FTIAS will be publishing brief articles about Back Office, IT, Human Resources, Marketing, Project Management, Process Re-Engineering, Management, Accounts and Staff Training. The aim of this blog is to keep individuals working in these areas updated with the latest updates and trends. We also invite you to comment on posts and share articles through social networks or emails.

CSS and Responsive Web Design

What is CSS?

HTML was never intended to contain tags for formatting a document. This is taken care of by CSS, which stands for Cascading Style Sheets. CSS is basically a set of formatting rules which are applied to particular sets of elements in a webpage. For instance, if a header is created and the text needs to be red, CSS can be applied like so:

<h1 style="color:red">This is a heading</h1>

The above method of applying a style is called inline, since the style is being applied inline with the element itself. This method might be valid for formatting individual elements, it is not ideal when there are a number of elements which need to inherit the same style.

Let’s say there is a page which has a number of h1 elements within it and all of them need to be red, and internal css style can be applied like so:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
<head>
<style>
h1 {
color:red
}
</style>
</head>
<body>
<h1>This is a heading</h1>
<h1>This is a heading too</h1>
<h1>Even this is a heading</h1>
</body>
</html>

Similarly, if there are multiple pages which need to inherit the same style, an external css file is created and the pages are linked to it through the head of the document:

<link rel="stylesheet" href="style.css" type="text/css"/>

But how do I style a subset of an element?

That’s where selectors come in. There are are many ways to select particular elements, but the most basic are by element, by class and by id. Below is an example of each, followed by the respective HTML code:

/* By element */
h1 {
color:red
}

/* By class*/
.headerclass {
color:red
}

/* By id*/
#headerid {
color:red
}

<!-– By element –>
<h1>Header Here</h1>

<!-– By class–>
<h1 class=”headerclass”>Header Here</h1>

<!-– By id–>
<h1 id=”headerid”>Header Here</h1>

Consistency across browsers

When no style is specified for particular elements, these will go for the browser’s default values. As you can imagine these vary from browser to another, so there are often inconsistencies when viewing the same page. CSS resetting is the practice of defaulting the elements of a page to a known state. A typical thing done by CSS resetting scripts is to remove all margins, padding and borders across all elements.

Some popular css reset scripts can be found here.

What’s special about CSS3?

CSS3 is the latest CSS standard which goes hand in hand with HTML5 to provide exciting new ways to style content within a page. It decreases the need for plugins such as flash player since it also allows for content animation straight out of the box. The following are some of the new features which were introduced:

  • Selectors – CSS3 reduces the need to specify classes and IDs for every element, instead elements can be selected according to their attributes. For instance img[src*=“logo”] will select any images which have the word logo in their source path.
  • Box Model – This defines the area around an HTML element, as explained in the below image.box-model
  • Backgrounds – The background image size can now be adjusted, and the background origin can be specified according to the box model above. It is also possible to use multiple background images.
  • Borders – Now borders can have rounded edges, shadows, and can use an image as the border itself
  • Gradients – Images are no longer required to generate gradient effects since these can be generated directly by the browser. For a full list of combinations of this feature click here.
  • Text Effects – Text can now have shadows, and also word wrapping to contain the text within a particular element without breaking the design.
  • Fonts – This is perhaps one of the most significant changes brought by CSS3 since it frees designers from using only web-safe fonts. The fonts themselves can be included on the web server, and then passed on to the users accessing the page.

@font-face {
font-family: myFirstFont;
src: url(sansation_light.woff);
}

 div {
font-family: myFirstFont;
}

  • 2D Transforms – These allow elements to be moved, rotated, scaled, skewed, or all of these at once.
  • 3D Transforms – Rotation is also possible in the 3rd dimension, and the perspective of an element can also be tweaked.
  • Transitions – Transitions allow for dynamic alteration of elements by the user. For instance, a box can be enlarged smoothly on hover, rather than instantly changing the style.
  • Animations – An animation lets an element gradually change from one style to another over a defined time frame. The animation can be divided in stages, starting from 0% of the time frame, up to 100%. Practical examples of this can be found here.
  • Multiple Columns – This allows elements to be divided into columns, similar to the way columns are used in printed materials.
  • User Interface – This brings about a number of distinct changes like the following:
    • Elements such as divs can be set to be resizeable by the user.
    • Box sizing is used to define what the width and height elements relate to, such as the border box of the containing element. A neat demo about box sizing can be found here.
    • Outlining can be used to highlight particular elements without affecting the general layout since they do not take up space.

 Responsive Web Design

Responsive Web Design

With mobile internet usage becoming ever more accessible, websites nowadays not only need to cope for a variety of sizes for desktop monitors but also for the smaller screens of mobile devices. Responsive web design is the practice of building a website suitable to work on every device and every screen size, no matter how large or small, mobile or desktop. This subject has been extensively covered by Ethan Marcotte in this book, below we will be covering a few of the basics required to achieve this.

First let’s clear the jargon often used to describe these kind of websites.

  • Responsive: This usually refers to the smooth way a website reacts when the browser window is adjusted.
  • Adaptive: This also adjusts to browser dimensions, but is usually made up of preset factors.
  • Mobile: These sites are purpose built for mobile use only, and are separate from the desktop version of the site.

To achieve a responsive website three main elements need to be in place, these are flexible layouts, flexible media and media queries.

Flexible Layouts and Flexible Media refer to the practice of having a flexible grid built using relative length units, most commonly percentages or em units. This concept is also applied to any media present in the site so that the content scales uniformly.

Media Queries are used to apply certain CSS styles only when particular screen settings are met. These can be applied either by including a separate stylesheet directly in the HTML, by using @media rules, or by importing a stylesheet from the CSS itself:

<!-- Separate CSS File -->

/* @media Rule */
@media all and (max-width: 1024px) {…}

/* @import Rule */
@import url(styles.css) all and (max-width: 1024px) {…}

Full documentation about the syntax of these rules can be accessed here. Below are a few examples:

/* Applied to any screen type which is wide between 800px and 1024px */
@media all and (min-width: 800px) and (max-width: 1024px) {...}

/* Applied only to browsers who are able to read media queries
* and who are on a computer screen with portrait orientation */
@media only screen and (orientation: portrait) {…}

/* Applied all devices with an aspect ratio of 16/9 */
@media all and (min-device-aspect-ratio: 16/9) {…}

The viewport meta tag goes hand in hand with media queries since it ensures websites are loaded using the device’s dimensions, rather than fully zoomed out to fit. This was initially developed by apple, however it is now supported in most browsers. A full list of properties can be found here.

<meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width"/>

Firefox provides an excellent tool to experiment with responsiveness. This can be accessed from the developer menu or by pressing ctrl+shift+m.

References:
Business Process Reengineering

Business Process Reengineering

Several process enhancement frameworks such as Six Sigma and Business Process Re-engineering (BPR)have contributed to an increased efficiency and customer relation gains in back office companies throughout the globe.

 What is Business Process Reengineering?

Michael Hammer introduced the concept of Business Process Re-engineering in an article published back in the 1990 by the Harvard Business Review.  However it was only after the publishing of his best seller book; Reengineering the Corporation;  that this concept really took off.

Business Process Re-engineering is used by management of organisations as a tool to improve the performance of their organisation. It entails the re-thinking of the processes currently in place, identifying objectives over and above the existing targets and what will benefit the company in order to:

  • Improve the quality and speed of the service provided
  • Reduce the costs incurred whilst providing the service
  • Deliver added value to the customer

Business Process Reengineering

 Throughout these past two decades managers throughout the globe emphasised the need of a “carte blanche” approach to drastically re-design the organisation from its foundation. In order to reach the aim of the BPR, commitment, co-operation and communication is a requirement throughout the whole organisation being that three of the fundamental components of a successful BPR are people, information and communication channels.

Michael Hammer in his book argues that in order for a business to make:

“a leap to improve the cost, quality, service, speed and other operational foundation of the modern enterprise, [the] enterprise should take fundamental rethinking and radical reform in business processes”  *  (Michael Hammer)

 Why should a company Reengineer?

Based on the concept defined by Michael Hammer, whilst developing the new objectives and process criteria, the management of a company should not take anything for granted but questions each existing procedure.

 The main reasons why companies re-engineer their processes is to maintain their competitiveness in the global market.  Competitiveness should be achieved with the minimum cost possible.   Changes in customer needs and preferences is also a factor which should be kept into consideration when developing the outline of the new processes.

Other factors which might lead an organisation to seek reengineering are:

  • Social responsibility
  • Revisions in a countries legislation
  • Ethical issues

Having a strong IT infra-structure, is an essential component for a successful BPR since technology can minimise costs, reduce steps implemented in current structures and also provide enhanced communication points within the organisation.

“to improve is to change, so to be perfect is to change often” *2 (Winston Churchill)

 Changes brought about by BPR and Restraining factors

The main changes which will occur in a company throughout the implementation of the BPR are:

  • changes in the organisational structure
  • changes in the roles and responsibilities of the personnel throughout the structure
  • a change in the culture and mentality within the organisation

Other factors however might tarnish a successful BPR from being implemented. Some of these factors are outlined below:

  • Resistance of personnel to changes which might be brought about by a not so good relationship between the management and employees
  • Management and employees might resist the changes brought about by the BPR due to a strong commitment to the existing processes and a fear of failure.
  •  Lack of communication between the departments involved in the BPR

 Misconceptions of process re-engineering

One of the arguments brought again BPR by contemporary employees is that labour forces are reduced within the company in order to reduce the costs required to provide the service / product

Business Process Reengineering

In reality BPR focuses on providing a better service to the customer vis a vis increased benefits to the organisation, but not by reducing the labour force, but by enhancing processes with the support of modern technology and also through the improvement of soft skills such as leadership and customer-oriented mentality.

by Brendan Curmi

References

Different Learning Styles

Different learning styles

Every individual adopts his own learning style and technique.

What are the different learning styles?

These are different methods how people tend to learn new matters. There is no fixed learning style – a  person combines an assortment of learning styles.  Some may find that a particular style is dominant to another, with far less use of other kinds.  Others may find that they use various forms depending on the circumstance and scenario.  There is no right or wrong technique.  The dominant learning style is developed throughout a life time.

The Management adopts a learning styles according to the recipient. Multiple learning styles and new approaches are implemented in order to guide, mentor and support staff.  The old schooling method is being developed.  In a modern world, the classroom basis, book-based teaching, repetitions and pressured exams are being reinforced and reviewed.  The main problem in this old school method is that one may often label those who are “bright” and those who do not find these methods effective as students of the “lower class”.  This can create positive and negative spirals of classifying recipients into smart or dumb.

The trainer has to recognize and understand the trainee’s own learning style and adopt the best suitable technique. This improves the speed and the quality of the learning outcome.

There are 8 different learning styles which may be implemented:

  • Visual (spatial): the usage of pictures and images.
  • Aural (auditory – musical): the usage of sound and music
  • Verbal (linguistic): the usage of words in speech and writing
  • Physical (kinesthetic): the usage of the body, hands and sense of touch
  • Logical (mathematical): the usage of logic, reasoning and systems
  • Social (interpersonal): the learning method in groups and other people
  • Solitary (intrapersonal): the learning method of being alone and use self-studies
  • Natural (experience): the usage of past experiences to continue develop upon the capabilities

Different Learning Styles

These learning styles guide people to their particular learning approach. They also influence the individual’s experiences and even the phraseology when communicating.

Research shows that each learning style uses different parts of the brain. Stimulation of the brain during the learning process enables the individual  to better  remember what is being learnt. Researchers using brain-imaging technologies have been able to find out the key areas of the brain responsible for each learning style.

The old school method of lecturing and sitting in classes is not the most affective manner to for anyone to develop his learning skills.

Class tuition is being updated through these methods – learners are being supported to improve their knowledge input and eventual attitude.

References
System-Analysis

The Benefits of System Analysis

Every organisation has several businesses and systems that function individually and cohesively to achieve a set of targets.

System analysis is the detailed evaluation of a particular system to identify areas for improvements and make any enhancements if necessary. This includes; gathering the company requirements and researching the path to be taken to effect these requirements. The ultimate target is to have a fully operational system in place which provides efficiency and reliability to the organisation.

A question which is often asked regarding system Analysis is “What are the benefits of system analysis?”

Costs, Efficiency & Flexibility
When a system analysis is properly performed, it makes certain that the correct path is taken with regards to applications and it helps to minimize errors which reduce future IT requirements for fixing problems. If the above process is performed properly, it will not only save the company money up front but ensures that the right application path is being taken the 1st time, growth and business charge considerations have been accounted to accommodate future plans, and errors are kept to a minimum thereby mitigating future IT overhaul requirements.

Better Management; Better controls
System analysis allows for better management through changing the software to suit any business changes, this means that the final product will be totally controllable. If changes or enhancements are required, the requirement of rewriting the whole software will be removed, which is normally costly.

Risks
Through the process potential threats are identified. A risk assessment is carried out to evaluate all the negative impacts on the processes. After deeply considering this, a comparison of the risk is made against the related benefits and a decision is taken accordingly.

Quality
The quality of the systems is ensured through the checking of the system constantly through system analysis.

System-Development-Life-Cycle

Although System analysis offers an extensive range of benefits it might also have some disadvantages. One of the main disadvantages which is mostly overlooked is the risk of too much analysing which may be costly and time consuming. It is therefore part of the analyst’s job to find the right balance.

Here at FTIAS we constantly focus on providing deep system analysis in order to custom build the system according to the company’s requirements. This also includes certain off-the-shelf software such as SAP. This will allow us to continuously enhance and develop the systems to provide further efficiency into our processes.

We also use external diagramming and graphics applications such as Microsoft Visio in order to produce detailed flowcharts to highlight all the movement and actions involved in a particular system,

System analysis is the first step of a 7 step approach called System Development Life Cycle as highlighted in the diagram above used to achieve a successful system implementation.

by Jacqueline Thorpe & Jason Cauchi

References:

The five faces of Lean Six Sigma at FTIAS

Have you ever recognized that certain processes have lack of effectiveness and inefficiencies in your organisation? Do you feel that there is lack of professionalism when dealing with your customers? Do you have content customers? What approach should you consider? We have the right answer.

The Lean six sigma methodology is a managerial concept for process improvement. Lean is the collection of techniques to eliminate time needed to provide a service or good, while on the other hand Six Sigma is a collection of techniques to improve the quality of either products or service.

To improve the business strategy we will need both techniques to operate more efficiently and effectively. This methodology is most effective for corporate development.

To adopt this methodology we need to break down our fundamental problem for a full insight, in five different phases.

Large Image 1

Before we start it is vital that we choose a good project for improvement. To qualify as so, one needs to analyse if:

  1. There is an evident problem within the process
  2. The end result would have an increase in profits and lessen costs by enhancing efficiency
  3. Data can be collected

By using the right project, the Lean Six Sigma methodology will provide guidelines to eliminate any obstacles.

Now, have we chosen our right project? Then let’s start refining our processes by using DMAIC model, our five concept method to deliver quantifiable results.

Define – Is the first phase to articulate the problem. During this phase the project team will begin to understand the needs of our customers, goals and any potential resources. This is a very critical stage, as the project team needs to define the scope of the project, set boundaries and project timelines.

Measure – Here we would need to collect data. From where shall we start? The purpose of this level is to establish performance baselines, by measuring the performance metric and comparing it to the required or defined performance. The team will assess the appropriate measuring system needed for accuracy and precision.

Analyse – Now it is time to analyze our data and reveal the root cause of the inefficiencies. Sets of different data will be collected in order to verify the roots causing waste and defects. At this point the team might decide to adjust collected data and include additional information. Once they list and prioritise the problems, the group discuss the contributions to these problems and ways on how to eliminate them.

Improve – During this phase the team will identify, test and implement a solution. Once the project team is satisfied with the results obtained from the analysis, they will devise methods to address these deficiencies. By now the team would have already collected ideas of improvement throughout the project and thus what’s left is to structure and find an innovative new process, adding up or changing the current process.

During these improvements, the group assess the new solutions and ensures better results with effective returns. The team keeps on improving the process until perfection is reached.

Control – Last but not least is the control mechanisms which sustains the new strategies and help the management control and monitor success. Throughout this phase the project team will pass the structure to the employees through training methods. At this stage it is very important to document progress and create a control plan to assess stability to avoid problems throughout the implementation. The team needs to keep the learning curve in mind as during this stage employees will not give their best in efficiency.

Large Image 2

Using the Lean Six Sigma methodology at FTIAS has led to various positive results. Today a lot of big companies around the world use this business strategy and apply it in there daily decision making. Our objective is to follow these companies and make best use of these five strategic phases when implementing or revising processes for better and positive results.

by Erika Catania

References
IT Help desk

The difference between a Software Development Team and an IT Helpdesk Team

Dear readers, today I will be writing on a very not-so-understood matter, which is the difference between an IT Software Development Team and an IT Helpdesk Team.

From day to day each of the above teams/departments experiences a one of a kind problem which seems to exists in many companies. Employees tend to request for assistance within the wrong department. Most common issues are, asking a Software Developer to come fix your computer, or asking an IT Technician to solve a bug in a particular in-house application. These two scenarios are extremely common, and while each team tries to do it’s best to avoid such scenarios, each team should always show compassion to the user not to inflict further frustration.

So to start with, what are the main duties of each team? Well, the Software Development Team develops software or applications for the company (or for external clients, mentioned hereafter as “the user”). IT Helpdesk Team (also known as Systems & Services Support) have the duty of servers upkeep, computers/workstations maintenance, hardware replacements and overall responsibility for keeping the Company’s infrastructure working all the time. On the other hand, the Software Development team is responsible for development, which is the creation of new applications and computer tools to enhance a process, maintenance of these systems, support and research for new technologies which may help the company in some way or another. In a nutshell, both IT Teams are well versed in IT, but both have their own speciality and rarely can be interchangeable. So with that said, it would be best that the users are aware which Team is responsible of what. At the end of the day, the user will always be helped, but going to the right team immediately will make the process easier for everyone.

Software Development vs IT Help desk

To end up this article, I want to insist how much important the following points are: Communication, compassion and empathy. Whether if you are a Dev guy, IT Tech or the user these 3 points will surely make everyone’s day better,

by Oliver M Grech

Prince2 Planning Theme

PRINCE2 Project Management Methodology at FTIAS

Project management is the art of achieving one-off organisational (or even other) goals in the agreed time, cost and quality criteria, whilst at the same time mitigating risk, meeting customer expectations, and remaining within the original scope of the project. In order to balance these different aspects of project expectations, an organisation will often assign an individual with the right qualities as a project manager to lead the project. A successful project manager will generally possess good leadership and motivational skills to manage resources effectively, and will also have the ability to negotiate with suppliers and take unbiased decisions.

In a Utopian world, projects are completed within all of the agreed deadlines and constraints. In reality however, even with a skilled project manager leading the project, deadlines are often unmet- and this is something that is common in each and every sector. If one had to observe the causes of time slippages, overspends and scope deviations, the main causes can be summed up into the following generic reasons:

  • Factors which both directly and indirectly affect the project (anything ranging from resource activity, the quality of component materials, server stability etc.) are often external to the control of the project manager. In fact, during the estimation of a project time frame, it is common practice to make certain assumptions about these kinds of factors. Depending on the attitude of the project manager, (whether optimistic, realistic or pessimistic) a certain amount of tolerances are often requested from management, in order to make way for these uncontrollable factors and ultimately increase the probability of project success.
  • The second, most common reason for projects going off their original plan is change. Change can hatch from a numerous amount of sources, and this is especially true in a dynamic industry. Not only can the fundamental requirements for projects change due to business requirements, however people’s moods, situations and attitudes change almost constantly and this can sometimes have a direct impact on the project.

Project Management Comic

Taking these factors into consideration, finishing a project on time can often feel like an overwhelming challenge. However, thanks to the various project management methodologies that are in place with the scope of controlling  and managing these features in a reasonable manner, the job of a Project Manager can be made much simpler.

Thanks to training courses for project managers such as PRINCE2 (an acronym for Projects IN Controlled Environments, version 2), professionals can learn about key ideas and methodologies that can develop their skills as a project manager, as well as how to apply this knowledge to their everyday roles while working on a project.

PRINCE2 is a process-driven project management methodology which originates from the I.T. industry. This structured methodology for managing projects in the public and private sectors details from start to finish all the required activities to execute in a project.  Focusing on key risk areas, it guides the Project Management team as well as the organisation on how to create a successful project whilst offering greater flexibility and control.

PRINCE2 is based on seven principles (continued business justification, learn from experience, defined roles and responsibilities, manage by stages, manage by exception, focus on products and tailored to suit the project environment) and seven themes (business case, organization, quality, plans, risk, change and progress) which are all managed during seven processes (directing a project, starting up, initiation, managing stage boundaries, controlling a stage, managing project delivery, closing a project).

The application of the PRINCE2 methodology at FTIAS has been be incredibly beneficial, not only to the Projects Team, but also to the company as a whole. The different project strategies which were set up have aided project managers to take control of the project variables and ultimately reach each of the project targets in a more efficient way. The strategies which are suggested by PRINCE2 have helped create a more holistic overview of risk mitigation, a better form of quality control, a clear and communication strategy, as well as pre-defined roles and responsibilities for each member in the project team. Most importantly, PRINCE2 has set a structured process for project management and has served as a backbone for successful project delivery.

by Hannah Farrugia

References:
Social Media Strategy

Social Media as part of your Corporate Strategy

I guess many of you have heard about social media and the weight companies are putting on such a medium when designing their corporate strategies, but when one drills down to how exactly social media should be used, few answers emerge.

Let’s start by defining social media. As per the Digital Marketing Institute;

“Social Media is a catch-all term used to describe the tools and technologies that facilitate social interaction over the internet.”

In simple terms, social media is a web based platform (like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Youtube. Pinterest, Instagram amongst others) that allows users to construct a personal or professional profile from where they can share news and data and connect with other users.

So, how good are you at Social Media? How can we maximise our returns from such mediums? To get started, one would need to:

1. Listen – First listen to what your customers are saying. Join and subscribe to diverse groups on various social media platforms, in order to:

  • Keep up with trends in customer needs,
  • Know what your customers are complaining about,
  • What they would like to have added to your product,
  • What do they like about your product.

Above that, one can use #tags related to your product in social media searches. This will give you an insight of all the tweets, comments, and pictures where your product was mentioned.

2. Demographics – Identify who is talking about your product (know their age, sex and location). This will help you in defining your current customers.

3. Find the Influencers -Recognise the brand experts. Those who have a big influence on your customers, and connect with them. By doing so, one would be able to ask them questions, test products on them, and eventually better shape the thoughts of such influencers.

4. Identify your Goals – Define your goals based on three levels:

  • Business Goals (Profits / Sales / Lead Generation)
  • Customer Goals (Repeat Purchase / Referral / Customer satisfaction)
  • Marketing Goals (Conversion / Engagement / Branding / Reach)

5. Select your Social Medias -The next step would be the selection of the social medias which your company will start using. This will be mainly dependent on the social medias which your customers are already present on.

Social-Media

6. Implementation –Consequently, you would need to publish your campaigns through the selected social medias in order to promote and market your products and services to your targeted customers. Here we are referring to the use of Facebook Pages, LinkedIn Groups and Facebook Events, just to mention a few.

7. Analysis –Now that you went live with your promotions and social media strategy, there is one final important step. The pinnacle that will give you the lead when compared to traditional marketing, which is the ‘Iterate’ factor. But what do we mean by iterate?

Well, in Digital Marketing, we can now review our campaigns whilst running, (this can be done through the vast range of analytics that are available on diverse social medias).Tweak them to better suit our audience, and re-publish them again. A process which can be done over and over again to fine tune your campaigns to perfection.

Always remember TIMITI

  • TI – Try It,
  • MI Measure It,
  • TI Tweak It, cause you are never done

Ready to give it a shot?

by Alexander Barbara

REFERENCES
VAT-in-Malta

VAT in Malta

VAT is a form of multistage consumption tax which is imposed on every supply of good or service which is borne by the final consumer. For a supply to be subject to VAT, the transaction must be made for a consideration which is capable of being expressed in money terms and there must be a direct link between the consideration and the good/service supplied.

Every taxable person in Malta, who carries out an economic activity, is required to register for VAT purposes under the Articles provided in the VAT Act. However, if a taxable person established in Malta has a turnover in a calendar year which does not exceed €7,000, such taxable person can choose to either register or not for VAT. If he decides to register, he will automatically fall under Article 10 of the VAT Act and charge VAT at the applicable rates (the standard VAT rate in Malta is 18%), and claim VAT return incurred on expenses and overheads that are directly connected with the provision of such supplies. The conditions of such exemption are found in the Value Added Tax (Exemption from registration) regulations 2011 (LN 524/2010).

Article 10 Registration

Article 10 is considered to be the standard VAT registration that applies in most cases. A taxable person registered under Article 10 is assigned a Malta VAT number with an MT prefix. Such person is required to charge VAT on all supplies of taxable goods or taxable services and are entitled to a VAT return on purchases incurred with the furtherance of his business. Registration under Article 10 may be divided in 4 categories:

Category 1 – Persons who make a supply for a consideration

This category applies for the following 2 scenarios:

  1. A taxable person established in Malta who makes a supply of goods in Malta. Such person is required to register under Article 10 by not later than 30 days from the date he makes his first supply.
  2. A taxable person established in Malta and makes a supply of services to another Business within the EU is required to be registered under Article 10 by not later than 30 days from the date of the supply of service.

Category 2 – Persons who are required to register as a result of a request by the VAT Commissioner

A taxable person who is established in Malta may be required to register under Article 10 if it is so requested by the VAT commissioner within 30 days from date of notice.

Category 3 – Taxable persons that are not established in Malta

Taxable persons that are not established in Malta but who are due to pay tax in Malta, are required to register under Article 10 within 30 days from date of supply. However this is not necessary when the simplification procedure is applicable (Triangulation).

Category 4 – Optional Registration

Any person who is not already registered and who carries on, or intends to carry on an economic activity may apply to be registered under Article 10.

VAT-in-Malta

Article 11 Registration

Small undertakings may opt to apply under Article 11 of the VAT Act. Such taxable persons will be exempted from charging VAT on the supply of taxable goods or services. However such registered persons will not be entitled for any VAT return for the input tax incurred in his economic activity. They are required to submit a declaration instead of VAT returns. This declaration is to be submitted on a calendar year basis and falls due by the 15th February of the following year. Persons registered under Article 11 are required to issue fiscal receipts instead of invoices.

Registration under Article 11 is subject to adherence of the following criteria:

  • Must be a taxable person established in Malta
  • Not already registered under Article 10
  • Carries an economic activity which qualifies as a small undertaking

To qualify as a small undertaking the below sales amounts must be met in the relevant period:

Category Entry Exit
Supply of goods €35,000 €28,000
Supply of services with a low value added €24,000 €19,000
Other economic activities €14,000 €120,000

 

The entry threshold is a benchmark that if exceeded creates an obligation for a person to register under Article 10. The exit threshold creates an option (not an obligation) to deregister from being registered under Article 10 and become registered under Article 11. However, a person that is registered under Article 10 is not allowed to cancel his registration so as to register under Article 11 during the first 36 months of his registration under Article 10.

Article 12 Registration

Registration under Article 12 is mandatory when:

  1. A taxable person not registered under article 10 and a non-taxable legal person who makes an intra-community acquisition/s which exceeds €10,000 in a calendar year. In such case he shall apply to be registered under Article 12 by not later than the date of acquisition.
  2. A taxable person established in Malta and not registered under Article 10, who receives services for which he is liable to pay VAT by way of the reverse charge. In such case, the taxable person is required to register under Article 12 by not later than the date on which he receives the supply of services.

Therefore if a person is registered under article 11, as an exempt taxable person, and makes an Intra-Community acquisitions of goods or obtain Intra-Community Services on which he is liable to pay VAT in Malta, then such person needs to register also under article 12 to obtain a valid identification number for this purpose and qualify for such arrangement. Registration under Article 12 turns into an obligation only if the total value of such purchase exceeds the threshold of €10,000 since the start of the calendar year. An article 10 registered person does not need to register under article 12 as both are mutually exclusive.

by Luca Cini

DISCLAIMER – Please be advised that the information in these notes is provided as guidance. The notes are simply guidelines and not legal documents providing legally binding rulings.
 
REFERENCEShttp://www.vat.gov.mt/en/VAT-Information/
Corporate-Training

Get the most out of your training sessions

Have you ever thought how one gets to learn? What are the skills that the trainer needs to possess in order to get the most out of his/her training session? There are thousands of answers to these questions however the basic for delivering a good training session all lie in possessing good Listening and Communication skills. As stated by King, G., good listening skills and excellent communication skills are the two most important factors. Rachel Naomi Remen, used to say;

“The most basic and powerful way to connect to another person is to listen. Just listen. Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention”

(Remen, R. N.)

Listening

During a training session the trainer must be able to listen to any difficulties the trainee must have. S/he must be able to focus and understand the reason being such a difficulty. If the trainer misses this out, it will obviously lead to insecurities for the person receiving the training ending up with not asking questions if s/he gets stuck another time. The ten principles for good listening whilst conducting training sessions are:

  • Stop talking
  • Prepare yourself to listen
  • Put the trainee at ease
  • Remove distractions
  • Empathise (get into the trainee shoes)
  • Be patient
  • Avoid personal prejudice
  • Listen to the tone
  • Listen for ideas – not just words
  • Wait and watch for non-verbal communication

Listening-Skills

Communicating

It is interesting to know that 55% of communication is composed by body language. Throughout a training session, the trainer should use gestures in order to assist him/her to explain better. Together with gestures, it is also important to stress the presentations, projectors and diagrams used, as they are crucial in setting the right tone for the trainer to convey the message. Not to forget is eye contact which is a vital element in this process. This will help the trainer recognise whether the trainees are on the same wave length or not. It is also a matter of fact that each and every one of us captures information differently. There might be people who start questioning immediately when something is not clear, and there are those which tend to stay back and not asking if something is unclear. Thus, eye contact would play a critical role here.

Together with these two main soft skills mentioned, there are other factors to be taken into consideration such as being well prepared and feeling confident in the material to be covered. (If the trainer is not confident, then, how will the people receiving the training be confident?) The trainer must also ask questions during the session. This will indicate to him whether the session is being correctly delivered or not from the answers received.

The above will help you get the most out of your training sessions. Learn how to master these skills, and you will surprise yourself how much will your training delivery improve. You could than follow up on trainees in order to make sure everything is clear in their minds.

by Jessica Zahra

REFERENCES