Every business has its own distinct needs and workflows, especially when it comes to capturing its business data. This becomes even more relevant with VAT being implemented soon, and the need for scaleable software tools has never been higher for SMBs. Let's try to understand this through an example.
Consider the case of Wajeeh, who manages a chain of retail outlets in the UAE which are all registered for VAT under a single TRN. He sells various products, ranging from stationery to clothing to electronics, both online and offline. He regularly imports his goods from suppliers located outside of the UAE and he has a small marketing team that travels abroad to promote his brand. He's got his hands full managing his imports and stores, so he hasn't spent much time on upgrading his software tools. He still uses spreadsheets for a lot of his work, and the few basic pieces of software he uses are becoming more obsolete day by day.
Based on the details above, you can probably spot a few issues right away. He has no way of telling how much stock he has in a particular warehouse or outlet without contacting the staff at that location. While his online store may offer some form of online order tracking, he will still be required to manually coordinate with the appropriate warehouse for each order and ship goods to customers. If he wants to view account balances, he probably has to switch between different bank websites. Looking at this setup, one might wonder as to how he tracks the performance of each store. Adding to this, starting on January 1, 2018, Wajeeh will also be required to associate VAT with all his transactions and generate VAT returns several times a year. From time to time he may also be required to audit his transactions and submit an FTA audit file to the authorities for verification. Judging from all of the above points, it is clear that he doesn't have the right tools to handle the situation. But Wajeeh can solve these issues in four steps. Let's see how.
Step 1: Get your books in order
Our first recommendation to Wajeeh would be to organise his information into data sets such as customers, vendors, items, open orders, and closing balances so that he can easily migrate it into an accounting software that is VAT capable, like Zoho Books. Armed with these organised data sets, he will be able to set up his first Zoho Books organisation, invite his team members across different outlets and customise his organisation according to his workflows. This will allow every user to perform their tasks through the same software, from sending out quotes to potential customers, to generating VAT compliant invoices in Arabic or English for walk-in customers.
Wajeeh's employees can also record invoice payments or issue purchase orders to vendors whenever they find low stock items, using built-in reminders and alarms. The best part is that all the transactions recorded by Wajeeh and his team within Zoho Books get compiled into more than 40 different actionable reports including VAT returns and FTA audit files.
Step 2: Collect online payments securely
By integrating Zoho Books with payment gateways such as 2Checkout, Wajeeh can automate the process of sending payment links along with his invoices and track payment status in real time.
By enabling the client portal inside Zoho Books, Wajeeh can give his customers access to view their invoices, make payments, and review the service they received.
Step 3: Bolster your supply chain
As the owner of a chain of retail outlets, Wajeeh needs advanced inventory and warehouse management tools. He can add those functions to Zoho Books if he integrates it with another Zoho offering, Zoho Inventory. With this integration, Wajeeh can define multiple outlets and warehouse locations, and track stock transfers from one location to another. He can also sync orders from his e-commerce platform (such as Magento or Shopify) into Zoho Books through Zoho Inventory.
On top of this, Zoho Inventory will also allow Wajeeh's warehouse team members to bundle different products together and perform composite supplies. Should they encounter a case where a customer orders much more of a product than they have available, they can either back-order the items or have a vendor drop ship them directly to the customer through Zoho Inventory.
When it comes to order fulfilment, Zoho Inventory comes integrated with more than 30 different global shipping service providers, including Aramex and DHL, allowing Wajeeh to have his goods picked up from a warehouse of his choosing and shipped to his customers with real-time tracking.
Step 4: Manage your expenses with ease
As we saw earlier, Wajeeh's marketing team often travels abroad to host trade shows and events, where they will be incurring expenses on behalf of the company for their food, lodging, mileage expenses, and any VAT associated to these expenses. Each time they return from a trip, Wajeeh has to reimburse his employees and add their expenses to his books.
If done manually, this can be a quite time-consuming process. But Wajeeh can automate his company's expense tracking by integrating Zoho Books with Zoho Expense, which enables his marketing team to simply snap photographs of expense receipts on their mobile phones and upload them using the Autoscan Documents feature. These expenses can then be categorised, reviewed and approved by Wajeeh for reimbursement from within Zoho Expense, and once they're approved, they'll get added to Zoho Books automatically.
Are you a business owner like Wajeeh? Try Zoho today and see how it can add value to your business. Have a question about VAT or Zoho Books for the UAE? Write to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 800-0444-0824 (toll free). You can also learn more about VAT from Zoho Books Resources.
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