1. Was taxation a conscious career choice for you or did it ‘call’ you?
Well, in the context of this question I would say taxation ‘called’ me. Prior to my first real experience in the world of taxation, my only stint had been taking an elective course, ‘Principles of Taxation’ in second year as an Economics student in University. Never did I imagine I would have a career in the tax world someday until when the opportunity to join Taxaide Technologies came knocking. I took it and there has been no looking back since then.
2. What challenges did you face on your career path?
I would say a mountain of challenges. The first few months in Taxaide was like finding myself in a maze. I practically understood nothing and fortunately I had to understudy someone for some time. He was head of Operations then and before I had barely settled in, he left. While we waited for a replacement, I had to step into his shoes in acting capacity and as time would have it, no replacement came. I had to learn on the job with countless mistakes and frustrating experiences along the way. Looking back, I could say it was definitely a rough ride that eventually paid off.
3. Are they over now or are there still challenges?
The challenges are never ending to be honest. As you surmount one, another one rears its head. The beauty of it however is the ability to keep growing through the process. In the end, it births a beautiful story so many others get to learn from.
4. In the era of seeming specialization, what advice do you have for people looking towards starting a career in taxation?
It is indeed a career worth pursuing especially as far as Nigeria and Africa is concerned. The opportunity to ensure sanity in the system is one everyone should be willing to jump at and that is what a career in taxation brings to the table. It is high time people stopped viewing taxation as a deliberate effort of government to force people to part with their resources or as an annoying obligation. They should rather see it as a contribution to the society they live in, a deliberate effort to make it a better place for themselves and their loved ones.
5. What is your definition of a tax expert or someone well rounded in tax? Does this take a defined number of years or it depends on circumstances?
To my mind, a tax expert is basically someone who has taken time to understand the entire gamut of taxation and can authoritatively speak or write on the subject from diverse perspectives. Becoming a tax expert could be a function of years or circumstances but often, it is borne from a genuine and passionate interest in the subject of taxation and a willingness to learn the ropes, learn from mentors, study hard, get relevant certifications and practice the subject over time.
6. What has been your wildest/ craziest experience as a tax practitioner?
That would be sometime in my early days at Taxaide when my boss and I were supposed to make a presentation to senior executives of a bank, and he did not show up. I had to take the presentation without any form of advanced preparation and I still wonder how I did not faint or embarrass myself. Funny enough, the presentation turned out quite well. My boss would eventually tell me that he deliberately refused to show up because he was certain I would handle it well. I wished at that point that I could punch him.
7. If there was anything in the tax space you wish you did, or didn’t do, what would it be?
I wish I had given more attention to the subject and developed a lot of interest in it in my University days. However, it is never too late to start and for me, that is what counts!
Michael Olugbenga Sile heads Intel and Comms at Taxaide Professional Services and also doubles as Head of Operations at Taxaide Technologies Limited. With a background in Economics from Lagos State University and a number of professional certifications in view, he constantly strives to be part of a working system that seeks to change things for the better and leave indelible footprints in the sands of time.