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Did / do you know what VAT is all about?

By now those who are living in the Middle Eastern region have known what VAT is all about. Earlier, before the start of the year, not everyone knew the details. Who knew the specifics were mainly those who were supporting their or other organizations in getting it implemented. To make sure that business transactions, sales or purchases of various goods and services, made on and beyond Jan 1,2018 comply with the new taxation rules, the prerequisite activities were started in last quarter of 2017, if not before, at many organizations.

New Process, Changed System(s)

The companies, using IT solutions for their day-to-day businesses, had to adjust corresponding applications accordingly, which majority did successfully, and as such they launched the projects. The SAP Consultants also utilized their earlier experience, of implementing taxation rules for non-regional countries, to make the systems ready on the date, from when the rules were formally applicable, for their KSA and UAE employers/clients.

Change Management along with Technical Work

My experience at the project was not purely technical so I can’t describe the complications which my fellow SAP Consultants faced in configuring / customizing SAP applications. However, I can (and I am going to) tell how the stakeholders were taken through the change, being a Change Manager of (and at) the Project. The reason I’m narrating my experience at the project is to share the Change Management lessons I learned at this unique assignment.

Few Change Management Activities at VAT Implementation

As a Change Manager, I work with different Project Managers & their teams and assist them in planning and managing the activities required for successful adoption of the solutions they are working on to deliver.

Usually I’m involved at all of the projects since their beginning but at VAT Implementation Project I was engaged a bit late and the reason was “the project didn’t require full spectrum of Change Management activities”. Why it didn’t is easy to understand i.e. The impacted people only needed to know the “what “and “how”, not the “why”.

  1. To convey the “what” to business, I used the same message which’s in circulation for past few months by relevant authorities as a template.

  2. To guide them with the “how”, I referred them the training material which was prepared to describe the steps needed to record the taxation details.

The impact was on

  1. Procurement and Sales functions as well as on Finance Process, from business perspective,

  2. SRM, CRM and ERP systems, from technical standpoint.

I, therefore, had to make sure that the shoppers and the sales staff as well as the accountants are aware of

  1. What is going to change in the SAP systems, and

  2. How they have to maintain required taxation details.

I am happy to be able to assist the technical team in implementing the solution and in facilitating the business teams, in particular the end-users, in getting to know what they needed to, within planned time, to comply with newly implemented rules.

Initial feedback

It’s still too early to assess the overall usage of the system with VAT rules incorporated but the initial positive response from the higher-ups from business and IT has motivated all of us who were involved on the project in different capacities.

My key learning at the project was
The legal requirements are respected and supported better.

What was your learning while implementing VAT? Or do you have some other thoughts to share / questions to ask?