Its great to look back at all the work we have achieved. Each project has had new discoveries and old friends.

VAT Submission Portal

Client: HMRC

The Overview

Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC)is a non-ministerial department of the UK Government responsible for the collection of taxes, the payment of some forms of state support, and the administration of other regulatory regimes including the national minimum wage.

The Challenge

There was a need to ensure that government departments and royal households could submit their VAT returns online. Much like the VAT site for businesses, the solution we developed together created VAT periods and performed calculations on the data submitted in each return. There were a number of challenges that we had to face in this project, not least that we only had 3 months to complete the project.

The Solution

Working with the Government Accounting and Budgeting System team was a great experience. They were a dedicated team that had an archaic MS Access based system for entering the VAT submissions by hand. At first there were concerns from the team that they would have to learn yet another new system. We often find that teams are using tools that don't effectively encapsulate their working practices, resulting in them creating new practices to accommodate the tools. We knew from the outset that there was a great deal of expertise within the team that we could incorporate into the solution. We set about having a number of meetings in which we asked questions and understood the points of pain with current system. Then we made a rough working prototype within a week so that everyone could sit in front of it and give feedback. The teams were then able to give adjust the solution on a weekly basis. This had the added benefit of enabling people to become familiar with the operation of the solution and avoid lengthy documentation and user guides.

After some extensive penetration and performance testing - the solution went live on time and we are happy to say that everyone from the GABS team to the project manager was happy and surprised at how much easier an agile approach to software solutions could be.

“The release went live and there were no problems. Our NHS client informs us that GIANT is very easy to use, has no complaints at all and its’ efficiency means they are getting their repayments in the same month that they put in their return so they are absolutely delighted. So, a happy customer. It was a pleasure working with you. Thanks for all your patience, flexibility & hard work!” Elaine O'Donnell - IMS Business Tax Programme - HMRC

Project highlights

  • There are some really old systems out there that are dependent on the patience and expertise of people
  • Get something working within a week and then everything after that is just an update
  • If the client can be part of the evolution of the solution - complete with bugs - they can avoid lengthy requirements definition.
  • Tight deadlines help everyone focus on what is really necessary