The complicated developments of COVID-19 have forced most businesses to accelerate or deploy digital transformation solutions. In that context, awareness and proactive approach to relevant policies and legal corridors arethose that businesses need to pay special attention to.
In the first 4 months of the year, the domestic economy continued to show signs of recovery in the right direction in the context that all macro indicators recorded positive developments. According to statistics from General Department of Customs, Vietnam's total export turnover of goods in the first four months of 2021 reached a record high of $104.9 billion, up 29.6% over the same period last year; import turnover reached 103.3 billion USD, up 31.8%.
In the context that the Covid-19 epidemic is still complicated globally, this result is achieved thanks to the important support of the FTAs that Vietnam has joined, which have come into effect, plus the policies and effective management measures of the government as well as the efforts of businesses.
However, the 4th outbreak of infection in Vietnam still poseshigh risk, requiring businesses to quickly grasp the legal support guidelines and policies of the management agencies, thereby accelerating digital transformation to partially limit the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Online payment revolution
Online payments are being used more and more on smartphone platforms (replacing cash payments and PIN cards). Online commerce transactions increased exponentially for both B2C and B2B during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A number of regulations have been set forth to promote the non-cash payment process, such as Item b, Clause 1, Article 9 of the Law on Corporate Income Tax:
“… For goods and service purchase invoices each time with a value of twenty million VND or more, non-cash payment receiptsshall be provided, except for cases where it is not required to have non-cash payment documents as prescribed by law”.
The increase in electronic transactions in business has also promoted electronic identification systems, such as the use of electronic signatures, electronic certificates or seals, and third-party verification systems. Many companies stopped accepting physical invoices and only require electronic invoices, lots of manual processes have been converted to digital.
Over the past years, our Party and Government have had many undertakings and policies to promote the application of information technology in socio-economic development, such as: Resolution 52-NQ/TW dated 27 September 2019 on a number of guidelines and policies to actively participate in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, National Digital Transformation Program to 2025, with orientation to 2030; Project 844 & 1665 to help develop digital and technology startups; Decision No. 127/QD-TTg of the Prime Minister: Promulgating the National Strategy on Research, Development and Application of Artificial Intelligence to 2030…
However, according to a report of World Bank (WB), although internet access is very popular in Vietnam, most businesses have low digital transformation readiness index and have not fully grasped the public policies supporting the existing upgraded technology. Only 10% of the total large enterprises are aware of and benefit from the policies, while only 3.7% of the total small and medium enterprises are aware of and have access to these policies.
The percentage of businesses that have their own website, social media, and cloud computing is still small. The demand for digitization during the Covid-19 period plus the lack of readiness for digital transformation can lead to a 50% decrease in the average revenue of businesses.
All these challenges require businesses to proactively find and approach supportive policies of the state, focus on innovation more strongly to promote digital transformation, and be ready to adapt to the Covid-19 pandemic.
New employment issues
Businesses have an obligation to maintain a safe workplace and mechanisms to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.
To adapt, businesses have in many ways arranged employees to work from home (as much as possible), and this is gradually becoming a part of the "new normal". Technology solutions to support teamwork, organize virtual meetings and many other services are gradually evolving.
Legally, employers generally do not have the power to restrict an employee's personal travel, but can still make a rule that requires employees to self-isolate when they return from other areas, where the epidemic occurred. In addition, the employee's business travel is limited as much as possible.
In order to ensure the rights and benefits of employees in the case of working from home, any changes in working locations and working methods should be clearly specified in new labor contracts and agreements between employers and employees.
Above are some economic and legal perspectives to consider in the process of promoting digital transformation in organizations and businesses. Although the Government ofVietnam as well as provinces and cities have implemented many different measures and policies to support businesses, the most important thing is that businesses should not wait, but be proactive, determined and continuously innovate to quickly adapt and face unpredictable challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic.