CluneTech Social Spotlight: January 21st

Welcome to our CluneTech Social Spotlight Series – a fortnightly roundup of the best social media activity from across our group of global companies. Want to stay in the loop with everything happening in CluneTech? Here’s the place to do it! Click the title of each entry to view the original post.

..And don’t forget to like and share the wonderful content being produced across the Group!

 

Care @ WorkImmedis

Immedis are partnering with HRCongress and holding a complimentary Forum discussing how Global Payroll can play a role in discussing Diversity & Inclusion in the workplace. In this free webinar, how crucial pay equity is to Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging as well as how the measurement of pay can help to ensure we move towards actual pay equity, will all be discussed. Care @ Work will take place on the 3rd of February from 15.00 – 16.30 UK and you can register for free now:https://bit.ly/3rvra4r

How to Get Your Australian Tax RefundTaxback.com

In November 2021, Taxback.com played a huge role in getting the Australian High Court to rule the ‘Backpacker Tax’ invalid for citizens from certain countries. The Australian Tax Office (ATO) has now released guidance on how backpackers can claim their tax refund. In their latest blog post, Taxback.com break down that guide and tell you everything you need to know about the latest developments in the backpacker case.

The Great Migration? The Great Resignation?TransferMate

Curious about what the future of work may look like and what that could mean for international payroll? The 'Great Resignation' theory (closely followed by the 'Great Migration') has quickly become part of the public consciousness, and both promise to change the face of international payroll. On their blog this week, TransferMate took a closer look at the evidence surrounding these theories to deduce what the future of work really looks like and what the implications will be for employers with international payroll.

Upcoming Career Fair - Gradguide

After the success of their inaugural Career Fair last September, Gradguide have announced their next event, taking place virtually on Thursday, February 24. Already an incredible line up of companies have been announced for the event, including Immedis, Workday, Spendesk, Slack, Chargify, and many more. This is a must attend event for any student or recent graduate looking to land their first role in tech! Additionally, Gradguide just announced their brand new Refer a Friend Programme where you and a friend could win €500 each month simply by recommending them to Gradguide – Click here for more.

 Ultimate Guide to Non-Resident Taxes in the USSprintax

Sprintax specialize in making tax as straightforward as possible to newcomers in the US. Thus, with tax season in the US fast approaching, Sprintax are on hand to answer all your pressing questions. Their ultimate guide will cover everything you need to know from:

  • Who has to file
  • Tax exemptions
  • How to reduce your tax bill
  • Important documents

And much more!

And that’s this week’s Social Spotlight roundup… Head over to www.clunetech.com to learn more about CluneTech and our amazing group of global companies. And check back in two weeks’ time for the next CluneTech Social Spotlight!


CluneTech's Career Counselling Program

For the fourth year in a row, CluneTech’s career counselling program is taking place in Varna High School of Commerce during the academic year 2021-2022. The program aims to help young people to acquire and develop specific skills that will help them get the best out of their career exploration, job search and job application processes. With the help of experienced HR professionals and guest lecturers, the students will learn how to create impressive CV and video resumes, how to prepare for job interviews and how to find the most compelling job offers on the market.

Over the years, CluneTech has organized numerous career events with other local high schools and universities, such as Open Door Days in our offices in Varna and Veliko Tarnovo, Manager for a Day, and many more. All participants in our career counselling program are invited to join a designated Facebook group where we post weekly career counselling advice, inspiring guest interviews and regular updates about any internships and entry level roles in our group of companies.

In 2019 our Career Counselling Program captured the “Innovation in Talent Education” Award at the second B2B Media Employer Branding Awards which celebrate the companies in Bulgaria with the most innovative HR strategies.

We could not be any happier with the results of our programme so far. Each and every student that took part excelled and many eventually ended up becoming a part of the CluneTech team.

Our career counselling program, as well as our internship and graduate programs are designed to offer new, young talent the opportunity to learn and grow in an innovative and collaborative environment. With this in mind, we would like to remind you that CluneTech is open to candidates with no experience. As long as you’re driven and willing to learn, we’ll train and support you to become an important member of our team and achieve your full potential.

If you are willing to bring your ideas to the table and are always looking to develop your skills and contribute to making business better, explore our career opportunities as we would love to hear from you!


Taxback Group Becomes CluneTech

In December 2021, we completed our rebrand, with a new name, logo and website redesign. The new name, CluneTech, acknowledges the group’s roots and reflects its evolution to what it is today – a hub for technology innovation, dedicated to making business better.

Taxback was first established in 1996 by entrepreneur Terry Clune, to help university students reclaim their overpaid tax.  Driven by technology, the group has expanded over the past 25 years and today encompasses a suite of software companies with industry-leading solutions, global reach and a common goal – to make business better for customers worldwide.

CluneTech solutions streamline processes such as digital sales, global payroll, tax compliance, global VAT and cross-border payments. Founder and group CEO, Terry Clune, explained: “The decision to rebrand was driven by our need to better represent the companies within the group, and the breadth and depth of technology-based solutions we offer.”

As parent company to some of Ireland’s most successful and ground-breaking Fintech brands, CluneTech supports its constituent companies with shared services and a common dedication to make customers’ lives easier, driven by innovation and an entrepreneurial spirit.

With a footprint across four continents and over 1,500 employees globally, CluneTech comprises the following companies:

  • TransferMate, a global payments technology firm, powering international B2B payments and receivables transactions for the world’s biggest brands.
  • Immedis, the global leader in consolidated global payroll solutions. Processing payroll in over 150 countries, the Immedis Platform provides a unified view of global payroll operations, real-time data analytics, and advanced reporting capability, while ensuring legislative compliance and data security.
  • Taxback International, recognised as a world leader in technical innovation, assisting clients around the world with their VAT challenges.
  • Benamic, a leading global provider of end-to-end promotional management and fulfilment solutions
  • Taxback.com, a multinational corporation providing specialist tax return services to private and corporate clients.
  • Sprintax, providing multi-jurisdiction tax compliance technology which simplifies tax withholding and tax return filing for non-residents and their employers.
  • Visa First, specialising in arranging business travel visas and work permits for companies and organisations.
  • Gradguide, a career guidance, mentorship and graduate recruitment platform that bridges the employment gap between college and company.

“CluneTech is focused on supporting entrepreneurial leaders and fantastic new businesses,” Terry Clune continued. “We are very proud of our success to date, which is based on putting our customers first and always asking: how can we help; what can we do better? Our new brand reflects our evolution and reinforces our mission to support our brilliant brands to make business better.”

CluneTech has been consistently recognised as one of Ireland’s Best Workplaces™ and has won multiple awards and recognition for excellence in innovation, technology and customer care, including Deloitte Best Managed Companies (Platinum Status), EY Entrepreneur of the Year and HSBC European Business Awards.

See our overview video here.

Watch the Video

For further information, please contact: Fiona MacCarthy, Head of Communications, CluneTech

fiona.maccarthy@clunetech.com

+353 86 8250027

About CluneTech

CluneTech is a suite of software technology companies providing cutting-edge solutions that simplify global business. Our technology streamlines business processes such as digital sales, global payroll, tax compliance, global VAT & cross-border payments, making business better for our customers worldwide.

Established in 1996 by entrepreneur Terry Clune, CluneTech is headquartered in Ireland with a footprint across four continents, and does business in more than 100 countries on a daily basis. The group has offices in 20 countries, and over 1,500 employees globally, including a workforce of more than 900 people in Bulgaria.


Our Most Recent CSR Activities

CluneTech Cares is the new name of our CSR Programme

 

This year’s Group rebrand faced us with another challenge – the rename our Corporate Social Responsibility Programme #TaxbackGiveBack. Ever since the launch of the programme in 2007 one thing always stand out – our caring nature. Naturally, this brought us to the new name CluneTech Cares.

CluneTech Cares is a great representation of what we are – a team of truly caring individuals giving their best to support and add value not only to our customers and our team-mates but also to the communities in which we live and operate!

 

Race for the Cure

 

In October 2021, CluneTech took part in the Race for the Cure 2021 event. Race of the Cure is Europe’s biggest sporting event for women’s health. It helps to raise money and awareness for Breast Cancer Research. It was incredibly important to us that we participated in this event as cancer has impacted so many of our lives. It was amazing to see over 50 employees register and take part!

 

Golf Tournament for A Very Special Place Inc.

 

A Very Special Place Inc. provides a comprehensive network of programmes and services for people with intellectual and development disabilities and their families. With the guidance and support offered by AVSP, people of all ages find opportunities to achieve independence and self-fulfillment. We were approached by an Immedis employee who told us all about a golf outing hosted by and raising money for AVSP. Having heard all about the event and the services AVSP provide, we were delighted to sponsor a team of Immedis employees to take part.

 

Jack & Jill’s Up The Hill Challenge

 

We’re absolutely delighted to have taken part in Jack & Jill’s Up The Hill challenge again this year. By taking part and sharing their “Up The Hill” pictures on Workvivo, our employees not only had the chance to win some amazing surprises but also to represent the hill that the children of Jack & Jill climb each and every day, and to show solidarity with their families. Furthermore, CluneTech covered a €5,000 participation fee for our staff which goes toward providing crucial care to the Jack & Jill Foundation and the children who are relying on home nursing services.

“Investing in Human Capital to Invest in the Future of Karin Dom” Programme

 

CluneTech and Karin Dom in Bulgaria have launched a project called “Investing in Human Capital to Invest in the Future of Karin Dom” which aims to support the long-term vision of the center by increasing the focus and investment on the retention and the development of their specialists.  CluneTech supported the first series of professional supervisions for the Karin Dom team, which were organized before the Covid-19 pandemic. Having witnessed the positive impact of these professional supervisions, we had no hesitations about continuing our support of this programme long-term.

 

“World Vision Romania” Foundation and Palliative Care Center „Sfantul Nectarie”

 

This November, our colleagues in Romania supported two local organizations with donations of €1000 each. The first one, World Vision Romania, looks at all the things that prevent children from surviving and thriving in their community, and then works with the community to bring all the pieces of the puzzle together to build a better life for them. The second beneficiary of the donation is the Center for Palliative Care „Sfantul Nectarie” which aims to relieve the suffering and provide the best possible quality of life for patients with serious illness and their families.


Awards Success for CluneTech

CluneTech awarded two awards at the prestigious HR Leadership & Management Awards

Kilkenny, 23 November 2021. CluneTech (formerly Taxback Group) was declared winner of two awards at the HR Leadership & Management Awards, held in Clontarf, Dublin on Thursday, 18 November.

Now in its seventh year, the HR Leadership & Management Awards has established itself as the benchmark for those demonstrating excellence in HR in Ireland, recognising best-in-class HR practices, teams and people. CluneTech was shortlisted in a record seven categories this year and took away two awards during the ceremony, which was held in a hybrid format this year.

Michelle Gaffney, HR Business Partner at CluneTech, was the deserving recipient of HR Manager of the Year. Nominated for her exceptional leadership and unwavering dedication, Michelle is thrilled with the recognition:

“I am absolutely honoured to be recognised as HR Manager of the Year. As cliché as it sounds, this is something I never would have dreamt of when I started my HR Career with Taxback.  I have essentially “grown up” within this organization and Terry and the SMT have continued to believe in me every step of the way. I’m especially grateful for their support and the abundance of opportunities they have given me over the years.”

CluneTech were also awarded Best Use of CSR in HR. This award recognises the role that their CSR programme, CluneTech Cares, plays in the company’s overall business strategy and #OneTeam culture.

Commenting on the award, Rachael O’Shea, Head of Employee Experience at CluneTech said:

“We’re over the moon to have won Best Use of CSR in HR. This award is a huge team effort and is a reflection of our global team’s tremendous enthusiasm and passion for supporting the communities around them. Though Covid put a stop to many of our on-site CSR initiatives, we took this as an opportunity to be creative and really think outside the box, while still coming together to make a difference as #OneTeam.”

Speaking on both wins, Terry Clune, Founder and CEO of CluneTech commented:

“We’re absolutely delighted to have won two awards at the HR Leadership and Management Awards. This result is testament to our fantastic HR Team, in particular Michelle Gaffney who was awarded HR Manager of the Year. Despite all of the challenges that Covid has presented, our team have continued to go above and beyond, and I’m immensely proud of the work that they have done, and will continue to do.”


Taxback Pro Helped Me Grow Not Only Professionally, But Also As A Person

Stilyana Angelova has been working as a Tax Technician at Taxback.com for almost 3 years now. It’s been an exciting three years and Stilyana is extremely happy to have the ability to grow and develop in her team. Recently, Stilyana and her colleague Plamena Koleva, both from the Irish Filing Team, successfully passed their tax TMITI exams with the Irish Tax Institute.

Stilyana Angelova, Tax Technician at Taxback.com

We caught up with Stilyana to chat about this massive achievement! See what she had to say below:

Hi Stilyana, lovely to chat to you! For those who haven’t met you yet, would you please introduce yourself?

My name is Stilyana Angelova. I’m 26 years old and I’m an International Business graduate of Varna University of Economics. I have been working as a Tax Technician at Taxback.com for about 3 years now. My career at Taxback.com is going great and I have to say that it has been a really positive journey so far! I’m extremely happy to be where I am today and to be able to share my professional journey to date with you.

Is working as a Tax Technician as complicated as it sounds? We’d love to hear more about your role!

When I first started working here, the role ‘’Tax Technician’’ sounded really intense and complex to me too. With the help of my team, I immediately felt included and supported. As scary as it may sound, my role is nothing that any young high school or university graduate can’t learn, especially if they’re interested in starting a career in tax or general finance.

If I had to summarise my role in one sentence, it encompasses the whole process of a tax return; from processing the client’s documentation to the final estimation of their tax refund.

You recently passed your TITMI tax qualification exams with the Irish Tax Institute which are a part of Clune Tech Tax and Finance Qualification Program, Taxback Pro. Why did you decide to take part in the program?

About a year ago, my manager Petar Bogdanov recommended the program to myself and some of my colleagues. We had to take four exams in total – two in 2019, and two in 2020. Myself and my colleague Plamena are now certified Tax Technicians. In order to become Tax Experts, we must reach the final stage of tax education and get the gold standard – the Chartered Tax Adviser (CTA) qualification.

What was the biggest challenge you faced during the program?

The TMITI exams are certainly no walk in the park, especially for non-residents. You have to be extremely motivated and consistent in your work. The qualification process wasn’t easy but I believed in myself the whole way through. It’s amazing to see the positive impact overcoming challenges has on your self-confidence. Taxback Pro really helped me to grow – not only professionally, but as a person too.

How does CluneTech encourage the professional development of its employees?

CluneTech is a great place for anyone who wants to grow. Regardless of your age, or your past experience, the company provides you with the tools and opportunities to grow and evolve. For me, that’s the greatest gift an employer can give to its employees!

The Taxback Pro qualification program helps our employees to develop new skills and competencies, while also gaining a globally recognised professional tax qualification. Since the inception of Taxback Pro, over 45 employees have successfully passed their exams to become Taxback Pro Graduates. Most importantly, they took another giant step in their career development at CluneTech.

Want to bring your career to the next level? We’d love to have you on our team!


CluneTech Acquires Gradguide

Dublin-based career guidance and mentorship programme Gradguide has been acquired by CluneTech, with the latter making a €2 million equity investment in the company.

The company, which was founded by Mark Hughes, Ian Guerin, Matthew Brennan and Dave Martin in response to their own difficulties in getting the mentorship they needed, plans to scale its graduate mentorship programme both in Ireland and abroad.

The backing of Clune Tech and Terry Clune, who built the Taxback.com, Immedis and Transfermate, will help the founders focus on that goal with Clune’s HR expertise.

The company pairs graduates with mentors and tech companies to help them make the transition from college into the tech industry. It currently has around 60 mentors and 500 students across six different countries

“So many graduates still have that frustrating experience of sending out CVs far and wide, often more in hope than expectation. From our experience, many don’t even see a way to break into the tech sector but have the exact skillset that so many companies are crying out for. Only through mentorship did I land my own dream job post-graduation at Intercom back in 2017,” said Mr Hughes.

Gradguide co-founders Matthew Brennan, Mark Hughes and Dave Martin with Terry Clune (second from left).

“Gradguide was built from the anxiety I experienced first hand upon graduation and then saw friends and family also encounter who graduated after me. We believe every company is becoming a technology company and we want to bridge the employment gap that currently exists between college and company.”

He said the company was already seeing participants going on to become mentors, and mentors becoming hiring managers building their first team through Gradguide.

Gradguide is free for graduates and mentors, while employers pay an annual fee. Among its customers are TransferMate and Immedis, and it also partners with growing technology companies such as Wayfler, Channelsight, and Quorum to connect candidates with company partners and hiring managers early on in their job search.

“Getting started on the career ladder can be very daunting for graduates. Gradguide is an extremely innovative program connecting graduates with employers through the guidance of brilliant mentors,” Mr Clune said.

“Mark and his team, all in their twenties, have a tremendous passion to help graduates find great employers. We are incredibly impressed by what they have achieved. We are delighted to be investing in Mark and his team to help build Gradguide’s future.”


“Coronavirus did not have any direct impact on our business” - Terry Clune

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

Mark Graham, Terry Clune and Ruairi Kelleher (from left to right).

Mr. Clune, has how the Covid-19 pandemic affected your business in Bulgaria and did you have to cancel any projects?

“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 CluneTech 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.”

Are your staff still working from home? is remote working something you plan to continue in the future?

“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.”

What type of roles does CluneTech offer in Bulgaria?

“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.”

Do you think that western companies will move away from South East Asia and move to Eastern Europe because of the Covid-19 pandemic? And could Bulgaria 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.”

How would you compare Bulgaria to other countries that you are operating in and do you see any challenges or other opportunities here?

“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 pandemic. Do you think automation in business will reduce the need for staff in CluneTech?

“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 will this crisis transform the software/fin-tech industry in the long-run?

“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 your student years, returning from a summer in Germany and establishing a company in the kitchen of the family home. What’s the secret to building a sustainable business? What lessons have you learned along the way?

“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 purchase 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?’.”

Do you think ambition or talent matters more for 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.”

Should young people go to university or go straight into work, what do you think provides a better experience?

“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.”


CluneTech Ranked as One of Bulgaria’s Best Employers!

CluneTech is today celebrating the recognition it received as one of Bulgaria’s Best Employers! CluneTech was listed as the 14th best employer in Bulgaria by the prestigious Career Show Index 2020.

Headquartered in Ireland, and employing more than 1000 people in Bulgaria, CluneTech is the parent company of Ireland’s most successful and groundbreaking Fintech brands – including, TransferMate Global Payments, Immedis, Taxback International and Taxback.com. In an ultra-competitive Fintech sector, CluneTech’s companies are all at the very cutting edge of financial innovation exported to the world’s largest multinational clientele.

“We would like to congratulate Taxback Group (now CluneTech) on their success as being recognised as one of the 50 best employers according to the Career Show Index 2020. All great initiatives, strategies, and practices that the company shared over the past few years, puts them on par with the strongest employer brands in Bulgaria. We are delighted that, even in tough times like this, we can continue to evaluate and appreciate the hard work and dedication of companies in Bulgaria” said Simona Harizanova, co-founder of Career Show.

Career Show Index honours the best employers in Bulgaria. The index collects the results of employers based on their awards in various business awards * in the last 3 years.

Commenting on being recognised as one of Bulgaria`s Best Employers, Ekaterina Hristova, our HR Manager in Bulgaria, said:

“At Taxback Group (now CluneTech), we try our very best to ensure a great employee experience for our people. We’re absolutely thrilled that our hard work has been recognised! This accreditation shows us that we’re certainly on the right track, and that we’re making huge progress towards building a unique #OneTeam culture.”

This recognition is based on the accreditation that Clune Tech has received over the last few years at the Career Show Awards. Notably, CluneTech was awarded “Best Health and Well-being Programme” for GroupLife at last year’s awards. GroupLife, which forms part of a wider employee engagement strategy, was launched in 2017 and centres around three key pillars: mind, body and work-life balance. The programme offers employees a wealth monthly activities including monthly seminars and information sessions, fitness classes and sports memberships and internal recognition programmes.

The Career Show Index 2020 takes into consideration the awards received by local companies, from either of the following: Career Show Awards 2019, Employer of the year 2018, Top Employer Institute, Bulgarian Association for People Management, Forbes business awards 2020 and company of the year 2018.

The full list of employers included in the Career Show Index 2020 is available here: https://careershow.bg/index/ 


A Future of Flexibility at CluneTech!

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.

CluneTech’s priority is the health, safety and well-being 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’.

Great Place to Work Awards Night 2019, Dublin Ireland.

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 CluneTech 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.