James Cryne, MD of GoSimpleTax
GoSimpleTax MD started his career as a computer programmer and now has ambitions to automatically complete your tax return for you.
What is it the company does?
GoSimpleTax is an innovative piece of software, available online or through an app, that guides users through the self-assessment process using artificial intelligence to remind them to add in certain expenses, before sending the tax return straight to HMRC without the need for an accountant. With over 20,000 tax returns submitted so far, we’ve made self-assessment simple.
Describe your role in no more than 100 words
I’m the conduit between all the different processes and stakeholders in the business, making sure that everything is running smoothly and everyone’s happy and on vision. Daily I’m analysing revenues and statistics, liaising with partners including HMRC and agencies, and ensuring the smooth running and growth of the company with a culture that’s both motivating and inclusive.
Give us a brief timeline of your career so far – where did you start, how did you move on?
After graduating from The Manchester Metropolitan University with a degree in Computing I quickly followed my passion of writing software, as I tell my son, back then I could make computers dance. My first job was writing software to control CCTV cameras and then I moved onto tax and payroll software. That move started my journey from computer programmer to development manager, to managing director at Keytime where I helped build one of the largest accounting software houses in the UK before its acquisition by the IRIS Group. After a successful handover, I joined GoSimpleTax to help steer their growth in the tax market and align their vision with the government’s plans for real-time tax under their initiative Making Tax Digital.
What do you believe makes a great leader?
Hard work, listening, getting things done and being a mentor and inspiration. All these points ensure that when you lead people they are happy to follow, even if they question why you’re taking that direction. I’m a big believer that you should listen to colleagues and take on board what they’re saying.
What has been the biggest challenge in your current position?
Going from running a very successful company to a tech startup, you’ve got to roll back, take all the positives that led to success and help instil them into startup culture, accelerating growth and making sure that the foundations are right to build on.
How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?
It’s important to switch down, I can’t switch off. Exercise, predominantly going to the gym or walking the dog and spending quality time with family. A happy family life leads to a happy work life and vice versa, the trick is to find the balance.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Successful in whatever I did, I never had a burning career ambition, but I always knew I’d achieve through hard work, dedication and loyalty.
Any pet hates in the workplace? What do you do about them?
People who compare themselves with others, everyone’s individual in each role with differing qualities. I’m a firm believer that what you get out of life is directly linked to what you put in, whether that be at work or socially. I try to encourage everyone around me, from colleagues to the kids to put maximum effort in and go the extra mile. Waffle, excuses and expecting back more than you’ve put in frustrate me and I’ll tell you if you’re fitting into any of those categories.
Where do you see the company in five years’ time?
As a market leader in the digital tax revolution helping taxpayers pay the right tax at the right time. Our software is getting better and better, we focus on making it intelligent yet easy to use. Regular user feedback is fed back into the development process with the aim to make the software as simple to use as possible at every evolution. I can see that in 5 years’ time and through Open Banking and HMRC we’ll be able to automatically complete the tax return in the background ready for the customers’ approval.
What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?
Ensure you’re being your best you! Every time you meet someone new and subsequently, their initial impression will go a long way in their decision-making process on whether they want to do business with you. Always present yourself well, ensure you know your subject matter and be truthful to both yourself and everyone involved in the business including colleagues, customers and suppliers. Surround yourself with good, motivated people, don’t be afraid of employing someone better skilled than yourself and nurture talent, these people will help you achieve your vision.
What do you wish someone had told you when you started out?
Exiting is a time-consuming event, always be prepared for exit, as when it comes it takes time and effort to ensure you’ve crossed the t’s and dotted the i’s.
Our BQ Bulletin emails will land in your inbox at 7.30am, Monday to Friday, with a mix of the latest local business news, national news, and features to inspire you. Sign up here!
Click here to read our privacy statement