One of the major challenges faced by both accountants as well as the taxpayers with the implementation of GST is the complexity in tax compliance. For instance, tax compliance includes filing multiple tax returns, claiming ITC refund etc. Similarly, taxpayers are required to issue GST compliant invoices.
Accordingly, such invoices need to have components like HSN/SAC Codes, GSTIN of the supplier and the recipient, various taxes under GST, GST Rates etc. Further, they also need to keep track of various amendments introduced by the GST Council via notifications and circulars.
Such complexity makes it difficult both for the accountants and the taxpayers to file timely returns and be fully compliant. So, to avoid delays in tax payments, return filing and meet compliance effectively, such stakeholders can use GST Accounting Softwares.
A good GST Accounting Software would enable the taxpayers, accounting professionals and business owners to create GST ready invoices effortlessly, file GST returns, generate GST reports and manage their accounting data seamlessly.
This article talks about important features that a GST Software must have.
Features in GST Software
1. GST Ready Invoices
Taxpayers registered under GST need to generate invoices as per the GST format. A GST compliant invoice includes details such as:
- GSTIN of the supplier and the recipient
- HSN/SAC Codes
- Different taxes applicable under GST such as CGST, SGST, IGST, UTGST
- Applicable GST Rates
Thus, including fields for such details manually requires not only time and effort on the part of the taxpayer but also increases the odds of committing errors.
However, a GST Billing Software enables taxpayers and the accounting professionals to create GST ready invoices within minutes.
The taxpayers can either use invoice templates as provided by a particular GST software or can customize invoices to match their brand style guide.
In addition to this, a GST Ready accounting software enables taxpayers to schedule invoices for regular paying customers, send reminders for outstanding payments, get notifications for invoices viewed or paid by the recipients.
Also, if the GST Software is cloud based, taxpayers and accounting professionals can create invoices on the go and send them across to their customers anytime, anywhere and from any device.
These GST ready features enable them to collect payments on time.
2. GST Ready Reports
As per the GST Regime, taxpayers need to file monthly, quarterly and annual tax returns. Such returns are required to be filed in a particular format as specified in the GST law.
For instance, taxpayers need to file details of Outward Supplies in GSTR-1 and prepare a summary report in GSTR-3B every month. Similarly, taxpayers who are liable to deduct TDS need to file return in Form GSTR-7 every month. And normal taxpayers need to file annual return in GSTR-9.
With a good GST Software at disposal, taxpayers and accounting professionals can create such reports as per the prescribed format. They can import accounting data from their excel sheets in the GST accounting software and create accounting and GST reports within no time.
3. ITC Match/Mismatch Reports
Under the GST regime, taxpayers are given the facility to claim ITC with regards to the GST paid on inward supplies. However, such an input tax credit can be claimed only if the supplier files tax returns periodically.
With the help of a good GST Software, the taxpayers can calculate the input tax credit accurately through ITC Match/Mismatch Report. This report enables the taxpayers to match purchases recorded in the GST accounting software with the GST invoices uploaded on the common portal by the supplier.
Accordingly, taxpayers can look through the ITC Match/Mismatch reports and take action. Such actions could include locating the mismatch between purchases and supplier invoices, communicating the supplier in respect of such a mismatch and demanding a requisite action on the part of the supplier.
4. Supports Cloud Technology
Another important feature of a good GST Software is that it is cloud based. With all the accounting information organized in the cloud, taxpayers and accounting professionals can:
- Generate GST and Accounting Reports,
- Create customized GST invoices,
- Manage customer and vendor accounting data,
- Track expenses and
- Know the overall position of the business anytime, anywhere and from any device.
Where the desktop software keeps taxpayers and tax professionals bound to their desks for creating and filing tax returns, invoices etc., cloud based accounting enables them to undertake all such tasks on the go. Thus it helps the taxpayers save time and costs.
5. Auto Calculation of Taxes
With the help of GST Software, taxpayers can locate the applicable GST rates and calculate their tax liability automatically. This enables the taxpayers to determine the tax payable accurately and avoid errors in tax calculation to make timely payment of taxes.
Good GST Software provides the list of GST rates such as CGST, SGST, UTGST, IGST and CESS applicable under GST. Furthermore, on selecting the applicable GST rates from the drop down, the GST Software automatically applies such a rate on the taxable value of goods and services and calculates the amount of tax to be paid in respect of a particular tax invoice.
Therefore small business owners and tax professionals, who otherwise would have to manually calculate the amount of tax to be paid, would now be able to calculate the amount of tax automatically with the help of GST Software. This helps them in saving time and avoiding errors in tax calculation and determining the tax amount accurately.
6. HSN/SAC Code Lookup
The GST regime categorizes goods and services with the help of HSN/SAC Codes. Therefore, registered persons under GST are mandatorily required to specify the relevant HSN/SAC Code for the goods or services being supplied by them to the recipient of the tax invoice.
It becomes really challenging to search for the relevant HSN/SAC Code manually as the taxpayer would have to search for the same on various government websites. This becomes quite cumbersome.
However, with GST Software at disposal, the taxpayers can easily look through the HSN/SAC Codes and choose the relevant code based on the taxable goods and services being supplied by them.
7. Data Security
Data security is one of the critical features that good GST Software needs to possess. The customer and vendor information is extremely valuable. There can be cases where such information is misused leading to a consequential impact in terms of loss of money, effort, time and valuable business information.
Good GST Software having proper security standards helps the taxpayers to get rid of such vices and ensure highest level of security for its business and accounting information. Some of the critical security features include password protected sign in, back up of the accounting information, anti-virus protection etc.
Furthermore, the GST Software must be equipped with the highest standard encryption technologies that allow for safely downloading banking information in their GST accounting software.
8. Cost Effective
Cost of GST Software is another important factor that is considered while making a buying decision with regards to GST Software. The online GST Billing Software is available at a relatively reduced subscription fee and that gives accessibility to either single or multiple users per license.
These licenses are based on the type of the GST Software that business owners and accounting professionals choose to buy.
The desktop or the offline versions of the GST software on the other hand is expensive. This might not be the ideal choice for a small business owner having a limited scale of business.
Therefore, considering the nature and the size of the business, business owners make a choice in respect of GST Software that fulfills their business needs.
9. Third Party Apps
Third Party Applications connected with the GST Accounting Software make it a one stop destination for managing all your accounting and business information. A good number of third party applications integrated with the GST Software enable the taxpayers to undertake a variety of tasks such as payroll management, inventory management etc. all at a single place.
Where GST Software has a less number of third party apps integrated, taxpayers and tax professionals have to make use of multiple software applications for a variety of tasks.
This divides the accounting and business data between various software applications, thus posing a challenge to track and manage accounting information.
10. Customer Support
Tax payers under the GST regime need to file number of forms for furnishing returns, claiming refunds etc. Needless to say, given the complex nature of the GST system, there is heavy compliance on the part of the taxpayers that needs to be met.
In addition to this, since GST is new to India, government makes continuous efforts to improvise the GST Law via amendments. This is done so as to simplify the GST structure and make it easy for all the stakeholders.
Given this, the GST Software providers bring about changes in the GST Software from time to time. This leads to investment on the part of the taxpayers and accounting professionals to adapt to changes.
Therefore, an excellent customer support becomes indispensable. This is because it helps the taxpayers understand the GST Software and make the best possible use for its business needs.
An excellent customer support makes it easy for the taxpayers and accounting professionals to learn about the various functionalities of the GST Software. Further, it helps them in understanding the ways in which it can help to solve their business and accounting needs.
Strong customer support includes 24*7 helpdesk that allows the software users to talk to experts in case of issues. Further, it could also include free resources such as user manuals, e-books, articles, and webinars etc. that help in further understanding GST Software.