For Shashank Dixit, founder and chief executive of cloud-based business software provider Deskera, the India opportunity in 2017 will mark the second big instance in the company’s short history where the goods and services tax (GST) roll-out is set to be a game changer.
The first such instance was in 2012, when GST had brought about a paradigm shift in the fortunes of Singapore-based Deskera, then a fledgling start-up.
The Singapore government had approved the company’s offerings as GST compliant, and the year saw it sign up Google as a client and rake in over 800,000 downloads, with revenues crossing the million-dollar mark. After eight years of operations, Deskera had become cash positive.
Three years later, Malaysia switched to GST, and Dixit and his team opened an office there, expanded operations, and rode the wave. With this, all leading nations in South-East Asia had moved to GST.
“In Malaysia, GST also must be compliant with the country’s employees’ provident fund commonly known by the acronym EPF, just like you have central provident fund in Singapore. Then there is the currency issue, which is why people use us,” Dixit said.
“If you ship something from Johor to Singapore, you pay ringgit and your books are in Singapore dollars. That day, say the ringgit is 3.5 to one Singapore dollar, and the next day it is 3.4, so the next day when you look at the books, you have paid a different amount, and the original transaction was in cash. Desktop applications cannot resolve these queries because the movement in currencies is so huge across these countries—we have different currencies, taxes and customs in Asean. The biggest challenge where we help is that you can use Deskera across the region. We are the only system a small company can use across South-east Asia. All transactions are completely compliant,” he added.
After having tailored its offerings to suit GST requirements of all countries in this region, and finishing 2016 with revenues of just under $42 million, Dixit says India’s GST roll-out is set to be the tipping point for Deskera’s cloud-based software products.
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