8 Qualities for Successful GST Professional
Goods & Services Tax (GST) launched in 2017, is one of the major economic reforms by the Indian Government to create a single indirect tax regime. It was the much-needed reform, as multiple taxes were hurting the business and customers both. It is a much less complicated system but still a complex process for average people. According to World Bank, the Indian GST system is amongst the most complex tax regime in the world. Given this complexity, the demand for GST practitioners has increased over time. These professionals have eased the pressure on businesses for compliance and helped them in a smoother transition.
Successful GST professionals must have a comprehensive understanding of the indirect tax regime with proper knowledge of compliances. Apart from the subjective knowledge, one must also be aware of the continuous changes and new tax slabs decided by GST Council from time to time. According to The Economic Times, this tax regime has created a new demand for tax consultants as GST Professionals. And to become successful, the professionals need to have a set of qualities as explained in this article.
1. Comprehensive Knowledge of GST Regime
As said earlier, India has one of the most complex indirect tax regimes of the world. Indian GST system has broadly three types of levies: 1. CGST 2. SGST/UTST 3. IGST
Central Goods & Services Tax (CGST) is the tax levied on Intra state trade of both goods and services by the Central Government and is governed under CGST Act. State Goods & Services Tax (SGST) is the tax levied by the State Government and is governed under SGST Act. Integrated Goods and Services Tax (IGST) is a tax levied on all Inter-State supplies of goods and/or services and will be governed by the IGST Act.
You need to be aware of the intrastate and inter-state nature of the business so no overriding taxes are applied.
For example, a manufacturer company A of Punjab sells Rs. 10000 worth of goods to Dealer B in Punjab. Dealer B sells this good to Trader C in Haryana for Rs. 17500. Finally, Trader C sells the item to a customer D in Haryana.
In this case, A is selling to B in Punjab thus it is an intra-state sale, so 9% of CGST and 9% of SGST will be applied. But Dealer B sells to Trader C who is located in another state, Haryana. So this is an inter-state trade thus CGST of 18% will be applied. Again Trader C sells the item to a customer in Haryana, so it becomes an intra-state trade. In this case, again 9% of CGST and 9% of IGST will be applied.
As you can see in the above example, you need to have a thorough understanding of the GST system to sail through the complex sea of IGST, CGST and SGST.
The rapid technological development has streamlined many mundane tasks previously performed by professionals. However, the skill to effectively communicate remains one of the top skills of any professional pursuit. Many a time, you may be required to explain the complex GST levies to non-specialists. It’s your responsibility to communicate effectively, so a clear written and verbal communication is an absolute must.
3. Organization Skill
As a GST professional, you need to juggle between various tax slabs, filing taxes before the deadline, keeping an eye on any new notifications, and others. You can now imagine the multiple works require a very different set of skills. You need to have a great set of organization skills including, time management, scheduling, planning and cooperation skills. With proper GST training, it becomes much easier to manage bulk work as it drives your organization skills a notch higher.
4. Time Management
As the saying goes, “Time is more valuable than money”, and every business adheres to that. As a professional, you are expected to deliver your task on time. Good time management skills go hand in hand with organization skills. The ability to work within deadlines and to continually re-prioritize your to-do list will take you far. It will also help you to maintain a healthy work/life balance and keep you day-to-day productive.
5. Numeracy Skills
You don’t have to be a math genius but good number skills is expected from a good GST professional. In general, GST professionals deal in numbers so becoming good in numbers won’t hurt. If you know some statistics techniques along with Microsoft Excel, you can demonstrate business insights from the data and use it for the company’s growth.
6. Problem Solving Skills
We often think tax professionals are people who help in filing taxes and compliance. We don’t associate creativity with these type of professions. Contrary to this belief, tax professionals are highly creative as they are the ones who find a way to reduce the tax burden. Similarly, GST professionals are expected to have problem-solving skills. And the best way to learn is to start listening. Listen attentively to others, lots of problems can be solved if people start listening to each other.
7. Attention to Detail
In GST tax, the regulations say exactly what they mean – and you need to interpret them exactly that way. That means paying attention to every word. Before sending the details to others, check the document thoroughly for any mistakes. Always check for consistency and inconsistency too. Find out if the inconsistency is supported by any change in the tax regime, if yes then you don’t have to worry.
8. Honesty and Accountability
As a GST professional, accountability is important in terms of maintaining both client confidence and business accuracy. Being a successful professional is about striking a balance between accuracy, precision and honesty. This means it’s all right to admit when you have made a mistake, as long as you own up to it and work to assure that it does not happen again in the future.
Additional Skills to focus:
- Advanced Excel Skills
- ERP Experience (SAP, Oracle, etc.)
- Visual Basic Capability
GST Practitioner is a proficient professional to represent on behalf of the taxpayer in relation to computation and filing of GST returns and act as an intermediary between the tax department and the taxpayers to carry out the activities, handle procedures and communication for them. It’s a job of responsibility which requires a combination of subjective knowledge and soft skills discussed above.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments.