Q4 2023

SME News Q4 2023/ 42 eCommerce Accountants of the Year 2023 – Hampshire AVASK Accounting & Business Consultants Ltd (AVASK) began over eleven years ago, originally starting out as an international e-commerce accounting firm, and became the first tax provider to receive a five-star rating on Amazon SPN. To date, the team have assisted more than 10,000 e-commerce entrepreneurs globally, and combined, speak over 23 of the world’s most popular languages. Teams are located worldwide but they are all united under the AVASK founding principle, ‘to offer simple and uncomplicated solutions to enable e-commerce sellers to grow and adapt to the myriad of compliance changes in the e-commerce ecosystem’. This month, the company has appointed its new CEO, Bojab Gajic, former Chief Executive of Helium 10, and it is therefore looking forward to an extraordinary future of global market expansion. We learn more about the award-winning AVASK and the exciting prospects that lie ahead of it. Relatively early into the AVASK journey, the company recognised that it could offer so much more to its clients than just manage their accounts and taxes, pivoting to include an array of additional services. Every service that the team has developed has been designed to provide uncomplicated solutions for e-commerce sellers, in turn allowing them to grow and expand cross-borders much in the same way as AVASK itself has done. The company’s global headquarters is situated in the heart of Southampton, but as a result of expansion, additional offices are now located in London, Paris, Frankfurt, Madrid, Milan, Amsterdam, Warsaw, Prague, New York, Hangzhou, and Shanghai. Such expansion has also bared witness to the natural evolution of the company’s services, which are currently classified across a number of key sectors, accounting and bookkeeping services, indirect taxes (VAT and US sales tax, for example), customs and international trade, shipping and logistics, online marketplace indirect taxes (a special sub-division which focuses on the needs of clients filing taxes via their online marketplaces), eco-transition services (new government schemes and taxes designed to reduce carbon emissions), alongside the e-commerce consulting, strategy, and growth services which are all on offer. 2014 saw AVASK begin its long-time partnership with Amazon, officially joining Amazon SPN. It was this which spurred on the expansion of the business, branching out from the UK headquarters to include LA, Paris, and Frankfurt. This partnership also led to the company attending Amazon run events, and in 2016, one such event the team were invited to in China resulted in the establishing of AVASK offices in Xiamen. Two years later in 2018, the firm joined the Amazon PAN-EU programme, which was unveiled at a time when European countries had altered their tax legislation to make online platforms, like Amazon, jointly liable for the taxes of the e-sellers using their platforms. Almost immediately after, AVASK began assisting thousands of new clients as Amazon mandated a requirement to register for VAT in the European marketplace. Following this requirement, there was an overhaul in distance selling across the remaining 27 countries in this block, excluding the UK, and new legislation was later introduced that detailed once a seller had completed €10,000 in distance sales, they were required to register for the European One-Stop-Shop, or OSS. AVASK again provided essential, ensuring this legislation was covered in its core suite of services. Similar problems would arise on the back of Brexit, and many of the company’s clients found themselves in the unfortunate position of being unable trade with EU marketplaces as they had done previously. Again, providing a remedy for the issue, AVASK began to offer both direct and indirect representation, as well as a customs brokerage services, to its clientele. Recently, the future of AVASK has again been diversified, this as a result of the launch of a sister company, KATA Global Logistics, which offers clients an end-to-end logistics service. This all-in-one solution will allow e-commerce sellers to make huge savings in the cost of the services required to sell goods across the world on global marketplaces. All of this represents the upmost commitment by AVASK to offer clients the most innovative solutions to the issues that arise within the industry as a result of outside influences. Through the offering of quick and effective workarounds, the business can stay ahead of the game, and a long-tenured partnership with an organisation on the level of Amazon only solidifies this fact. From day one, AVASK’s ethos has ultimately been to establish long-term relationships, with a commitment by the dedicated team to offer transparent, concise, and professional advice. The core values of the business have been cemented since day one, and they revolve around insisting on the highest standards, constantly learning about shifts and updates in the e-commerce world, and thoroughly investigating all new avenues as they present themselves. At AVASK, the team prides itself on customer obsession, and they work tirelessly to always think outside of the box, while delivering outstanding results and earning the trust of the clients they serve. It is this commitment to clients that positions AVASK at the cutting-edge of the industry, by providing unlimited consultancy to clients, a key insight is gained into their disposition and pain points. Over the course of the last three years, the team has designed and implemented a host of new services in order to meet client needs, many of which are frequently crossborder trading in multiple markets. Unlike many of its competitors, AVASK’s one-stop shop solution offers a host of services in addition to advisory, shipping, and freight forwarding, being proud to offer international accounting and tax compliance, import/export, as well as account strategy and management, among others, providing a complete compliance solution for e-commerce businesses of any size. Currently, the ever-changing industry is facing a host of trends that AVASK in the process of adapting into its always-evolving strategy. The first of these is pricing performance, as in a world where anybody can take out their smartphone and compare the price of a product across multiple marketplaces, entrepreneurs must either enter bidding wars with competitors or otherwise create a differentiator. The question Melanie asks is: “How are you going to make your product stand out in a crowd?” This is a question the team constantly poses to its sellers, understanding its vitality in the modern marketplace. Just like in so many other industries, the monumental rise of artificial intelligence into the mainstream has flooded day-to-day lives of sellers and consumers alike. In the specific e-commerce world, the team has seen