option A. His answer was why can't they work through the night. That is ridiculous. They forced out good experience people because the clashed with upper management who didn't know what they were doing. I have never seen entire departments leave because of upper management.

    Advice to Management

    Just because someone has an idea doesn't mean its a good idea.

  2. Helpful (9)

    Every project is the companies highest priority, sorta.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Technology Team Member in Seattle, WA
    Current Employee - Technology Team Member in Seattle, WA

    I have been working at Avalara full-time (more than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    There is a multitude of projects that can be worked on and a lot of unfinished projects that could be finished to make someone look like a real hero. The company seems to generally pay well. The company also has a decent approach to working remote and working from home.

    Cons

    The company forces a culture upon you whether you like it or not. Leadership uses the term "cult of culture" and "island culture" (the founders based it on Bainbridge Island). That culture is entirely pushed from the top down and is focused on more than the company itself. Like the title says, every single project comes down the pipe at the last minute and is the "companies highest priority!" Until of course, halfway through that one, the next project comes along and *it* becomes the highest priority. The previous project oftentimes gets left unfinished, or worse, forced to be finish in far from quality standards. Leadership has a painful lack of vision for long term goals both for the software development teams as well as the technology teams implementing and supporting those goals. Project timelines are never set by the company Subject Matter Expert or responsible teams. Timelines for projects get given dates set at the executive level (often times they are absurdly short) and then teams are told to implement to that date. External factors, like time to deliver for hardware, or vendor contracts that take weeks to fulfill are disregarded and teams are held responsible for failing to meet deadline goals. The company has a vision of producing very high uptime services but has never stepped to the plate to provide teams the time and resources necessary to do that.

    Advice to Management

    You have to trust your employees. They can speak to how projects should be driven or implemented. You need to start listening to them and their input. Stop challenging them on things you know nothing about and take their advice.

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