One bold leap is all it takes!

Pilara Solutions Accountants is a SARS Registered Tax Practitioner, the company focuses on delivering tax compliance and bookkeeping services to SMEs

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Six years ago, Olebogeng Percy Wagae walked away from what seemed at the time like a solid career to most people. Looking in from the outside, one would have been convinced leaving his current job to start his own company was probably the biggest and worst career move, he would soon regret. But years of deeply seeded assertiveness, self-awareness, previous work experience from companies he had much respect for and drive to start his own company gave him an adrenaline rush like no other, which resulted in him boldly taking the plunge.

He started Pilara Solutions Accountants with no savings from his previous job, all he had was his vision and determination. The company has achieved much, since its conception, it is only headed up from here. Leadership Magazine sat with Wagae who gave us detailed insights into his exciting entrepreneurship journey, he serves as living proof that sometimes dreams that sound impossible to accomplish to the rest of the world, only need you, the dreamer to prove that your dream is attainable.

Years of accredited training and expertise in a wide range of fields led you to start your own company. Can you tell us more about your background prior to Pilara Solutions Accountants?

In high school, I loved accounting and business economics very much. I did very well in both subjects but I never thought I would end up becoming an accountant or selling accounting services in my future. I have always had this intense desire to have my own business even in high school, but I never had an idea as to what kind of a company/business I would like to run in the future.

After matriculating in 2006, I went to study BCom Accounting at the University of Johannesburg. It was only then that the dream of one day becoming an accountant was born. Big four accounting firms and other companies would come to the campus to recruit students for vacation work. I attended my first vacation work at PWC then I went to KPMG I think it was in 2010.

In 2011 I got a job at Standard Bank South Africa as a general banking consultant. I then joined Discovery in 2012 as a vitality consultant. I loved discovery with all my heart. It’s a good brand and those guys know how to sell their brand to their employees. When you are there you literally fall in love with the company.

Their induction program is well designed. I learned a lot about business in Discovery because sometimes I would go to other accounting departments like Discovery insure to buddy up with senior accountants and see how all the business units of Discovery jell in together. I learned the whole history of Discovery and the founder Adrian Gore. He is a very powerful man with strong leadership and business skills. Things that I learned about Adrian Gore were just too inspiring for me to continue working for Discovery.

I then decided to also start my own company to test my business acumen. I believed in myself so much that I literally resigned without any savings or any job prospects. I registered my company, Pilara Solutions in January 2014.

I started assisting start-ups to register companies. Then I assisted individuals with their tax returns. Then as the business expanded, I started investing in accounting software to assist companies with bookkeeping services and financials.

The first professional body that I registered with is the South African Institute of Tax Professionals. I subsequently then registered with the Southern African Institute of Business Accountants as a Business Accountant in Practice. I am a recognized and registered tax practitioner at SARS. I have now been in the field for almost six years and I have employed one accountant, one assistant accountant, one practice assistant and one cleaner. We are looking at hiring two interns through our professional body and FASSET in January 2020.

Please elaborate on the accounting services provided by Pilara Solutions Accountants, that directly cater to your client’s individual needs?

At Pilara Solutions we are obsessed with tax compliance and we believe most companies go out of business due to tax non-compliance. We have therefore focused our attention on Bookkeeping services for SMEs with a turnover of less than R500mil. Tax services for SMEs and individuals. We don’t offer labour services or CIDB services. All other services that don’t fall within our scope, we refer to other accountants.

What is your leadership philosophy?

To always listen more to those I disagree with, to better understand their world. I believe in conducting continuous research that focuses on the latest developments that will affect those that we exist to serve. Respect and honesty, particularly tolerance and respect for those who hold different opinions and beliefs from my own. Listening with a pure intention to understand and caring more about the quality of input than the results. And lastly to inspire those around me with a strong work ethic.

What characteristics differentiate your service delivery from that of your competition?

We exist to solve a problem and not to compete. We add value through our tailored services by using world-leading technology as our leverage. We deal with hardcore accounting problems and tax non-compliance. Our team consists of well-experienced accountants and support staff who are dedicated to the quality of output.

How has your background helped prepare you to run your own business?

I have always had a passion for business. In high-school I used to sell biscuits in the hostel and even at tertiary level I had a burning desire to start a business but because of my workload at the time I couldn’t. So, this burning desire for business became a reality when I joined Discovery because that is where I learned how Adrian Gore turned the health insurance industry around with his limited experience and just an idea that a lot of experienced professionals did not believe in. To this day I still believe in the beauty of my dream and I know that all that you need to run a successful business is to be stubborn on your vision.

What has been the highlight of your career?

The highlight of my career was being able to employ qualified staff with the experience to service our clients better. For me, it was the biggest thing because six years back this would have sounded impossible but here we are. We haven’t achieved much but the small difference that we made has had a positive impact on the lives of those we serve.

What advice would you give people that look up to you, particularly the youth who may hope to one day follow in your footsteps?

Everything that you see around you was impossible at some point. I mean everything we see today was once an idea that many people thought it is impossible to invent. Work hard and don’t accept an average life. Great achievements are a true reflection of the quality of input.

What should we look forward to seeing from Pilara Solutions Accountants in the near future?

We are now working on establishing a new office in Johannesburg to operate as our digital office. We will be running a 100% digital practice. That means we will be employing more people to work in Johannesburg but they will be running a paperless practice. We are planning to narrow our scope in our Kuruman office to mining contractors and farmers. We are also planning to expand our individual taxes to high-net-worth individuals. 

www.pilarasolutions.com

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