Nicole Moriarty of Patreon is looking back into the camera in an outdoor setting beside a river. She is wearing a brown coat and has blonde hair.
Nicole Moriarty. Image: Patreon

How the right company culture can transcend time zones

18 May 2021

Nicole Moriarty explains why she feels at home at Patreon despite joining the company virtually during the pandemic.

Nicole Moriarty began her role as international tax manager at Patreon in the middle of the pandemic. This means that along with many of her colleagues, she has never stepped foot in the company’s office. But she’s also in the unique position of being the only person on her team based in Ireland.

However, her new colleagues and the diverse nature of her job have made her feel at home. Here, she tells us why.

‘Despite being in a completely different time zone to the rest of the team, I have always been made to feel included and valued’

If there is such a thing, can you describe a typical day in your job at Patreon?

Being the only finance team member in Ireland, my day starts a little earlier than the rest of the team. A typical day might include spending the morning responding to queries from our advisers that hit my inbox overnight or getting stuck into some transfer pricing documentation and tax research.

Afternoons tend to be reserved for meetings with the US team or catching up with our community happiness team to help answer any tax-related questions our creators and patrons might have.

As a tax team and wider finance team, we touch in regularly, which helps minimise the distance and reduce the burden that remote working has given us all.

What types of projects do you work on?

Our tax team is currently a lean team of three, which means you really get stuck into whatever is thrown at you. Despite having a background in corporate tax, my role requires ownership of all taxes that apply on an international front. This could range from new VAT requirements in a country that we operate in to looking at R&D credits closer to home.

There is also a lot of passion internally for making life easier for our users, both creators and patrons – especially when it comes to tax. Many of our creators do not come from financial backgrounds so it is important to us that our product is as user-friendly as possible. This involves reviewing how tax is treated on our site and making improvements that enhance the user experience.

 What skills do you use on a daily basis?

Tax really is a multidisciplinary role which gives a nice blend of accounting and law. My day could involve both getting stuck into the numbers and firing up Excel to researching tax legislation and interpreting new tax law.

Tax also touches on many different areas of the business, so it is important to build strong relationships with other teams around the company.

What is the hardest part of your working day?

Like many people, I joined Patreon during a global pandemic and have yet to meet many of my colleagues. Patreon has made a real conscious effort to create team spirit, especially in the Dublin team where the majority of people haven’t stepped foot inside the office yet.

But missing out on those small coffee breaks or five-minute chats before meetings means it has been harder for us all to get to know each other. Luckily, if Zoom catch-ups and quizzes are anything to go by, it won’t be long before we have all bonded as a team in person.

Do you have any productivity tips that help you through the working day?

Teams at Patreon are very good at scheduling meetings that are just shy of 30 minutes or an hour. It gives you a five or 10-minute window in between Zoom calls to grab a cup of tea or just get a break from the screen. I have found this so helpful while working from home and really advocate mini breaks throughout the day to keep productivity high.

When you first started this job, what were you most surprised to learn was important in the role?

The biggest surprise was how valued creators are. I always knew Patreon was a company built for the creator, but having worked in start-ups before I was aware that as a company grows core values can often shift. The role of the creator in decision making internally is very prevalent. No creator is too small for their experience not to be taken on board and used to make the platform better.

All teams, even those who are not user-facing, have a strong interest in the creator story. As a company, we often share insights into different creators and very regularly have a variety of creators speak at our company-wide meetings, called ‘all hands’. It is evident that the company’s founder is a creator first and businessman second, which only serves the mission to create a space where creators can thrive and get paid.

How has this role changed as this sector has grown and evolved?

I think we are in a very unique and arguably unusual position as a company, especially from a tax perspective. Digital services and online marketplaces are somewhat ahead of tax legislation and so how we are viewed by tax authorities often changes very regularly.

The way the world communicates and transacts has evolved rapidly over the last few years, but tax law has failed to keep up with the pace. We are therefore constantly required to monitor changing legislation and guidance while also trying to somehow fit into the current narrative.

To add to the fun, tax authorities often don’t agree on a uniform approach to companies like ours, so ensuring we comply locally in all relevant jurisdictions is high on our priority list.

What do you enjoy most about the job?

Working in a team that has a joint mission. It is testament to our finance team leader that he has brought together a group that is extremely talented and shares each other’s passion. Despite being in a completely different time zone to the rest of the team, I have always been made to feel included and valued.

There is an extremely high level of respect for each other, and an environment has been created that allows for growth. Everyone is on the same page and trying to achieve the same outcome for the company. Without a doubt, the best thing about working at Patreon is the team.

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