Archive for the ‘Corporate Perfomance Management’ category

RPA certifications for Synergy Software Systems, Dubai

November 25th, 2018

I am pleased to announce that following extensive training over recent weeks two of our consultants have already achieved certifications.

If you have an ROA project in mind and need support for your project from a proven, local. UAE partner then please call Synergy Software Systems on 0097143365589

Making Tax Digital (MTD)

November 19th, 2018

If you have U.K operations then be aware of Making Tax Digital (MTD), a transformational approach to taxation in the UK from HMRC. The first change is coming in 2019 and will affect every organisation from processes to how systems are set up to record and report tax.

This will affect all companies with U.K, financial operations and all financial software. From April 2019, businesses that are registered for VAT and have turnover above the VAT registration threshold of £85,000 will be required to keep digital records for VAT purposes and submit their quarterly VAT return updates to HMRC through functional compatible software

The new VAT record keeping rules requires that all applicable VAT return data is digitally linked so that transactions can be traced from source data (i.e. purchase/sales ledger) to VAT return completion and upload.

Key benefits for businesses include improved visibility over their tax situation and easier access to tax information online; enabling businesses to plan and budget more effectively, driving performance and growth

With Making Tax Digital, the new regulation from HMRC going live from 1 April 2019, it’s time to start preparing. This is similar to the legislation already implemented in the U.A.E. which we have done for both infor SunSystems, and Dynamics 365/Dynamics Ax.

Which versions of Dynamics AX will Microsoft be ‘Making Tax Digital’ compliant?

Any Dynamics product that is still under mainstream support will get an update from Microsoft to ensure full compliance. This means for Dynamics AX only Dynamics AX 2012 R3 will be automatically updated. Microsoft have not confirmed when this update will take place – there are still some further details to come from HMRC.

Receiving the Microsoft update may not be enough to guarantee full compliance – there will likely need to be a number of small updates such as capturing the right fields and updating commercial forms, and reporting format that will need to be confirmed.

In addition, by April 2020 you will need to ensure all of your processes are fully digital.

ROI On Microsoft Dynamics

November 14th, 2018

what’s the true return on investment (ROI) for an average Dynamics 365 deployment?”

Thanks to a newly released independent analysis from Nucleus Research, we can reveal the answer:

For every dollar spent, companies realize an average of $16.97 in returns.

According to the report summary, “this is significantly higher than the average for both enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM), which deliver, on average, $7.23 and $8.71 respectively. Nucleus found that companies taking advantage of Microsoft’s investments in cloud and usability, as well as integration and analytics, were able to achieve significant returns by increasing productivity and revenues and reducing costs.”

The report dives in the value drivers for the cases, and revels that the common elements to the financial success of deployments include:

• The ability to integrate Microsoft solutions with existing applications and data sources
• The enablement of new lines of business, such as cross-selling and up-selling with field service
• A focus on a standardized, easy-to-use user interfaces—the familiar Microsoft look and feel that can help speed up onboarding and user adoption
• Cost savings and greater innovation realized by deploying cloud-based Microsoft business applications
• The focus on improving user productivity by automating, or standardizing, repeatable manual processes

The report is a fascinating read that we invite you to explore on your own. If you are interested in investing in the modern Dynamics enterprise system system then contact Synergy Software Systems and we will send you a copy.

0097143365589

IFRS 9

November 7th, 2018

The Standard includes requirements for recognition and measurement, impairment, de-recognition and general hedge accounting. This standard has replaced IAS 39 and responds to the criticisms that IAS 39 was too complex,
inconsistent with the way entities manage their businesses and risks, and defer the recognition of credit losses on loans and receivables until too late in the credit cycle.

The new standard is based on the concept that financial assets should
be classified and measured at fair value, with changes in fair value recognized
in profit and loss as they arise (“FVPL”). That is unless restrictive criteria are met for classifying and measuring the asset at either Amortized Cost or Fair Value Through Other Comprehensive Income (“FVOCI”) subject to a special
FVOCI designation option for investments in equity instruments, only
loans, receivables, investments in debt instruments and other similar
assets ( “loans and receivables”), can qualify for measurement at Amortized Cost or FVOCI. The key questions are whether:
• The objective of the entity’s business model is to hold assets only to collect
cash flows, or to collect cash flows and to sell (“the Business Model test”),
and
• The contractual cash flows of an asset give rise to payments on specified
dates that are solely payments of principal and interest (“SPPI”) on the
principal amount outstanding (“the SPPI test”).

Both of these tests determine whether to account for an instrument at
Amortized Cost or FVOCI

IFRS 9 specifies how an entity should classify and measure financial assets, financial liabilities, and some contracts to buy or sell non-financial items. IFRS 9 , deals separately with the classification and measurement of financial assets, impairment and hedging.

IFRS 9 requires an entity to recognise a financial asset or a financial liability in its statement of financial position when it becomes party to the contractual provisions of the instrument. At initial recognition, an entity measures a financial asset or a financial liability at its fair value plus or minus, in the case of a financial asset or a financial liability not at fair value through profit or loss, transaction costs that are directly attributable to the acquisition or issue of the financial asset or the financial liability.

So why does it matter if you are not in the Financial services sector?
Any entity with long-term loans, equity investments, or any non-standard financial assets, or only holding short-term receivables may find that it requires
significant changes to its financial reporting as the result of this standard.

Possible consequences of IFRS 9:
Income statement volatility. More assets will
have to be measured at fair value with changes in fair value recognized in
profit and loss as they arise.

Earlier recognition of impairment losses on receivables and loans,e.g. trade receivables. Entities will have to provide for possible
future credit losses in the first reporting period that a loan goes on the books
– even when it is highly likely that the asset will be fully collectible.

New disclosure requirements—the more significantly impacted may even need new systems and processes to collect the necessary data.

IFRS 9 is an opportunity for balance sheet optimization, enhanced efficiency of
the reporting process and cost savings.

Before your year end audit consider the possible impact on financial statements, systems, processes, controls.

Financial assets

When an entity first recognises a financial asset, it classifies it based on the entity’s business model for managing the asset and the asset’s contractual cash flow characteristics, as follows:

Amortised cost—a financial asset is measured at amortised cost when both of the following conditions are met:
◦ the asset is held within a business model whose objective is to hold assets in order to collect contractual cash flows; and
◦ the contractual terms of the financial asset give rise on specified dates to cash flows that are solely payments of principal and interest on the principal amount outstanding.

Fair value through other comprehensive income—financial assets are classified and measured at fair value through other comprehensive income when these are held in a business model whose objective is achieved by both collecting contractual cash flows and selling financial assets.

Fair value through profit or loss—any financial assets that are not held in one of the two business models mentioned are measured at fair value through profit or loss.

When, and only when, an entity changes its business model for managing financial assets it must reclassify all affected financial assets.
Financial liabilities

All financial liabilities are measured at amortised cost, except for financial liabilities at fair value through profit or loss. Such liabilities include derivatives (other than derivatives that are financial guarantee contracts or are designated and effective hedging instruments), other liabilities held for trading, and liabilities that an entity designates to be measured at fair value through profit or loss (see ‘fair value option’ below).

After initial recognition, an entity cannot reclassify any financial liability.

Fair value option

An entity may, at initial recognition, irrevocably designate a financial asset or liability that would otherwise have to be measured at amortised cost or fair value through other comprehensive income to be measured at fair value through profit or loss when doing so will either eliminate, or significantly reduce a measurement or recognition inconsistency (sometimes referred to as an ‘accounting mismatch’) or will otherwise result in more relevant information.

Impairment

Impairment of financial assets is recognised in stages:

Stage 1—as soon as a financial instrument is originated or purchased, 12-month expected credit losses are recognised in profit or loss and a loss allowance is established. This serves as a proxy for the initial expectations of credit losses. For financial assets, interest revenue is calculated on the gross carrying amount (ie without deduction for expected credit losses).

Stage 2—when the credit risk increases significantly and is not considered low, full lifetime expected credit losses are recognised in profit or loss. The calculation of interest revenue is the same as for Stage 1.

Stage 3—when the credit risk of a financial asset increases to the point that it is considered credit-impaired, interest revenue is calculated based on the amortised cost (ie the gross carrying amount less the loss allowance). Financial assets in this stage will generally be assessed individually. Lifetime expected credit losses are recognised on these financial assets.

Hedge accounting

The objective of hedge accounting is to represent, in the financial statements, the effect of an entity’s risk management activities that use financial instruments to manage exposures arising from particular risks that could affect profit or loss or other comprehensive income.

Hedge accounting is optional. An entity applying hedge accounting designates a hedging relationship between a hedging instrument and a hedged item. For hedging relationships that meet the qualifying criteria in IFRS 9, an entity accounts for the gain or loss on the hedging instrument and the hedged item in accordance with the special hedge accounting provisions of IFRS 9.

IFRS 9 identifies three types of hedging relationships and prescribes special accounting provisions for each:

fair value hedge: a hedge of the exposure to changes in fair value of a recognised asset or liability or an unrecognised firm commitment, or a component of any such item, that is attributable to a particular risk and could affect profit or loss.

cash flow hedge: a hedge of the exposure to variability in cash flows that is attributable to a particular risk associated with all, or a component of, a recognised asset or liability (such as all or some future interest payments on variable-rate debt) or a highly probable forecast transaction, and could affect profit or loss.

hedge of a net investment in a foreign operation as defined in IAS 21.

When an entity first applies IFRS 9, it may choose to continue to apply the hedge accounting requirements of IAS 39, instead of the requirements in IFRS 9, to all of its hedging relationships.

IFRS 9 is effective for annual periods beginning on or after 1 January 2018.

VAT in Bahrain – Update your Sunsystem financials with Synergy Software Systems

October 23rd, 2018

Bahrain will be the next country to implement five per cent value-added tax (VAT) after the UAE and Saudi Arabia as part of the GCC framework agreed between the six states, according to tax experts. Bahrain’s parliament in an extraordinary session ordered by royal decree. has approved the introduction of 5 percent value-added tax (VAT) in the kingdom from January 1 2019. The move must also be approved by Bahrain’s upper house.

The introduction of VAT will be a big challenge for the local Bahrain market, and businesses now have less than 3 months to be prepared for these changes. This announcement of a definitive date for the tax to become effective means that businesses should accelerate their VAT readiness preparations. Last week, Bahrain announced a fiscal overhaul meant to balance its budget by 2022, backed up by a $10 billion economic support package from Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Kuwait. The plan aims to raise $2.1 billion a year as Bahrain looks to curb its debt after years of lower oil prices.

At the start of 2018 VAT was introduced in both K.S.A, and the U.A.E. Synergy Software Systems has extensive experience of VAT implementation in business systems like Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations, Dynamics Ax, and Infor SunSystems in both K.S..A and the U.A.E, across almost 200 customers in varied vertical sectors.

VAT Registration
• The compulsory VAT registration threshold in Bahrain is BHD 37,000 per annum.
• A voluntary registration for businesses below this threshold is permitted, although this has its own minimum threshold of BHD 18,850 per annum.
• There is scope for related businesses to apply for a single, Group VAT registration.
• There is no threshold for non-resident businesses, which must register prior to their first supply. Foreign registrations may be either direct, or via a local Fiscal Representative.

Bahraini VAT rates
Generally, Bahrain follows the terms of the Agreement, including the harmonised standard VAT rate of 5%, but has a wider range of zero and reduced VAT rates to provide subsidies to the less well off in society.

Which goods or services, at what rate?:

% Zero Basic foodstuffs; domestic and international transport; new properties; healthcare; exports of goods and services; high-value metals; oil and gas; education; and medicine and medical equipment.

Exempt: Sale and lease of real estate; and financial services.

5% Standard From 1 January 2019: All other supplies of goods, or services, including imports, in accordance with the Unified VAT Agreement.

Bahraini VAT invoices
VAT invoices must contain the following information as a minimum:
• Date of invoice (and date of supply if different)
• Unique, sequential invoice number
• Tax ID number of the supplier
• Name and address of the supplier and customer
• Description and quantity of the goods supplies; nature of services provided
• Gross, VAT and net values of supply
• VAT rate applied, and explanation where not the standard rate
Invoices must be issued within 15 days following the month of supply of the taxable goods or services.

Bahraini VAT Returns
Registered tax payers must submit their periodic returns each month.
Returns must be filed by the last working day of the month following the reporting period.

Penalties for non-compliance
Timely preparation is critical because VAT is generally a self-assessed tax, and errors are often subject to severe penalties and business disruption.
Businesses that have been operating in a largely non-tax environment should already have started to prepare and to analyze in detail what the implications of the new tax will be for example on: their pricing, contracts and IT systems.
The following penalty regime for non-compliance is in place, with financial penalties and potential prison terms:
• BD10,000 for failure to register for VAT within 60 days of the required date
• Failing to issue a VAT invoice within 15 days of the month following the taxable supply
• Failing to submit a VAT return and/or pay any VAT due by the end of the month following the reporting month,

Transition rules
The following rules will apply to supplies contracted and supplied over the introductory period:
• Where invoices were issued, or payments made, prior to 1 January 2019 for post-implementation supplies, then VAT is still due. In this case, a debit note for the original invoice should be issued with the correct VAT indicated.
• Initially, goods supplied to other GCC states that have also implemented VAT (Saudi Arabia and UAE) will be treated as exports. There are plans to introduce zero-rating with reverse charge supplies to eliminate import VAT, but this is dependent on the introduction of an Electronic Services System transaction reporting platform, which has yet to be developed.
• For pre-January 2019 contracts which are silent on the VAT treatment, then the price will be VAT inclusive. This presents a cash flow risk for the supplier.

Other GCC Countries
The Sultanate of Oman announced that VAT would be introduced in 2019, most likely mid-2019.
The Kuwaiti parliament is yet to vote on the VAT bill which should be introduced in the upcoming session before the year-end. The expected timeline of introduction of VAT in Kuwait is late 2019 or 2020.

EY, estimated that a five per cent VAT rate will produce revenues of over $25 billion per annum for the six GCC countries.

Contact:
Synergy Software Systems: 009714 3365589/ 33734282
Deyafa Systems: 009714 3240066

GDPR misses the mark

August 16th, 2018

GDPR took effect in May of this year, at least with regards to enforcement. A few days after the May 25 date, a German court ruled against ICANN, the company that registers domain names on the Internet and manages the global WHOIS database. The case revolves around the information collected when you register a domain. ICANN wants multiple contacts, which they’ve required for decades. However, a company in Germany that is a partner, argued that the additional technical and administrative contacts were not required for fulfilling the business that both ICANN and EPAG (the German registrar) are engaged in.
ICANN Is appealing the ruling, citing the need for clarification of what this means with regard to the law.

There is an interesting argument here to be made about what data is needed for a business purpose. I could see this being argued successfully either way, and not just in court. As a domain holder, does the registrar really need multiple different sets of personal information from me? Arguably, this is a convenience for them, that is based on tradition. However, one could argue the other way. It is a little scary that a court, with no expertise in some industry (Internet domain registration, in this case), will decide whether there is an actual business need. Can a lawyer or judge really understand what data a business needs in their daily activities?

Is it unreasonable to find technical people collecting data, not maliciously, but to anticipate what might be asked of a system, or to avoid rework. Is it wrong to collect everything that might be relevant or useful to save time on future queries?

So now we have the ridiculous situation where more and more transactions can only sensibly be done on line, but only if you agree to provide personal data as part of the terms and conditions. How does that protect anyone? I can understand that large IT companies with heavy investment in cloud data centres are happy to see legislation that makes it impossible for small companies to compete – encryption, additional training and audit costs, huge infrastructure and software protection costs to deal with hypothetical risks to data that is largely in the public domain on Face book and linked in and telephone directories. Governments have new reasons to fine companies. Auditor and lawyers have another source of income. This all drives up costs so how does that benefit the individual?

Why there is not more loud protest and outright rejection of this ridiculous legislation I don’t understand. I doubt even 20% of companies affected comply.

That does not mean that you should not take data protection seriously. The problem with GDPR is that it being applied as a sledgehammer, Companies are trying to enforce complex systems for protection of data to which there is no identified risk, or indeed where there may not even be any data stored.

If an organisation has no central documented overview of the data it holds and processes, it is highly vulnerable to fail in its stewardship of data. The will result in severe damage to that organisation. To protect anything, you have to know where it is, and who needs to use it. With data, you have to know at least its relative importance in terms of its confidentiality, integrity and accessibility. You also need to know why it is retained and how it is used within the organisation and by which role. With this information, you will then have a much clearer idea of the requirements for that data, sufficient to appropriately strengthen the organizational workflows and applications to minimize the risks to that data.

If your organisation is ever caught up in a data breach or other incident that might affect its reputation or even result in legal action, then the exercise of at least having taken information security seriously will provide mitigation for the organisation. Any organisation that takes its stewardship of data seriously and responsibly will take the next step and ensure that all data is held in an appropriate regime that will protect it from malice, disaster, conflict and human failings. They might even save on resources by reorganizing organizational data according to risk rather than by department or activity.

In a recent case not considered under GDPR the potential problems surfaced. In claimants v WM Morrisons Supermarket the High Court found that Morrisons was vicariously liable for deliberate and criminal disclosure by a rogue employee of personal data belonging to his co-workers.

The employee was an internal auditor for Morrisons. In that role he had access to personal data about other employees. However, he felt he had been unfairly disciplined over a conduct issue and as a result became disaffected. A couple of months later Morrisons’ external auditor asked for payroll data for audit purposes and the employee was asked to handle the request. The data at Morrisons’ request was downloaded onto the employee’s work computer. He passed the data to the external auditor but he didn’t delete it from his computer. Some weeks later he uploaded the data onto the internet, under the name of another employee. The individuals whose personal data was wrongly disclosed then sued Morrisons, arguing that Morrison’s was the data controller and so was responsible for the breach. Alternatively, if it was not the data controller that it was vicariously liable for the wrongful actions of the rogue employee.

The High Court accepted that Morrisons was not the data controller at the point at which the individual was loading the data onto the website. Similarly, although the Court accepted that Morrisons should have been more proactive in ensuring that the data on the employee’s computer was deleted as soon as it was no longer needed, this did not actually cause the damage. The Court’s view was that the employee would have sought to circumvent any precaution put in place, given that this was a deliberate breach designed to cause problems for Morrisons.

That left the claim for vicarious liability. Whether an employer is vicariously liable depends on there being a sufficiently close connection between what the employee was employed to do and their wrongful actions. Here, the Court accepted there was a sufficient connection and so Morrisons was vicariously liable. The employee was given access to the data through his work and was deliberately entrusted with the confidential information. Even though he had acted improperly and also used another employee’s name to post the information on the Web, his motive was irrelevant in deciding whether there was vicarious liability.

Given that around 100,000 employees were affected by this data breach, compensation could be significant. Importantly, it is not necessary for the affected employees to show that they have suffered financial loss. Individuals can claim for distress merely from the disclosure of their data. This case has worrying implications for employers. Here the employee’s actions were entirely deliberate, and even though none of the employer’s actions led to the data breach it was still held liable.

Given the employee’s actions were designed to cause problems for Morrisons, by passing liability to the supermarket, the Court’s ruling has in many ways furthered the employee’s wrongful aims.

Unsurprisingly, Morrisons intends to appeal so all employers will be watching carefully to see what happens next.

While not decided under the principles of the GDPR, this case is representative of a new data privacy environment in the workplace, with greater accountability for employers and increased employee rights. More data breach claims may follow, particularly given that it is not necessary for an individual to show loss to claim compensation.

What is clear from the case is that employers will be responsible for the employee data they hold and must apply the strictest possible controls to try to mitigate the risks presented by rogue individuals. Such controls could include: limiting the number of people who have access to personal data for work purposes, ensuring individuals who have such access only have it for a limited period, and that data security measures are in place to flag misuse of the data. Further, the personal consequences of data breaches should be outlined to those who need to have access to colleagues’ personal data for their job.

This is becoming farcical – how should a company reply to for example a request for a reference, or a credit check.
If one employee volunteer’s another’s phone number is that really something for which an employer should have liability to pay compensation?
As with other misguided legilslation this will accelerate adoption of Ai and elimination of human workers.

If ever you want proof of the law of unintended consequences this legislation is going to be high on the list.

Dynamics 365 recent news June 2018

June 14th, 2018

Microsoft is rolling out a new Support Center for Dynamics 365. It’s still in Preview (as of June 2018), but if you meet the Prerequisites then, you can check it out now! It’s really simple to navigate when you have the appropriate Office 365 role. After logging into Portal.office.com, just go to https://admin.dynamics.com to see the new support center. Once you’ve submitted a ticket, you can monitor open support issues from the same place, https://admin.dynamics.com

Dynamics 365 Spring 2018 release – updates and resources

On June 1st, Microsoft announced on their official Dynamics 365 Twitter channel (@MSFTDynamics365) that the Dynamics 365 Spring 2018 release notes are updated. Several changes were made to the Field Service, Social Engagement, Talent, Finance and Operations, PowerBI, Microsoft Flow and Data Integration sections of the Spring 2018 release notes.

This follows another series of updates announced on May 1st, so if you’ve read the Spring 2018 update notes upon their first release last April, there is now a lot of new information!

Information and links about the Dynamics 365 Spring 2018 release:
•Dynamics 365 Spring 2018 release page (with on-demand videos to learn more about the Dynamics 365 capabilities)
•Spring ’18 Release Overview page on the Microsoft website (includes link to download the release notes)
•Spring ’18 change history (to check everything that has changed since April)
•Dynamics 365 Spring 2018 release – documentation & readiness (for a few additional resources)
•Watch the Business Applications spring launch event on‑demand – for more information about Dynamics 365 Business Central

In the Microsoft Documents site, you will find information and a number of resources to help you understand how Dynamics supports GDPR and tools for customers to define and support their GDPR obligations.

Visit the site to access the following types of information:
•White papers
•Data Subject Requests
•Compliance Manager
•Webcasts
•Blogs
•eBooks
see https://blogs.microsoft.com/on-the-issues/2018/05/21/microsofts-commitment-to-gdpr-privacy-and-putting-customers-in-control-of-their-own-data/

Customer consent is major aspect of the regulations. It is important that you include relevant information in your marketing objects (like landing pages and email marketing message) that unambiguously informs your audience about the data you collect and the purpose of your processing. Your audience must have the option to give consent freely, make an informed decision, and be able to review, update, or revoke consent at any time.

Dynamics 365 for Marketing:
• Allows you to request, capture, and store consent
•Lets you design your marketing activities to respect the consent given by your audience

see this informative post https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/lystavlen/2018/06/07/consent-management-in-dynamics-365-for-marketing/

Microsoft delivers new features and improvements to Dynamics 365 (online) through service updates that are periodically delivered to customers. They recommend you update to the latest major version when it becomes available. The update policy defines how customers move from one version to the next. Customers have the option to provide consent prior to updating their organization. Customers also have the choice to either take the updates as they become available or take only one update per year. If a customer chooses to take only one update per year, then this update is mandatory and the customer will be required to take the update during the available dates for that release.

In keeping with this policy, all organizations running version 8.1 (two versions behind the current version) will be upgraded to Dynamics 365 (online), version 9.0.2. The automatic update will take place during your normal maintenance window. So please ensure you plan for testing and any updates you need to make.

At the beginning of the year, Microsoft set out to bridge the gap between Dynamics 365 App for Outlook, the future of Dynamics 365 and Outlook integration, and the legacy Outlook add-in, Dynamics 365 for Outlook. The latest improvements to server-side synchronization and Dynamics 365 App for Outlook in Dynamics 365 (online) version 8.2,enable customers to track emails, appointments, and tasks in Outlook with a special “Tracked to Dynamics 365” Outlook category enabled through server-side synchronization. Assigning the category to an email, appointment, or task in Outlook will track the item to Dynamics 365. Category-based tracking via server-side synchronization is an opt-in experience. This is currently available on Dynamics 365 (online) version 8.2, with support for version 9.0 soon to follow.

Service Update 8 for Microsoft Dynamics 365 8.2.2 (online) is now available. Resolved issues include:
• Recurring Appointment occurrence is not updated correctly when synchronizing with Dynamics 365 for Outlook
• A user should able to Untrack an auto tracked email before email tagger processes the item
• Duplicate Detection triggers when SuppressDuplicateDetection parameter is set to true
• Views saved with Custom Filters do not respond to changes in filter criteria
• Generic SQL Error occurs while trying to perform an Offline Sync with the Dynamics 365 for Outlook
• Unable to filter Orders by Currency
• Associated View icon for Leads does not appear on an Account

The latest update to the Field Service and Project Service Automation solutions for Dynamics 365 version 9.0.x is now available

The Voice of the Customer app provides a new experience in survey and theme designing. The new survey designer provides a simple and intuitive experience to add, remove, and modify survey pages, sections, questions, and answers. see https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/crm/2018/05/23/whats-new-in-voice-of-the-customer-version-9-0-1162/

Microsoft Social Engagement 2018 Update 1.5 is now available. Social Engagement now shows attached images and videos in private messages on Facebook and direct messages on Twitter directly in the post list. Resolved issues include:
• Fixed an issue to ensure that private messages in any language are acquired by Social Engagement.
• Fixed an issue where private messages in Indonesian language were discarded due to wrong language mapping.
• Fixed an issue where the ‘Link to Dynamics 365’ filter didn’t have a tooltip, making it impossible in some languages to understand if a post from Social Engagement is or isn’t linked to Dynamics 365.
• Fixed an issue that prevented adding multiple Facebook pages as social profiles.

Microsoft Inspire is next month! It will be held in Las Vegas, Nevada, from July 15th to July 19th.

Cyber attacks doubled in 2017 – expect 2018 to be worse.

January 27th, 2018

Cyber attacks on businesses nearly doubled in the past year. A new report, the Cyber Incident & Breach Trends Report, released by the Online Trust Alliance (OTA) found 156,700 cyber incidents last year, compared to 82,000 in 2016. The OTA is a Internet Society initiative designed to improve online trust.

The organization believes that since a majority of cybersecurity attacks are never reported, the number of cyber incidents last year could actually be closer to 350,000. “Surprising no one, 2017 marked another ‘worst year ever’ in data breaches and cyber incidents around the world,” said Jeff Wilbur, director of the OTA initiative at the Internet Society. “This year’s big increase in cyberattacks can be attributed to the skyrocketing instances of ransomware and the bold new methods of criminals using this attack.”

The OTA claimed that most of the incidents could have been prevented easily – 93 percent of breaches could have been avoided by regularly updating software, blocking fake emails, and training people to recognize phishing attacks.

52 % of security incidents were the result of an actual attack.
15 % resulted from a lack of security software,
11 % were caused by credit card skimming,
11% resulted from companies not having controls to prevent employees’ negligent or malicious actions,
8 % were the result of phishing scams.

Electron is a node.js, V8, and Chromium framework created for the development of cross-platform desktop apps with JavaScript, HTML, and CSS, The Electron framework is popular and widely used by a range of desktop app services. Skype, Signal, Slack, Shopify, and Surf are among the users, A critical vulnerability affecting Electron desktop apps has recently been disclosed.

Regular patching has always been a best practice and neglecting it is a known cause of many breaches.

In 2017 the Equifax breach brought home that message

In 2018 a patching strategy needs to be integral to your processes because of the Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities reported (see our earlier posts) when it was highlighted that nearly every computer chip manufactured in the last 20 years was found to contain fundamental security flaws.

VAT key steps – Synergy Software Systems, Dubai.

January 8th, 2018

- Maintain regular accounting books and records

Account maintenance is now mandatory under UAE VAT Law and it facilitates the correct receipt and payment of cash and other transactions entered by a company. Audited accounts will be needed so don’t wait till year end to find an auditor that suits your business.

2- Make changes to the core processes and accounting departments

It is important to change your core processes and adapt your accounting departments to achieve tax compliance. For SMEs, with limited transactions, the task is easier as the transition is less likely to require significant systematic change or they might use an external bookkeeper or tax agent.

3- Train staff, especially financial management

Employees need proper insight around GCC-wide initiatives to implement VAT across the region and how companies should prepare. Help them de-mystify VAT by providing on the job training and a framework to raise and clarify queries. Avoid disputes with trading partners and ensure staff have the relevant information and training to resolve issues that arise.

4- Review your contracts and the contracts and conditions agreed with dealers

Many businesses negotiated contracts at a time VAT was not payable but running across the implementation dates. It is time to now bring contracts into step with the UAE’s economic context.

- Consider accounting software for bookkeeping

Electronic reporting systems are increasingly being used by tax authorities. The ability to produce the required audit file details on demand will be difficult without a system. Companies that use electronic invoicing are likely to improve the timing of VAT recovery on costs.

6- Adhere to VAT deadlines

Register your company to avoid a fine as severe as AED 20,000. The Federal Tax Authority (FTA) has already been extend the deadline to the 1st January and if you don’t complete VAT registrations you will also have to stop sales till you get your tax registration certificate (TRC).

Note initial returns are due 28 January 2018 so time is running out.

7- Study UAE tax legislation

The implementation of taxes in the UAE came with a whole new set of procedures. we recommend to study and get familiar with the different laws in place including the UAE VAT Law and to discuss with your auditor, tax agent and software provider.

8- Keep an eye out for new information

There have been a slew of clarifications in the last month and some details are still not finalised e.g. with regard to free zones, or which companies will report monthly and which quarterly.

SQL Server 2014 SP2 CU9

January 2nd, 2018

On December 18, 2017, Microsoft released SQL Server 2014 SP2 CU9, which is Build 12.05563.0.
This CU has seven public hotfixes, most of which are for the SQL Engine of SQL performance -critical for taks like mrp. inventory close, consolidation etc.

Since SQL Server 2014 SP1 and earlier are no longer “supported service packs”, there is no corresponding CU for the SP1 or RTM branches of SQL Server 2014.

As always, make an effort to stay current on cumulative updates

Dynamics Ax 2012 and SQL version compatibility – Synergy Software Systems your Dubai Dynamics Partner

December 27th, 2017

There are no plans to support Microsoft SQL Server 2017 with AX 2012 R3.

Management Reporter 2012 is also currently not compatible with Microsoft SQL Server 2017. When you try to install Management Reporter 2012 on SQL Server 2017, you receive this error:

The database deployment failed. Additional information: Microsoft.SqlServer.Dac.DacServicesException: Could not deploy package. —> Microsoft.Data.Tools.Schema.Sql.Deployment.DeploymentFailedException: Unable to connect to target server.

Management Reporter for Ax 2012 is supported with a minimum of SQL Server 2012 Standard Edition
We recommend you should be on SQL 2016 at least sp1, for both Dynamics Ax 2012 and for MR 2012.

SQL version – when should you upgrade – ask your Dynamics U.A.E. Partner, Synergy Software Systems

December 23rd, 2017

SQL Server for many years on a two-year release cycle. SQL Server 2017 arrived less than 18 months after SQL Server 2016 became available.

Since 2005 each release of SQL Server brings exciting new features and improvements to existing capabilities. Many organizations are running instances that are several versions of SQL Server behind.

To keep up with the latest SQL Server versions is a challenge, but risks losing mainstream support and missing out on beneficial features. Often database administrators must support multiple versions at once, and consultants face an even greater range of versions across their customers.

Microsoft has not committed to any specific release cadence for ersions of SQL Server. Many clients it seems are still running SQL Server 2008 R2. One reason why companies are hesitant to make the move off 2008 R2 is because of the change to per core licensing. The effort to test and to upgrade is discouraging, but it is best to do this on a planned basis than a reaction to a crisis..

It was a painful experience to upgrade from SQL Server 2000, but the compatibility gap between versions is much narrower once past 2005. To make upgrading easier, provides a tool called The Upgrade Advisor for each new version that will spot issues and provide a chance to resolve them before starting the upgrade process. Virtualization also makes setting up testing environments much simpler and quicker.

With each new version there are enhancements to T-SQL, improved availability and disaster recovery functionality, more security options, and additional ways to get better performance. 2016 service pack 1, was a game change – many previously Enterprise only features were ported down to more affordable editions.

Another consideration is support. It doesn’t take long to reach the end of mainstream support. SQL Server 2008 R2, for example, has been out of mainstream support since 2014. While it’s still in extended support, which will ensure security hotfixes, other support features are available only on a paid basis.

When you look at erp upgrades it makes sense to also review your SQL upgrade plans.

G.C.C VAT transitional arrangements

December 17th, 2017

A​bout ​two​ ​weeks​ ​ago,​ ​H.E.​ ​Khaled​ ​Al​ ​Bustani,​ ​Director​ ​General​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Federal​ ​Tax​ ​Authority
(“FTA”),​ ​announced​ ​on​ ​the​ ​radio​ ​that​ ​the​ ​UAE​ ​will​ ​treat​ ​movements​ ​of​ ​goods​ ​between​ ​UAE​ ​and​ ​the
Kingdom​ ​of​ ​Saudi​ ​Arabia​ ​(“KSA”)​ ​as​ ​“Non-GCC”​ ​Exports​ ​(ie.​ ​when​ ​goods​ ​are​ ​shipped​ ​from​ ​the​ ​UAE​ ​to
KSA)​ ​and​ ​“non-GCC”​ ​Imports​ ​(i.e.​ ​when​ ​goods​ ​are​ ​shipped​ ​to​ ​the​ ​UAE​ ​from​ ​KSA).​ ​

This​ ​means that a ​transitional​ ​period​ ​will apply until​ ​an​ ​Electronic​ ​Service​ ​System​ ​is​ ​introduced​ ​and​ ​both
UAE​ ​and​ ​KSA​ ​consider​ ​each​ ​other​ ​as​ ​“VAT​ ​Implementing​ ​States”. It seems likely that will be both when the full G.C.C has introduced VAT and the electronic reporting system is established across the region.

U.A.E. VAT registration time is running out……..

December 17th, 2017

Companies in the UAE that have not got their tax registration number (TRN) yet will have to procure it within the next 14 days.

Companies who have not completed their VAT registration within the dates prescribed by the Federal Tax Authority (FTA) will have to pay a fine worth Dh20,000 and also stop sales until they get the TRN or tax registration certificate (TRC).

U.A.E. VAT rates

December 9th, 2017

The Federal Tax Authority (FTA) has announced the supplies that will be subject to Value Added Tax (VAT) as of January 1, 2018.Selected supplies in sectors such as transportation, real estate and financial services will be completely exempt from VAT, whereas certain government activities will be outside the scope of the tax system (and, therefore, not subject to tax). These include activities that are solely carried out by the government with no competition with the private sector, activities carried out by non-profit organisations.

The UAE Cabinet is expected to issue a decision to identify the government bodies and non-profit organisations that are not subject to VAT.

VAT treatment on select industries:
Education
Private and public school education (excluding higher education) and related goods and services provided by education institution 0%
Higher education provided by institution owned by government or 50% funded by government, and related goods and services 0%
Education provided by private higher educational institutions, and related goods and services 5%
Nursery education and pre-school education 0%
School uniforms 5%
Stationery 5%
Electronic equipment (tablets, laptops, etc.) 5%
Renting of school grounds for events 5%
After school activities for extra fee 5%
After school activities supplied by teachers and not for extra charge 0%
School trips where purpose is educational and within curriculum 0%
School trips for recreation or not within curriculum 5%

Healthcare:

Preventive healthcare services including vaccinations 0%
Healthcare services aimed at treatment of humans including medical services and dental services 0%
Other healthcare services that are not for treatment and are not preventive (e.g. elective, cosmetic, etc) 5%
Medicines and medical equipment as listed in Cabinet Decision 0%
Medicines and medical equipment not listed in Cabinet Decision 5%
Other medical supplies 5%

Oil and Gas:

Crude oil and natural gas 0%
Other oil and gas products including petrol at the pump 5%

Transportation:

Domestic passenger transportation (including flights within UAE) Exempt
International transportation of passengers and goods (including intra-GCC) 0%
Supply of a means of transport (air, sea and land) for the commercial transportation of goods and passengers (over 10 people) 0%
Supply of goods and services relating to these means of transport and to the transportation of goods and passengers 0%

Real Estate:

Sale and rent of commercial buildings (not residential buildings) 5%
First sale/rent of residential building after completion of construction or conversion 0%
First sale of charitable building 0%
Sale/rent of residential buildings subsequent to first supply Exempt
Hotels, motels and serviced accommodation 5%
Bare land Exempt
Land (not bare land) 5%
UAE citizen building own home 5% (recoverable)

Financial Services:

Margin based products (products not having an explicit fee, commission, rebate, discount or similar) Exempt
Products with an explicit fee, commission, rebate, discount or similar 5%
Interest on forms of lending (including loans, credit cards, finance leasing) Exempt
Issue, allotment or transfer of an equity or debt security Exempt

Insurance and Re-insurance:

Insurance and reinsurance (including health, motor, property, etc) 5%
Life insurance and life reinsurance Exempt

Food and Beverages: 5% VAT rate

Telecommunications and electronic services:

Wired and wireless telecommunications and electronic services: 5% VAT rate
Telecommunications and electronic services:
– Sovereign activities which are not in competition with the private sector undertaken by designated government bodies Considered outside VAT system
– Activities that are not sovereign or are in competition with the private sector VAT rate dependent on good/service ignoring provider

Not for Profit Organizations:

Activities of foreign governments, international organisations, diplomatic bodies and missions acting as such (if not in business in the UAE) Considered outside VAT system
Charitable activities undertaken by societies and associations of public welfare which are listed by Cabinet Decision Considered outside VAT system
Activities of other not for profit organizations (not listed in Cabinet Decision) which are not business activities Considered outside VAT system
Business activities undertaken by the above organizations VAT rate dependent on good/service ignoring provider

Free zones:

Supplies of goods between businesses in designated zones Considered outside VAT system
Supplies of services between businesses in designated zones VAT rate dependent on service ignoring location
Supplies of goods and services in non-designated zones VAT rate dependent on good/service ignoring location
Supplies of goods and services from mainland to designated zones or designated zones to mainland VAT rate dependent on good/service ignoring location

Other:

Export of goods and services to outside the GCC implementing states 0%
Activities undertaken by employees in the course of their employment, including salaries Considered outside VAT system
Supplies between members of a single tax group Considered outside VAT system
Any supplies of services or goods not mentioned above (includes any items sold in the UAE or service provided) 5%
Second hand goods (e.g. used cars sold by retailers), antiques and collectors’ items 5% of the profit margin

The UAE and Saudi Arabia are the two GCC member countries which will implement Value Added Tax (VAT) Reform from 1st January 2018 whereas the remaining member countries will implement over the coming years.

According to the UAE tax officials, it is anticipated that the new tax reform will help to generate nearly Dh12 billion (around 0.8 percent of GDP) revenue in the initial year after the introduction of the VAT. It might increase to Dh20 billion (around 1.2 percent of GDP) in the succeeding year (2019).