Business leaders from the UAE gathered together at an ACCA event in collaboration with Thomson Reuters to discuss the impending introduction of VAT across the region and the importance of ensuring compliance pre-1 January 2018.
During the event led by Arif Mirza, Regional Head of Policy MENASA, ACCA; attendees heard from Chas Roy-Chowdhury, Global Head of Taxation at ACCA; Sana Azam, VAT Director at E&Y; Pierre Arman, Tax & Accounting Market Lead, Thomson Reuters and an esteemed panel which included leaders from across key industries.
Chas Roy-Chowdhury commenced the morning providing a high level overview of VAT in the UAE, followed by Sana Azam who shared how VAT will impact key industries in the country.
Ascertaining the impact VAT will have on a business and the changes required is an essential step in any VAT implementation process. The event highlighted that with less than six weeks from implementation, organisations should already have their VAT management plan in place to ensure compliance from 1 January 2018.
Research undertaken by ACCA and Thomson Reuters earlier suggested that while there is awareness that VAT will have a broad impact, only 11% of respondents understood the impact that VAT implementation will have on their business.
This was further reinforced at the event, with Pierre stating if you don’t already have a VAT management plan in place, you are already considerably late. He further went on to stress that it is essential that organisations prioritize VAT implementation if not already done so – given the implementation date is fast approaching.
Attendees also heard from industry leaders who discussed their VAT implementation journey providing perspectives from a family owned business, insurance and free-zones, with technical input from Thomas Vanhee, Partner, Aurifer.
The panel further highlighted the importance of being VAT compliant from day one to ensure business processes are effectively realigned to manage this fiscal reform, both not only externally, but internally too.
Lindsay Degouve de Nuncques, Head of ACCA Middle East concluded by stating: “The need to have professional accountants leading such change, along with the relevant IT Partner is essential.”
“We know VAT is coming – it should not be avoided nor ignored, therefore the ongoing discussion of VAT compliance will remain pertinent into Q1 2018 to ensure organisations are ready to navigate any internal, economic or fiscal challenges and opportunities that the business is presented with during the earlier stages of implementation,” she added.
She concluded by stating the VAT journey doesn’t stop on 1 January 2018 and as Pierre earlier mentioned, is a continual improvement process – it is coming, will be here to stay for generations to come and should not be overlooked.