Invenio VAT shutterstock_247492816-for-web
Invenio's VAT solutions work to replace cumbersome manual processes with workflow-driven operations and automated functions Image Credit: Shutterstock

The UAE and Saudi Arabia were first two countries in the Gulf to levy five per cent value-added tax (VAT) on a host of goods and services as part of GCC-wide framework from January 1, 2018. Other countries are following the region's two largest economies in VAT implementation.

The introduction of a GCC-wide VAT could generate revenues of between 1.5 per cent and 3 per cent of the six-country economic bloc’s total non-oil gross domestic product, a report from the Federation of GCC Chambers said in 2018.

Invenio, a global leader in SAP tax and revenue management implementation, has been working with the public sector and tax authorities across the world for over 10 years.

The firm’s large pool of consultants and experts in the region have established the company as the go-to player for tax solutions in the GCC. In an exclusive interview with Gulf News, Mohammad Awad, SVP & Regional MD for Middle East, Invenio Solutions, speaks on how it can work with GCC countries to transform their tax processes.

What is the current tax outlook of the region, and where do your solutions fit in the same?

VAT and tax regimes are fairly new in GCC, so tax authorities in the region are also just learning and getting familiar with the entire process. Since, the UAE’s tax process maturity is at very nascent stages, there is huge scope for smooth integration of flexible and scalable new digital solutions which factor in the dynamic needs of authorities and taxpayers alike.

At Invenio, we work to accelerate tax processing and enforce higher compliance by leveraging SAP’s Tax and Revenue Management (TRM) platform for public sector based on S/4HANA®. SAP’s TRM platform is the Tier-1 Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) solution for tax authorities, which is specifically designed to initiate, modernise, and upgrade tax systems. Our solutions offer an entire suite of solutions that comply with existing and proposed tax-specific laws, regulations and business policies. We design our solutions to provide for single taxpayer requirements while fully supporting the smooth integration of multiple tax types.

Invenio’s solutions empower and equip administrations with user-friendly tax implementation tools to help maximise voluntary compliance, which leads to significant increases in the collections overall. Our intricately designed solutions are highly configurable and flexible, which makes way for broader acceptance and reduced reluctance when it comes down to actual compliance and filing.

- Mohammad Awad, SVP & Regional MD for Middle East, Invenio Solutions

How do your solutions help in accelerated tax processing and enforce higher compliance?

Invenio’s solutions empower and equip administrations with user-friendly tax implementation tools to help maximise voluntary compliance, which leads to significant increases in the collections overall. Our intricately designed solutions are highly configurable and flexible, which makes way for broader acceptance and reduced reluctance when it comes down to actual compliance and filing.

Our solutions work to replace cumbersome manual processes with workflow-driven operations and automated functions. In this region, our solutions aim to proactively initiate and encourage smoother tax implementation from the very beginning by collaborating with ministries, banks and other third parties and integrating our solutions with their systems.

These integral initial changes pave the way for internal employees and tax officers to create consolidated taxpaying processes across regimes, levies, duties and charges. This essentially creates a conducive, tax-friendly environment that acts as a catalyst in helping tax requirements gain greater visibility; saving valuable time involved in filing as well as processing, and helping to reduce the national tax gap in the economy.

Can you throw light upon one or more of your tax implementations projects with the governments in this region?

Owing to our solutions, service, and our detailed understanding of GCC countries, we have been able to successfully work with one of the largest countries in the Council. We started working in the GCC region over a decade ago and we have since developed unexampled insights for this region, including the Arabisation of the SAP solution. Invenio has been making consistent contributions in the implementation of emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine learning (ML) and Robotic Process Automation (RPA), within the scope of SAP solutions.

Invenio’s reliable know-how of tax functions, processes, and user experience, combined with the region’s expert consultant insights, have established us as a highly sought-after tax solutions provider in the GCC.

Tell us about the SAP S/4HANA interface. How do customers benefit from working with Invenio when they implement SAP S/4HANA?

S/4HANA is SAP’s next-generation business suite built on the advanced in-memory platform, SAP HANA. SAP S/4HANA uses SAP Fiori to deliver a consumer-style user experience and brings together applications for Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Advanced Planning & Optimisation (APO) and Extended Warehouse Management (EWM) in one single system which is supported by a single database.

At Invenio, we can help users deploy the platform on the cloud, on-premises, and even as a hybrid model, connecting their processes with real-time information and corresponding analysis.

The platform runs on SAP’s flagship in-memory computing database, HANA which empowers transactions with higher speed, enables real-time planning that assists further execution and enhances reporting and analysis based on live data. This infinitesimally betters the service quality for applications, thus improving customer experiences. Our advanced solution offers simplified management and administration of the entire IT landscape while providing centralisation of hardware and network resources.

The intuitive, customer-oriented user experience our solution can provide, courtesy of SAP Fiori, helps create user-friendly application processes for business users. It also helps significantly reduce users’ and entities’ data footprint.

Most importantly, the cost-efficient model brings different systems together into a single solution which drives smoother cloud adoption. This results in reduced hardware expenditure, a dip in procurement costs by an average of 15%, and a plunge in capital requirement costs by an average of 35%.

How do you help implement SAP S/4HANA across customers?

Invenio provides end-to-end support on the roadmap to SAP S/4HANA to proactively manage risk, make implementation predictable and establish transparency at each stage. Invenio’s SAP S/4HANA solutions facilitate new implementation – for when an entity is looking to implement a new instance of SAP S/4HANA, either by migrating a legacy system or running a new installation. Our SAP S/4HANA offerings aid landscape transformation for customers who are seeking to consolidate existing SAP landscapes, or carve out selected entities and processes, as part of a move to SAP S/4HANA.

Moreover, our solutions expedite and simplify system conversion for customers demanding to convert the existing SAP ERP systems to smoother and more efficient SAP S/4HANA on-premises.

With all Invenio’s solutions and strategies, our key objectives remain unchanged. We want to help increase the economy’s revenue through more comprehensive tax collection and make taxation easy for people. These solutions help taxpayers in the region with seamless, automated, paperless tax processes that are convenient and quick.