VAT IT, with 36 offices over the world, is the company responsible for Coca-Cola, Ericson and Volvo’s tax recovery around the globe. It is dedicated to saving SMEs and big corporates billions in unclaimed VAT.
Here Brandon Silver the companies CEO talks to Business Matters about what inspires him and what his inspiration in business is.
What do you currently do?
I’ve spent 10 great years at VAT IT and became CEO of the VAT Reclaim Division in 2017 – we are the world’s largest VAT reclaim partner operating in 36 countries.
There are billions sitting unclaimed by both small businesses and large corporates who have incurred foreign VAT from overseas travels, it is our job to know local legislation and compliance and make sure these companies get that money back. For our clients, it means that returned capital can go back into their business to help with cash flow and fuel further growth.
My role massively varies day to day – Every morning, I call each person in my executive committee in our shared service centre to check in. Currently I’m completely obsessed with our tech innovation and what our team of developers are building. I spend a lot of my day helping the tech team map out what’s important to our clients and what are commercially sound software applications that will help businesses streamline their cash savings. To make sure I have consistent oversight of our entire operation, I travel once a month to visit our global branches, clients or the shared service centre.
Somewhere in between all this, I try get to gym to clear my mind.
What is your inspiration in business?
Victory. Every penny we save a client means a win-win every time. When we build a technology that is a game changer in our industry; it’s a revolution. When we partner with powerful players like SAP Concur to reach more businesses around the world and help them save more money so they can grow their businesses, it’s a triumph. It’s really wonderful getting up in the morning and knowing that you’re going to help another person’s business win today.
Who do you admire?
That’s a very difficult question. There are many. But I often turn to Winston Churchill for answers, guidance and inspiration. Here’s a man whose resilience and unwavering energy and profound beliefs changed the course of history forever. And he did it the good old fashioned way – obsessive hard work. He also made the people of Britain believe they could win a war against the greatest power of that time – and they eventually did. I often turn to Churchill when I’m looking for ways to galvanise my teams.
Looking back would you have done things differently?
I can be quite critical of myself so this is a hard question to answer. I think there are small things here and there that I would have done differently for the business but the philosophical question is would it have mattered? VAT IT has never been in a better position than it is right now and on a personal level, I’m in exactly the right spot at the right time so I would say I have very few regrets.
What defines your way of doing business?
I lead from the front. I believe in working smart and giving my people freedom and responsibility. I am goal orientated and hold my team accountable to deliver within set timelines; I think a lot of larger companies don’t realise the value in accountability in business to get the best out of their people so it’s something I really focus on. I have an open-door policy and encourage debate and free thinking because that’s where all the best ideas come from.
What advice would you give to someone just starting out?
Work hard first and your passion for it will come later. I think many young people today are asking for meaning and significance in their work right from the get go. But I believe this could be a recipe for disaster and a life of wandering from business to business searching for something to believe in so you can work hard at it. You become passionate about something when you’re an expert in it. So start somewhere; anywhere! and work hard – harder than everyone else around you, grow your mind and your skills and then meaning, passion and significance in what you do will come.