Archive for November, 2020

OMAN VAT update November 2020 -ask Synergy Software Systems

November 27th, 2020

The International Monetary Fund, Oman’s economy is expected to shrink by 10 percent this year, the biggest contraction in the Gulf, and its fiscal deficit could widen to 18.3 percent of GDP from 7.1 percent last year.

Last year Oman enacted on June 15 an electronic system for registering excise taxpayers, setting the stage for residents to be taxed on products deemed harmful to public health and the environment after a 90-day grace period. The Omani “sin tax” involves a 100% levy on tobacco, pork, alcohol and energy drinks and a 50% tax on carbonated drinks. This year it increased the tax on alcohol to 100%

Oman announced that it expects to introduce an income tax on high earners in 2022, the finance ministry said in a 2020-2024 economic plan, new details of which were published late on Sunday, as the Gulf state seeks to restore finances battered by low oil prices.

The plan also aims to redirect state subsidies to those groups who need it, rather than subsidize all users. Electricity and water tariffs will be changed gradually in the coming years, the document said.

Meanwhile Oman Royal Decree No. 121/2020 was passed, and the VAT Law was published by the Official Gazette of Oman on 18 October 2020. The date of implementation is expected to be 16 April 2021 (i.e. 180 days from the date of publication of the VAT Law). The Executive Regulations will clarify certain aspects of the VAT Law and those are expected to be published soon by the Official Gazette.
In the next 4-5 months’ time, businesses in Oman should consider the implementation impacts on the entire business, operations, procurement, sales, administration, human resources, information technology, etc. We advise an internal steering committee with a representative from each function.

The VAT Law published is exhaustive with the benefit of the experience of other GCC VAT Laws.

Registration
Muscat has set a voluntary registration threshold of 19,250 Omani riyals and mandatory registration for businesses and individuals with turnover of at least 38,500 riyals.
Non-resident businesses that provide taxable supplies will be required to VAT register. Unlike resident businesses, there will be no minimum threshold that needs to be met before nonresident businesses must register for VAT with Omani authorities. A non-resident business will probably have an option to appoint an agent in Oman – that does not have to be jointly and severally liable, nor a fiscal representative of the principal. More detail is expected in the executive regulations.
Rules for digital service providers based outside of Oman are still in development. Digital service providers based outside of Oman, as well as e-commerce services, will need to pay careful attention to regulations over the coming months to ensure compliance.

VAT impact assessment,
Administration:

• VAT registration and gathering information from customers
• VAT recovery issues and VAT grouping
• VAT litigation avoidance strategies

The VAT fiscal impact,
• budgets, cash-flow, working capital, etc. Financial record keeping it is to be expected, that any company found to have kept inadequate records or issued incomplete invoices may be subject to potentially severe fines.
IT impact,
Ascertain the impact on the accounting system software and hardware such as gathering and loading data, developing statutory reports, amending other financial reports.
• The law sets out rules for proper record keeping and invoicing. All VAT-registered entities must keep specified records, including customs and invoicing documentation, and retain these records for at least 10 years. Archive storage space/cost and the impact of future planned system upgrades needs to be considered.
• The law specifies mandatory filing requirements, including documentation required when filing VAT returns. Now might be a good time to look at both document management systems and RPA e.g. for data entry validation, or VAT reconciliation or for data entry to government websites.

Process and documentation impact,
Redefine the processes under VAT – quotes, contracts and terms and conditions will need revision. Update your process documents for audit purposes.
VAT is a transaction-based tax, so the underlying legal documentation (ie, the contract or terms) detailing the supply of a good or service is the start of the review process. Review your contracts to determine the Omani VAT impact. Does the contract account for VAT (and/or other taxes)? When a contract is ‘silent on VAT’, this could well mean that the amounts specified therein are treated as inclusive of VAT. To avoid misunderstanding, such “silent” contracts should ideally be updated. Parties may need to (re)negotiate the considerations to account for non-recoverable VAT.
Businesses should also review the contracts to determine whether they reflect economic reality. Are the parties to the contracts the actual supplier and recipient of the service or goods? This is important in relation to the invoices issued by the supplier and, the right of the recipient to potentially recover VAT.
To apply the correct VAT treatment of the supply of a service or good, the supplier may need to obtain additional information from the recipient.
Contracts and/or terms and conditions may need to be revised in order to collect or store such information and to ascertain the correct Omani VAT treatment of the services or goods supplied.

Invoicing
Chapter 8 of the law outlines invoicing requirements. Any person making a taxable supply of goods or services will be required to issue a tax invoice, which may be in the form of an e-invoice rather than in paper format.
The details required to be disclosed on a tax invoice, the language in which invoices must be issued, rules for simplified tax invoices, and other similar requirements are expected to be set out in the executive regulations. Currently, it is expected that invoicing will be permitted in English and that use of Arabic will not be compulsory. The executive regulations are expected to specify when a business will be exempt from issuing tax invoices.
The requirement to issue tax invoices is also triggered in other circumstances, e.g., the receipt of advance payments that generate a requirement to account for VAT, or the making of deemed supplies.
For businesses issuing invoices in a foreign currency, the VAT amount must be stated in Omani Rials (OMR) and be converted using the average purchase and sale price of the relevant currency published by the Central Bank of Oman on the date on which the VAT is due. The tax authorities are expected to clarify whether any other conversion methods will be permitted.
This may affect your accounting system because you may sue different rates contractually or for corporate budgets or period end revaluation.
User training
e.g.
- how to add a customer TRN,
– how file a return,
- how to draft anew quote or contract.
- system changes

Transition management
Based on the VAT implementation in other GCC countries, there are challenges to be expected during the process. Complacency is a major risk, as is starting the implementation and transition activity late, and not allowing adequate time to test system and process changes.
Consider for example instances in which goods or services are paid for prior to the law coming into effect, but are only delivered once the law is in place?
The regulations indicate that VAT will have to be paid in such circumstances. However, further questions are raised in terms of invoicing and filing. More details are expected to be provided on precisely how compliance will function under these transitional circumstances
Appoint a proven implementation expert, to walk you through each type of business transaction and its treatment to avoid penal consequences.

Place of Supply
Understanding the concepts of “Supply”, “Place of Supply” and “Time of Supply” is critically important for effective implementation of Oman VAT. The place of supply shall be determined on the basis of the final consumption place of the supply, regardless of the product originating place,. When the supplies are consumed within Oman, they shall be levied to VAT. Services supplied outside of Oman to its residents will be treated as supplies in Oman. Some exemptions will apply to certain services provided to end-users outside of Oman.

For services, the place of supply depends on (i) the type of recipient (is the service business-to-business or business-to-consumer?) and (ii) the type of service. Special rules may apply to certain services such as real estate related services or electronically supplied services (or e-services). Real estate related services and e-services are always deemed to be supplied where the real estate is located respectively where the recipient is located. Particularly, overseas business-to-consumer suppliers of e-services should be aware that they will need to charge, collect and remit Omani VAT to the tax authorities.

Businesses in Oman which import services or goods may need to account for Omani VAT by means of a reverse charge mechanism. Such VAT would in principle be recoverable if and to the extent the business renders VAT taxable activities.
e-services are subject to VAT when the recipient of such services is located or residing in Oman. A reverse charge mechanism applies in case of business-to-business supplies of e-services, under which the burden of VAT is shifted from an overseas supplier to the Omani recipient. As of April 1, 2021, foreign and domestic e-service suppliers should obtain customer information (ie, verified VAT number) to determine their customers’ status (business or consumer).

Free zones
Businesses operating within free zones, special economic zones and duty free zones are likely to be subject to special VAT rules. Concessional VAT treatments are likely to be applicable for supplies within, to and from the customs duty suspension zones, free zones or special zones. Importers, who avail themselves of customs duty suspension benefits under the GCC Common Customs Law, would also likely be eligible for similar benefits under VAT. Dealing with this may require your accounting system to be able to handle a ‘reverse charge’ process.
Responsible person
All businesses will be required to have a responsible person who oversees VAT compliance. This person is liable to any penalties for failures to comply. This is similar to the UK’s Senior Accounting Officer concept, where a person can be fined up to £5,000 for not taking appropriate actions to stay compliant.
In Oman, the responsible person can personally be fined up to 10,000 OMR (nearly £20,000) with a prison sentence of up to one year. The fine can be doubled and the jail sentence doubled for repeat offenders. Any late submissions are subject to a 1% fine on the owed tax every month.
The severity of the punishments put the responsible person under considerable pressure to get things right. In a complex business, multiple users make VAT decisions, often with minimal VAT training and if you are relying on others to input data correctly then it’s imperative they do it correctly as the consequences of non-compliance are life changing.
If I were in this position, I would be doing everything in my power to achieve full compliance by using the best resources and tax technology available to me. I would also document all my recommendations.
The sensible way to mitigate the possibility of non-compliance is to minimise the risk of human error. For large businesses this means automating their VAT determination. Integrated finance/erp systems and RPA are two obvious solutions.
Most enterprise level businesses will be processing thousands of transactions a day, so human error will naturally occur when choosing tax codes, especially while VAT is a new concept in the country and wider region. Eventually staff become complacent or change jobs and new hires induction and training is less risky with automated systems.
Contact us for more information on systems we have already localised for VAT compliance, and how RPA automation can reduce cost and risk.

Exemptions:
Supply of foodstuffs, medicines and medical equipment is to be determined by the decision of the President, after coordination with the competent authorities. Some of the basic foodstuff will also be exempted from five per cent VAT. In addition to financial services, provisions of healthcare and education and their related goods and services, other exemptions are undeveloped lands (bare lands); resale of residential properties; local passenger transport; and renting real estate for residential purposes, Investment gold, silver and platinum, supplies of international goods and passenger transport and related services; supply of rescue aircrafts, boats and auxiliary ships; supply of crude oil and its oil derivatives and natural gas; import of maritime, air and land transport vehicles for transport of goods for commercial purposes as well as import of related services; and supplies for the disabled and charity organisation have been designated as zero rated.

Sector challenges

Retail sector: Certain food items may be zero-rated as per the VAT Law. The list of items which are zero-rated is not yet published. Businesses need to map the product with the list (consider the composition of the product, purpose, etc.). Incorrect classification could lead to a wrong zero-rating position.

Pharma sector: Medicines and medical equipment are zero-rated. However, the zero-rating is expected to apply in cases where the medicines are approved by / registered with the Competent authorities. The approval could be generic, or it may apply for certain period / certain class of medicines. For each sale / purchase there may need to be validation whether the medicine is approved to apply zero-rating.
Financial services: Banks and large financial institutions should classify their products into margin / fee-based income because margin is exempt from VAT and fee-based income is subject to VAT. Businesses must also consider the customer location because margins earned from a customer outside Oman will be zero-rated.
Certain charges which are penal may have a different VAT treatment. In the majority of the transactions, Islamic finance products will follow the treatment of non-Islamic finance products; however, there are some exceptions. The financial services sector may have a substantial portion of income which could be exempt, input tax apportionment.
Logistics sector: International transportation, i.e. movement from Oman to outside Oman and vice-versa is zero-rated whereas local passenger transport is exempt and local transport of goods is subject to VAT at 5%.
However the entire transportation journey involves freight forwarder, agent, shipping line, feeder operator, etc,. so ascertain the VAT impact on different charges for providing services. More clarity is expected from the Executive Regulations.
Export of services: Providing services to a customer based outside Oman is zero-rated subject to certain conditions. One important condition is that the benefit of services should accrue to the customer outside Oman. In other words, benefit should not be received by any other person in Oman. This may be subjective and depend on the arrangement with the customer and the nature of charge / services. It is advisable to identify such arrangements and to evaluate the VAT treatment. Other GCC countries are divided in terms of VAT treatment on such transactions.
It is likely that sector-specific guidance will be issued by the Oman Tax Authority to clarify the VAT treatment for different industry verticals.

Exempted Supplies from VAT
Some supplies based on transactions and others on nature will be exempted from VAT.
Supplies exempted based on transaction include:
• Any supplies transacted between the same group of the VAT group (e.g. a parent company and subsidiary or branches)
• Any supplies transacted between the same group of the VAT group (e.g. a parent company and subsidiary or branches)
• Business ownership transferred by one taxable person to another
• Any insurance claims made within the Sultanate of Oman
• All imports made by Armed forces, Army, and Air force in Oman
• All imports made by diplomats, embassies, consular bodies, international organizations. (subject to conditions)
• Supplies imported for charities and not-for-profit organizations
• Supplies brought to Oman by travellers and passengers as gifts or personal use only
• All supplies imported for people with special needs including medical aid equipmentIn addition to receivers’ or person utilizing the supplies, some supplies will be exempted from VAT by nature of product/service:
• Financial Services
• All Health Care services including the imports of medical supplies and equipment
• All educational services including the import of supplies for educational purpose
• Resale of the Real-estate and leasing of real estate properties for residential purposes only
• Non-developed land i.e. empty or barren land
• All local means of transportation for passengers

Registration process

The registration process is likely to start in January 2021 according to the Tax Authority in Oman. All registration process will be through its online e-services portal. The Applicant will have to provide the company ownership and business-related information. The necessary information required to register with the portal may include:
• Copy of trade license
• ID card and Passport copies of business owner and partners
• Company’s Memorandum of Association
• Contact details, E-mail for registration and other contact details
• Bank account details
• The income statement for the last 12 months
• Nature of business and activities performed
Each registering entity will be allotted a VAT registration identification number other than their currently held tax number.

Filing returns
Article 72 of the law prescribes the following minimum information to be provided in the periodical return:
• Value of taxable and exempt supplies;
• Total value of imported goods;
• Amount of output VAT on revenue transactions;
• Amount of recoverable input VAT on costs; and
• Net VAT due for the period.
Article 73 provides an option to amend tax returns within a period of 30 days from the date of discovery of any error or omission.

VAT payment
VAT will be payable to the tax authorities within 30 days from the end of the VAT period, together with the filing of the return. Unpaid VAT will be subject to a penalty of 1% of the tax due per month or part month, unless waived by the tax authorities in accordance with article 82 of the law

Mode of Payment
All entities entitled against the VAT requirements will have to deposit the VAT returns electronically through the E-Services portal.

VAT recovery
VAT recovery will normally only be possible in the case when the recipient has received a tax invoice which adheres to the Omani VAT invoice requirements. These requirements include details on the supplier and recipient. Any incurred VAT on incorrectly issued invoices (e.g, wrong issuing party, wrong VAT rate and/or other missing requirements) may not be recoverable. Businesses operating in Oman should define policies to ensure a proper VAT administration and invoicing.

A VAT group is a facility that allows two or more taxpayers to be registered for VAT purposes as a single taxpayer. The VAT group scheme is of interest to taxpayers with a restricted VAT recovery rate which is part of a group with non-restricted businesses. Inclusion of such payers in the VAT group may provide for (additional) VAT recovery.
Although VAT may be recoverable, the recovery itself generally takes a certain period of time. This cash flow aspect should be one of the considerations during the (re)negotiation process, particularly with large supply contracts spanning several years.

If you need advice on preparing for VAT and updating and automating your financial or erp systems then we have implemented VAT for more than a hundred companies in UAE, KSA and Bahrain. we are gold Partners for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Fiinance, Infor Sunsystems and UiPAth RPA.

Call u son 0097143365589

Dynamics 365 Finance and SCM November 2020 wave 2 updates

November 22nd, 2020

Microsoft has announced some major productivity improvements in the Accounts Payable space for Dynamics 365 Finance. Below are the top 3 features from this list:

Match product receipts to invoice lines with 3-way match policy:
We may often receive an Invoice before receiving the goods but AP processors expect these invoices to be matched to the receipts automatically . With this new feature, AP users can have the invoices created and these invoices can be matched automatically to a receipt, for a 3-way match line. More details about this feature here: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/dynamics365-release-plan/2020wave2/finance-operations/dynamics365-finance/vendor-invoice-automation-match-product-receipts-invoice-lines-that-have-three-way-matching-policy

Pre-validate vendor invoice posting:
Microsoft is extending this to Vendors Invoice that are related to Purchase orders.
This will allow AP Processors to validate before the posting and resolve any issues that are present. I
This provide a hook for developers to use this feature for pre-validations for integration or vendor invoice automations that may be developed.
More details about this feature here: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/dynamics365-release-plan/2020wave2/finance-operations/dynamics365-finance/vendor-invoice-automation-pre-validate-vendor-invoice-posting

Tracking the invoice received date
:
Vendor aging helps to determine how prompt you are in paying vendors/suppliers, which is a crucial measure for a trust relationship. However, business also need to track the progress of an invoice and , invoice received date as field is now included as start point for tracking. For invoices that are automated or imported, this can be included in the schema. For manually entered invoices, this can be specified while keying in the invoice. Businesses can use Power BI to track the trends the progress of the invoices from the point of arriving to the point of payment.
More details about this feature here: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/dynamics365-release-plan/2020wave2/finance-operations/dynamics365-finance/vendor-invoice-automation-tracking-invoice-received-date

New Feature: Asset leasing

• Customers can more easily comply with accounting standards for ASC 842/IFRS 16
• Automats complex lease calculation of a lease’s present value
• Automatically classify the lease as either operating or finance, or as a short-term lease or low-value lease
• Centralizes the management of lease information

New Feature: Automatic collection task creation
• Automatically create collection tasks that are based on rules
• Define rules that are based on invoice attributes including payment prediction, due dates, and amounts due

New Feature: Touchless email reminders to customer
• Automatically notify your customers via email with a reminder that an invoice is past due
• Contains overdue invoice information based on email templates

New Feature Generate the trial balance with transactional detail report
This feature lets you generate a trial balance with transactional detail. The transactional detail provides information such as the transaction date, voucher number, and transaction description. This report was available in AX 2012 and now it is available in D365The report includes opening balances, debit or credit amount, a running balance, and the resulting ending balances for a given date range. The report can also be run to include pending ledger transactions, providing a provisional report for analysis of how unposted transactions will impact account balances.
This is available form Version 10.0.13 (Update 37) – Enable the feature through feature management

Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management obtains a unified view of inventory, warehouse, manufacturing, service, and logistics with predictive analytics.

New Feature: Vendor RFQ search by procurement category
• Easier for vendors to find relevant RFQs to bid on
• Vendors find open requests for quotations (RFQs) based on their procurement category

Dynamics 365 Guides for Manufacturing
Deliver mixed-reality, holographic step-by-step instructions for production processes using Dynamics 365 Guides.
Setup the guides parameters and then define the guides, then the worker can use their HoloLens to scan the QR code and the guide will get launched.

To configure how Guides appear on the shop floor, go to Mixed Reality > Dynamics 365 Guides > Configure Guides integration.
Attach guides to various aspects of production control like Resources ,Resource groups, Released products, Formulas, Routes, Route versions. etc.
When a worker opens a job list on the shop floor execution interface, Supply Chain Management finds the relevant guides for the jobs shown. Use the Guides button to view the relevant guides.
Put on a HoloLens and access the respective guide by glancing at the QR code and activating the respective Guide.

New Feature: Extend analytics capabilities with new time-tracking entities.
• Provide easy access to product usage analytics that enable Dynamics 365 Guides to be part of the larger enterprise ecosystem
• Leverage product usage information for use cases that extend beyond the current Power BI template

Dynamics 365 Project Operations unifies operational workflows to provide the visibility, collaboration, and insights needed to drive success across
teams.

New Feature: Create project invoice proposals by funding source from the periodic area
• Create project invoice proposals by selecting the customer account associated with funding sources
• Creates multiple project invoice proposals regardless of the number of project contracts where the customer is a funding source

Project type will be moved to the contract line.
Project group will become optional
The setup related to tracking of work in process and revenue calculation will be moved to a new entity – Project revenue profiles.
The project revenue profile rules will determine which project revenue profile to use.
Internal projects will be projects without a contract and only costs will be tracked.

Test this in SBOX environment – these should be enabled only when using synchronous integration with the Common Data Service.

New Feature: New Invoice summary page available from Project invoice proposals and Project invoices list pages
• Add additional information on the Project invoice proposals/list pages determines what documents to process for a single customer
• Add an Invoice summary to the Project invoice proposals and Project invoices list pages

New Feature: Public sector – Project invoice proposal selection parameter by funding source
• Create any number of project invoice proposals, regardless of the number of project contracts the customer is a funding source for
• Creates project invoice proposals by selecting the customer account associated with funding sources

(Preview) Vendor invoice automation :
The automation processes can be used to perform these tasks:
· Automatically submit imported invoices to the workflow system.
· Match product receipts to pending vendor invoice lines.
· Simulate posting before a vendor invoice is posted.
· Quickly and efficiently view workflow history.
· View and analyze the results of automating vendor invoice processing.

Dynamics 365 Dubai partner Synergy Software Systems

November 12th, 2020

There is much talk about digital transformation but what does it mean for your company?
For selected Enterprise clients we work with Microsoft to deliver curated workshops to ‘inspire-quantify-empower- achieve’

Further to our recent seminar contact us now to avail of free upgrade and migration reviews to Dynamics 365 Finance and Supply Chain

Synergy Software Systems is the oldest Dynamics. partner in the EMEA region and has implemented solutions on Axapta 2.3 Axapta 3 Dynamics Ax4, Ax 2009, Ax2o12, Ax2012 R2, Ax2012 r3, and of course Dynamics 365.

We have also implemented every version of Dynamics CRM since version 3.

As Microsoft partners we also implement and support Office 365 and Microsoft365 . Exchange server, Teams, and the azure stack

We also have a practise for Power Bi/Power Apps/Power Automate, so we are able to help you to fully leverage the entire Dynamics 365 platform.

To take your business on the first step into the cloud with Dynamics call us: 009714 3365589

Massive increase in cybercrime.

November 6th, 2020

Disturbing increase in cyberthreats in the second quarter of the year, more than 400 new cyberthreats were recorded every minute, according to a new report from cybersecurity firm McAfee. Nw malware samples also grew by 11.5 percent for the period.

PowerShell malware and Covid-19-themed attacks dominated the landscape. Malicious Donoff Office document attacks propelled new PowerShell malware upwards by 117 percent. The documents behave as TrojanDownloaders by using Windows Command to launch PowerShell, which then downloads and executes malicious files.
McAfee claims Donoff also played a “ critical role” in driving the 689 percent surge in PowerShell malware in the quarter prior to this one.

Covid-19 was another theme exploited by cybercriminals in the second quarter of the year. McAfee’s network, boasts more than a billion sensors, and registered a 605 percent increase in Covid-19-related attacks compared to Q1.

“,,,,,,,,, a deluge of malicious URLs, attacks on cloud users and capable threat actors leveraging the world’s thirst for more information on Covid-19 as an entry mechanism into systems across the globe,” said Raj Samani, McAfee Fellow and Chief Scientist.

McAfee said there were almost 7.5 million external attacks on cloud user accounts in the quarter. According to the firm, all major industries were affected, including: financial services, healthcare, public sector, education, retail, technology and more.

In 2019, the Maze ransomware group introduced a new tactic known as double-extortion, which is when attackers steal unencrypted files and then threaten to release them publicly if a ransom is not paid. Ransomware gangs are increasingly failing to keep their promise to delete stolen data after a victim pays a ransom. ther ransomware operations, who began to create data leak sites used to publish victims’ stolen files.As part of this double-extortion tactic, most ransomware operations require a victim to pay a single ransom that will provide both a decryptor for their encrypted files and a promise not to share and to delete stolen files.Some ransomware operations, like AKO/Ranzy, demand two ransom payments, one for the decryptor and another not to publish stolen data.

In the recently released Coveware Q3 2020 ransomware report r we learn that some ransomware gangs do not keep their promise to delete stolen data after a ransom is paid. Certain groups are leaking stolen data after a ransom was paid, using fake data as proof of deletion, or even re-extorting a victim using the same data that was paid not to be released.

Sodinokibi: Victims that paid were re-extorted weeks later with threats to post the same data set.

Netwalker: Data posted of companies that had paid for it not to be leaked

Mespinoza: Data posted of companies that had paid for it not to be leaked

Conti: Fake files are shown as proof of deletion

Unlike a ransomware decryptor, which a threat actor can’t take away once given, there is no way for a victim to know for sure if a ransomware operation is deleting stolen data after a ransom payment is made. Due to this, Coveware says that it does not make sense to pay a ransom as there is no way to know for sure it will not be used to extort you further in the future. With this in mind, Coveware tells victims to expect the following even if they do decide to pay, so their data is not released:

– The data may not be credibly deleted. Victims should assume it will be traded to other threat actors, sold, or held for a second/future extortion attempt

– Stolen data custody held by multiple parties and not secured. Evenwhenf the threat actor deletes a volume of data following a payment, other parties that had access to it may already have made copies so that they can extort the victim in the future

- The data may get posted anyway by mistake or on purpose before a victim can even respond to an extortion attempt

Companies should automatically assume that their data has been shared among multiple threat actors and that it will be used or leaked in some manner in the future, regardless of whether they paid. They should treat the attack as a data breach and properly inform all customers, employees, and business partners that their data was stolen as required by law.

Doing this may b e embarrassing and painful but at least the companies look better for trying to do the right thing and gives those who were exposed the ability to monitor and protect their accounts from fraud.

A recent example of such an attack is Campari Campari Group an Italian beverage company known for its popular liquor brands, including Campari, Frangelico, SKYY vodka, Epsolon, Wild Turkey, and Grand Marnier. It was recently hit by a Ragnar Locker ransomware attack, where 2 TB of unencrypted files was allegedly stolen. To recover their files, Ragnar Locker is demanding $15 million.

As proof that they stole data, the ransom note contains eight URLs to screenshots of some of the stolen data. These screenshots are for sensitive documents, such as bank statements, a UK passport, employee U.S. W-4 tax forms, a spreadsheet containing SSNs, and a confidentiality agreement.

Ragnar Locker claims to have encrypted most of Campari Group’s servers from twenty-four countries and are demanding $15,000,000 in bitcoins for a decryptor. This price also includes a promise to delete data from their file servers and not publish or share the data, as well as a network penetration report and recommendations to improve security.

Ragnar Locker has been involved in other large attacks this year, including ones on Portuguese multinational energy giant Energias de Portugal (EDP) and French maritime transport and logistics company CMA CGM.

We advise all companies to regularly review and update their security policies, training and cyberdefence solutions.
Ask us about end point solutions or consider whether managed cloud hosted systems is preferable.

009714336589

Power Bi- October Server update, discounted Synergy training, and end of support for PBi on Windows 7

November 6th, 2020

After 10 years, support for Windows 7 ended on January 14, 2020. In line with this, Microsoft will stop support for Power BI Desktop on Windows 7 on Jan 31st 2021. After that, Power BI Desktop will only be supported on Windows 8 or later version.

The January 2021 release of Power BI Desktop Optimized for Report Server will be supported in accordance with the Modern Lifecycle Policy i.e. supported until the next release (currently scheduled for May 2021), after which it will only receive security updates until January 2022, after which support will stop.

As always there were many enhancements to Power BI Report Server in the latest monthly update (October 2020)

Reporting

Modern ribbon
Canvas watermarks
Total labels for stacked visuals
Added general visual option to maintain layer order
Gradient legend
Relative time filter
Slicer improvements
New options for expand/collapse icons
Icons now scale with font size
Ability to customize indentation for child items
Ability to further customize slicer header text
Mobile authoring enhancements
New phone emulator
Updated visualization pane
Support for overlaid visuals
Bookmark available in the Mobile layout view
Turn off gridlines and snap to grid
Visualizations

Line chart dot formatting options
Modeling

Enhanced Dataset Metadata
Performance improvements to IF and SWITCH functions
Support for Excel financial functions
Model view enabled for live connect
Updates to Model view
Data preparation

Automatic Table Detection from Excel files
Automatic Table Detection from JSON files
Global option to disable automatic type detection
Other

Export data source to PBIDS in Power BI Desktop
Desktop splash screen dismiss

To learn more about Power BI there is still time to join our discounted webinar introduction course on 14th November – $100

contact us for details: 0097143365589

Oman introduces VAT – Dynamics 365 and Ax users ask Synergy Software Systems

November 4th, 2020

Our experienced consulting team has considerable financial expertise in and experience of VAT implementation in the UAE, KSA and Bahrain, across all industry sectors. They can help you to assess the impact of VAT on your organisation and to assist with your VAT requirements in Oman.

We have deep experience both with Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations and with Infor Sunsystems

On Monday 12 October 2020, His Majesty, the Sultan of Oman, Sultan Haitham bin Tariq bin Taimur, issued Royal Decree No.121/2020 in relation to implementation of VAT in Oman from April 2021. announced the implementation of Value Added Tax (‘VAT’) on 12 October 2020. The VAT Law was published in the Official Gazette of Oman on Sunday, 18 October 2020. The date of implementation of VAT in Oman is 16 April 2021 (i.e.180 days from the date of publication of the Law in the Official Gazette). The standard rate of VAT in Oman is 5% and consistent with the GCC Unified Agreement, and there are provisions for zero rating and exemptions in the Oman VAT Law. By global standards, 5% is one of the lowest VAT rates implemented in the world. The online registration for VAT is not yet live but is likely to commence from January 2021.

Oman’s Tax Authority has been granted up to six months after the tax comes into force to issue the Executive Regulations. This effectively means that the Tax Authority has until October 13, 2021, to issue the Executive Regulations The Oman VAT Law is expected to come into force with effect from around April 16, 2021, which marks 180 days from its publication in the Official Gazette. The latter event happened on October 18, 2020, effectively providing businesses covered by the remit of the new tax with a six-month timeframe to get their accounting and IT systems in readiness for the implementation of VAT.

As with other tax related statutes, the VAT Law too enshrines relatively stiff penalties for defaulters. The new VAT Law prescribes prison terms of not less than two months and not exceeding one year or fines ranging from RO 1000 to 10,000 or both. The penalty is doubled for repeat offences, although the prison term may be increased by no more than half of this limit.There are different types of offences or other forms of non-compliance that are liable to attract the penal provisions of the law. Liable to be penalised are taxable entities that, among other things, deliberately fail to identify the “responsible person” – the company’s designated point of reference on tax matters.
• Similarly, legal action may be initiated if “the responsible person deliberately fails to notify the Oman Tax Authority and obtain its consent to appoint another responsible person during the period of his absence for a period of more than 90 days”,
• Examples include: unauthorised ‘fudging’ of data, failure to submit tax returns, failure to maintain tax invoices and documents in the prescribed order, failure to respond to a summons, and submission of inaccurate data in order to secure a refund.
• Belated tax payments will attract an additional tax at rate of one per cent of the tax due for every month or part of the month the tax remains due. To deter tax evasion, the Tax Authority is empowered to take necessary action in cases where it is proven that a taxable entity has committed fraud, according to the multinational professional services firm. Action may also be taken if the primary objective of any transaction effected, or activity carried out, before or after the effective date, is to avoid the tax due for any tax period, in full or in part.

The Oman VAT Law is based on the principles laid down in the Unified GCC Agreement for VAT, comprising 106 Articles which are divided into 13 Chapters.
A brief summary of the key provisions of the Oman VAT Law is given below.
• Zero rating – Subject to the conditions mentioned in the Executive Regulations, the following supplies are zero rated as per the Oman VAT Law:
• Supply of certain food products specified by a decision from the Chairman.
• Supply of specified medicines and medical equipment.
• Supply of investment gold, silver, and platinum.
• Supplies of international or intra GCC transport of goods or passengers, and supply of services in connection with this transport.
• Supply of air, sea and land means of transport that are designated for the transportation of passengers and goods for commercial purposes and the supply of related goods and services.
• Supply of rescue planes, and rescue and assistance boats.
• Supply of oil, oil derivatives and natural gas.
• Supplies made outside GCC countries in specified cases, subject to certain conditions.
• Supply of goods and services that are exempt from VAT in Oman and that are supplied to the territory outside of the GCC.
• Exemption from VAT – Subject to the conditions mentioned in the Executive Regulations, the following supplies shall be exempt from VAT as per the Oman VAT Law:
• Financial services.
• Healthcare services and related goods and services.
• Educational services and related goods and services.
• Undeveloped land (bare land).
• Resale of residential properties.
• Local passenger transport.
• Rental of properties for residential purposes.
o The Oman VAT Law also specifies certain imported goods that will be exempt from VAT such as returned goods, personal luggage, etc.
• All supplies of goods and services in Oman, except those mentioned above will attract VAT at the standard rate of 5%, subject to the place of supply provisions mentioned in the Oman VAT Law.
• Registration
o Mandatory registration – If the total value of supplies made at the end of a month, or expected to be made at the end of the month, in addition to the immediately preceding eleven months, exceeds OMR 38,500, then VAT registration is mandatory.
o Voluntary registration – VAT registration can be applied for voluntarily in case, the total value of supplies/expenditure made at the end of a month or expected to be made at the end of the month, in addition to the immediately preceding eleven months exceeds OMR 19,250.
o The registration process will be online.
o The Oman VAT Law specifies that a non-resident who makes supplies in Oman must also register for VAT as a non-resident taxpayer, irrespective of the threshold limits. The non-resident VAT registration can also be obtained by appointing a tax representative in Oman.
o The Oman VAT Law also stipulates VAT Group registration and the Executive Regulations will contain details around conditions to be met in order to register as a VAT Group.
o The Oman VAT Law mentions that the mandatory registration threshold shall be determined and amended by a decision from the Chairman of the Oman Tax Authorities.

Steps to take now
With the release of the Oman VAT Law, businesses must start preparing and ensure that they are ready to comply with the VAT requirements by 16 April 2021. The mandatory registration threshold shall be determined and amended vide a decision from the Chairman of the Oman Tax Authorities.
T
he concept of a ‘Responsible Person’ is unique to Oman and the other three GCC countries that have implemented VAT thus far do not have such a concept. The Oman Tax Authority is expected to release sector specific guides to help business in various sectors prepare for the VAT implementation.

With a very limited frame, before VAT goes live in Oman, business must immediately:
- identify team members for their VAT implementation projects (whether external or inhouse),
- assess their transactions and the applicable VAT treatment,
- assess their IT systems readiness and review their contracts to ensure a seamless VAT implementation.

Businesses need to give due consideration to transition and cut-over planning.

important VAT issues based on our experiences assisting clients in the region in relation to a VAT regime’s introduction:
• Importance of contracts and appropriate VAT clauses
• Ascertaining correct VAT treatment
• VAT registration and gathering TRN information from customers
• VAT recovery issues and VAT grouping
• VAT litigation avoidance strategies

Summary of key to focus on to implement VAT within your business:
1. Project Plan: budget for VAT implementation (e.g. consultants, training, resources, IT systems), set up VAT steering committee and assign responsibilities
2. Raise Awareness: educate and train employees on impact of VAT on accounting and reporting processes
3. VAT Impact Assessment: undertake VAT impact assessment, assess transitional provisions and classify and map VAT treatment of all business transactions
4. Cash Flow: assess cash flow impact and working capital requirements
5. IT Systems: analyse existing accounting systems capability for VAT reporting and consider upgrade or new system
6. Pricing: consider impact of VAT on pricing and demand
7. Contracts: review current contracts with suppliers and customers and include VAT clauses in new contracts
8. Processes: determine changes required to existing accounts payable processes and documentation including invoices and record keeping
9. Customer & Supplier Management: communicate with existing suppliers and customers to notify them of impact of VAT and negotiate with new suppliers and customers
10. Compliance: establish whether required or able to register for VAT and register on time.

Experienced resources will soon be in high demand, and it is best to take early guidance.

Contact us now to book a web half day briefing and assessment workshop to and to benefit from our experience.
0097143365589

Dynamics 365 Finance and SCM upgrade and migration offer from Synergy Software Systems

November 4th, 2020

Over 60 companies tuned into our Webinar with Microsoft last week about the benefits of Dynamics 365 cloud and the upgrade or migration journey.
Note that the special subscription offer incentive, and free uggrade assessments are only available till year end, for a limited number of applicants and first come first served basis . There were also additional discounts offered by Synergy Software Systems till end November 2020.

Some of the reasons for upgrade include:

As of October 2021, Microsoft will no longer support Dynamics AX 2012 R3. That’s not so far away, and now is the time for remaining AX 2009 and 2012 users to move to a new ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) solution. Such a project will seem daunting, but Microsoft Dynamics 365 Supply Chain & Finance Management will be your last and best upgrade.

An immediate reason Dynamics AX users who have a current Microsoft Dynamics annual enhancement plan to choose Microsoft Dynamics 365 at this time is that can currently receive an intial discount on the Dynamics 365 cloud subscription.

Contact us today to learn more. Keep reading to find out why we think you’ll love Microsoft Dynamics 365.

Advantages of the Microsoft Cloud
When you move from on-premise Dynamics AX to the Dynamics 365, its more than an update of patches or even an upgrade of features. It’s a paradigm shift to compete in the modern digital economy. Dynamics Ax 2was always very versatile and could be customised to meet your specific needs. However that flexibility came at the cost of upgrades to a later version. There might be statutory changes such as introduction of Vat or Revenue recognition, or patches need to fight cybercrime, or business expansion that outgrow existing features and hardware. However the significant challenges, of upgrade constrained the business from making timely ‘agile’ changes.

Additional complexity arose to update integrations, ISV modules and specialist reports, and integrations. With Dynamics 365 Finance & Supply Chain
Management on the Microsoft Cloud, – you will continuously update. The updates are automatic, performed in the background, immediately available, and accommodate your customizations and integrations. You’ll be able to lower your ERP costs, while always benefiting from the latest innovations Microsoft has to offer.

Apps in the Microsoft app store will deploy rapidly without worry about code conflict.

Seamless remote connectivity
Cloud-based solutions such as Dynamics 365 Finance & Supply Chain Management allow out-of-the-box mobile access and anytime, anywhere connectivity. Empower your teams to do their jobs even while working remotely. Give them access to the information and processes they need, whether working from home, on the road, or in the field. Seamless operations provide increased user and customer satisfaction, and increase efficiency.

Built-in disaster recovery
The pandemic and recent natural disasters have shown us that calamity can strike without warning and affect any business. Locating your information and processes in Microsoft’s secure Cloud gives you high-performance, remote access to all your ERP data and processes.
It also guarantees built-in disaster recovery for your organization. You’ll be able to be up and running even if you can’t get to the office. Your information will be secure from both physical disasters and cyberattacks.

Easier integrations
Dynamics 365 Finance & Supply Chain Management is built on a Common Data Service, which connects, ERP, Power Platform (including Power BI) and all the other Microsoft business productivity tools such as Microsoft 365. That enables all of those programs to work together seamlessly. Send and receive data, build workflows, automate processes, and create custom functionality. Your teams will be connected using processes with which they are familiar.

Lower IT costs
A cloud-based solution eliminates the expense of owning and maintain on-premises hardware.
- Hidden but significant savings Include” SQL licenses and support, Windows Server licences, Anti malware software for servers, back up software.
- Save on server room costs for space, electricity, and IT resources.
- No additional BREP charge,

Enhanced performance
The Microsoft Cloud guarantees high performance and ongoing improvements.
Your environment is primarily managed and maintained by Microsoft.
You will never again have the expense of upgrading servers, buying extra data storage, and paying for external hosting. All that will be covered as part of your Dynamics 365 subscription.

Stronger Security
Microsoft’s cloud platform has unparalleled security to safeguard your data.
Dynamics 365 Finance & Supply Chain Management has built-in, role-based security features such as Segregation of Duties (SODs).
Count on Dynamics 365 Finance & Supply Chain Management to support your compliance efforts and meet all your security requirements.

Innovations
Such as AI, virtual agents, connected field service, and more
Advanced tools such as machine learning, artificial intelligence, virtual agents, and connected field service were once out of reach for mid-sized company. Now with Dynamics 365 Finance & Supply Chain Management, you too can leverage the latest technology advancements to unlock new opportunities and gain a competitive edge

Contact us on 0097143365589