Veritas in 2020: A Year in ReviewTaxation & Finance
PART 1 – VERITAS: WHAT IT IS AND WHAT IT DOES
Last year in February we launched Positive Veritas, an online platform that hosts the entirety of the Cypriot tax documentation and makes it easily accessible and searchable. In a stroke of bad luck, we launched just before the onset of COVID 19 in Cyprus. We are now nearly closing one year and we can unequivocally say that even under these unfortunate circumstances, Veritas has demonstrated its utility and value, having been embraced by government agencies, all large accounting and tax firms in Cyprus and much wider array of smaller practices.
Information about Cyprus tax is scattered around a number of databases and in documents that are not easily searchable. Worse yet, there is no way that anyone can search all the different documents and platforms at the same time. This means that each search is limited to the repository at hand (assuming search facilities exist, which is not always the case) and therefore is of limited usefulness for the purposes of deriving an authoritative conclusion.
By contrast, the capability to search disparate and vastly differentiated databases with precision lies at the core of Veritas’ value proposition. At a keystroke our customers can search the entire universe of available tax documents, or a subset thereof, from a single search bar and in mere milliseconds.
When you surface a document you’re looking for, Veritas gives you access not only to the latest version, but also its complete version history in full text. This capability also powers a feature of the search engine where you can search for documentation that was active between any two points in time and constrain yourself to those documents. This is immensely useful when you are, for example, examining a tax appeal from 2015.
Yet is flexible and portable. It relieves the need to carry books of tax laws. You can perform an initial discovery at the office from your desktop or laptop and then take it on the go on your smartphone and finalize your research at home on your tablet or computer.
Developments in tax are continuous. Legislation and institutional positions are revised frequently, and it’s essential for our clients to stay updated. At the same time, professionals are bombarded with information on a million issues. While some have the luxury to specialize and deal only with a narrow area, most smaller accounting firms do not. To democratize access to the key changes in the Cypriot tax landscape, we circulate weekly emails with summarized changes along with their relevant Veritas links. You no longer need to worry that you’ve missed something because we have you covered.
Positive Veritas is the culmination of two and a half years of hard work in software engineering, data processing and integration by a dedicated team of professionals in their respective fields.
On this our first anniversary of operation I wish to extend a warm thank you to all our subscribers for the trust placed in us. We look forward to welcoming more friends onboard. We can’t wait to share future developments in 2021 and we invite you to follow us on LinkedIn for the latest updates.
To learn more about Veritas, please visit https://veritas.positive.cy/.
PART 2: OUR JOURNEY SO FAR
When we launched Veritas we were mindful we were making four significant steps:
Firstly, we were launching Positive into a new era of digital offerings. Almost five years of background developments in proprietary technology that would enable us to develop state-of-the-art enterprise platforms had come to fruition. Launching Veritas was a milestone, but it was also a beginning. These investments are fundamental to our vision of Positive’s evolution into a tech company; we believe that the inventions that arose from our R&D operations allow us to deliver immensely powerful solutions with a level of quality, reliability, security and velocity that is many years ahead of both domestic and international competitors. We look forward to sharing our plans for the future soon.
Secondly we were able to give tax and accounting professionals the tool they needed to carry out their research without having to worry whether the information was incomplete or outdated. After eighteen months of data collection and processing we could provide a data repository that included all the tax information of Cyprus and one which was continuously updated. There was no comparable tool available to professionals, even in several larger international markets. By far the most significant aspect of Veritas was the search engine and the incredible speed and accuracy with which it would search the entire universe of tax documentation and surface the relevant document(s).
Thirdly, whilst we had a minimum viable product, we expected that it would undergo enhancement over the next few of months. Over the next two months we presented the product and listened to feedback from our users, whilst the onset of COVID restrictions limited our ability to reach our potential audience more widely. We take your feedback seriously and made three significant additions: automated translation, complex search tools and faster (weekly) updates with summaries sent via email. Later on we provided links with our update emails and made our tax alerts directly accessible via the Veritas platform and LinkedIn. Other less visible additions were also made, such as subtle changes to our design system following months of micro-tuning and testing. As a result, text on Veritas is even more legible than when we started. Clearly there are further enhancements planned for Veritas and we hope to share more details with you as these pass our rigorous quality assurance standards.
Finally, we realized that we had created a platform for organizing and searching documents, of which Cyprus Tax was only the first example. Veritas allows multiple libraries of documents and access to these libraries can be controlled at the level of a user, allowing a user to see one or any combination of libraries. A library could be a private library that would be accessed only by a selected group of users, where, for example, a private collection of documents could be accessed and searched. Specific users could act as administrators of a library allowing them to upload and edit documents. This opens the possibility of organizations using this tool to manage an internal knowledge base. We consider this a key next step development of Veritas as a platform.
Our experience over the past year has validated Veritas as an idea and as a product. While we pleasantly discovered that the platform was warmly received by the vast majority of people we interacted with, what we could not anticipate is the impact of COVID. In these unprecedented circumstances we took the decision to extend all accounts on Veritas by several months to give our customers and prospective customers the chance to focus on business continuity and not on the expiration of their trial accounts.
We have also learned that our initial “monthly” updating plan was not sufficient for some users and quickly converted it to a weekly schedule, to align with the issue of the Gazette. Certain announcements by the Tax Department will be now be uploaded to Veritas the next day. We are now in the process of seeking further feedback from users and remain in a continuous endeavor to improve our customers’ experience in all our products and services.
Our objective is to establish Veritas as the primary tax research tool among Cyprus tax, accounting and law practitioners. The signs show that we are almost there. To the many people who have trusted us we extend a warm thank you.
Positive is a multidisciplinary group of companies offering professional services to businesses, governments, non-governmental organizations and non-profits around the world.
Enabling the change that organizations need to thrive and supporting them through every step of their development is our primary objective.
To this end, we demonstrate an impressive record of success by combining high order professional capabilities, industry insight and local knowledge to ensure that our clients achieve sustainable competitive advantage, build more capable organizations, and secure lasting results.
Our people are the essence of what differentiates us – and the source of our ability to deliver the highest value to clients. They are chosen for their leadership ability and potential, their integrity, their sharp analytical minds, their creativity and innovative spirit and the ability to work with people at all levels in an organization.
Our wide, global network of associates including international firms of lawyers, accountants, tax consultants, bankers and trust companies, enable us to sustain access to an extensive range of tax, legal, banking and financial expertise.
Combining our professional workforce and our network, we always have the best team of minds – with the broadest range of industry and functional experience – to bear on every engagement.