5 E way Bill Changes from 16th November 2018

On the 12th of November 2018, certain enhancements to the e-way bill process were proposed by the National Informatics Centre. These changes, which seek to improve the e-way bill experience for businesses and transporters alike, are to go live from 16th November, 2018. Let’s go through these 5 e way bill changes one by one, to understand how they will impact you and your business:

Checking for duplicate e-way bills based on same invoice number

Earlier, the e-way bill system was not equipped to check for duplicates based on the invoice number. Thus, if multiple e-way bills were generated against the same invoice number, either by intention or accident, the system was allowing that to happen, resulting in problems. But as per the e way bill changes from 16th November 2018, the system will not allow the consignor or the supplier to generate duplicate e-way bills. The system will check for duplicates based on the consignor’s GSTIN, document type and document number. Thus, if one e-way bill has already been generated against one invoice, no additional e-way bills against the same invoice will be allowed. The same will hold true for transporters and consignees as well – they too will not be allowed to raise e-way bills, if the e-way bill has already been generated by the consignor against a particular invoice. Not just that, if the transporter or consignee has generated one e-way bill against the consignor’s invoice, and any other party tries to generate the e-way bill, the system will immediately alert the user that one e-way bill is already present against that invoice.

Options for CKD, SKD and Lots

As per the latest e way bill changes, the options for “CKD” (Completely Knocked Down), “SKD” (Semi Knocked Down) and “Lots” for the “Supply Type” field will come in to play, which is particularly useful, whenever big consignments are broken down and moved in batches. The same also applies for export and import consignments, where a single consignment may be too big to be moved from supplier to recipient.

Handling Addresses for Export & Import Consignments

For export consignments:

  • “Bill To” party will be “URP” (Unregistered Person) or GSTIN of SEZ unit with “State” as “Other Country”
  • Shipping Address and PIN Code will be of the location (airport / shipping yard / border check post) from where the consignment is moving out from the country

For import consignments:

  • “Bill From” party will be “URP” (Unregistered Person) or GSTIN of SEZ unit with “State” as “Other Country”
  • Dispatching Address and PIN Code will be of the location (airport / shipping yard / border check post) from where the consignment is entering the country

Handling Bill to – Ship to Transactions

From 16th November 2018, the e-way bill portal will be fully equipped to handle “Bill To – Ship To” transactions. Such transactions are primarily of 4 types, depending upon the number of parties involved in the billing and movement of goods. The types are as follows:

  • Type 1 – Regular: This is a regular or normal transaction, where billing and movement of goods is happening directly between two parties – consignor and consignee.
  • Type 2 – Bill To – Ship To: In this type of transaction, three parties are involved. Billing takes places between consignor and consignee, but the goods move from consignor to the third party as per the request of the consignee.
  • Type 3 – Bill From – Dispatch From: In this type of transaction also, three parties are involved. Billing takes places between consignor and consignee, but the goods are moved by the consignor from the third party to the consignee.
  • Type 4 – Combination of both: This is the combination of Type 2 and Type 3 and involves a total of four parties. Billing takes places between consignor and consignee, but the goods are moved by the consignor from the third party to the fourth party, as per the consignee’s request.

E way Bill changes in Bulk Generation Tool

Amongst other e way bill changes, certain new columns have been added in the Bulk Generation Tool facility of the portal. More information on the same will be made available on 16th November 2018, and we promise to share the same with you in the next few days.

6 Business Processes you can Automate


In our previous blog, we had discussed about 5 things you need to keep in mind, while deciding when is the right time to automate your business. In case, you have decided to automate your business, you would obviously be eager to understand how to go about it. But before you get into automating your business, we would request you to take a step back, and think about – what to automate – in other words, which are the business processes worth automating.

Broadly speaking, any business, irrespective of segment or size, have primarily 6 business processes:

  • Purchase Cycle & Sales Cycle
  • Operating Expenses Management
  • Receivables and Payables Management
  • Cash Flow and Funds Flow
  • Inventory Management
  • Periodic Statutory Compliance

In our next few blogs, we will try to take up each of these topics and understand, how it will help you if you automate each of these processes. But before we do that, lets quickly go through each of these 6 business processes, to understand how each of them are linked to your business growth.

Things to Automate – 6 business processes to focus on

Purchase Cycle & Sales Cycle

The Purchase Cycle is the process of how you obtain and manage goods and services for your business. In case you are a manufacturer, it will be about procuring raw materials needed for manufacturing a product; in case you are a trader, it will be about obtaining goods for trade; in case you are a service provider, it will be about obtaining materials required to provide a service. It starts from placing a purchase order with your supplier and ends with you making the payment for the same, after the order is fulfilled.

On the other hand, the Sales cycle is the financial life blood for your organization. It basically determines how quickly an invoice or an order from a customer is translated into cash in your bank. In addition, it also determines the experience, perception and value add of the goods or service you are offering to your customer.

Operating Expenses

There are several expenses, you must be managing, while carrying out the day to day activities of your business. All these activities are not directly related with your core business activity, say – manufacturing, trading or services – but are crucial to keep your business running, and thus are classified as operating expenses. Popular examples of operating expenses include payroll, sales commissions, employee benefits, conveyance, amortization, depreciation, rent, repairs etc.

Receivables and Payables Management

Keeping track of your business outstandings, is extremely critical, as it impacts your cash flows. On one hand are your receivables – wherein you are expected to extend credits to your customers to maintain good business relationships; on the other hand, are your payables – wherein you are expected to pay up in time, in order to maintain your credit worthiness. Both receivables and payables need to be managed intelligently so that you are never in any kind of cash crunch.

Cash & Fund Flow Management

Two quick measures of your business performance are – cash flow & fund flow. Cash Flow is the difference in the amount of cash available at the beginning of a period (basically, your opening balance) and the amount of cash at the end of that period (your closing balance). In case your closing balance is higher than your opening balance, you are said to have a positive cash flow, and if it is the opposite, you are said to have a negative cash flow.

Funds Flow, on the other hand is a much broader view of your business, as it seeks to analyse the reasons for changes in your financial position. It deals with increase or decrease in your current assets or current liabilities. In other words, your funds flow statement tallies the funds generated from various sources with various uses to which they are put – which in turn impacts your working capital.

Inventory Management

In case your business deals with inventory, you will surely be concerned about maintaining an optimum amount of stock at all points in time – and that’s where inventory management steps in. The objective of inventory management is to provide uninterrupted production, sales, and / or customer service levels, at the minimum cost possible. This is something, which needs to be closely tracked, as a lack of inventory can lead to lost sales for you, whereas an excess of inventory and increase your costs unnecessarily.

Periodic Statutory Compliance

Last but not the least, complying with GST and other statutory norms is imperative for businesses in India. As you may have surely sensed in the last one and a half years of GST, staying compliant requires valuable work time, resources and continuous monitoring to avoid penalties.

Now that we have spent some time on the 6 main processes of your business, you must be able to see how intricately each of them are linked to your business growth. In fact, there is an opportunity for you to become efficient in each of these business processes – and over our next few blogs, we will try to suggest you some ways in which you can seek the help of technology to unlock further growth for your business.

Business Automation – 5 Things to Keep in Mind


The world of business today, is abuzz with a plethora of hot topics – Big Data, Cloud, AI, IoT, Block Chain, Social media, Digital – to name a few. As the world is slowly turning towards digitising processes, one of the key things which has grabbed a lot of attention, is business automation.

What is Business Automation?

In simple terms, business automation is a way in which organisations take out the most complex and / or the most redundant steps from their day-to-day processes and streamline them for simplicity. It is basically an opportunity for you as a business to apply innovation and make your most critical business processes systematic, such that your business becomes more efficient, and your life become simpler. If you are looking for a yet simpler definition, automation can be viewed as that magical move – which cuts down costs, saves your time, prevents errors from happening and allows your human workforce to solve more intelligent problems, rather than spend time on routine, repetitive tasks.

Now, that we have tried to define automation from various angles, let’s ask some basic questions:

  • Is there any business in the world which would not like to cut costs?
  • Is there any business which would not like to save time, or avoid errors?
  • Is there any business in the world which would not like to have a simpler way of carrying out a complicated task?

Of course, everyone would love to.

But then, if that was the case, all businesses in the world, big or small, would have been automated since inception. A glance at the India MSME industry will easily reveal, that there is still a large chunk of businesses out there whose business processes are still driven manually. An important point to note here, is that automation does not necessarily mean owning a computer – there are sufficient instances of businesses having a computer, but then still using only some basic functionalities to handle one part of their business operations – be it sales, or purchases, or receivables and payables or inventory or banking – but not using it to integrate the entire business as one entity.

What holds businesses back from automating?

So, what holds them back? What could potentially stop a business in India today to automate its operations, when clearly the advantages are many?

Broadly, the reasons can be either or both of the following:

  • The automation required will require too much time, and the time spent on implementing automation, is much more than the time saved if automation happens
  • The automation required will require too much cost, and the cost spent on implementing automation, is much more than the cost reduced if automation happens OR the cost spent on implementing automation, is much more than the profits I stand to make if automation happens

In short, if you chose to base your decision on only time and money, then you can arrive quickly at an answer. If automation is quick and economical, you will adapt it nevertheless of your size. If automation is time consuming and costly, you will need to get into calculations, check whether it is worth it, and then take a call. And which is why, a valid question for all businesses to ask is – when is the right time to automate my business.

5 things to consider for Business Automation

For you to take a more informed decision regarding business automation, we have listed down 5 factors, which we are calling as the A,B,C,D & E of business automation.

Let’s see what these factors are:

  • Accountability – When you automate, you create an owner for each step of your business processes. All tasks are then bound to one or the other individual who is responsible for that task alone. Enabling that level of information transparency helps you to drive accountability across all stakeholders of your business. It also allows you to identify certain trends – which tasks are taking the longest, where do things get stuck most often etc.
  • Better Usage of Time – Automating your business helps you to identify redundant, unnecessary steps and processes and remove them. It allows you to identify those points where there is a wastage of time and resources. Not just that, repetitive tasks like compiling and re-compiling information, which do not require human skill or expertise can be weeded out and replaced with automated systems. When you begin to automate your processes it becomes very clear how much time people in your business spend, running around in circles – just because they don’t have the information they need, when they need it. By doing that, you will actually free up time for yourself and your resources, so that they can focus on strategic aspects related directly to your company’s core business. In other words, refocusing their time towards those activities, where technology cannot replace them.
  • Communication – An automated approach, allows for a more organised communication between your stakeholders and employees. So, the person handling sales, will be in sync with the person in inventory so that commitments are not made without the requisite stock being present; the person in charge of inventory will be in sync with the person handling purchases, so that sufficient inventory levels are maintained at all times, and so on and so forth. What this will allow you to do in the long run, is develop an improved responsiveness to the ecosystem around you. You will be able to respond to your suppliers and customers faster, thus boosting your competitiveness and leading to better management of your cash and funds flow.
  • Decision Making – Making any business decision, without considering all available information is more often than not a clear path to failure. Automating your business processes, will provide you with valuable information, which you will not be able to extract if you performed all the tasks manually or on disparate systems. Not only does it save time for you, but also allows you to analyse the data quicker and better. The higher the quality of data available, the better decisions you make, the more money and time you save.
  • Error Correction & Tracking – One of the many virtues of business process automation is, that you substitute human vulnerabilities with the accuracy of a machine. Late payments, slow sales approvals, incorrect tax returns and payments for goods never received are all very expensive errors, which can have an impact on the working capital of your business. More than the error itself, what tends to become more challenging is finding and correcting the error in future. Automation is thus a brilliant opportunity to avoid spending a lot of money, which could otherwise go down the drain, because of some error.

Now, that you have gone through the 5 factors listed above, ask yourself – Are these factors currently a challenge for me? Are these factors important to me and my business, at this point?

If the answer is “No”, you may still want to wait for some more time, for your business to grow further in terms of size, revenue, customers, before pressing the button for business automation. But if the answer is “Yes”, now is probably the right time to automate your business, than anytime else.