We are delighted to feature an interview with Nana Afua Okoh who is Tax Advisor for Gold Fields Ghana Limited (Tarkwa mine) and also Abosso Ghana Limited (Damang mine). Nana previously worked for both PwC and KPMG LLP.
Why did you get into tax?
I fell into tax really to be honest. I was researching possibilities in accounting; tax was one of the paths one could follow as an accountant. I became intrigued and when researching further I realized that it was a niche area particularly in Ghana, my country of birth. KPMG UK’s programme was particularly interesting as they had a dedicated Tax Business School which meant in addition to practical work experience, you could study for the ATT, a dual tax/accounting qualification as well as the ICAS professional qualification in a short space of time. The rest is now a faraway memory
Who has been the most influential role model for your professional life?
Whilst I was in London, most notably, members of KPMGs Financial Services Tax team. Jane McCormick, Tom Aston, Alistair Nash, Nathan Hall. They along with the rest of the leadership recognized certain qualities in me and encouraged me which helped develop my confidence, technical ability and approach to dealing with work issues. Overall it was a fantastic learning experience.
What do you see as the biggest trend affecting the tax world over the next 10 years?
Base erosion & profit shifting issues as well as sharing of tax information between jurisdictions. As a tax professional in the developing world, there is an increasing focus on developing capabilities and competencies of the tax authorities and ensuring that there is a right and appropriate tax take across the board. I think there are interesting times ahead.
What is your pet hate when dealing with advisers?
In some instances it is difficult to get a concise answer without caveats. Admittedly in my previous life, I was a tax advisor and can understand the need, especially as the advisors I currently deal with operate in a jurisdiction where there can be divergence between tax law and practice, and practice can and does rapidly change. On the flip side, when doing business in some jurisdictions, the advisors are very good value as these very divergences one only becomes aware of through experience.
In a movie of your life story, which actress would you like to play you?
Hmm difficult question, I am not even sure I would play myself!
What would be your dream job if you didn’t work in tax?
I’d like to be involved in humanitarian issues but also have a steady source of income to support that, perhaps from a solid investment portfolio…
What is your biggest extravagance?
Hmmm so far I spoil myself with a token when I achieve certain milestones. The most recent being a lovely piece of jewelry.
What do you do to relax?
I love reading and exploring – outdoorsy stuff. I also live in a country which has some lovely beachfronts. There is nothing like sitting by the beach on a sunny breezy day, with a book in hand or some fantastic company/conversations
What is your favourite holiday destination?
Too many to name but my dream destination is to visit Machu Pichu in Peru. That is a must do soon
What piece of advice would you give your 25-year-old self?
Work hard, be proactive and open. Develop a competitive advantage in whatever it is that you do. This helps gain recognition and doors start opening. However it is very very important to also have a good work-life balance so that you can enjoy the fruits of your labour.