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The future of tax: BDO team become first completely Making VAT Digital certified Xero partner in South Africa

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Sarah Minns

Nov 18, 2021

The future of tax is changing. New tools are making it more streamlined, simpler and faster for accountants and their small business clients. 

One firm that is making changes and preparing for the future of digital tax is BDO Business Services (BSO) in South Africa. They were our very first Platinum accounting partner in South Africa, and have been pioneers in cloud accounting since the beginning. 

BDO powered by BSO has been dedicated to helping SMEs digitise, streamline and improve their overall financial health by pairing industry-leading technology with strategic advisory. And now they are taking steps to ensure they can support customers as the tax system continues to digitise. 

A significant number of their team – 70 across South Africa in total – have just completed Xero’s new Making VAT Digital (MVD) certification. This makes them the first Xero partner to become fully MVD certified. 

Xero’s MVD certification is part of our mission to support accountants with training in the latest technology. It helps firms to make better use of new end-to-end digital tax technology, like our suite of cloud tools that enable businesses to seamlessly create, store and directly eFile VAT returns to SARS. This includes other connected tools like banks feeds and Hubdoc receipt capture that all work together to make tax season easier. 

It’s great to see firms like BDO leading the way in digital transformation. I spoke with Amanda Orselli to hear more about what the team is doing in this space. 

What made you want to get the full team MVD certified?

BDO is a leader in the accounting industry and it is paramount for our team to stay at the forefront of technology. Ensuring our staff and teams are kept up to date, guarantees success stories for our clients. Making sure the full team is certified in these new digital technologies puts us in a strong position to hand-hold clients through processes like filing VAT. 

Have you seen a positive impact since doing this?

It has created a lot of excitement amongst the team and has been a boost for the national offices to reach this goal. BDO’ers have already applied their certifications in meeting clients’ deadlines and getting their clients onboard with the new submission platform. Such a time saver for our clients. And for our team too, who are now in a better position to support their multiple client portfolios and make sure timely VAT submissions are met. It was great to see the team come together to reach this milestone. 

Can technology help to better support small businesses to avoid mistakes and penalties during tax season?

Absolutely! Filing VAT returns is now at your fingertips – eFile anytime, anywhere. It is so important that we fit technology into our lives and not the other way round. Some people view technology as a great evil, while others view it as a way to bring the world closer. Used in the right way, technology can really help to improve processes and take the hassle away from pain points like taxes. 

Do you think new tools like direct VAT eFiling with SARS are positive for the industry?

It’s a significant step forward for the accounting industry, giving us one platform to monitor and manage VAT compliance for our clients. This speaks to the future of our industry and the role digitisation can play in improving efficiencies and streamlining workflows. It will help us to equip small businesses with the right tools to free them up from admin.

Why is staying up to date on the latest digital tools so important to your firm?

The only constant in the technology industry is change, so there is the need to evolve in order to stay relevant. That’s why bringing the team up to speed on the latest technological developments – like Xero’s direct VAT eFiling – is so important to us. 

If you or your team would like to get Making VAT Certified in South Africa, visit the Xero website here or talk to your account manager.

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