Saving Tax no longer a taxing process !

The Indian companies have been largely forthcoming when it comes to adoption of new ways of doing things. What started with implementation of ERPS and SAP across departments, have led to adoption or development of globally accepted superior solutions. Human Resource is one such function that has been benefited a ton owing to implementation of systems and processes not only for mapping the efficiency and productivity parameters of the company's employees; but in introducing new solutions to improve the employee experience, both in and outside the organization.

Mealvouchers globally have been a thriving industry since early 80s as a tool ofmotivation as well as simplifying the employee's taxation burden. Being aprimate form of prepaid instruments, the vouchers offer liberty to theconsumers to shop their monthly groceries without paying no cash, at a groceror store that accepts the vouchers. Till now there were two limitations in theprocess that dissuaded mass adoption - one, the vouchers owing to their formare prone to risks that can impede their usability. And two, the risk of thevouchers being disallowed at shops or establishments owing to lack of tie-upsby the issuer company. Not so long ago, while shopping at a departmental store,one would face a long line owing to someone counting and recounting their mealcoupons. Usually a booklet with multiple denominations was inconvenient whiletransacting; but owing to their paper avatar, it always carried a risk of beingmisplaced or soiled or simply left away in some corner of the home or office.The question was how do you simplify an already simplified process? Unlesssomeone started asking how does one make it more friendly as a process to itsconstituents.  

The mealvoucher industry in India albeit growing fast, is dominated by two globalcompanies -Edenred (Ticket Restaurant) and Sodexo. In the past two years,various start-ups have sensed this growing opportunity and have joined thefray. 

However, theglobal footprints coupled with the access to resources make the seemingly 6decade old companies much agile and efficient to change. This is what happenedat Edenred. Sensing the change for a need to simplify the transactionexperience, the company started its digital transformation. In doing so, 3years back the company introduced a meal card replacing age old vouchers. Thisfully tax compliant meal card just made the transactions not only smoother atthe counters (at the swipe of the card) but more importantly, led to fasteron-boarding process for new employees with client Companies and easier refillprocess. For establishments too it was a win win proposition - with their linesat the counters moving faster as well as the inconvenience of keeping anddepositing vouchers becoming a thing of the past.  

The mealcard got the company thinking to not only offer a digital product but create adigital ecosystem to empower it's beneficiaries. Hence a mobile app waslaunched. The app not only allows the beneficiary to access the transactiondetails, card balances but more importantly, offers a list of shops that acceptTicket Meal Cards, duly mapped as per beneficiary's present GPS location.  

This simpleyet thoughtful innovation catapulted the company's enabled it to convert alarge proportion of its physical voucher based clients into digital meal cardbased. Today the company has over 5,00,000 meal card holders in the country andgrowing. What's exciting is that public sector companies are too adopting theproduct and going cashless thereby giving a fitting tribute to PM's vision ofDigital India as well as boosting the morale of its employees - by simplifyinga once taxing process.

By JohannVaucanson, Managing Director, Edenred India 


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