Bridging software

Sometimes direct communication between your ERP and a third party (HMRC) is not allowed because of internal IT policies. Those IT policies might qualify 'direct communication' an unacceptable 'hacking' risk. To comply with such IT policies a 'MacroExcel solution' in combination with 'Bridging software' might be the right fit. It is used for submitting e-invoicing data (Hungary, Italy, Spain, etcetera) and VAT return data in the UK due to the Make Tax Digital rollout in 2019.

Below the UK is used as an example.

Short video

UK MTD - Cloud based Bridging Software or on premises server

For the communication setup, HMRC provides five different API channels to software developer companies:

  1. Retrieve VAT obligations

  2. Submit VAT return for period

  3. View VAT return

  4. Retrieve VAT liabilities

  5. Retrieve VAT payments

The Key Group developed an MTD Portal solution that runs over a web browser & can communicate with the HMRC platform. The portal supports all the five API channels. The dashboard of the portal displays in detail all these MTD UK VAT processes.


This solution is a perfect fit as on April 1, 2019; you only have to submit the nine boxes of the VAT return in an automated way to a new HMRC Portal. Those nine numbers follow from an already existing VAT return process, and that means a minor change 'tax reporting obligation wise'.


The bridging software solution is also useful for companies that have implemented an ERP system operational other than SAP.

UK MTD - Bridging Software via SAP add-on

End 2019 when currently spreadsheets are used during VAT return process

Screen-Shot-2019-02-05-at-09-02-07.pngThe MacroExcel and our bridging software can either be used as a final or as a temporary solution and over time be replaced by an SAP add-on. To avoid future manual mistakes and manual intervention the current existing operational VAT return process at multinationals will be updated before April 1, 2019, with introducing our developed API enabled MacroExcel (tested at a multinational).

The VAT accounting records will also be stored in the MacroExcel, and our clients will upload the numbers of the VAT return automatically in our bridging software that will communicate these nine boxes to HMRC without manual intervention.

The MacroExcel can be used as a follow up design for the SAP add-on. That development will start after April 2019 and will be finalized end 2019. The MacroExcel will than become obsolete when our SAP add-on becomes operational (everything is then digitalized and available in SAP). That is how it currently works for SAF-T filings in Poland, Portugal and Lithuania, and the functionality developed is for the most part similar to MTD UK.

The above-phased approach from MacroExcel to SAP add-on is for the UK necessary as the VAT return process is an existing and operational VAT process that is going to be tax digitalized, and the current VAT return processes can differentiate company by company. Standardization in an SAP add-on before April 1, 2019, is therefore often considered not yet feasible from a change management perspective or even needed due to the soft landing period. 



Take aways 

Formal support and active involvement of senior management

Optimum process improvement or business transformations will not likely be realized by the sum of individual independent efforts.The risk is that individually everybody knows what needs to be done within his or her own area of expertise, but what is lacking is overall direction and thus progress.

Anticipate what users would want

We combine technical knowledge with industry understanding and knowhow of technologically advanced tools and methodologies available in the market or developed by ourselves.

What do we like to achieve

  • Focus on tax processes that could be improved
    • Manual process: same data requests are made by different stakeholders
  • As Is assessment
  • Anticipate future changes and the data needed
    • What are tax trends?
    • What is happening locally and what should be considered across jurisdictions where you operate?
    • Anticipate new stakeholders and their data needs or requests (internal and external)
  • Define scope and actions for short, mid and long term
  • Write business case for change
  • Realize sponsorship for implementation

‘As is’ assessment, actions and business case

  • What tax data is requested and by whom?
  • What tax process can be improved and what can be automated?
    • CIT, VAT, tax data warehouse
  • What is the Return on Investment?
    • Hard saving: process improvement
    • Meeting (new) tax requirement
  • What systems are in use: SAP, Oracle, etc
    • By which entities?
  • How many end-use computing tools (e.g. excel spreadsheet) do we have?
  • How do we avoid an ad-hoc solution?
    • Understand the bigger picture
    • Real problem and not the symptom

Risk and reward

Technology-related tax risk: understand and address the potential harms and benefits of (new) technology.

Technology tools & systems integration

Ascertaining proper IT support for ensuring efficient, timely and reliable reporting.

Change and project management

VAT should be considered in every aspect of the process, from concept through completion and beyond. Managing by design — looking at any process or transaction from end to end and factoring in all the requirements and controls essential to designing and optimizing a compliant VAT process.

Effective communication and teaming

We speak the language of the business and IT and no translation is needed.

Set up a project plan

  • Set up a project charter that will take effect preferable during feasibility but ultimately during design
  • Write a business case and problem statement
  • Define scope of the project
  • Define objectives and goals of the project
  • Involve stakeholders and define priorities
  • Set measurable milestones
  • Ensure that the right sponsors provide buy-in.
  • Identify (project) risks and how to manage them
  • Jointly validate and refine the project plan and develop a roadmap to success
  • Hold regular meeting to track progress of the various work streams