Buy GST-compliant software: 10 tips

Buy GST-compliant software: 10 tips

The Goods and Services Tax rolled out on July 1 and businesses are in the process of adapting to the new tax regime. The switchover to the new tax regime entails a new way of business accounting and tax payment. Small businesses and entrepreneurs, especially those not yet digitalised, are making a last-minute dash to buy ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software to make themselves GST-compliant.

There are many options available and a first-timer could easily get confused. Many may not even be conversant with what all an ERP software can do. For the uninitiated, Enterprise Resource Planning software is complete business management software. It helps a company keep track of all departments and maintains an account of everything in the business.

A good software can help focus on the cost of goods versus the sales of the product to assess the overall profit. But when all the liabilities of the company are taken into account, a business-owner should also be able to track the loans, the money owed, equipment depreciation, salaries and other items included in the expenses.

So, buying the right software is crucial for smooth functioning and progress under the new tax regime. Here are some things you must keep in mind while buying software to become GST-compliant.

List your requirements, the different departments and the needs of each. This will give you an idea of the various features and functions that you need in the ERP software for your type of business.

Get savvy before buying. If you are going to be doing business online for the first time, take professional advice before buying a GST–compliant software. No point being stuck with one that is not suited to your business or does not streamline operations and improve efficiency. Don’t hesitate to ask questions.

Pick a user-friendly package. It is important to opt for a software that is easy to handle. Check its flexibility and scope for customisation. Scrutinise its features and make sure it is user-friendly and one that your employees can get the hang of and operate quickly.

Explore all your options. Don’t rush into buying the first available software. There are a large number of them in the market. Shortlist a few. Check out the features and functions of each. Then zero in on one that closely matches your requirements. Most softwares provide free trials. Insist on a trial before you finalise the deal. Reading about it is not the same as trying it out.

Stay within your budget. Calculate all the expenditure that will go into buying and customising, if need be, the software. Also, factor in the running costs and then go for the best you can buy within your budget.

Ensure 360-degree facilitation. The ERP you buy should be able to facilitate all aspects of your business. So, look for one that is comprehensive, professionally developed and provides ease of doing business on a day to day basis.

Look for high perform­ance. Most ERP softwares do, more or less, the same kind of work (invoicing, accounting, inventory management, project management, expense manage-
ment, etc), but how efficiently a particular software is able to do this work makes a world of difference. Check out the ‘intelligence quotient’ of the software and how well-equipped it is to set you on the path of progress before opting for it.

Customise to add value. Check out which software blends easily with your system and will need the least customisation. However, if the customisation of a software package is unique and will add value to your business, go for it. Otherwise, go for one that needs least customisation and is most cost-effective.

Max technical support. The ERP software you buy will, in a sense, be a partner in your business, so it is important that it should be able to handhold and smoothen things for you to achieve your business goals. With regard to GST-compliant software, technical support is especially crucial. SMEs and MSMEs going online for the first time will need free technical support initially to get GST-compliant.

Don’t ignore cybersecurity. In an increasingly digitised world, our vulnerability to misuse of data is a big issue. Ransomware, a dreadful malware that can lock files and stop critical services from functioning, is a concern for all companies, big or small. Therefore, any business organisation buying software should opt only for one that provides world-class cyber security features.

(The writer is MD, Marg ERP)

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