Making companies GST-ready is big business
Getting companies GST-ready has become big business. Chartered accountants, GST Suvidha Providers and Application Service Providers are handling large number of clients and the charges too vary from one service provider to another.
Getting GST-ready involves several processes depending upon the size of a company. Every department of the company involved in the process has to be trained. There is a registration process, calculations and preparation of documents. All companies need new accounting tools and these have to be synergised with the existing systems. Once the company is ready, the returns have to be filed through GSPs.
The cost burden for the entire process will be less for corporates with fully automated financial systems and in-house teams. Those with semi-automated systems and those without any system will have to hire outside help and most of such companies being medium and small, the cost burden will be significant.
“There are service providers who charge Rs 35,000 and Rs 20,000 for getting the companies GST-ready. Some of these providers have tied up with legal consultants and chartered accountants. Hiring chartered accountants separately for GST purposes too comes at a significant cost,” said Kumar Rajagopalan, CEO, Retailers Association of India.
Spice Digital, a GST Suvidha Provider, charges Rs 999 (exclusive of taxes) for the software but it does not want to disclose the rates for providing other services. These charges are different for small and medium businesses, chartered accountants and corporates. Spice Digital has over 1,000 clients.
Similarly, Cleartax, an ASP, has an e-learning kit priced at Rs 5,000, and currently made available at a discounted price of Rs 3,000. “At ClearTax, our aim has always been to help businesses become GST-compliant and transition smoothly to a new tax regime. As part of this endeavour, we have created a GST Billbook which is currently available to all companies and tax professionals for free,” said Archit Gupta, founder and CEO of Cleartax. However, Cleartax too does not want to reveal the cost of hiring its services. Cleartax has about one lakh businesses on board so far. It is also increasing its reach to tier-3 and tier-4 cities. It has tied up with Amazon to make its vendors GST-ready.
Reliance Jio, another GSP, has launched ‘Mobile First’ GST solution for Rs 1,999 for small and medium businesses. It provides Jio GST Software Solution for one year, voice data, wifi device, billing app and service of empanelled professionals.
“Companies which already have fully automated systems and in-house teams and consultancy services in place, there is additional work involved and there is increase in the need for manpower. As we already have consultancy services, the additional cost is not very high,” said Harkirat Singh, managing director of Woodland. The company has been conducting training for its various departments for the past two months.
Columnist: 
Sangeetha G.
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