My journey in audit began in Zimbabwe, it was here that the seeds of my ambition were planted. I vividly remember a conversation with my high school teacher, where the revelation that Chartered Accountants were the financial architects of success in Zimbabwe ignited a fire within me. From that moment onward, I resolved to channel every ounce of my determination towards achieving the coveted CA(SA) designation. I then moved to South Africa at 17 years old because their CA(SA) program was renowned worldwide, and I knew it was the perfect place to pursue my goal.
Fast forward through a decade of unwavering dedication, and here I am on the brink of an incredible adventure. After gaining invaluable work experience in Namibia, the United States, and Australia, something deep within me yearned to explore new horizons in Europe. A friend recommended Kula Staffing and Consulting as the go-to resource for finding international opportunities. Interestingly enough, the Netherlands didn’t immediately grab my attention, but life had a delightful surprise in store for me.
As I look back on my global journey, I can’t help but share the story of how the Netherlands became a symbol of opportunity and personal growth for young auditors from South Africa
1. A Thriving International Business Hub:
In my years of external audit experience spanning continents, I’ve come to realize that The Netherlands holds a special place in the world of international trade and investment. It’s not just a country but a strategic crossroads of Europe, bustling with opportunities waiting to be explored. Here, you’ll find a hub of multinational corporations, each offering a unique chance to gain exposure to diverse industries and clients. The Netherlands has this magnetic pull that attracts auditors like me who are eager to dive into new experiences.
2. Embracing Diversity and Multiculturalism:
The Dutch understand the value that diversity brings to the table, and they actively embrace it. It’s a place where your ideas are valued, and your voice is heard, regardless of where you come from. What’s even more amazing is the sense of community among African expats. They’ve been so welcoming and supportive, making the transition to a foreign country much smoother. They’re always there to lend a helping hand and show you the ropes.
3. Opportunities for Specialisation and Upskilling:
The Dutch market offers numerous opportunities for specialisation in specific industries or areas of expertise. This allows South African CAs to further develop their skills and carve out niche roles within the accounting and auditing profession.
In the USA and Australia, contractors are often seen as external individuals brought in solely for testing purposes during busy audit seasons without much involvement with clients. However, in the Netherlands, I have experienced a different level of trust and involvement. Here, I am not just involved in testing but entrusted with the entire audit process, from planning to overall audit execution. The Dutch value my expertise and experience, allowing me to take on more responsibilities and even upskill junior employees.
4. Networking and Professional Connections:
The Netherlands is known for its strong professional networks and business communities. By working here, South African CAs can build valuable connections with fellow Africans, industry leaders, peers, and potential clients, opening doors to new opportunities.
5. Work-Life Balance and Quality of Life:
The Dutch culture prioritizes personal well-being and work-life balance. Unlike in some other countries, it is entrenched in Dutch company policies that work should not follow you home. This culture allows me to enjoy a better quality of life, explore new hobbies, meet people from around the world and travel in my spare time. The Netherlands truly offers a seamless blend of professional pursuits and personal fulfilment.
6. English Proficiency and International Communication:
English is widely spoken in the Netherlands (The Dutch have the best English proficiency level out of any non-native country), making it easier for South African CAs to integrate into the local business environment. Most people can at least speak conversational English, so if you find yourself in a sticky situation, there will always be someone to help.
7. Gateway to Europe’s Professional Landscape:
The Netherlands is a small yet mighty nation, that emerged as a gateway to a whole continent with professional opportunities. My Dutch experience became a launchpad for international projects and assignments that spanned across Europe. The exposure I gained opened doors I hadn’t even fathomed, it painted such a vivid picture of the immense potential just waiting for young auditors like me, especially those from South Africa.
As I conclude this chapter of my journey, I am reminded of the indelible impact the Netherlands has had on my career. The kaleidoscope of experiences, cultures, and opportunities has redefined my professional trajectory. To the young auditors of South Africa, I extend an invitation to embrace the Netherlands as a canvas for growth. The Dutch landscape, with its thriving business hub, inclusive culture, and boundless prospects, offers a launchpad to catapult your career beyond horizons. Your journey, much like mine, may begin with a step, but the path it unfolds will be an exhilarating adventure of personal and professional evolution.