GST—Do organisations need a project management solution for successful implementation of GST?

Some key areas which can make GST implementation a success at any organisation

Updated: May 4, 2017 10:05:01 AM UTC
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The ambiguity that surrounded the implementation of GST seems to be diminishing as the government achieves several key milestones that were pre-requisites for the revolutionary indirect tax regime to go live on July 1. While the industry is geared up to embrace changes that GST will bring about, there is a lot of preparatory work to be done. With a little over two months to go, companies need to start analysing the immediate risks and opportunities resulting from transition to GST as the new legislation will affect the entire ecosystem of an organisation, starting from order to cash.

Although several companies have incurred huge costs owing to assessment of impact of GST on their business, one of the biggest challenges with respect to implementation of GST is project managing such a critical change in legislation with minimal resources and cost.

Some of the key areas which can make GST implementation a success at any organisation are:

  • Comprehensive Project Plan –  A project plan comprising of critical activities that need to be completed by various business functions along with a responsibility matrix and timelines is imperative for successful implementation of GST across any organization
  • Effective Communication Plan – It is critical to develop and maintain an effective communication plan to keep the relevant stakeholders informed of various activities that are lined up on a periodic basis and also using this forum as an escalation matrix, if the need arises.
  • Follow-up mechanism – While assigning responsibility is important and can be easily achieved by any project management professional, following up on critical activities and obtaining a status of where we are on in such a high pressure job is very challenging and cumbersome.
  • Stakeholder Management - Since GST will affect the entire ecosystem of an organisation, it is very critical to manage a large number of stakeholders and keep them apprised of development on the project front, and also obtain a go-ahead on critical decisions, which otherwise get held up due to procedural operations of companies.
  • Identifying interdependencies between various functions – Projects such as GST cannot be implemented by a standalone business function, and therefore identification of inter-dependencies between various functions and organising these activities is very critical.
  • Documentation – Losing track of important documentation can lead to confusion and ambiguity among the task force, and therefore, having a formal document repository that holds all critical documents, project updates and latest version of business requisition documents is imperative to the successful implementation of GST.
  • Third Party management portal – Third parties are important part of the value chain of an organisation as their readiness is critical to seamless functioning of input credit mechanism under GST.
  • Informal chat setup – Certain conversations are best done in an informal manner. Therefore, an informal chat setup, which is secure can be a boon for projects as huge as GST implementation across large organisations where stakeholders are strewn across geographies.

While there are many more aspects that can lead to seamless implementation of GST, ensuring business continuity is the biggest challenge for organisations that are late to realise the ramifications of GST on their business. While companies can be quick to align their IT systems through outsourcing partners, it is important to note that project managing such a big change can be a daunting task for any organisation.

Therefore, there is an immediate need for a one-stop-shop customised project management platform that can take over the burden of managing tasks, action items, keep a check on timelines, and engage stakeholders at one place with minimal resources.  While there are many project management platforms readily available in the market, there is a void with respect to a holistic platform that can design, organise, manage and document action items, follow-up on deliverables of internal/external stakeholders, incorporate a robust project plan, engage all relevant internal/external stakeholders, manage tasks and project progress.

Certainly, the industry needs a solution that can be customised according to their immediate needs and help them transition into the GST effectively. Such a platform can also be utilised for post implementation monitoring.

- By Sarabjeet Singh, Partner, Risk & Advisory, BMR Advisors with inputs from Meeta Chopra and Chavi Sawhney

The thoughts and opinions shared here are of the author.

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