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Team Bizztor got an opportunity to interact with Damien Moras ( founder, MD at VAT4U ). In this exclusive Interview, he shared the story and vision behind VAT4U.
Q: How did you come up with the idea of VAT4U/ What you were doing before that?
I strongly believe in the future of technologies for traditional sectors, I love innovation and changing problems into opportunities.
In this sense, with my Partner Fabian Völkel, we founded VAT4U (www.vat4u.com), the first online application that helps business customers with the recovery of their foreign value-added-tax in an automated way.
VAT4U was founded in 2015, since then you could say we have grown…
Previously, we had been operating a consultancy company, focused on the optimisation of Finance and Tax related processes. One of our services was the outsourcing of Value-Added-Tax recovery for companies.
The biggest challenge in this business is that there is a lot of things to take care with and bear in mind: changes in regulations, administrative burdens, more than 2.000 different VAT rules in the European Union alone, data entry, compliance checks, manipulation of data, emails, the list goes on – It can be costly and risky!
Many companies, like ours, were offering this service Globally. We needed to be different, and thus VAT4U was born.
VAT4U is the fruit of three factors: Expertise, Innovation and Teamwork.
Q: What pain VAT4U is solving for customers?
Companies can reclaim Value-Added-tax on their expenses, even abroad and on travel receipts. The issue for them is that it is a typically cumbersome process that triggers legal aspects, plenty of rules and a lot of manual work.
We estimate that more than 10 billion euros are left on the table each year by businesses because they are lost in this process!
We simply changed this into an easy-to-use online application that can be used by any company. The user captures the expense data from an invoice (e.g. a Hotel invoice in Germany) and VAT4U automates the VAT recovery calculation and the submission of its VAT claims to the relevant Tax Administration.
We even offer to users a ‘GOLD’ service: they send us their invoices and we take care of the rest – we take care of EVERYTHING!
Our business model is pretty straight forward: we charge a commission fee based on the amount of VAT reclaimed.
Q: What kind of businesses/ People are you working with?
We serve companies from many different countries around the Globe. We have three types of customers: SMEs, Large Multinationals & Global Conglomerates and Experts (VAT Specialists or Tax Advisors), who operate their VAT refund service through VAT4U to increase efficiency and deliver better results to their customers.
Q: Tell us about your team, What’s your secret to getting the right team for your company?
Our HQ is based in Düsseldorf, Germany and we are very diverse, spanning over 10 nationalities with more than 15 spoken languages and a very broad skill-set.
Our central team makes sure to focus on the essential aspects of our business. We act in a B2B environment, linked to Taxes and Legal, therefore we always need to find the good balance between the classical ‘Start-up spirit’ and the exigence and professionalism of the areas in which we evolve.
Each of our team members is essentially acting as a VAT4U ambassador in this aspect.
If I could give a secret to get the right team, it would be to first know yourself: clearly identify what are the exact skills lacking in your organisation and who could be the best is bringing them on board.
Finding the best developer when your company is lacking Marketing skills will not help…
Q: What’s Next for VAT4U?
2018 is an exciting year for us: we just launched several Business Partner programs and a global Franchise program, allowing partnered professionals to become the local representative of VAT4U.
This gives us a considerable opportunity for international growth and helps existing experts to access technology without significant investment.
Q: What is your opinion on the use of Blockchain in cross-border transactions in near future?
Blockchain technology in general will change a lot of things in cross-border transactions.
This will apply to our world, taxes & VAT. When one could argue that cryptocurrencies represent a higher risk of Tax Fraud, I believe that Blockchain technology will achieve the contrary and make possible the trace of tax payments and credit positions from A-to-Z across a transaction.
The big challenges will be: will governments and administrations be able to digest this technology? How will they agree on the underlying implementation or regulations globally and not only within one jurisdiction?
In the secondary phase, the technology experienced a strong interest and extreme growth (when standard consumers can access the technology in an easy way for the first time).
This was the ‘big-bull’ wave we saw last year with Bitcoin.
After this phase comes along ‘cooling’ period within the markets and nobody talks about it anymore until the moment the technology is mature enough to be embraced by a mass-market service and scaled-up forever.
I compare it to 3D printing. We saw a boom in this market few years ago. It was supposed to be the next product revolution. Today, with the exception of time-to-time, we do not hear about this technology much, until the moment a super-powered service embedding 3D printing will arrive and change our day to day life.
Q: Technology & Innovation will shape most of the traditional Industries very soon, Your opinion?
Technology & Innovation influences on traditional industries have only really just started. The big innovations are now focussed on mass markets, but soon many traditional industries will be revolutionized.
From the Legal sector to Medicine, to Construction, everything will become automated, in particular thanks to the Machine Learning and AI.
However, on all these areas, I am convinced that certain aspects that are not replaceable by a machine will be much more valuable than today, human interaction and the emotional experience cannot be replaced by AI.
People will focus 100% on those in the future. No machine can replace the psychological human interaction between a Medicinal Doctor and its patient for example.
I believe that jobs will be split into two categories: people focused on automation or AI and people focused on human-based skills.
Q: Any advice you would like to give to entrepreneurs who are just starting their first venture on taking it global?
Firstly, believe in what you are doing and make sure you are enjoying what you do! It’s not all about money; it’s also about dreams, the vision, networking, your team and often just sheer luck.
Secondly, one of the biggest challenges when you start a business is to focus and prioritize things – getting clear what is important, urgent, easy or costly to implement is essential to move ahead successfully.
But, my best recommendation is to not think that you will make it alone. You need to team up with the right partners, ideally complementary to you to achieve the best results!
Finally, I would say that having a well-balanced private & professional life helps you to find resources and positive trains of thought whenever you face challenges with your business. That is my recipe for success!
We highly recommend using VAT4U. It will save you money and time by automating the whole vat recovery process.
*Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.
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