Why PC-en­abled SMEs will win in the Age of GST

PCQuest - - CONTENTS - _ Au­thored by PRAKASH MALLYA, Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor, Sales & Mar­ket­ing, In­tel In­dia

The in­tro­duc­tion of the Goods and Ser­vices Tax (GST) may just be one of the most chal­leng­ing re­forms that the In­dian gov­ern­ment has un­der­taken. This is not the first time a coun­try has at­tempted to over­haul its tax struc­ture; in fact, sev­eral coun­tries in Asia have been down this path be­fore. In Malaysia, the gov­ern­ment planned a sim­i­lar new tax model in 2011, but be­cause lo­cal busi­nesses were not GST-ready, the en­tire process took five years, and was fi­nally im­ple­mented in April 2015. In­dia can take heed here and en­cour­age busi­nesses to get their IT in­fra­struc­ture and op­er­a­tions in place, to ac­cel­er­ate the im­ple­men­ta­tion process.

While GST aims to over­haul the com­plex sys­tem of in­di­rect taxes that had plagued In­dia since in­de­pen­dence, its im­ple­men­ta­tion has wit­nessed mixed re­ac­tions, as ex­pected of any rad­i­cal eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion. There re­mains a sense of panic, es­pe­cially among small and medium busi­ness own­ers. For them, GST ap­pears to be un­nec­es­sar­ily bur­den­some, in ad­di­tion to nor­mal busi­ness has­sles. On the other hand, large or­ga­ni­za­tions may be­come col­lat­eral dam­age be­cause their sup­pli­ers are not GST-ready.

How­ever, most busi­nesses across the coun­try have re­sponded pos­i­tively to the new in­ter­face, with a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber hav­ing al­ready mi­grated to the new por­tal.In less than three months, more than 22 crore in­voices have been filed on­line, sup­ported by the back­bone of GST Net­work (GSTN) ,which is paving the way for dig­i­tal of­fice to re­place pa­per­work. The end-to- end plat­form is de­signed for all stake­hold­ers to un­der­take tax-re­lated ac­tiv­i­ties from ven­dor regis­tra­tion to cal­cu­lat­ing in­put credit. To bring more small and mi­cro busi­nesses onto the band­wagon, GST- com­pli­ant tech­nolo­gies are es­sen­tial to help busi­nesses man­age the tran­si­tion and fu­ture-proof them­selves in an era of GST.

Take the ex­am­ple of per­sonal com­put­ers, which are trans­form­ing In­dia’s cot­tage in­dus­tries into small busi­nesses. Mod­ern­iz­ing the dy­ing craft of Chan­deri sa­ree mak­ing, women tex­tile de­sign­ers in Chan­deri, Ashok­na­gar, Mad­hya Pradesh, have uti­lized de­sign soft­ware and in­ter­net con­nec­tiv­ity on PCs to con­quer the on­line mar­ket­place and reach new cus­tomers ir­re­spec­tive of ge­og­ra­phy.

Tech­nolo­gies that can, by the virtue of their form fac­tor, hand­hold first-time busi­ness users to take their first suc­cess­ful steps into the dig­i­tal econ­omy by en­abling pro­duc­tiv­ity, mo­bil­ity, and se­cu­rity , are ex­tremely rel­e­vant at the in­cu­ba­tion stage.As PC pro­cess­ing ca­pa­bil­ity is in­te­gral to a GST- en­abled econ­omy, es­pe­cially for the vol­umes of work done on­line, de­vices with pre-in­stalled GST soft­ware can help SMEs ex­pe­ri­ence a has­sle-free mi­gra­tion. As PC us­age grows, busi­nesses will grow – com­put­ers and con­nec­tiv­ity will also open the gate­way for dig­i­ti­za­tion and au­to­ma­tion of busi­nesses, in­creas­ing re­turns, scale, and out­put.

SME scan stay ahead of the curve by de­ploy­ing PCs that can per­form com­plex tasks to scale their busi­nesses, such as an­a­lyz­ing big data into mean­ing­ful in­sights that power sound de­ci­sions. At a macro level, a PC in the GST era also makes it eas­ier to start and ex­pand a busi­ness, with a stan­dard­ized, cen­tral­ized, dig­i­tal ven­dor regis­tra­tion process across states. It also re­duces chances of fraud and cor­rup­tion, with a se­cure, au­then­ti­ca­tion based pro­tec­tion of dig­i­tal records and pro­cesses.

Ul­ti­mately, the PC is a tool where the work­flows are built and busi­ness strate­gies, mod­els and de­liv­er­ables are cre­ated. In the era of GST, the pro­cess­ing power of a PC is the only work­horse ca­pa­ble of han­dling heavy- duty tasks and multi-task­ing for busi­nesses. This is why PC- en­abled SMEs will be the vic­tors in the era of GST, and it will not be long be­fore tech­nol­ogy de­ploy­ment will drive the In­dian SME ecosys­tem to new heights.

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