In his role as financial controller, Mamokutupi Ramokgopa needs to pay keen attention to detail while always having the bigger picture in mind.

After completing a BCom in Accounting and Finance at the University of Johannesburg, he joined technology distributor Westcon, first in the role of pricelist administrator and then logistics co-ordinator. He moved to Tarsus Distribution in 2014 as a product operations administrator. In 2017, Ramokgopa was promoted to the position of financial controller at Tarsus On Demand.

“When I first joined the company, I focused on rebate receivables, a role that my manager at the time thought would be the best way to get me on the right career path,” he says. “After about a year, I moved into a more operational role, with a manager who promised to help me grow my skill set. I was exposed to the company’s entire product base and given the opportunity to manage all rebate receivables and more. I quickly grew impatient though, and I was always wanting to do more and be entrusted with greater responsibilities. When the graduate programme was introduced, I had been working for four years already and I wasn’t keen to join a bunch of newly graduated youngsters. But I did it anyway.”

Benefits of accelerated learning
Looking back, Ramokgopa is happy that he signed up for the graduate programme as it has provided him with accelerated development opportunities and structured workplace support.

“One of the biggest benefits was that my confidence grew, and I became able to communicate clearly and efficiently with the leaders in the business,” he says. “When you are stuck in your cubicle, the only people you interact with are your colleagues and your manager. On the programme we were exposed to all the exco members; we had conversations with them and even got the opportunity to offer suggestions and ideas. I worked on a proposal for an incubation system that caught their attention and in which they saw value. The reason I joined Tarsus On Demand was because I spoke up and I was put in touch with the financial manager and she understood that I was eager to learn more about finance. Because I made my needs apparent, people listened. I then went through a steep six-month learning curve which was hell, but absolutely worth it.”

Ramokgopa is known for being ambitious and enthusiastic. That can sometimes be frowned upon, even in the most innovative organisations. That is why interpersonal skills are so important, he says.

“You need to learn to work with colleagues and encourage one another. Emotional intelligence is vital because it helps improve communication, problem-solving, and relationships in the workplace.”

He firmly believes in the benefits of working across departments and it is something he would have liked to do more. “It gives you a holistic view of the organisation’s work and leads to bigger-picture insights. Learning what other departments do and working with them on collaborative projects are rewarding ways to gain knowledge about the organisation’s other moving parts, and how they can work together to better achieve the company’s vision. It also gives you an appreciation of what other workers do and how they contribute to the whole.”

[Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash]