Thursday, June 06, 2013

Submitting an e-invoice

31 May 2013
Editor, Forum Page
Straits Times

A few months ago, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance urged the private sector 
to improve their productivity and reduce the reliance on foreign workers.

As a small business owner, I had to spend a lot of time submitting returns and applications 
to government agencies. The online processes are poorly designed from the perspective of 
the public. I had submitted countless feedback on these issues over the years but the 
underlying problem was never addressed.

Two months ago, I received an order from a primary school for the purchase of my books. 
The teacher told me that I had to submit an e-invoice.

After considerable research, I discovered that I had to register In a website called 
Vendors@SG and to apply for an EASY access code from the Inland Revenue Authority (IRAS) 
before registration.

The process was hardly easy. The password for the EASY access code was sent by mail 
and did not arrive after 8 days.  The IRAS manager arranged for hand delivery of a 
replacement password.

The new password was not accepted after a dozen attempts on several browsers. 
The error code was puzzling.

A support staff from IRAS came to my office to help fix the problem. He said that 
the Java software installed on the browser was not the latest version. He spent 
two hours trying to fix the problem, and had to telephone his technical expert 
at the office a few times.

After this problem was fixed, I still had to go through a learning curve to find out 
how to submit an e-invoice correctly. I discovered to my horror that I had to enter 
all the details of the invoice for the benefit of the Accountant General office, but that work 
was not suitable for entry to my own accounting system. It is double work for me.

I finally managed to submit the e-invoice after a delay of two months and 
countless hours spent on learning the complex processes of the government. 
The trouble is that I do not have sufficient transactions to make the effort worth the while.

There is something seriously wrong with the manner in which the government agencies 
impose their requirements on the private sector, which leads to an unproductive process. 

I hope that the Deputy Prime Minister will ask for this matter to be reviewed, and for 
the underlying problem to be addressed.

Tan Kin Lian


Xianlong said...

While it is a detailed description of your frustration of the stupid e-invoice submission process, i doubt it'll be published by ST.

Even in the low chance of publication, it'll be heavily pruned/edited.

Govt agencies like to have extra work so they have 'more secure ricebowls' nevermind that the work is not efficient.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr Tan,

How did you finally solved your e-invoice? After many days and many hours, I am still being lead by a merry go round web of phone in audio menus to government agencies that got me nowhere.

?? The frustration is unbelievable. My temp accounts girls did 2 days of trying to do a e-invoice and resigned.

Wong 97866700

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