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The Role Forward

Daniëlle Keeven, VP of Finance at Paddle — The Most Interesting Conversation on SaaS Tax Compliance

Daniëlle Keeven, the VP of finance at Paddle, discusses the importance of tax compliance and subscription legislation for tech companies, how to perform audits effectively, and why collaboration between departments is vital.

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The Role Forward
Daniëlle Keeven, VP of Finance at Paddle — The Most Interesting Conversation on SaaS Tax Compliance
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Episode Summary. 

Tax compliance is not everyone’s cup of tea, and it’s often underappreciated and overlooked — until it’s down to the wire for SaaS companies who have received warnings about being audited.

Tax compliance needs to be more top of mind for SaaS leaders who want to truly embrace strategic, sustainable growth and expansion. 

In this episode of The Role Forward podcast, our host Joe Michalowski welcomes Daniëlle Keeven, the VP of finance at Paddle. They chat about the importance of tax compliance and subscription legislation for tech companies, how to perform audits effectively, and why collaboration between departments is vital.

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Featured Guest

Daniëlle Keeven

VP of Finance, Paddle

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Daniëlle Keeven is an accomplished global executive with 10+ years of experience in operations, people management, finance, accounting, audit, and compliance within hospitality, gaming, and the tech industry.

Key Themes from the Episode
  • The best audit your company can perform is on itself. If you want to keep yourself accountable and make sure you stay compliant, you need to perform self-audits more often. Stress-testing processes to ensure sustainable growth and compliance across various standards, especially in early growth stages, will give you fascinating insights.
  • The earlier you focus on compliance, the better. Making sure your company is compliant is a massive task — especially if you have years of historical records to work through. So the earlier you do it, the better.
  • Collaboration between departments is vital. The finance department has been traditionally tossed in the back when, in reality, it should be in focus. If you want your company to do better, you need to ensure collaboration between departments.

Episode Highlights from Daniëlle Keeven

03:33 — Tax Compliance and Subscription Legislation Are Essential

“I think it’s one of those things that does require expert skill, so it’s not one of those things that you can wing it. You can probably wing it out the gate, but not for very long if you’re very successful. And so it’s better to get your infrastructure in fast and early so that it can grow and scale with you as a company, and you don’t have to go to jail along the way.”

05:30 — Product-Market Fit Needs to Be Accurate Before You Expand

“I think the first thing to look at when you’re going to expand to a country is if your product actually fits the market before you go in because it might be a requirement for you to register your company locally as an entity and when you do that, it opens up a whole box of fun stuff.”

09:02 — Payment Legislation Is Often Overlooked

“I think payment legislation is often overlooked and that can really impact your business if you’re particularly big in a specific market, and they decide to change anything around that — that might disrupt your subscription payments from coming in, effective immediately. So I think that’s another thing that is often overlooked in the expansion and growth of the company.”

29:05 — Build with Flexibility Today and Keep the End In Mind

“We need to create flexibility because you don’t know what the government’s going to do next, so you kind of run through all the scenarios. So you build today with the end in mind for whatever request comes, and even so, they’ll manage to surprise you. That’s just the nature of the game. I think the best you can do, as a good business leader, is to think about, ‘Hey, today I’m selling this one thing. What are the possible other things that I might go into that I have zero interest in doing?’ But if you start thinking about making your product agnostic enough, you could be scaling some of these sales and taxes that you’re dealing with.”

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