Malaysian ISVs and Microsoft gear up to get SMEs GST-ready

  • To offer cloud-based GST solutions, including Azure and Office 365
  • GST compliance not solely about tech, but also business processes

MICROSOFT Corp and its partners Sage Software Sdn Bhd, Wavelet Solutions Sdn Bhd and Rofarez Solutions Sdn Bhd have announced the availability of GST-ready solutions to support Malaysian SMEs on their path to Goods and Services Tax (GST) compliance by April 1 next year.
The solutions include Microsoft Azure and Office 365 as part of a suite of customisable, scalable software that can be integrated into existing financial and accounting solutions in use by SMEs (small and medium enterprises), Microsoft said in a statement.
“What businesses today are looking for is flexibility and familiarity. Any new solution must be able to adapt to their existing software,” said Sage Software Sdn Bhd managing director Michael Cho.
“In addition to the fundamental GST features which should be standard in all accounting software, Sage lends our considerable knowledge and experience to making it simple for SMEs to understand and use our software.
“Sage 50 is built on Microsoft technology and can be implemented on Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform. This adds a powerful dimension to the productivity tools required for SMEs to run their business, be it on their PCs at work, or on-the-go through mobile devices.
“Together, we bring familiar feature-rich solutions such as Excel, Work and PowerPoint, through the cloud,” he added.
There are two main areas of implementation for GST compliance – business processes changes and business application changes.
Medium-sized enterprises are within the implementation stages of readiness, Microsoft said. They are slightly behind their larger peers but have formed their implementation teams and are likely in the midst of overall strategy refinement. Business applications implementation is at the early design phase or waiting to be started.
The smaller enterprises that are within the threshold of compliance are lagging behind at the moment, the US tech giant said. Some are still at the stage of exploration particularly those with the least operation complexity with simpler processes and smaller transactions.
Azizah Ali, general manager of the Small and Midmarket Solutions and Partners (SMS&P) unit at Microsoft Malaysia, said that from a readiness standpoint, Malaysian businesses are preparing themselves for the April deadline.
Malaysian ISVs and Microsoft gear up to get SMEs GST-readyMany have been participating in various campaigns and workshops Microsoft has been organising with its partners including SME Corp Malaysia and the Royal Malaysian Customs Department, and the industry.
“For the 160,000 SMEs expected to register for GST by April next year, we recognise that the implementation of a new system may pose challenges for them to achieve GST-readiness and compliance,” said SME Corp chief executive officer Hafsah Hashim (pic).
“We have been working together with the Customs Dept in undertaking training and awareness seminars throughout the country.
“SME Corp has also been providing assistance to SMEs via automatic issuance of e-vouchers worth RM1,000 (US$285) based on list of GST registered companies which we received from Customs. SMEs can use the e-vouchers to either purchase new accounting software or upgrade to GST-compliant systems from vendors appointed by Customs.
“Additionally, we also welcome Microsoft’s initiatives in supporting SMEs on their path towards GST system implementation, especially in providing technology and training support through their ISV (independent software vendor) partners,” she added.
GST challenges
GST compliance is not solely a software technology implementation, Microsoft said. Besides the necessary registration with the Customs Dept, the two main steps are:

  • The identification of business processes changes necessary according to Royal Malaysian Customs Department guidance; and
  • Implementing those business processes changes to the business applications. Some enterprises may need to upgrade or change their business application to ensure a successful implementation.

The challenges for organisations to be GST-ready varies across different industries and businesses, but the main challenges are ensuring flawless implementation with the right factual information and compliance with Customs Dept guidelines, Microsoft said.
From a business applications standpoint, the availability of resources is the most pressing challenge. In relation to human resources, the challenge is having GST-skilled internal resources and availability of professional consultants supporting the implementation.
The looming April 2015 deadline adds a time pressure for businesses to be GST-ready while concurrently managing their business.
Microsoft claims its solutions support GST implementation across multiple industries, with partners providing industry-specific templates ready for a quicker turnaround implementation.

Malaysian ISVs and Microsoft gear up to get SMEs GST-readyRofarez Solutions director Reza Ismail (pic) advises businesses to focus on solutions that are capable of directly producing reports in the formats required by the Customs Dept.
“GST implementation requires businesses to change the way of recording their crucial business information. Sales and purchases data needs to be accurate, detailed, precise and consistent in order to comply with our local GST requirements.
“This is one of the key features of our DappleWorks Customisable Solutions – just set it up and we will take care of the rest.
“This version of our product is geared towards mid- to large-tier clients which require more than just an accounting solution. We deploy this product on a private cloud infrastructure exclusive to their business, brand it to their organisation and customize our processes to meet their needs.
“Microsoft's Azure cloud platform powers our solutions … and we are also looking into integrating Office 365 connectivity in our offerings soon,” he added.
Meanwhile, Wavelet Solutions’ Wavelet Management Suite is a cloud-based GST financial application certified by the Customs Dept, which helps trading, distribution and retail businesses automate their business processes on the cloud, and provide them the GST features and functions that are required to submit their taxes.
The system is deployed on Microsoft Azure and is integrated with Office 365.

For more information about Microsoft’s ‘Get Ready for GST’ campaign for SMEs, click here.

Related Stories:
Time is running out, start the GST journey now
GST to boost Malaysia’s enterprise software market: IDC
Deeper concerns for Malaysian PC market: IDC
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