E-Invoicing: focus on the benefits not just compliance

Businesses across the nation are on the cusp of a tax system revolution!

E-invoicing, a transformative solution, promises to streamline processes and reduce errors.

It heralds a new era of efficiency in the often complex world of taxation and this change can bring significant benefits to businesses.

Remember the disruption caused by Malaysia's shift to the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in 2015?

That upheaval, with its initial confusion and lingering impact, was a glimpse of the challenges businesses face in adapting to new tax systems.

The Inland Revenue Board of Malaysia (LHDN) has meticulously outlined phased mandates for e-invoicing adoption, demonstrating a strategic and well-thought-out approach toward a more streamlined, cost-effective business environment.

This should instil confidence in the direction of the tax system evolution.

Lim Kok Eng --- Managing Director of KE Digital Sdn Bhd --- a seasoned analytics expert who understands and addresses the challenges of e-invoicing is offering a range of solutions, including e-invoicing, Extensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL), AI analytics, and compliance tools – all designed to simplify business processes and provide insights to support decision-making.

His company, KE Digital, recently ventured into a partnership with Iris Business Service Ltd, an award-winning Indian TaxTech company, which bears testimony to the potential of e-invoicing.

Iris, a publicly listed company in India, works with over 6,000 enterprises and financial regulators in 52 countries, demonstrating the global reach and success of its solutions.

The Indian government has appointed Iris as an Invoice Registration Portal (IRP) for companies to meet the e-invoicing mandate.

In 2019, Lim spearheaded an analytics platform, expanding his coverage from data insights to e-invoicing.

This move aligns with Malaysia's national digitalisation strategy, which aims to enhance business efficiency and productivity as outlined in the Twelfth Malaysia Plan.

"We understand that each industry has unique needs, and we are committed to providing tailored solutions for standardisation in an e-invoicing solution. The differences between business-to-business and business-to-consumer transactions demand customisation to fit various operational models," Lim assured.

Despite potential hurdles, Lim is optimistic about the transformative power of einvoicing.

Partnering with an established provider with a time-tested solution is a key factor in his optimism.

"Getting an independent managed platform on a cloud is cost-effective and ensures high availability, security, and peace of mind.

"The platform can consume transactional data from any source and type, making it e-invoicing ready. Their e-invoicing platform, successfully implemented in India three years ago, is used by over 1,500 companies and processes over three million documents monthly," he said.

Malaysia is adopting the Continuous Transaction Control (CTC) e-invoicing model, where tax authorities verify transaction data in real-time.

Lim notes that technical integration across taxpayer IT systems could present challenges but highlights KE Digital's role as a solution provider.

"We understand the possible challenges and can help companies address the data point gap and connect to the LHDN system," he said.

He urged businesses to approach e-invoicing, focusing on benefits, not just compliance.

"Increased efficiency, greater transparency, error minimisation, and improved operational effectiveness are tangible advantages," he said.

"More and more enterprises are looking for ready solutions and were keen to leverage the expertise as well as the competitive pricing of our packages. Depending on the readiness of the customer's system, we may only need to do data mapping and use the existing tools in the system to validate and transform the data into the required format for e-invoicing compliance. Rest assured, our platform features robust security controls, high availability, and can accommodate multiple companies, departments, locations of businesses, and users across the entire group of companies, under one single subscription," he said.

He further said companies should implement e-invoicing as early as possible to achieve those benefits. Lim said he has been receiving enquiries daily since the beginning of the month.

"Many are exploring an e-invoicing platform with high-security control and availability to manage all outgoing and incoming e-invoices in a single platform," he said.

Meanwhile, Iris Business Services Business Head Gautam Mahanti said: "In the context of Malaysia's digital landscape, the IRIS and KE Digital partnership on the country's e-invoicing mandate signifies a pivotal step towards embracing digital transformation. This collaboration demonstrates our adherence to regulatory requirements and commitment to leveraging technology for enhanced efficiency and productivity.

"By partnering with KE Digital, we are poised to open a plethora of opportunities to equip and prepare businesses across Malaysia to prosper in an increasingly thriving digital economy," he added.

*The writer was a journalist with the NST before joining a Fortune Global 500 company. She is now with Impact Advisory Sdn Bhd, a public relations/investor relations company.

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