TaxCalc software group CEO Tracy Ebdon-Poole talks to Accounting Insight News Editor Ian Moss abut her career, her life and her ambitions…
The here and now….
What are your favourite early career memories, Tracy?
Going from standstill to 1,000 miles an hour when Dyson took off. As MD I had to oversee expansion on an exponential scale across all areas of the business. It was seat of your pants stuff but one to tell the grandkids! Working in advertising with my Dad probably taught me the most – and that creativity is a hugely valuable commodity in business. With creative eyes you see how to zig when others zag.
How did you get into this business?
After Dyson, I’d been working in M&A and was on the lookout for business opportunities. I acquired the business assets, including the code for tax calculation software from Tax Checker and the brand name from Intuit. From thereon it was one steep learning curve!
What can accountants and finance professionals learn from TaxCalc, in a nutshell!?
Never get complacent. Keep things simple. Review your processes continually to keep the engine running efficiently. We operate in a service sector, that means we don’t just serve customers and clients, we also serve our colleagues. So communicate! Your reputation is your brand. Guard it as if it were the most precious thing. Be brave, explore, have fun but never at your client’s expense. Be yourself. The money will come.
Does the idea of information overload concern you?
Yes (that’s all the information you need, right?). That’s why we develop smart software!
What’s on the horizon for you and the sector?
Obviously GDPR and MTD are huge and I shall be at the helm as normal, working closely with all the teams.
As an influential voice, what impact do you want to have on the industry this year and in the long run?
Champion women in entrepreneurship as well as entrepreneurship in the SME sector. Encourage social responsibility. Help HMRC understand how we tick. Rally the government with the cry – ‘if we take, we must also give’ – especially when it comes to the socially disadvantaged. As much as anything I’d like to shake things up. Let’s embrace change, always.
What are your expectations for Accountex 2018?
To generate an even bigger buzz than last year. This year, we’re one of the biggest exhibitors, with even more to show and talk about. We’re unveiling our new GDPR and MTD solutions, plus new all-in-one product plans for practices of all sizes. We’re giving a talk on MTD. We won three coveted Software Excellence awards for best Tax, Best Accounts Production and Best Practice Suite – all voted for by practices, so I’m hoping to welcome even more people onto our stand (that’s Stand 250, by the way). Then, afterwards, I’m looking forward to a long, hot bath with a G&T.
Do you feel women are fairly represented in the profession?
If Accountex is a fair indicator, I’d certainly like to see more women come and say hello at the show.
Where did you grow up?
Chiswick in west London.
Were you any good at maths at school?
I have a BSc in psychology. I also love to cook!
What’s your favourite film? (you’re allowed more than one)
The Devil Wears Prada – always makes me giggle.
What’s your favourite book? (you’re allowed more than one)
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Any book on design and architecture.
What’s your favourite type of music?
Rock, classical and rap.
What’s your ideal day out?
A day with my 14-month old granddaughter, anywhere as long as we have ‘our’ time together. Posh stuff and pampering is all well and good, but proper happiness is a state of mind.
What’s your ideal holiday?
Fly & Flop.
Is money the root of all evil?
No. Greed and intolerance fit that bill. Money can be used to do great good. Ask Bill Gates.
Do you support a football team?
I prefer rugby.
Do you have a heroine or hero?
My Dad. For being wise, kind, loving, mischievous and hugely entrepreneurial.