Features, Interviews, Magazine, Middle East, Technology

How Invenio is transforming tax processes in the GCC

Deputy Editor Giorgia Guantario sat down with Chandan Vashista, SVP & BU Leader – Public Sector at Invenio, to understand how the UK-headquartered organisation has established itself as the global leader in SAP Tax and Revenue Management (TRM) for Public Sector implementations.

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 ten years. The organisation has been recognised for its in-depth
level of tax expertise and its dedication to the public sector’s digital transformation journey.

The GCC has been on a strenuous journey to reduce dependence on oil-based revenue for the past decade. The large decline in oil prices has led to deteriorating fiscal balances and called for various tax reforms to take place within the region. In 2016, the GCC adopted VAT in efforts to broaden tax-based revenues – since then, three member states have implemented online systems for filing and paying VAT.

In a compelling interview, Chandan Vashista, SVP & BU Leader – Public Sector at Invenio, discussed how the organisation has been working with GCC countries to transform their tax processes, and has become the first SAP partner to implement SAP S/4HANA® core tax administration solution in two countries (one of which is in the GCC region) and a third already in the flight.

Chandan, who enjoys extensive experience in Europe and Middle East region, explained that Invenio’s journey in the tax and revenue management landscape began in 2009, when the organisation enabled tax authorities in Mauritius and subsequently the Republic of Maldives to manage and administer their taxes through SAP’s TRM solution.

“We have implemented the SAP solution at tax authorities right from the earlier ECC version to the latest SAP S/4HANA
based on in-memory platform HANA. The implementation of tax systems is especially fraught with risks due to the unique nature of the processes and legislations – Invenio considers itself privileged to have been part of the digital transformation journey at multiple tax authorities in the world,” said Chandan.

Chandan credits Invenio’s success to its strategic focus on SAP’s TRM solution, becoming the leading global partner in this vertical. Invenio’s world-leading experience specifically with tax functions, and its large pool of consultants and experts in the region have established the company as the go-to player for tax solutions in the GCC.

“Having the general in-depth tax experience that we do, the knowledge of business processes and tax regulations which are unique to the GCC region, we understand the importance of what the member nations are trying to achieve with the VAT agreement,” continued Chandan.

Chandan Vashista, SVP & BU Leader – Public Sector at Invenio
Chandan Vashista, SVP & BU Leader – Public Sector at Invenio

“The Middle East is a very important region for us as we are working in three of the key countries to help the tax authorities with their tax transformation. We have nearly 100 consultants working onsite in the GCC region and more than 200 in our delivery centres in India, UK and Mauritius, within our public sector vertical.”

Invenio’s understanding of GCC countries has allowed the business to successfully work with one of the largest countries in the Council for over five years, while also developing unique features for this region, including the Arabisation of the SAP solution.

VAT and tax regimes are new in GCC, and tax authorities in the region are learning and evolving as the process goes on. The region’s tax process maturity is at a very early stage – an aspect which increases the need for flexible and scalable solutions
to accommodate changing tax authority’s requirements. Invenio leverage SAP’s TRM platform based on S/4HANA, which is the tier-1 Commercial- Of-The-Shelf (COTS) solution for tax authorities. The platform is designed to activate and modernise tax systems, offering a suite of solutions which meet tax-specific laws, regulations and business rules, while also providing single taxpayer views and supporting the integration of multiple tax types.

“Our solution ultimately helps administrations to maximise voluntary compliance and increase collections as a result, while effectively managing a highly configurable and flexible solution. We help replace many manual processes with workflow-driven operations and automated functions. Importantly, we also integrate the system with ministries, banks and other third parties.

“These substantial changes allow internal employees and tax officers to create consolidated taxpayer views across regimes, levies, duties and charges; thereby gaining greater visibility, saving time and helping to reduce the national tax gap,” explained Chandan.

Invenio has also been making strides with the implementation of emerging technologies, the likes of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine learning (ML) and Robotic Process Automation (RPA), within SAP solutions. Emerging technologies have taken centre stage in the GCC over the past few years and Chandan understands tax authorities have high expectations when it comes to new solutions.

“Tax authorities in the GCC are going through an extensive tax modernisation process right now and they are hoping to do so very quickly. The expectations are very high, with each country demanding a unique set of features which can include aspects such as AI, ML or RPA integration; availability on different platforms; incorporation of different tax types; and a user-centric system which fulfils the needs of taxpayers, tax officers and tax agents,” continued Chandan.

SAP S/4HANA allows us to implement all these features. I strongly believe that the first step tax authorities need to take is having a core platform in place and then build a roadmap for innovations.”

Chandan concluded by expressing Invenio’s commitment to continue enhancing the tax platforms of their existing customers
by exploring new capabilities enabled by emerging technologies, while also hoping to integrate other agencies for a connected view of data.

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