Today Chartered Accountancy Firms with several members operating in multiple states have a choice to make:
- Continue to work in the manner they have worked on to serve their clients through exchange of data through email and other means
- Accept a technology solution to allow the Chartered Accountants to extend their reach into strategic and advisory work on behalf of their clients and develop specializations
GST presents an opportunity for a firm to consider a cloud Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) solution for managing the data for clients who have multiple locations across a firm with multiple locations. A firm can build a national GST specialization or practice because unlike VAT, GST offers a standard set of rules and returns across all of India. This means you can have junior members across all of India working on returns for different states rather than having to focus on state by state assignments.
The challenge with the GST is the quick turnaround for the GSTR1, GSTR2 and GSTR3 filings because
- Outward transactions are due 10th of the following month
- Inward transactions are due the 15th of the following month
- GSTR3 is due on the 20th of the following month
In addition, to the requirements to submit the data there are requirements to reconcile data with data clients receive from counter parties compared to what has been put into the GSTN. The reconciliation effort requires a technology solution that is tax intelligent and can understand the data presented. Tax intelligent solutions can help the Chartered Accountant and the client identify problems before they are put into the GSTN.
The differentiator for a firm is not moving to a cloud based system but it to tie the cloud based system to workflow, tax knowledge and powerful data processing power because clients have so few days to have the data ready for filing and completion.
A could-based GST compliance offering gives a Chartered Accountancy firm a powerful tool to capture new business. As we all know the GST is a data driven tax and requires tax payers to submit, process, reconcile and file more data than ever before. Chartered Accountancy have the added burden of having to track, manage, and update the data for tens or hundreds of clients. A cloud solution gives the firm the ability to store data without having the requirement to buy and maintain internal hardware and when the cloud solution is combined with tax knowledge then the firm is freed from the mundane data transformation tasks and can process data far faster on the way to successful filing.
For a client, who operates in multiple states, there are multiple filings per state and depending on certain choices per business vertical. All data can be split between location or branches in our platform and then filings can be assigned to individual. This gives a firm manager control to direct the use of resources through technology rather than planning spreadsheets, emails and phone calls. Now this occurs through a click.
The enComply offering is a multi-tenant secure cloud offering which processes and reconcile GST returns. The added benefit for a firm is the ability for tax professionals to work on data for multiple clients easily and efficiently without having to exchange emails and have endless phone calls. Workflows allow a firm to create a process to make sure the filings are done in their way. Finally, the dashboards built into the platform give all the members of the firm the ability to see where different clients are in the returns process.
Our enComply offering brings the tax technology experience of Udyog into your office. Udyog has been crushing companies tax compliance problems in India since 1993. enComply takes the knowledge of Udyog and combines with a world class governance, risk and compliance platform, Taxilla, to complete
GST compliance. Taxilla allows your firm the ability to manage all your client’s tax specific data in a single location which saves everyone time and money. Because Taxilla is a cloud solution the firm does not have to spend time or money on system maintenance and upgrades. Now the firm can spend its time getting data from the clients and assessing business process and spotting insights in data rather than just data transformation and manipulation work.
A platform which is tax intelligent means it can sift through the thousands of pieces of transactional data and carry out predesigned validations to ensure data has a high quality even before it begins the returns process. For example, let’s say a firm design a workflow as follows:
1. Client uploads relevant data into enComply
2. enComply notes errors in the data
3. Client updates the data
4. Client moves data through the filing process
5. CA reviews draft filing and approves
6. Client makes filing and carries out reconciliation
Now the platform reviews the data and spots errors for the client. The client makes the changes and continues the process. The firm is free to make it so they take over once the client submits the data but what has stopped is the data is no longer being exchanged by email and worked in different spreadsheets on different computers. The data is secure in a single cloud instance with version control and workflow. Clients and tax professionals spend less time exchanging data and more time working together to complete the tax filing.
With the data properly segregated and analyzed, a firm can expand the number of clients it can secure. This is possible not through the blind application of a cloud technology but because of a selection of a cloud GRC offering with tax knowledge, enComply. enComply gives a firm an advantage in the GST because members will spend less time chasing data and more time working with clients and solving their problems.
Making a choice to move to a technology solution will give a mid-sized firm an edge because it can have a GST solution which will take care of the data in a data driven tax leaving the firm to focus on the tax.
by Anil Kuruvilla.
He is an international Taxation Expert and Chief Content Officer at Adaequare (Parent company of Udyog Software).