A future of flexibility at Taxback Group!

While the last few months have undoubtedly presented a number of challenges, it’s fantastic to be able to look positively ahead to the future. Taxback Group’s priority is the health, safety and wellbeing of our employees. The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in over 90% of our workforce working from home. As we consider a safe […]

03 Sep 2020

Terry Clune, Founder and CEO of Taxback Group: “Coronavirus did not have any direct impact on our business”

The last few months haven’t been easy by any means. We have been, and continue to be, faced with unprecedented and ever-changing challenges due to Covid-19. At Taxback Group, we’re extremely lucky to have amazing leaders and a workforce that has continued to collaborate, innovate and deliver, while adapting to the new situation very quickly. […]

08 Jul 2020

Sprintax TDS awarded one of the best entrepreneurship projects of 2020 by b2b Media

Taxback.com is celebrating the recognition it received for “Successful Entrepreneurship in Crisis” at the 6th annual b2b Media Awards Ceremony. The ceremony took place on the 2nd of July in the Nova Art Space Gallery in Sofia. Taxback.com received this recognition for the newest product in their portfolio of services – Sprintax TDS. The awards […]

06 Jul 2020

Taxback Group wins the Multisport Sneakers Day competition

We’re delighted to announce that Taxback Group have won the Multisport Sneakers Day 2020 competition! Taxback Group’s inspiring video, which features the beautiful seaside of Varna, has received the highest score from Multisport’s Facebook followers. The video aims to remind everyone that an active lifestyle can bring not only health, but also increased productivity, smiles, […]

08 May 2020

Nikolay Rusev, Taxback.com: “Fearlessly meet the new global conditions, think outside of the box, and trust your teams”

Taxback.com is one of the few employers in Varna that are still recruiting talent, despite the COVID-19 crisis. At the moment, the company is hiring PHP developers for its software development team in Varna, who will ensure the development of online self-prep tax software for non-residents and J-1 visa holders in the US. Here’s what Nikolay […]

27 Apr 2020

Transition Year Programme 2019!

This year saw us trial our first ever Transition Work Experience Programme. During the year we received a large amount of applications from Transition Year students interested in work placement and our CEO Terry Clune wanted to introduce a structured programme that would give priority to family and children whose relatives were employees. We partnered […]

14 Jan 2020

A future of flexibility at Taxback Group!

While the last few months have undoubtedly presented a number of challenges, it’s fantastic to be able to look positively ahead to the future.

Taxback Group’s priority is the health, safety and wellbeing of our employees. The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in over 90% of our workforce working from home. As we consider a safe return to an office environment, we want to provide flexible work possibilities to our teams whilst continuing to meet our group objectives of growth, innovation, delivering for our customers and being ‘One Team’.

What are we doing? 

Introducing a Flexible Working Policy post covid that will:

  • Provide employees with the opportunity to work remotely on an ongoing basis
  • Introduce part-time roles and the opportunity to job-share
  • Offer a more casual dress code once we return to the office
  • Allow staff to work more flexible hours by, for example, starting work earlier/later, finishing work earlier/later or having a longer lunch break

Work-life balance is hugely important to all of us at Taxback Group and we’re delighted to be introducing a number of positive measures that will ensure our people can successfully balance their work and family lives.

Check out our most recent #TaxbackTV, where Terry Clune, CEO and Founder of Taxback Group, talks about the challenges the company has successfully faced , while also looking ahead to the future and considering the positive elements that the pandemic has brought about.

Terry Clune, Founder and CEO of Taxback Group: “Coronavirus did not have any direct impact on our business”

The last few months haven’t been easy by any means. We have been, and continue to be, faced with unprecedented and ever-changing challenges due to Covid-19. At Taxback Group, we’re extremely lucky to have amazing leaders and a workforce that has continued to collaborate, innovate and deliver, while adapting to the new situation very quickly. But what’s the secret behind our success?

Terry Clune, Founder and CEO of Taxback Group, met exclusively (and virtually) with Economy.bg to share some valuable insights about how Taxback Group has adapted to the Covid-19 pandemic and his inspiring story of building a sustainable business from scratch.

Mr. Clune, how the Covid-19 pandemics affected your business in Bulgaria? Do you have canceled or on hold projects? In which business domains?

Coronavirus did not have any direct impact on our business. The services we provide are global, we’re not specific to one region or one industry and we provide a range of different financial services, mainly to global companies so our global business has not really stopped to any major extent. We’ve been very successful at continuing to trade during the pandemic because of our tremendous team of people in Varna and across the world who are very committed, very experienced and very capable. We appreciate the work that all of our team have done across the world in getting through this difficult time.

What were the main challenges for Taxback in Bulgaria to adapt to the new situation?

Coronavirus has been challenging for every business across the world and it would have been more challenging for us but we adapted what we do very quickly, we were able to move our team to remote working very quickly. All of our teams are now working successfully from home and I expect that will continue to some extent into the future.

Regarding working from home there were some expectations.I expected that working from home would have an impact on our team’s productivity but I’m very thankful that our team really got focused and straight back into their work and from what we’ve seen most people have been even more productive in working from home. They’ve really gotten behind the business during the coronavirus pandemic and we’ve managed to get through it successfully thanks to everyone playing their part.

Is your staff still working from home? Do you plan to continue with this model?

For us it’s not really about whether we work from home or work in the office. Simply, it’s important for us that people are able to do their job wherever they are, be they at home or at work, it doesn’t really matter. I think into the future, I imagine many of our people will probably work half the time from home and half the time from the office.

Remote working will definitely be an option, yes. It won’t suit everybody but for those who wish to have that facility and are able to continue to perform it will definitely be a key option. I think it will be good for people and their lifestyles. Not having to commute or commuting less will mean more time at home with family for people. These are all valuable benefits for people and it’s definitely something that we’re keen to support into the future.

People with what skills and qualifications will you need?

Over the nineteen years now that we’ve been in Varna the work that we do has changed. It used to be very administrative and many of the people at the beginning of our business were involved in administrative roles. Now many of those roles have changed. They have become more expertise orientated, expertise in payroll, expertise in payments, expertise in taxes etc. We also have a much larger technology team now than ever before. We currently work with nearly 150 people in technology across Bulgaria.

Ultimately, the work here has changed from administrative to using technology to provide the services and with that roles and jobs are changing too. Many of the administrative people have now learned new skills and have developed into much higher technology/ higher skilled positions in our business.

So right across our business the work has changed and now more than ever we need highly skilled people. I’m delighted that so many of our team leaders today have grown within the business and have learned and adopted the latest skills.

I also added that we are open to hire young people/with no specific experience/ and develop them within the company + what are the main types of roles that we have in Bulgaria.

Can we expect in result of Covid-19 pandemics Western companies to try to diversify supply chains away from Asia and to go for “nearshoring” in Eastern Europe? How Bulgaria could benefit from such a trend?

I think Bulgaria has done an extraordinary job of keeping the impact of the coronavirus very low in the country. One of the lowest contagion rates in Europe and is clearly a very safe place now and will be into the future to be doing business. The government have absolutely taken this issue very seriously and all the people too have taken it very seriously. Considering this, I think that Bulgaria can be a potential location for any company that is planning to relocate their business from Asia to Eastern Europe ( I added this, so we can answer the question)

If you have to compare Bulgaria with the other countries that you’re a present, where do you see the potential and the challenges?

We’ve always said that Bulgaria is a great place to do business. For example, most recently I’ve seen that wherever I go around Varna the internet connections are so fast. I read recently that Bulgaria have one of the top three internet speeds in the world. So they’re clearly very forward-thinking in terms of technology and in terms of things that really matter to people and to businesses. I think over the last nineteen years I’ve seen dramatic improvements and in terms of the confidence of people there’s been a dramatic increase and also huge positive improvements in the way things are managed here. I’m sure not everything is perfect here, just like any country, but I’ve seen huge improvements in the local economy and local area and hopefully, that can continue forward into the future.

In terms of the Bulgarian people that we’ve been able to recruit and lead our teams here, they boast a wide range of skills from engineering to customer care and languages. There are very smart people here. It’s enabled our business to really grow technology wise and customer care wise across the world.

Yes, there’s a lot of competition in Bulgaria and Varna to hire the best people. We recognise that we want the best people to be working for our business and we’re very fortunate to have a fantastic team here and that’s what has enabled our business to be so successful. We also have a very strong and growing relationship relationships with local universities in Varna and in Veliko Tarnovo that has enabled us to identify people.

Recent surveys of EY and Brookings Institution showed that employers in many countries are speeding up plans to automate their businesses as workers are forced to stay at home during the pandemics. Where do you stand? Do you plan speeding the automation and reducing staff?

I think that this is not something that smart people should be concerned about. In our business, nineteen years ago, it was very non-automated and since then we’ve brought more and more automation to our business but our business has also grown more and more in terms of the number of people. The work that we do is no longer administrative, it’s more technology-enabled which leads to, for many people, more interesting work, more skilled work and more higher value added work. For people who are willing to learn the more modern and updated skills, automation should not be a worry.

Increased automation is definitely happening and our business would be a prime example of the impact of automation on services. I need and want our team to be learning the new skills and to be able to do the technology-enabled jobs.

Again, in our business, we’re not just focusing on one customer or one region. Our services are global, we’ve got customers in virtually every country in the world so it’s really about using the technologies available to provide the best service possible and having the best people driving that forward.

How this crisis will transform the software/fin-tech industry in long-term?

Fintech and financial business is very much changing to using more technology enabled services and we’re very much at the forefront of that. For example, in the payments space with TransferMate we’re building really cutting edge technology to help companies to manage their global payments.

Our business in Varna is a combination of technology-enabled services and services which have a high degree of expertise in areas such as global payroll. For example, we manage the global payroll for Uber and for Harvard from Varna. We manage global VAT tax for IBM and Google from Varna and we provide global services for hundreds of thousands of students who for example, study in North America. We provide tax return expertise to all their universities, so we are doing very significant and important work. Also, Benamic our sales-promotion service will provide technology marketing services to very large companies like Canon.

All of these services need technology but at the same time they need a very high degree of customer care and being able to do both of those things, technology and customer care together is why we continue to be very successful.

Really all of our services are driven by technology and we’ve got very strong technology people in our business in Bulgaria, a couple of which have strong expertise in customer care.

You have gone a long way from the student years returning from a summer in Germany and establishing a company in the kitchen of the family home. What’s the secret of building a sustainable business?   Which are the biggest lessons you’ve learned?

There’s a couple of important things people should think about in terms of that. I’m from a farm in rural Ireland, my parents encouraged me to start business when I was young. The first business I started was when I was eight years old. I used to collect fertiliser bags, plastic bags from farmers and I would fold them neatly and sell them to wood merchants who used them to sell firewood in. This was a great business for me as an eight year old as I was able to my first bike, a yellow BMX bike. However, the biggest business lesson I learned was when I was nine years old. My business went bust when another farmer’s son saw what I was doing and ended up getting a better bag than mine to sell, a see through bag so people could see how much firewood was inside. He ended up taking all my customers as he was able to sell them this better bag and he put me out of business. This was a really, really valuable lesson for me. As I was busy with my yellow BMX bike cycling around every Saturday and Sunday to all my farmers collecting the bags, I would also spend my money on chocolate. Breakfast on a Saturday morning would consist of Snickers bars and I really felt like a cool dude. But I had gotten lazy and a bit complacent, while the kid competing with me asked the customers what he could do better and ended up sourcing a better bag. I lost all my customers then and as a result my business stopped.

There’s always opportunities to see how things can be done better. That was a very important lesson for me. You also need to surround yourself with positive people. People who are progressive rather than people who will hold you back or be critical or negative. In Varna, we’ve been very fortunate to hire an extraordinary team of people. Having fantastic people around you is a key to success for any business. The number one of course is to be hiring the best people, be that in Ireland or in Bulgaria.

We expanded our business to this extent by asking the customers ‘what can we do for you?’, ‘how else can we help?’, ‘what can we do differently or what can we do better?’ and as a result of those questions we now have many different businesses within the Group. If something changes for one business or the market changes, we are not just reliant on one company. Having a series of different businesses takes away an immediate risk.

The lesson here is that what any business must do, no matter if they’re Bulgarian or Irish, is to continue to find out from your customer what they want and stay on the pulse and keep you’re your eyes open for new opportunities because business changes all the time and the second you stop looking at how you could do better you’re going to be finished. The secret of a successful business is constantly wondering ‘how can we do this better?’

Ambition or talent: which matters more to success?

I think success is like Einstein says, 99% hard work and 1% talent. I think talent comes from hard work. Some people are naturally talented but for most people by working at something you can become talented at it. That’s what I tell my kids, I have five children, three boys and two girls and what I would be saying to them would be by working hard at something you can become talented at it. Be it learning to play chess or play a sport, yes some people are naturally talented at those things but by working hard, putting the effort in and continuing to try you can become talented and it’s the same in business. Lots of people have talent but don’t use it so it goes to waste. It’s the people that are moderately talented but put the effort in that become hugely successful. It’s all about making the effort.

Private school or state school?

All of my schooling was in public schools. I think in Europe, for most countries the public school system is very good. I’m not sure what it’s like here in Varna but the EU would be very supportive of Ireland, ensuring that we don’t need to have huge fees for private education. The university sector in Ireland too is ultimately, not crazy expensive compared to places like America.

I think Ireland and Bulgaria have much in common in the education sector. The public system in both countries is what most people use and in general, it’s a good system.

University or straight into work?

I’ve met many people who were successful in business without going to university but I know a lot of them would feel at a disadvantage having not gone to university. University gives you, if anything, confidence. Confidence from getting through it. Many of the people I’ve met in business that have been successful but didn’t go to university would usually say that if they had one regret it would be not going to or not finishing university because of the confidence that it can bring you.

In Ireland now and in Bulgaria, there are very high rates of people going to university which is hugely valuable for the economy into the future. I would be encouraging everyone if possible to try and finish your 3rd level education even though it’s not always easy to do, it brings you such confidence in the long term.

 

This article was originally published on Economy.bg in two parts. Read the original here – part 1: „Таксбек Груп“: Търсенето на таланти при нас не е спирало  and part 2: Как се създава бизнес за милиони от нулата?

 

Sprintax TDS awarded one of the best entrepreneurship projects of 2020 by b2b Media

taxback award

Taxback.com is celebrating the recognition it received for “Successful Entrepreneurship in Crisis” at the 6th annual b2b Media Awards Ceremony. The ceremony took place on the 2nd of July in the Nova Art Space Gallery in Sofia.

Taxback.com received this recognition for the newest product in their portfolio of services – Sprintax TDS. The awards ceremony recognized and celebrated the companies who developed sustainable and innovative projects and products which they developed during the Covid-19 crisis.

Sprintax Tax Determination System (TDS) is a tool that ensures students and scholars are taxed correctly on income earned in the US, so the correct amount of tax is withheld from earnings and reported to the IRS. At the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis, Taxback.com established a new software development team that will add six new functionalities to their current product. The Taxback.com team also secured partnerships with Institute of International Education, City University of New York, University of Portland, Northern Arizona University, and the University of Cincinnati.

taxback award

Commenting on the recognition, Nikolay Rusev, General Manager of Taxback.com shared:

This award is valuable for us. It is a testament to the great potential of our products, and Sprintax TDS in particular. The recognition of b2b Media reminds us that having a long-term vision for your products and services, followed by careful planning and hard work is what matters most for sustainable business. For our team and for our partners this recognition is also a guarantee for stability and reliability.

On behalf of the management of the company, I would like to thank the whole team of developers, business analyzers, and business development specialists, who were engaged in the Sprintax TDS developments and our success.”

Would you like to join our award-winning team?

We’d love to have you! Check out our current vacancies here: www.taxbackcareers.com

 

 

 

Taxback Group wins the Multisport Sneakers Day competition

We’re delighted to announce that Taxback Group have won the Multisport Sneakers Day 2020 competition!

Taxback Group’s inspiring video, which features the beautiful seaside of Varna, has received the highest score from Multisport’s Facebook followers. The video aims to remind everyone that an active lifestyle can bring not only health, but also increased productivity, smiles, and last but not least – good vibes!

We would like to personally thank Elena Stefanova, Dian Georgiev, and Ivaylo Stankov from the Design Team in Varna for their hard work in creating the video.

 

 

In its second consecutive year, the aim of Multisport’s Sneakers Day is to minimize the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle and therefore, aiming to reduce the rates of obesity, cardiovascular problems, cancer, and many other diseases that are directly related to a lack of physical activity.

 

At Taxback Group, the health and wellbeing of our employees is paramount. GroupLife, our Health & Wellbeing Programme, promotes a healthy mind, body and work-life balance and features a jam-packed calendar of events and initiatives throughout the year. These include:

 

  • Discounted gym memberships for our employees and their families
  • Various one-off and ongoing sporting events such as our weekly 5 aside matches, tennis, darts and foosball tournaments, our renowned Wacky Sports Day and much more.
  • Monthly events that focus on the three main pillars of GroupLife which are: mind, body and work-life balance.
  • Our Global Health & Wellbeing Week which features everything from on-site massages to motivational speakers.

 

Given the current circumstances, we have had to adapt a lot of our program to suit our current remote workforce.

  • A suite of webinars covering a number of different topics such as Mental Wellbeing, Positive Parenting and Meditation for Beginners
  • #CoFit19 – A fitness initiative that encouraged our employees to keep active while remote working
  • Zoom-In Leadership Talks – A series of talks on everything from Effective Communication to How to shoot high-quality videos with your phone that were delivered by our employees for our employees in order to promote personal development
  • Virtual Workplace Wellbeing Day

 

Nikolay Rusev, Taxback.com: “Fearlessly meet the new global conditions, think outside of the box, and trust your teams”

Taxback.com is one of the few employers in Varna that are still recruiting talent, despite the COVID-19 crisis. At the moment, the company is hiring PHP developers for its software development team in Varna, who will ensure the development of online self-prep tax software for non-residents and J-1 visa holders in the US. Here’s what Nikolay Rusev, the General Manager of Taxback.com, shared about the company’s ongoing projects and the recruitment of PHP Developers in Varna.

 

Mr. Rusev, would you tell us more about the ongoing project for which you are recruiting developers at the moment?

Taxback.com is currently working on several software products for the American market. These are actually global products, as they help the self-preparation of federal and state tax returns for non-residents from all over the world.  The most popular product from our Software series is called Sprintax, and it is ranked number one on the market. We are currently looking for PHP Developers who will assist the development of a complementary product of this group, called Sprintax TDS. This is used by both chartered accountants, and organizations dealing with tax returns for non-residents, and it’s of great interest to many popular organizations overseas.

You actively participate in the interviews for the positions. What qualities/traits are you looking for in candidates?

Firstly, I am always looking for team players. The team working on Sprintax TDS consists of more than 10 people, who are actively involved in the development of the product and the business logic behind it. Together, with the other micro teams working on this range of software products, the software development team of Taxback.com consists of over 30 IT specialists. Additionally, we are looking for people that don’t take their job and the company environment for granted, and are willing to learn, develop, and add value to the team and to our projects. At Taxback.com, we always use the best in class technologies. The training opportunities are so endless, that they usually surpass our learning capacity.  Last but not least, we are always delighted to welcome hardworking and motivated junior developers.

The current situation is a test for everyone – not only for the employers and the government, who must ensure the physical and economic survival of the people, but for all those who are uncertain about their future, and might have even lost their jobs. If there’s one single piece of advice you can give to the people, what would it be?

I truly believe that the key to overcoming each crisis is to transform the challenges into opportunities. We, as a team, as a company, and as individuals, are always looking for potential business opportunities in places where people usually only see a problem.

All of our employees have been working remotely since the start of the COVID-19 crisis and we have continued to develop our products. This wouldn’t be possible without the latest technologies and our motivated team members. The COVID-19 situation has allowed us to look at things like teamwork, productivity, and work environment, from a completely different perspective.

Back to your question – if there’s a single piece of advice I could give to our employees and managers, it would be: “Fearlessly meet the new global conditions, think outside of the box, and trust your teams.”

 

 

 

 

Transition Year Programme 2019!

This year saw us trial our first ever Transition Work Experience Programme. During the year we received a large amount of applications from Transition Year students interested in work placement and our CEO Terry Clune wanted to introduce a structured programme that would give priority to family and children whose relatives were employees. We partnered with Thriving Teens, a subsidiary of Monroe Development services to create a week- long intensive programme for our Transition Year students. This programme included both instructor led workshops and job placement. It was here that the students were given items to ‘Sell like Hell’. These items included items like donuts and chocolate dipped strawberries. It was our intention to provide the students with a unique insight into the day to day operations of a global multinational organization whilst giving them the opportunity to present their ideas, and their talents to both employees and our CEO Terry Clune.

On their last day, the Transition Year students took part in a “Sell Like Hell” activity where they had to pitch their products to our employees to try and sell them. The event resulted in the students raising over €280 for Cois Nore Cancer Support Centre Kilkenny.

Thank you to everyone who got involved and a massive well done to everyone who took part.