Not many people dream of becoming a tax professional… the common stereotype of career dreams are usually of becoming a doctor or a lawyer. Young children commonly dream of becoming firemen and police officers, it is not usual for children to spend their childhood dreaming of becoming tax managers as many may consider it daunting.
However, modern tax professionals are demonstrating that tax as a career path is dynamic and fast-paced, it is not about completing forms and punching out numbers, but delivers the insights that aid businesses to make imperative decisions around strategic areas.
Easter Ndakondja (27) is an experienced local tax professional and is a perfect example to Namibian youth that working in tax can offer you a bright future. Her childhood dream of becoming a pharmacist took the backseat the day she enrolled for her undergraduate qualification in accounting at the University of Namibia.
Her degree in accounting was followed by a two-year post graduate degree which was converted to a Chartered Accountant programme at the University of Cape Town. Thereafter, she completed another three years of articles where she wrote ITC and APC. All of this essentially equates to a total of nine years in preparation to becoming a
CA. Passing her final CA qualifying exams and completing her articles at Deloitte has been career highlights for Easter, which set her on course to building a successful career.
Currently working as a Tax Compliance and Reporting Manager at Nedbank Namibia, she is astounded by the rigorous opportunities that exist in her field. Easter speaks about the CA field with such passion and excitement that it could position it as a dream career for any child.
“The exposure you get in the CA career is out of this world! In an audit sphere you are afforded the opportunity to work on multinational clients, you are mentored by partners, speak to financial directors and CFOs. People trust you enough to speak about their business strategy and opportunities. Not even mentioning the global opportunities, I know a number of varsity mates that are globetrotting,” she adds.
Ndakondja hails from Eenhana in northern Namibia, she essentially grew up in two homes – between her aunt in Ondangwa and spending holidays at her family home in Eenhana, Easter navigated her childhood purposefully and worked very hard. Growing up in a large extended family, she was taught from an early age about faith, diligence, modesty and love. The very life lessons that would sustain and motivate her later in life.
With a goal to learn as much as she can and perhaps specialise in the areas of taxation, she would also love to be more involved in other areas within Nedbank – be it within social or strategic aspects of the business. She shares that one of the reasons she moved to Nedbank was their voice as a strong advocate and influencer on environmental matters as well as their people centeredness and diversity.
This humble young woman spent nine years of her life working arduously towards a goal, when asked what exactly it is that drives her, Easter assertively reveals, “it is the urge to complete something that seems impossible or unattainable.”
It may seem it was smooth sailing for Easter, but her journey to CA certainly had its downs as well. This is exactly why having role models in her field is important, “I look up to my fellow CA peer, Klestina Armas. She was instrumental in me completing my CA journey. The honours year was very challenging and she held my hand when I felt like giving up, she is involved in community work and stretches me to dream big.” Finding a professional to look up to, who coincidently also comes from her neck of the woods, contributed to her successful journey in becoming a qualified CA.
Easter’s professional discipline is an asset to any company and the country at large. It is universal and dynamic. With the economic climate constantly changing, this is a complex discipline that provides the necessary insight, advice and guidance to navigate tax regimes taking into account the regulatory and legislative environments.
She agrees that a business qualification is essential in our country, “the economy is driven by different sectors, e.g. mining, fishing and financial services and these enterprises need someone to take care of their finances. They also need to pay their taxes and this is where the tax profession comes in, ensuring businesses pay Government taxes and comply with applicable legislation”.
She considers the most fulfilling part of her work the fact that tax legislation is always changing. “There are rapid developments that ensure you are always challenged!”
Easter enjoys reading up on tax laws and finds great satisfaction in understanding banking related operations and risk management.
In 10 years’ time, this go-getter sees herself being an expert in her current field, moreover she envisions herself being a mentor and being involved in charity organisations. She views not only her career growth as paramount but places great emphasis on her personal growth.
This tax professional is a keen music lover in her spare time and enjoys watching reality shows, dancing and going to church. Three of her top bucket list items are to undertake a Contiki tour around Europe, to travel around Namibia, and last and most certainly not least, to mentor young girls from northern Namibia. Her parting words to the student who has reached rock bottom and on the verge of giving up is, “Do not give up, everything is possible if you believe. Believe you can do it.”