How to prepare for VAT

In the series of blogs so far we have covered the inevitability of VAT implementation with effect from 1 January 2018. Once this fact has been established, the next logical move is to consider the steps required to be taken by all businesses in preparation for VAT. It is a well-established fact that VAT impacts all aspects of business, including sales and marketing, the supply chain, contracts, finance and accounting, and IT systems to name a few of the primary ones.

So, what are the actions that every business owner/manager should be taking in the period between now and 1 January 2018? We, at VatMan Gulf (VMG), offer a comprehensive three phase approach that systematically takes the business from the initial analysis through to final compliance and monitoring.

Phase I is an Impact Analysis, which should be conducted as early as possible to allow sufficient time for the remaining phases to be completed before the go-live date of 1 January 2018. With July almost over, it is now critical that decisions be made for this first phase to be initiated.

This phase, in summary, is a study conducted to determine the impact of VAT across all areas of operation through a detailed analysis of operations from the primary inputs to final outputs. Here we also evaluate the VAT readiness of the business and its staff in order to focus training and implementation efforts in Phase II. The output of Phase I includes a series of reports covering the following key areas:

  • Expected financial impact of VAT on the business
  • Training requirements based on current skill levels
  • Changes required in policies, procedures and IT
  • Formal implementation plan with a timeline

The above list mentions a few important, generic areas; there may be more or less based on individual company requirements.

Phase II entails Training and Implementation. This is the training of staff and implementation of policies and procedures and is the next most essential phase of the VAT journey. These components are tailored to the needs of the business, as already established in Phase I, and are conducted side by side to ensure that trained employees completely understand the amended policies and procedures for the most efficient implementation.

Individual members of the team will receive appropriate training that is industry specific. These are interactive sessions designed to counter all issues and concerns related to VAT, and are performed at the business premises where your staff are likely to gain better understanding – these will range from one-on-one sessions to group sessions. Post formal training, there will be continued access through a helpline, by phone and email, to troubleshoot any issues on a day-to-day basis.

Lastly, Phase III is the Compliance phase which brings together the knowledge and experience gained in the previous two phases. Here we ensure that businesses are fully equipped to handle all VAT recording and compliance. There are two ends of the spectrum in this phase. On the one hand, there can be intensive training so businesses can handle all VAT related work with little assistance from VMG. On the other end, we can be the VAT agent and perform all compliance work on behalf of the business. Most businesses will end up somewhere between the two, and that’s the beauty of working with specialists like VMG and our customised approach.

Having discussed VMG’s approach, we can reassess the question asked above: So, what are the actions that every business owner/manager should be taking in the period between now and 1 January 2018? In two words: ACT NOW! Immediately appoint a VAT Team Leader from the existing employees within the business, with a job description of coordinating the entire process of VAT implementation. The first task for this employee would be to evaluate the availability of expertise within the business. Failing that, the employee should conduct research within the market for VAT specialists that could be engaged to fill the expertise gap and take the business thorough the processes discussed above to final full compliance.

Give us a call today so we can arrange a preliminary meeting and develop an action plan specifically for your business.


“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

– Benjamin Franklin

Written by: Azeem Zafar, founder and CEO of VatMan Gulf Limited.

VatMan Gulf is the first choice for businesses requiring VAT specialist services in UAE and the rest of the GCC. We provide the best client experience and deliver value for money. VMG’s mission is to provide a VAT focused service; thus differentiating itself from the majority of firms in the region that take a very general accounting approach. At VatMan Gulf we stay well versed on VAT law developments, providing a comprehensive service that includes, but is not limited to, imparting VAT knowledge, implementing training procedures and ensuring VAT compliance on a continual basis.



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