GST: An unforgiving tax
The GST regime expects a high level of consistency and accuracy in filing of the tax returns. In an attempt to make the system free of fraud, the GST filing system makes suppliers and purchasers inter-dependent. This means that the recipient can only claim the ITC (Input Tax Credit) after the supplier has filed returns accurately and cleared the resultant tax payments. Any changes in transaction details at either the supplier’s or the buyer’s end, will need to reflect in the other’s GSTR records.
The details required to be submitted are no longer at a summary level as was previously the case. Now, the suppliers as well as the recipients of goods or services need to submit invoice-level details of the transaction. This means that the invoice details you provide need to match those in your vendor’s returns as these are automatically reflected in the GSTR -2 form.
In addition, you also need to ensure that the format of all the invoices are compliant with the requirements of the GST filing portal.
Finally, the GSTR-3, which is the summary level of all invoices or purchases, must match the invoice-level details from GSTR-1 and GSTR-2.
Errors in GST filing: An expensive mistake
In the event of any discrepancies or delays in GST filing, penalties and late payment fees are applied. Moreover, the GST regime maintains a GST Compliance Rating, which is publicly available and can be reviewed by your business prospects as well as current customers or partners. If this score is low, it reflects poorly on the business and can affect your relationship with your vendors or customers.
By its very nature, the GST system is highly prone to errors in manual filing. Invoice-level details of every transaction need to be entered – which makes the filing process time-consuming, tedious and error-prone.
Once a business owner transitions to the GST systems, fundamental changes must be made to the business processes to enable error-free GST compliance. These challenges make it imperative for businesses and tax consultants to use technology products that automate and simplify the GST filing process.
Robotic Process Automation or RPA and its use in GST filing
Gartner.com defines RPA as:
In other words, we use AI/ML capabilities to configure automatic handling of high-volume, repetitive tasks that are too tedious for humans to perform. This releases human resources for more value-added work, which cannot be performed using automation.
How do bots work?
Bots can be programmed to carry out specific steps in a pre-defined business process. These can include fetching data from various sources or applications, collating it data into templates, formatting using pre-set rules, completing complex calculations, maintaining past records, validating accuracy of data and surfacing inconsistencies. Finally, the bot can also be programmed to log into destination applications and enter data or upload files, log out of the application after completing the steps and sending email notifications or reading emails/notifications of approvals to update the status etc.
RPA achieves this via a combination of user interface interaction technologies and scripts, which communicate with several software applications.
According to Automation Anywhere James Dening, VP European RPA Evangelist “For us RPA is the ability to automate any rules-based process across any technology stack in both the attended and unattended world.”
Sapours GST Filing Bot: Uses extreme automation
Automation Anywhere has designated Sapours as a Center of Excellence for RPA. Using the AA platform, we have pre-built a GST filing bot that focuses on mitigating the challenges of manual GST filing and reduce the risk of errors or non-compliance while saving time and cost human resources spent on voluminous tasks in the filing process.
Here is a look at what the GST filing bot can handle:
- Collate invoices and transaction-related details from the organization’s ERP or Finance-specific software applications
- Format the collated data to the GST forms requirement
- Reconcile, match data from GSTR 2A to the ITC claim, validate the data against partner entries to highlight any inconsistencies
- Log in to the GSTR portal and auto-push the prepared data to the portal
- Initiate GSTR 3B filing
Why use a bot?
The filing bot is great way to get voluminous tasks completed rapidly and accurately. The GST system is designed to compel businesses to digitize their tax records and minimize fraud – it does not encourage change of records to correct errors. First-time-right is the best way to achieve compliance. Automation becomes a key strategy to achieve this compliance.
Here are a few benefits of using automated bots:
No time-off needed: As the bot can operate 24×7, it is easier to meet stringent deadlines and ensure GSTR compliances.
Extreme efficiency: Bots are more efficient and make fewer errors than manual filing done by people.
Speed: Bots can be as fast as the computing power available to them! Human restrictions of processing speed, distractions or need for break do not apply to bots – so their speed is always much higher than any manual processing.
Accuracy: Pre-programmed bots make no errors! 100% accuracy can be guaranteed as long as the pre-set rules are valid and the pre-defined steps have been accurately configured.
At Sapours, we undertake RPA implementations with detailed process workflows that will help your business run faster. Our GST Filing Bot that automates most of the high-volume tasks in GST filing. Available on the Automation Anywhere Bot Store, the Sapours GST Filing Bot fast-tracks your business’s technology adoption and ensure that you adapt to the new compliance regime brought in by GST.