GST packages fall short on compliance: analyst

A Gartner analyst has warned packaged GST solutions are only a small part of the bigger compliance picture.

"There are many packages claiming to be the total solution to GST compliance," said Bruce McCabe, research director at Gartner Group.

According to McCabe, there are no codal GST software solutions like those with Y2K or euro changes.

"There may be solutions for parts of the GST, for example changing accounting software and project management tools," said McCabe. "But when it comes to changes such as POS (point-of-sale) hardware, you can't simply input a piece of software."

There is also the issue of retraining staff, rewriting business processes and documentation, McCabe said.

A newly launched GST solution from Merant, GSTsolve, aims to help large companies with legacy Cobol source code cope with the impending tax changes.

Company representatives don't claim that the package is a single "fix", but say it includes products that identify areas of problems, edit, compile and test code.

"The most important steps of software changes for GST-compliance are taking inventory, identification of suspect code and business rules isolation," said Bruce Nixon, managing director of Merant in Australia.

"In the case of business rules isolation, external consulting may be required to fully identify the impact of GST on business processes," Nixon said.

If these three steps are conducted thoroughly, modification, unit testing and system testing should be straightforward, he said.

Nixon agrees that GST is particularly complex, "especially on the credit side", but says that GSTsolve offers thorough development and testing tools.

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