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How to leverage AI in GST platform

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The Goods and Services Tax has come into effect on July 1st and is pegged to be one of the most significant economic tax reforms carried out by PM Narendra Modi. While it will usher in greater transparency and create a simplified channel for tracking through data, it has also spawned the need for ERP and data analytics solutions. Other IT solutions include building capabilities such as billing software and payment gateways, thus creating plentiful opportunities across the IT spectrum. Industry experts say there is a $1 billion opportunity for IT vendors over the next two years.

According to an industry expert, GST will a) remove tax barriers in a fragmented market b) will introduce a transparent and predictable tax regime and boost local and foreign investment in India c) integrate existing multiple taxes into a single GST.

GST – A Data Analytics Powerhouse

In terms of data analytics, the GST rollout is expected to become a “data analytics powerhouse”. According to Goods and Services Tax Network, a not-for-profit organization operated by the government and private players jointly, GST will give enormous amount of data to the tax department to work with, that will eventually rule out discrepancies and help tax sleuths to go after tax evaders. Once sufficient amount of data is generated, GSTN will be able to generate analytics based on the requirements of various stakeholders. Companies in the coming time are expected to build programmes and analytical tools as per the data requirements of both central and state tax departments. The data generated could be on real-time basis, if not near real time.

According to GSTN, the body is building the “information technology backbone for the goods and services tax (GST)” and implement analytics solutions. Here are the features:

  • The platform is expected to store information related to relevant transactions
  • Based on the data filed by millions of taxpayers that will migrate to the system, analytics will help in identifying leakages and ensure more focused economic-policymaking.
  • As per the GST system architecture, the decision-making will be based on data rather than assumptions
  • The system shall feature more meta tags so that the time taken by various functions in capturing/entering the data is verified.

Nab Tax Evaders, Boost Domestic IT Biz

The data generated through the technology backbone of the Goods and Services tax regime would, over time, be able to solve issue such as tax evasion and help compliance ratings in the country, according to the GST Network chairman. Navin Kumar, chairman of the GSTN, the entity that handles the information technology backbone of the GST, said that GSTN would soon have enough data to be able to run business analytics and find meaningful ways to interpret and help make sense of the filings in tandem with other government departments. So there is great potential for that (leveraging analytics), but that will be possible only once they have data, maybe after two or three years. GSTN will start developing the applications for that next year.

Among the potential use cases for business analytics, Kumar said GSTN would look to do a rating of the taxpayers, such as a compliance ratings, look at sectoral studies and detection of tax frauds and tax evasion. There, collaboration with income tax will be very useful, to see whether the volume of business reported here (GSTN) is reported to income tax or whether that data syncs with their data. Existing analytics tools available in the market could be used, as well as some new applications that would be developed by IT / Analytics Companies.

According to research firm Gartner, Indian business intelligence software revenue is forecast to reach USD 245 million in constant currency in 2017, a 24.4 percent increase over last year.

GST a boon for small and medium IT cos. The new tax regime would prove to be a boon for the small and medium IT companies in the country. They will have lot of opportunity to provide solutions to businesses, not just become GSPs (GST Suvidha Provider). And the wider roll-out of GST has spawned many opportunities in IT, such as developing ERP packages for the 5 million SMBs that are not yet digitally-empowered. SMBs need to record the GST transactions, upload invoices and do the return filing. This spells a big opportunity for IT vendors who are quick to fill the gap with their enterprise ready solutions. According to news sources, the government expects close to nine million returns to be filed in the first month of its roll-out.

These companies could also develop the functionalities or applications that could help GSPs better. For example, the small and medium IT firms could develop an invoicing system for taxpayers, software for inventory management, and so on, which would provide a boost to the domestic business of the IT services companies.

Here’s a look at some enterprise ready solutions:

SAP HANA:

Earlier in the year, SAP announced ‘GST in a Box’, an all-inclusive solution portfolio, to help Indian organizations of all sizes and across industry verticals to become GST compliant. The solution It also enables organizations to effectively manage suppliers, customer engagement and supply chain in the new tax regime. According to Neeraj Athalye, Head, S/4HANA & GST Adoption Drive, SAP India, businesses need to go digital.  “Out of an estimated 4-5 billion invoice uploads that will happen every month, since more than 40% of transactions will pass through an SAP system, it is upon us to not only help Indian corporates swiftly get compliant with this new law, but also ensure that businesses benefit from the GST vision,” he said.

Microsoft India:

EasemyGST, a cloud-based comprehensive GST compliance platform that integrates with ERP, and Microsoft India teamed up together last month to provide a “simple and affordable platform that will ease their GST requirements, thus, saving them from the expense of separate compliance products”. EasemyGST will integrate its solution with Microsoft’s core business products including Office 365, Dynamics Navision and Axapta. The solutions will run in Microsoft Azure, from India data centres to ensure data sovereignty.

Intuit:

infact, Intuit is betting big on GST rollout, and expects revenues to double. Intuit’s QuickBooks, a cloud-based accounting software for small businesses will help SMBs to stay on top of their business in real time and get paid faster. The company’s cloud-based accounting software QuickBooks already has a slew of big companies on board that will use the ERP system.

So how does this all start ?

The GSTN Company would be on a hiring mode over the next few weeks to cater to these new requirements. They plan to double our workforce from 50 to about 100 over the next few months. In the first phase, GSTN is in the process of building and testing the software interfaces for the taxpayers and the back-end to be used by the tax departments of the Centre and states. In the second phase, the roll out will take place and the company is working to ensure at least one critical process of approval of registration on the back-end is ready from day one. This will eventually bring GST platform to become an analytics powerhouse.

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