Thursday June 4, 2020

Heady times at Taxback

Financial services group Taxback is expanding across the globe at a rapid pace, writes Lorraine Courtney

3rd March, 2019
Sinead Fitzmaurice, chief financial officer at the Taxback Group Picture: Dylan Vaughan

‘Watch this space - it’s a very exciting time across our group,” said Sinead Fitzmaurice, TransferMate co-founder and chief financial officer at the Taxback Group.

“We will be announcing significant global partnerships in the coming months as we continue to make it easier for companies to do business overseas.”

Taxback Group has come a long way since entrepreneur Terry Clune first started helping his classmates to reclaim US income tax from working on summer holidays.

Taxback Group now employs more than 1,500 staff across 25 countries, and is a leading provider of global tax, payment and payroll technology to many of the world’s leading companies.

“Our group solutions have all been developed following our business experiences. In the early years, we incurred significant travel costs trying to develop business abroad. We were paying over 20 per cent Vat on all our overseas business costs, from hotel bills and trade shows to professional fees and transport.

“No one could help us to reclaim this Vat from so many different countries. Once we figured out how to do it for ourselves, we started doing it for others. Our software now integrates with leading accountancy systems, accessing the data we need to recover overseas Vat for our customers,” said Taxback chief executive Catherine Quirke.

Taxback is now a global leader in this sector, with clients including Google, IBM and Bloomberg.

“Our team is everything. Customers are attracted by our cutting-edge technology, but they stay with us due to the brilliant customer experience,” said Quirke.

As business expanded, Taxback experienced significant challenges with sending tax refund payments to customers worldwide.

Traditionally, banks use an outdated system called Swift to send payments internationally, which results in significant charges and payment delays for the business customer.

Clune and Fitzmaurice decided to build a better solution and launched TransferMate in 2011. But to provide a global payments solution, they needed to be regulated across the world.

This is a process which has taken six years and over €30 million to complete, but has created an extremely valuable asset. ING, Europe’s fifth largest bank, and AIB invested €51 million last year, valuing TransferMate at over €350 million, as the business expands and invests in its technology and regulatory infrastructure.

“Using our technology, we eliminate tedious payment admin for companies making overseas payments, while reducing bank fees and payment delays.

“Our solution also helps exporters to collect global payments. For example, every college and university in Ireland uses TransferMate to collect overseas tuition payments.

Internationally, leaders including Oxford and Cambridge use TransferMate to ensure they get paid faster, with no bank charges.

“During 2019, we will partner with more banks and accounting software partners to roll out our solution, while extending our market reach, with regulatory approvals expected in Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan shortly,” said Fitzmaurice.

As companies expand internationally, they will often outsource their overseas payroll function to local payroll providers.

As Taxback opened offices overseas, the management team experienced major payroll challenges due to different languages, time zones and reporting systems. They decided to build an alternative solution and launched Immedis in 2016.

Immedis co-founder and chief executive Ruairi Kelleher is very proud of the result. “In Immedis, the group has built an unrivalled technology which computes and manages payroll across 146 countries through one centralised platform. This brings unparalleled control and analytics to the global payroll function,” he said.

Immedis is growing rapidly, and concluded its first acquisition in New Jersey in 2017. Clients range from leading Irish firms like First DeriVatives and ESB International, to global giants including Columbia University, Airbus and Wayfair.

Kelleher was delighted that golfer Shane Lowry joined as a brand ambassador in 2018. Lowry himself has achieved massive success this year, winning the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.

Synergy is key to Clune’s business strategy. Immedis calculates the global payroll, while TransferMate transfers the wages overseas and Taxback helps those companies to reclaim their overseas Vat. Technology and people are central to growth.

“Our technology teams now exceed 200 people across the group,” said Fitzmaurice. “We have secured the European ISO27001 information security standard, and SOC2 is next. Our priority is to continue recruiting and retaining the most innovative and capable people across Taxback, TransferMate and Immedis.

“Deloitte is one of the leading financial service brands in the world. We are thrilled to be awarded the Platinum Standard Award this year and to receive this recognition from Deloitte.

“Taxback Group has continued to expand and develop since we first entered the Deloitte Best Managed programme. This award validates that our client-focused approach to business.”

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