We are at the brink of one of the biggest business changes of our times viz. Goods and Services Tax. So far, most of the big businesses have already identified vendors for implementation of GST software. Many of the large enterprises had floated a Request for Proposal/Request for Information (RFP/RFI) late last year, asking software providers to present them with their solutions. They would have then evaluated these providers, over multiple product demos and extensive question and answer rounds, to reach a stage where they can now begin the implementation process, and undertake business process mapping and solutioning.
If you, too, are looking for a GST software, then here is a list of some of the key features that you must ask for in your software:
Needless to say, in today’s digital world security is one of the most critical assurances. A secure software will protect confidential business information and avoid any kind of compromise that may pose threat to your business. We have witnessed how the Wannacry virus has recently hit computer systems across the globe and hackers have asked users for payment in bitcoins against retrieval of data. Hence, you need to ensure that the GST software you buy is robust not only in return filing but also from data security point of view as well.
2. Multi-Platform Adaptability
Under the new regime, every business has to be compliant – there is little choice of an alternative. The concept of invoice matching has been introduced which will ensure that every taxable person in the value chain files his/her GST Returns on time. This will directly affect the compliance rating of businesses. Thus, to keep up with these compliance requirements the GST software your purchase should be enabled on multiple platforms and must be accessible from desktop, tablets or mobile phones at any point in time, increasing the ease of online return filing.
Many large companies are already using some version of an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Software to manage their business operations and record or report processes. Even small and medium businesses for that matter have accounting tools for book-keeping. In such an environment, setting up new master data in a new application (GST Software) is not a feasible option. The GST software must be flexible enough to integrate with existing systems and provide a seamless experience. Multiple standalone systems operating in silos will only inflate the operating cost of businesses.
Under the GST regime, a normal taxpayer registered in one state will have to file thirty-seven returns during a financial period. If we look into the dynamics of today’s businesses, most brands are pan-India or have a global client base. Taking the example of a single online seller who operates all over the country, we see that he may have to file 37*29 (29 states)= 1073 returns in a single year. That is an average of almost three returns a day! Well, this is why any GST software that you evaluate must have the intelligence to communicate the user of all possible events coming. This will ensure that no deadline is missed and your business remains up and running!
5. User Interface and Reporting
Having discussed all the features above, one key feature which is universally appreciated is a beautiful user interface. For any typical business person, this ‘beauty‘ means informative dashboards and Informative Reports (MIS). This will enable quick decision making and transparent operations. Real-time information may help you avoid over/under stocking and may save on working capital. Also, for many businesses, an evaluation criterion for new software is the number of clicks to perform a particular task. A good GST software must accommodate such requirements as well and operate on a minimum user interface principle.