The IT Accountant group, Osidon, says while they are revolutionizing accounting by pushing the boundaries and rethinking traditional methods, the South African Revenue Service (SARS) might not be able to keep up. Earlier this month, Osidon introduced the world’s first online digital accountant, aimed at lending a helping hand to SMME’s and entrepreneurs, paving the way for job creation and increased compliance. Chief Executive Officer and founder, Hennie Ferreira, says their state of the art AI systems are not able to integrate with the current SARS system.
‘What we have created is the future of compliance and taxation and soon the whole industry will be systemized, which is inevitable. The problem is, however, the lack of support from SARS when it comes to integration. In countries such as the UK and USA as a tax practitioner, you are able to integrate with their local revenue services. With SARS there is very limited integration when it comes to income tax and no integration support with relation to VAT or EMP’s,’ he says.
Ferreira says the failure in integration can also cripple foreign direct investment as these investors are used to integrating with their own systems. He says the importance of being able to integrate with the SARS systems cannot be underestimated.
‘System integration relates to all accounting programmes as well as payroll systems. If there is an integration process it will save a lot of time and money for business owners and tax practitioners. At the same time, it will ensure that compliance will be more effective and SARS will be able to increase its revenue because more people will be able to make use of the services,’ he explains.
Ferreira says the current system makes compliance a challenge.
‘The other and even greater challenge is the fact that the current flash system is outdated and will be discontinued by 2020. We have heard predictions that this could cause major disruptions and if not given attention.’
SARS’s overall digitisation programme, which started in 2007 and was meant to automate SARS’s revenue collection systems to improve efficiency and curb corruption, was supposed to be completed in 2015. The process was however brought to a standstill shortly after the arrival of suspended SARS Commissioner, Tom Monyane. It is estimated that it will cost approximately R1-billion to fix problems with the revenue service’s digital systems and take between 2 – 5 years to complete.
‘SARS doesn’t have 2 – 5 years because if flash is discontinued in 2020, what will they be able to do with unsupported technology going forward? This is definitely a disaster waiting to happen as it will cause issues on the systems and the whole process will be jeopardised.’
Ferreira continues to say that by taking hands with the private sector, SARS will not only be able to upgrade the systems in record time, it will also be able to spend far less than the estimated R1-billion on the project.
‘We develop systems on an on-going basis and there’s no reason why an upgrade should cost this much or take such a long time to complete. Osidon has in the meantime developed browsing robots and automated systems to compensate for the lack of integration by SARS, therefore saving clients time and money. As Osidon and I’m sure other payroll organisations such as Xero and Simple Pay, we would be more than willing to sit around the table with SARS to find a speedy solutions.’
SARS’s core business is dependent on efficient systems and he is optimistic that the new SARS Commissioner, Edward Kieswetter, will prioritise these critical matters, Ferreira concluded.
Osidon at the forefront of revolutionising accounting, tax, payroll, company registrations and general compliance for SMME’s.