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ISLAMABAD: Befiler has won a grant for a digital experiment from Karandaaz Pakistan to encourage electronic return filing by the working women class in the county. Karandaaz Pakistan is a not-for-profit funded by the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF).

Details revealed that the Befiler participated in the recent round of Karandaaz’s Digital Experiment Program, and won the grant through a competitive application process. The grant will support Befiler’s vision of promoting tax compliance in Pakistan through digitalization of tax filing process; specifically encouraging women’s participation in financial and tax matters.

The grant will be specifically utilized for promoting tax filing among working women so that they could digitally file their tax returns and handle other business thereby. This will decrease women’s reliance on male family members for in-person meetings with consultants for legal and tax matters.

For Pakistan, embracing digital financial services remains a challenge. The gap is especially wide as only 7% of women in Pakistan are financially included compared to 20% of men. However, Befiler’s user stats reveal that although female users are only 5% of total users, their conversion rate from sign up on Befiler to successful tax filing is more than double compared to male counterparts. This demonstrates that women are more serious about financial and tax matters in comparison to males. Through this grant, Befiler plans to test out interventions specially designed to encourage more women to become active tax filers through Befiler’s user friendly mobile app and outcomes of communication using A/B testing. The lessons learned through the experiment will be widely disseminated for diffusion and uptake to push the entire ecosystem forward.

Akbar Tejani, CEO Befiler Pakistan expressed, “Befiler aims to directly target women for tax filing in hopes to have a higher involvement from them in finance and tax matters. Through this exercise, we hope to give rise to opportunities to women to experience focused and directed marketing encouraging them to engage in tax filing process. This will help in moving past the stereotype that the financial and tax matters are to be led by men in their families. Our alliance with Karandaaz Pakistan is directed towards the execution of strategies to support women empowerment through focused targeting, and facilitation.”

Waqas ul Hasan, CEO Karandaaz Pakistan said, “Karandaaz is pleased to join hands with Befiler, the pioneer of the digital tax filing platform in Pakistan focusing on introducing women to the use of technology for the tax filing process. Through the Digital Experiments Program, Karandaaz is supporting businesses to research on and understand the gaps in the market with respect to uptake and usage of digital financial services. The objective of the program is to support digital financial service providers test out different hypotheses on a real consumer base and compare results of different versions to identify the sweet spot for successful interventions. We hope that the experiment by Befiler will help in determining possibilities for increasing tax filing among women leading to further self-sufficiency and empowerment. We are grateful to our sponsors UK’s FCDO and BMGF whose funding is helping us support such initiatives that make digitalization a common norm, providing footmarks for future ideas.”

The economy of Pakistan is undergoing a change in terms of increased women owned businesses and the need for women-specific tax training products is becoming imperative. The digital experiment of Befiler will start by creating user samples and as part of the first phase of the experiment, Befiler will roll out a new app interface to specifically engage women through in-app content and communication. In the second phase efficiency of incentive versus fear based communication will be tested. Through this experiment, Befiler looks forward to set a new way ahead for women to be addressed as a target group for tax and financial products.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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