The value of ongoing learning
Anita de Jager, Group Finance Manager, Seidor Africa
Women are notoriously scarce in the upper echelons of financial management. Anita de Jager, Group Finance Manager at Seidor Africa, however, has a career in finance spanning more than three decades. Her main focus is to increase the efficiency and automation of the finance department, an objective that is ongoing as she manages the financial activities that are crucial to the successful operation of the organisation.
“Qualities that go a long way in a management role for any gender, in any industry are confidence, integrity, accountability, a sense of humour and a sense of balance, thinking proactively and outside the box and supporting your team,” De Jager says.
“The challenge for women is to balance their work life with all the other roles that they perform, and yet remain focused on their careers. It is important not to lose sight of what is important to you.”
Anita’s learnings throughout the years
De Jager began studying medicine and then changed direction, opting to move into accounting and finance and completing her degree at the University of South Africa. She also had a stint as an entrepreneur while her children were small, before resuming her career in financial management.
She began her career in 1989 as a bookkeeper at Liberty Life. On completing her finance degree, she was promoted to finance and administration manager. In 1996 she launched her own accounting and financial services business, which she ran successfully for 15 years.
De Jager joined Bluekey Seidor (now Seidor Africa), the largest and most successful SAP Business One partner in Africa, in 2010.
She maintains that every career move gave her the opportunity to learn something new and valuable. As an entrepreneur, the ability to learn was key to enabling her to be of value in the small business environment, an area in which she had limited experience. At Bluekey Seidor, she has enjoyed learning and developing various skills and working with a variety of exceptionally talented colleagues.
In addition to her knowledge of accounting packages and setting up accounting systems, she also tries to learn something new every year. In 2019, she improved her German and in 2020 she has been working on her typing skills, which, she says, is harder than it sounds.
So why keep on learning?
The world is always changing. To ensure you stay relevant in your position, are always ahead of the curve and improve yourself, it is crucial to open your mind to new things and expand your skill sets at all times. To stand out from the crowed you need to be different. And to be different, you need to have that one thing or skill, setting you apart. What makes you different?
Education or learning new things does not need to mean that you have to spend money. There are so many online platforms available where you can learn basic skills at your own pace and that is very cost effective. With the impact of technology, you are also now able to find anything you are looking for online. Whether this is through watching YouTube videos, reading interesting articles written by Industry Leaders, or registering for online webinars, the opportunity to grow is all around us. Accessible to everyone, anywhere, at any time. The only thing keeping you from bettering yourself, is you.