CA Shakira Naidoo gives without expecting in return

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Shakira Naidoo, a CA(SA) with almost 10 years’ experience in providing professional services, follows the Hindu practice of seva, a philosophy of giving without expecting anything in return.

In the Hindu community, "seva" refers to selfless service or voluntary work carried out for the wellbeing of others and the broader community, explains Shakira Naidoo, a CA(SA) with 10 years’ worth of experience, and currently the head of advisory in South Africa at Malander Advisory.

“Seva is a concept deeply rooted in my philosophy and spirituality, emphasising the idea of giving without expecting anything in return,” she says.

Shakira actively contributes to the community through activities such as organising charitable events, coordinating educational programmes, and assisting in community outreach projects or feeding schemes. Most recently, she donated Christmas hampers to Roodepoort Child Welfare and served meals at Serve with Love Organisation.

Seva is also evident in the way she leads, but her leadership style is also built on various experiences of working with leaders under whom she has served. She describes her leadership approach as being a blend of assertive decision-making and empathetic management. “I’m a strong believer in open communication and encourage my team to work collaboratively, valuing the diverse perspectives they each bring to the table.”

Priding herself in always ensuring that she is continuously approachable, she seeks to develop a work environment that is supportive and conducive to professional development, like her own leaders. “I always want my team to feel fulfilled in the work that they do.”

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Shakira explains that she works with a dynamic team of professionals from various backgrounds, most of whom are CAs. These team members range from newly qualified, to more experienced advisory managers. “The team is actively engaged in a range of projects and clients, which provides continuous learning opportunities, not only for me, but for each of them, as they navigate different industries and challenges. Each team member plays a crucial role, contributing their unique skills and insights to address the specific needs of our clients.”

Her team provides accounting and financial advisory services to large and listed entities and primarily supports the CFOs of these entities in achieving success. “My role gives me the opportunity to manage end-to-end finance and accounting processes, drive finance function optimisation and work alongside exceptional finance professionals, all while driving excellent quality of deliverables and building long-lasting relationships with her clients.”

Shakira has served in roles that allowed her to lead global business strategic partnerships, improve finance function as well as taking on managerial roles in transaction advisory, both locally and internationally, she explains. Before joining Malander in May 2023, she spent time at Makosi, most recently as engagement manager of transaction advisory. Her career also includes time at EY, TecEx, and Deloitte South Africa.

She says having the opportunity to work with so many CFOs over the years has been both professionally rewarding and personally inspiring. “Internally, it is empowering to work alongside someone who is not only a leader, but someone who provides a platform for continued professional development and growth.”

She explains that her role has allowed her to be mentored indirectly by various CFOs. “

This has been invaluable and has reinforced my belief in the importance of diversity in leadership and the value of surrounding yourself with people who exemplify what can be achieved through dedication and skill.”

One day, she says, she would like to be a CFO as this is a “goal that resonates deeply with my passion for financial leadership and my commitment to shattering ceilings in the corporate world.” She sees an opportunity to not only excel in a strategic financial position but also to pave the way for future strong leaders in the field. “As I strive to add value in everything that I do, I believe that being a CFO offers a platform to influence financial strategy and ultimately drive organisational success.”

Mother to two Rottweilers, Shakira has a passion for continuous learning, including in the foreign exchange world where she feels she can engage in the dynamic area of financial markets. “I am actively interested in global markets and the impacts of macro, micro and socio-economic events on companies and the business world in general.”

Her other hobbies include being creative when it comes to baking, dedicating time to her wellbeing through physical exercise and reading across various genres to expand her knowledge and perspectives.

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