Scott McFarlane is the co-founder, CEO and chairman of the board at Avalara, a leading provider of cloud-based sales tax and compliance automation services.
McFarlane is known for transforming companies into industry leaders by combining strategic vision with operational discipline to create unique cultures that shake up the status quo.
He co-founded Avalara in 2004 after observing how businesses relied on decades-old techniques and technologies to manage sales tax and compliance. He has held numerous titles during his time with Avalara, including board member since 2004, COO between 2004-2010, CEO since 2007, chairman of the board since 2014, and president between 2014-2019.
McFarlane has played an essential part in developing the strategic direction for Avalara. Knowing that sales tax is a process shared by everyone, his vision is to have Avalara play a part in every transaction in the world. To accomplish this, McFarlane has guided Avalara to integrate with over 700 financial application companies across the world to automate transactional tax and end-to-end compliance.
He is also known for shaping the company's workplace culture, often seen sporting Avalara’s signature orange.
Before founding Avalara, McFarlane co-founded the fitness equipment company, Lifecycle, with his college roommate, Augie Nieto. Lifecycle quickly saw success, becoming the most popular computerized exercise bike in the industry. McFarlane and Nieto sold the company to Brunswick in 1983.
He then led and grew other companies including Aircoa—an independent U.S. hotel company founded by McFarlane’s father, Willis. As the vice president of strategic development, McFarlane helped grow Aircoa to become the largest independent hotel company in the U.S. with over 500 hotels and 25,000 employees before his father sold the company in 1986.
As president and COO, McFarlane led MetaInfo, a Seattle-based technology company that developed the first commercially available DNS for Microsoft NT before the company was sold to Check Point Software in 1998. He joined Check Point Software as the vice president of strategy and business development aiding in the advancement of firewalls in the enterprise security market.
McFarlane holds a B.A. in economics from Claremont McKenna College, and he serves on the board of directors for Expedition Travel Advisor, a private online adventure travel platform, as well as ETA Holdings, a corporate consulting business.