If the pandemic left us with at least a new solution, it’s that we don’t need to do everything in person. Remote work, zoom meetings, and so much more showed the world that anyone anywhere can make things happen. Filing your taxes should be no different. And for Taxfyle, a US-based tax system often called “The Uber of Taxes” matches, among other things, remote CPAs with tax filers all across the country.
Richard Lavina is the CEO and co-founder of consumer, small business and enterprise SaaS accounting-tech company Taxfyle. Prior to founding Taxfyle in 2015, Richard worked for PricewaterhouseCoopers as an auditor.
While working at PwC, he obtained his Master of Accounting and was inspired to start Taxfyle, having witnessed firsthand and learned about the systemic inefficiencies of the accounting industry.
Since then, Richard and his team have transformed Taxfyle from an idea to a venture-backed company (they raised a $20 million Series B earlier this year) that serves tens of thousands of taxpayers each year, hundreds of CPA firms around the country, and counts a Big Four accounting firm and international accounting corporations among its enterprise clientele.
Taxfyle has been listed as one of Inc. 5000’s fastest-growing private companies in the US for two consecutive years with more than 200% growth year over year.
In this Q&A interview, Richard Lavina discusses how Financial Technology is transforming the way we file our taxes.
Richard Lavina (Full Q&A Interview)
Q: What inspired you to start Taxfyle?
A: I went to school for accounting and followed a path after graduation that those of us in that major typically follow I started working for a CPA firm in Miami. I learned the ropes there and eventually got an offer to work at one of the Big Four. I took a job as an auditor at PwC where my primary client was Ryder Systems. In that role, I realized there were numerous inefficiencies in the industry that added unnecessary friction to my day to day. And this was while I was trying to find someone, I could trust to do my taxes – someone who was competent but also charging a fair rate.
As a CPA, I knew what I should be paying for the type of return I’d be filing, and I couldn’t seem to find a person or firm whose work was in line with my expectations. I figured if I was having that issue, other people might be, too. After some research and a lot of thinking and deliberating, I realized I could create a service that would help people connect with CPAs to get their taxes filed easily and affordably, without the hassle of getting in your car to meet with someone in person for hours or countless phone calls and emails. That’s when I decided to quit my job at PwC and founded Taxfyle with two of my friends: Michael Mouriz and Will Sahatdjian. Fast forward to today; since we founded Taxfyle in 2015, it has earned the support and investment of numerous venture capitalists and is one of the fastest-growing companies in any sector in the U.S.
Q: If there was one piece of wisdom you could share with other executives in the fintech industry, what would it be?
A: Managing any start-up during these challenging economic times is tough but especially for FinTech companies. You really need to lean into your strongest service offerings and tighten up your cash burn to provide you with as much runway as possible.
Q: Which fintech-related trends stand out for you lately?
A: Companies vertically integrating SAAS products is a trend that is still popular and continues to make sense. This allows fintech companies to increase top-line revenue, reduce churn and increase revenue per user somewhat easily.
Q: What should tax authorities such as the IRS or HMRC be thinking about and addressing as they embrace fintech?
A: Regulatory agencies should embrace the innovation and lean into the opportunity for new efficiencies and transparency provided by us FinTech companies.
Q: If you could share one of your favorite quotes related to business, what would it be?
A: Trust is the underpinning of all relationships.
Q: What positive technological and scientific innovations do you anticipate in fintech over the coming years?
A: Decentralization is necessary if we want to continue to innovate at the same pace we have had over the past 60 years or so.
Q: How do you keep up with developments in the industry?
A: Although we live in a remote working world, the best way to stay connected to it is through meaningful relationships and those are made through personal interactions. Going to conferences and networking with the other companies in the tax space is the only way to stay connected to it.
Q: Please summarize your business life in three words.
A: Problem-solving daily.
Q: What is next for Taxfyle in the years ahead?
A: Given our growth trajectory, we’re very bullish that we have a product that serves a broad enough need, and our solution is novel enough that we could definitely see an IPO as a possibility in our future.