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Opinion: KIKUUBO trading hub and URA EFRIS standoff; Opportunities for young book keepers.

By Mark Ruhindi

I feel like URA is failing in it’s attempts to address traders concerns about EFRIS and VAT compliance for one reason, that is; Failure to recognise that the average Kikuubo trader, especially the older category, may lack the sophistication and competence to deploy and use business and fiscal automation/technological tools such as EFRIS and enterprise/book keeping software, on their own.

Since the employees in many of those businesses are the owners, and many have not received training and exposure in the basics of book keeping, later alone business automation; there was always going to be pushback against such a complex tax compliance system being imposed on them. I’ve heard apparently some think EFRIS is a new tax.

Telling traders EFRIS serves to help them run their businesses better so it’s in their interest to comply isn’t enough. That’s like handing a bicycle to a man with no legs and encouraging them to ride it often because riding is a good form of exercise for the body.

And I think this fight will go on and won’t end until this reality is addressed and a lasting solution found.

URA is basically indirectly asking business owners to hire new employees while shying away from directly saying this to their faces because they know for a small business, such a cost will not easily be absorbed. Unfortunately they should have made this call right from the start. And I am afraid there’s no way around this as I don’t see government amending the law currently in place to do away with EFRIS or to undesignate a certain category of VAT traders from issuing e-receipts/e-invoices.

For business school freshly graduated job seekers, there are opportunities as you undertake post graduate professional training and my advice is that the traders pool resources to outsource young book keepers in groups(as independent consultants) and work with them to handle the day to day technical aspects of that work for now. 

One book keeper can serve up to 5 businesses and even more, otherwise traders risk making mistakes that will kill off those businesses in the not so far future. @jnandeeba who is also a senior tax administrator, churns a lot of such book keepers in EFRIS usage and usage of several enterprise software packages, at his Capital College of Accountancy.

This is the new commercial reality for general trading SMEs and the I’d advise that traders that fall in the VAT trader category, adapt sooner to this new normal.

You can find resources to complement your appreciation of VAT technicalities at markruhindi.tax under the VAT navigation button under INSIGHTS and COMMENTARY, or simply search for VAT in the search bar.

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