VAT compliance for your business?

VAT compliance? I never get used to VAT compliance, even though I love sending bills. I have a good performing international web shop which sells Buddha´s, which are very cheap imported from China. It´s a long story how I came to this, but I first want to explain my VAT compliance problem. I am typical someone who can sell and buy, I understand what the market wants and I know I to get cheap products. On top I can calculate, so I know how I can price my Buddha´s and make good profit. All straight forward, all easy and all transparent. But when it comes to billing and the VAT rules have to be applied, I get nervous and I am afraid to make mistakes. I run many different companies in my live and since I am in this Buddha business, I can do it all by myself. During the past all these companies always had employees and I don´t want any employee anymore. At least 50% of my available time I lost on human resource management. One was ill, the other one became mother, no. 3 didn´t like the job anymore, another one didn´t like his direct colleagues and couldn´t cooperate with them, there was always something. So I decided to start a new company one day, but without employees. Since I started this Buddha business, I could manage without employees, my only problem was these billing issue with VAT. So I decided to outsource my billing to a well-known “bookkeeping” company. The have taken and still take care of the VAT compliance issue and they are happy and I am happy and relaxed. Now the story how I the Buddha business started. As said before I had since years different companies. My first company was a traditional marketing company, before the internet, so in a time when you had the right people onboard you could make good money. And we did, we had a typical creative team, with these typical, a bit weird and arrogant, “modern” marketing guys. But create designers and copywriters. We had serious brands as customers and I used them as a showcase to acquire new customers. What they didn´t see and feel was that we used a lot of repeating (now “copy – paste” and a little change) business. Easy to realize and the customers paid a lot for it. But for some reason I didn´t like it anymore, was getting bored and de-motivated. I could sell the company for a great price and cashed well. A good moment to re-think what I would like to start again. I started a consulting company specialized in branding and advertising. The advised, big, companies about their branding, advertising and marketing strategy and at the end which partners made the best fit with them. My new company was a great success, there was no company like that and the big companies realized that they spend a lot of time on these issues themselves and at the end they went often in bed with the wrong partners (like my old marketing company for example). The nice thing about my business model was too easy for words. My customers had to pay serious consulting fees and when we were done, we advised them the write partners. These partners gave us a kickback when my customers signed an agreement with them. The story sounds like “how to become a millionaire”, but it worked. But the same happened again, I didn´t like it anymore, was getting bored and de-motivated. The right timing to sell my company and also this time I could sell the company for a great price and cashed well. In that period, China´s economy started to grow very fast and their export was booming. Everybody wanted to go to China to cash. But China is different, a lot, as Europe. They speak another language, they have a very different culture, they eat different, the regulations are very different, they have another way of doing business, they are the masters of copying and they are corrupt. For the rest it´s very easy. I went to China, first to Beijing, then Guangdong and at the end to Shanghai. I spoke with everybody, locals, political people, business people, expats, etc. When I understood enough I founded a company supporting foreign companies starting a business in China. It´s hard to advise them the 1st time, you have to go through all the regulations, rules and processes. The 2nd time it´s getting easier and when your team is getting better and growth with the right expert´s it´s reaching a point of repeating business. And the foreign companies can´t do it themselves, which means more repeating business, which means easy money coming in. My company had a great name and a strong track record. Beside China, also the internet was booming and we went online too. But nobody found us, for me very clear, leak of marketing. I bought a small, modern marketing company, specialized in internet marketing and they made it working and understood the game very good. At once I had 2 great performing companies, good in repeating business, so it was getting boring again for me. I started to travel through China and met some very trustful, and that is unique in China, who became my friends. After one year of traveling and seen so many beautiful Buddha´s, I sold both companies, again for good money and went back to Europa. Where I found out that having a Buddha was almost something like a must, companies had Buddha´s, restaurants had Buddha´s Tantra massage saloons had Buddha´s and private persons had Buddha´s. But the prices for nice and good Buddha´s where much too high. I decided to contact some of my good friends in China and they were able to export very good and beautiful Buddha´s for low prices. I started a web shop for Buddha´s and with my internet marketing experience it soon was a success. I liked it because it was a good reason to travel now and then back to my good friends in China, I didn´t need employees and at the end no headache anymore about VAT´s, I outsourced VAT compliance issues.