With the coming implementation of VAT in UAE from 1 January 2018, businesses will need the support of VAT experts to successfully manage their preparation as well as ongoing VAT compliance. Implementing VAT in a country like UAE where there were no other major taxes has some challenges. Since VAT is a new concept it is inevitable that there is a shortage of VAT experts to cater to the needs of businesses operating in the region. Many accounting firms will claim to be experts in this field, which businesses will need to be wary about. This article will provide an insight into the things you will need to do to ensure that you have the right people to assist your business in preparing for VAT.
VAT can be a complicated law for non-VAT experts to comply with and the consequences of not preparing correctly can potentially be serious. This is because disruption cannot only affect dealings with the tax authority but also with customers, suppliers, cash flow, and reputation. Most accounting firms in the UAE specialize in audit and bookkeeping, and most will not have experience in taxes, therefore, is it crucial for businesses to choose the right accounting firm. The following factors should be considered when choosing an accounting firm:
Types of Services offered
As mentioned previously, most accounting firms in the UAE provide support for auditing and bookkeeping. Although they may well have added VAT support as a bolt-on to their services they may not necessarily have the relevant expertise in this field. When preparing for VAT, businesses should consider firms with proven VAT expertise and experience.
When choosing a firm, the qualifications of its directors, partners, managers, and employees should be considered. You may have junior staff from the firm assigned to your project. In particular, ensure that its employees have the relevant qualifications including the staff assigned to your business.
Although fees can vary from firm to firm, like most things, the cheapest is not necessarily the best. This can equally be said of the most prestigious, instead, look to strike a balance between cost and quality. This can be achieved by looking for a firm that provides a high quality of service, expertise, and specialism in your industry.
Providing timely support
Customer support is a very important factor to consider as a firm may be stretched supporting many clients and therefore may not be able to dedicate its resources to your business. Businesses should ensure that any SLA (service level agreements) includes a response from the firm within 24 hours. Failure to do so could disrupt your business.
Client Satisfaction Level
It is important to check the satisfaction level of existing clients of the firm by asking to speak to them. If the existing clients of a firm are happy with the level of service received, then it is likely that you will also be satisfied. Always spend some on this to avoid future regret.
Technology is changing the Accounting field with more and more businesses using cloud-based applications to support their operational and accounting functions. Equally, Accounting firms should be up to date with all new technological developments to support clients.
Size of Firm
A firm that you feel more comfortable with must be chosen to help smoothen your VAT implementation. The size of the firm should not always be a major factor because it is other factors such as industry experience and VAT expertise, which should be more important. A larger firm may not always be able to provide the level of customer service that you require and equally a firm with no previous VAT experience will not be relevant. Furthermore, a smaller firm will likely take the needs and requirements of your business with more seriousness.
Finally, before signing up to an accounting firm, always check within your professional circle for any referral that they have had experience with. It’s also recommended to ask friends and family who may have had previous experience in using an Accounting firm. For more information and to get the latest updates on VAT in the UAE, subscribe to our list or like our LinkedIn page.