By @SimonCocking. Interview with Anna Scally KPMG Tax Partner, Head of TMT, Emerging Tech and FinTech Practices-KPMG Ireland, Conference Speaker, MC Extrodinaire.  

Brief background about you?

I am a tax partner at KPMG in Ireland with over 15 years’ experience advising Irish and international companies on tax matters. Specific areas of expertise include M&A, financing, group structuring, R&D, IP and international tax. My clients include companies in the technology, media, telecommunications and FinTech sectors. I lead KPMG’s Technology, Media and Telecoms practice and head its practice for Emerging Technology companies. I also leads KPMG Ireland’s FinTech Practice and am a member of KPMG’s Global FinTech Network leadership team.

I played a key role in policy development and in promoting Ireland through my work with the Government of Ireland and State agencies including the IDA and Enterprise Ireland. I am also a former member of the Government of Ireland’s Innovation Taskforce where I chaired the sub-group on Venture Capital, Incentives and Intellectual Property.

I was a founding Board Director of the FinTech and Payments Association of Ireland (FPAI). I regularly chair panels, including the IIEA International Tax Conference, Web Summit and many more and am a frequent speaker on Irish and International tax matters. I’m also a former Director and Member of the Board of the American Chamber of Commerce Ireland and a former Chair of its Tax Working Group.

What inspired you to speak at this event?

The rapidly changing needs of consumers in the digital era is accelerating innovation in financial services and investors are taking note. Globally, we are seeing greater cooperation in the FinTech sector at all levels and a rapid build-up of FinTech ecosystems, both locally and across Europe. The FPAI was founded last September by a group of interested parties, including myself, to bring together industry players from across the technology and financial services sectors. Its primary aim is to position itself as a catalyst for creating the most compelling environment in which both indigenous and multi-national FinTech and Payments companies can excel.

I am inspired by the progress achieved in the short period of time since the association was established and the future is looking bright for the sector.

What are you excited about, at the event, and in the Irish / UK FinTech scene in general?

The scale of the FinTech opportunity for Ireland is clear. With financial stability and a renewed energy in the economy, creating the kind of environment that supports the emergence of entrepreneurship in FinTech presents the very real prospect that Ireland will play a leading role on a global scale. That excites me. As do the people I meet and work with in the sector.

Why is Dublin and Ireland doing so well in FinTech?

I believe Dublin has the ideal ecosystem to become a centre for FinTech innovation and development in Europe. Our financial services sector has recovered and we have an incredibly successful technology sector with a talented workforce. We have proactive government support and a wave of Irish companies gaining international recognition. 2015 was a tremendous year for FinTech investment in Ireland and around the globe. Based on data published by the IVCA, it is estimated that FinTechs in Ireland have raised approximately €70 million through venture capital funding in 2015. The figure highlights Ireland’s credibility in the sector and the fact that investors clearly see the potential for future growth. Having a global outlook is critical in the FinTech arena and Irish FinTech companies are internationally focussed from day one.

What challenges are there? 

Given the scale of the opportunity, there is intense global competition among countries and cities to establish themselves as hubs of excellence for FinTech. We have seen an acceleration in the sector over the past 18 months and Dublin can now credibly be listed as a growing centre for FinTech development. Irish FinTech companies are also starting to be noticed internationally. They are winning significant international clients and are gaining traction with international acquirers.

That said, we also need to be aware of other markets and notably, our proximity to London. The UK presents both an opportunity, in terms of market growth, but a challenge in terms of size and scale. On the plus side, Ireland, and in particular, Dublin, can confidently differentiate itself in terms of the relative ease of doing business here.

Anything else you’d like to add / we should have asked you?

KPMG’s FinTech 100 list recognises those companies that are leading the charge in the development of innovative and world-class technology solutions for the financial services industry. The scale of the FinTech opportunity for Ireland is unprecedented and it is a measure of our growing global presence in the sector to see two Irish entrepreneurs receive recognition in this year’s list for their San Francisco based start-up, Stripe. Stripe was founded in 2010 and provides a developer-friendly way to accept payments online and in mobile apps direct to bank accounts from a range of local and international cards. The company processes billions of dollars a year for thousands of companies of all sizes. I would hope to see more Irish entrepreneurs and Irish companies join the list in 2016!

Where can people see / listen / read more about you?

Drop me a line ([email protected]) or follow me on Twitter  @annascally_kpmg

If you would like to have your company featured in the Irish Tech News Business Showcase, get in contact with us at [email protected] or on Twitter: @SimonCocking

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