Introduction

As we live in times where e-commerce is blooming, I decided to entertain some thoughts on a particular key-aspect that occurs often. As a base, I will use the Greek market context for example purposes.

According to latest reports (ex: ELTRUN report on e-commerce), online sales keep a steady growth. Even in Greece with it’s ongoing crisis, there was a 10% increase for 2015 and the estimations for 2016 are more than ambitious, for various reasons.

Implementing accounting standards

In Greece (as in every country), accounting and tax rules often are particularly specific. That makes the implementation of accounting standards into your platform, a key decision. It is a basic challenge to manage, if aiming for a successful and reliable e-shop, not only for the developer, as for the client as well (#true_story).

The reason why

It’s impossible for e-commerce platforms, to analyze and successfully develop platform support for all possible accounting standards. That’s why, even powerful platforms (ex: such as Magento) include basic accounting functionality to support large markets (like USA or UK).

And another reason now that I’m thinking it , is of course the complexity of some cases. Especially for companies that are large in size, or happens to perform very rare accounting operations, accounting turns out to be a highly customized case, not only to address that extra complexity, but to adapt the platform to an already existing set of procedures that the client is used to.

The options

That’s simple to decide (at least from a consulting perspective)! Keep your accounting off-platform as you did before or make sure you invest correctly. And by investing I don’t mean expensive necessarily, but it’s a part that must be estimated wisely in terms of both budget and client-side availability.

How to decide

The factors are typical as to any investment of resources:

Example #1 - The lovely VAT

Now the Greek context comes in place :-) So, you need to incorporate taxation rules. Here are a few things you might need to adapt:

Example #2 - The billing habits

Most platforms, generate simple details on their documents, such as order ID and date. And of course, many accountants have different interpretations on several small details and that’s not necessarily for legal reasons. Here’s an indicative look of what you could take into consideration:

Example #3 - The (sometimes) unexpected legalities

One common reality when your business grows, is the acquaintance of certain legalities that previously didn’t need to worry about. For example:

Again, this is under Greek context, but from the -indicative- examples mentioned above you can see the level of detail that should be considered.

Conclusion

If your business is ready to incorporate that kind of functionality into its online sales, go for it. There is a lot of experience out there and a lot of well-tried solutions. A structured approach, including good analysis with your developer and your accountant, will be critically helpful.