Brexit could be a catalyst for digital tax in Europe

Brexit could be a catalyst for the accelerated introduction of tax transformation in Europe. That’s the view of an Irish tech company that has accelerated its investment into the UK retail sector.

In recent weeks ThinkBusiness reported how Envisage Cloud, one of Ireland’s largest Sage systems integrators and developers, is expanding into the UK and expects to generate €1m in new revenue from its new retail software solution, Connections.

The Connections solution helps retailers to manage their back-office tasks in a fast and efficient way. The solution is already available in Ireland and Envisage Cloud is aiming to implement the software in 3,000 store locations across the UK within the next three years. The company provides Sage 200cloud and bespoke financial, mobility and CRM software solutions that enables sales, service and finance teams to collaborate with ease. More than 400 Sage customers and 2500 trust Envisage Cloud to deliver software solutions to make their operations more efficient.

“In periods of economic change, there is never a status quo – some will come, and some will go”

Supported by Enterprise Ireland, Envisage Cloud will create five new jobs and invest €300,000 in technology, training, marketing and sales to achieve its targeted UK growth. The new roles will be in software development, product management and sales.

The brave move to invest in the UK as Brexit nears runs counter to most of the Brexit-related narrative which assumes a more “baton down the hatches” kind of rhetoric. An Irish company investing where others fear to tread prompts many questions.

The future of business in Europe

We asked Ray Ryan, director of Envisage Cloud, about the company’s plans for the UK.

At a time when most people are fearing what a post-Brexit UK looks like, what are your views on the future of selling technology into the UK, are you optimistic for the future?

In the context of the UK marketplace, particularly in the convenience/forecourt sector, retailers will continue to function regardless of the Brexit outcome. However, what is more interesting to us is the potential consolidation opportunity as investors seek to grow their footprint and take advantage of scaling economies, should there be a market downturn.

Furthermore, the retail sector will continue to evolve. If you think back to the convenience stores and motorway service stations of the 70s and 80s, when the emphasis was more on fuel sales than the appearance of the store or customer experience. Nowadays, retailers understand how important it is to deliver great customer service and enable a seamless retail experience. In order to do this, they have to take advantage of more integrated and automated technologies which help them to increase efficiency, reduce costs and boost profitability.

In periods of economic change, there is never a status quo – some will come, and some will go. For us, the most important thing is to identify and fully understand the opportunity that exists. We bring substantial additional value to our clients with solutions – including our Connections Software – that enable them to adapt, transform and thrive. That’s key.

Policies like the UK’s Making Tax Digital seem visionary despite what’s currently happening there politically. Is the UK ahead of the pack when it comes to integrating digital tax into the retail landscape?

Whatever the political landscape and whoever the political personalities may be, there is always a strong desire among government bodies to become more efficient with their administrative processes. The HMRC is no different and is following suit behind other countries.

Similar trends are happening across the globe. For example, mandatory e-invoicing, ePayments with local banks and TXT/XML/PDF legal ledgers are required by the governments of Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Colombia and many other countries in Latin America.

It is interesting that the UK has become an early adopter of digital taxation and I have no doubt that this trend will continue to become more widespread throughout Europe. Potentially, Brexit could be a catalyst for the accelerated introduction of tax transformation in this region.

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Written by John Kennedy (john.kennedy3@boi.com)

Published: 16 September, 2019