In our first ever featured partner interview we sat down with Nick Penev from hellotax and asked him a whole bunch of questions about his background and experience in the e-commerce industry.
No waffle, just great content - read on and enjoy!
Q1: Thanks for taking the time to chat with us here. We love getting to know our partners better so that our community can benefit from what our partners are offering and doing in the industry. To get started, can you give us a high level overview of hellotax and how it got started?
We have a very interesting story at hellotax. The co-founders Cristian and Christoph used to be Amazon sellers who met in a FB group chatting about their issues with VAT compliance in 2015. They decided that they’ll build a platform and company which helps Amazon and ecommerce sellers with their VAT compliance when they expand across Europe. Company was fully remote from day 1 and now we have 70+ employees located in Europe,US and Asia and we manage 2K+ clients.
Q2: That’s awesome! Can you dive a bit more into the products and services that you offer to help ecommerce businesses with their taxes? I’m sure our audience would love to know exactly what problems you could solve for them.
VAT is the main blocker for any ecommerce business when they expand in Europe so we help them to register and get their VAT number and then we manage their VAT reports and filings on their behalf. So we offer 3 services: VAT registration, OSS registrations and the periodic VAT or OSS filings and as a bonus each client can use our software tool to connect their Amazon/Shopify or other sales channel so we can get all the necessary data.
Each client is handled by a dedicated account manager as communication is one of the most important aspects in our niche.
Also we have a large partner network of 400+ service providers in the space so we provide all the solution for the other expansion blockers like customs,compliance, logistics and translations.
Q3: Jumping off of that…if there was one problem you’d say that hellotax solves best for your clients, what would it be? Why?
Communication is the key here because we are receiving inquiries from clients who are complaining that the communication with their current provider was not good at all
So we see ourselves as SaaS platform plus managed services behind the scenes as people are vital for what we do.
Q4: As the company continues to grow over the next year, what are your plans for expansion? Any new products or offerings or enhancements to your current products?
Our focus over the next year is to continue to build more and more marketplaces integrations and to build our openAPI integrations as we have a list of 40+ partners who want to integrate to us and provide hellotax to their clients. As far as new products, we are not planning to add new ones as we are a very niche service and we’d like to continue to be such.
As for new markets, wherever Amazon goes in Europe, we’ll offer the service there within 2-3 weeks.
Q5: And how specifically would you say that hellotax and your team is different from other similar businesses in the industry?
We are different because we are not a regular accounting or tax software but a VAT compliance solution which is built by ex-eCommerce sellers and tailored to be used by ecommerce sellers.
Q6: What made you decide to get involved in the ecommerce tax compliance space? What’s your starting eCommerce story? From what we’ve found, a lot of business owners in the space have fun stories of how they first started…
I used to be an eCommerce business owner for 10 years. I established a PL supplement business in 2010 and we developed 20+ supplement brands which we exited in 2020. I used to be a client of hellotax in 2020 when I exited my business and I was invited by the hellotax founders to build a partner program and help them grow it as I was doing that for my own business. So it was a coincidence which worked very well because I love the company, the people and what we’ve accomplished here.
Q7: Love it! Talking more about the eCommerce industry, where do you see it going in the next 1-2 years? Any unique predictions that you could share?
The eCommerce industry will continue to grow but at a slower pace and this is good because it would allow companies who provide quality solutions and help the industry to thrive and grow. My prediction is that more and more companies will rely more on partnerships as a way to grow and educate their community.
Q8: Giving you an open mic for a minute, what is something you’d want the Link My Books audience to hear?
Here are my 3 tips that I give to everyone in business or life..
- Never make assumptions
- You miss 100% of the shots that you don’t take
- It is not important what you can do with money but what you can do without.
Q9: Changing gears a little bit...When it comes to taxes and accounting, what do you think the biggest pain points for business owners are? Feel free to speak from personal experience as well.
The biggest pain points are that there aren’t enough accounting and bookkeeping companies who know how to work with ecommerce sellers and the specific nature of this business.It has been a real struggle to find such partners on our end and this is something that accountants need to look into if they want to help sellers and get more business out of it.
Q10: As we close this out, I just have one more question. Where is the best place to find and follow you and the company online? Also, if you have one, is there any special offer that you’ll be offering to the community today?
The best place to follow us on Linkedin and we love to help the ecommerce community by doing webinars and other activities which provide value.
You can connect with us here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nick-penev-0051791a/
We have a special deal for all Link My Books clients and audience - 10% off - you can use coupon code: LINKMYBOOKS to claim it here.