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7th September, 2023

Episode 5: Joyce Ong – An inspiring career journey of perseverance

In this episode of the Fiscal Therapy podcast, find out how Joyce Ong’s career journey is an inspiring tale of persistence and entrepreneurship.

Starting her career at KPMG, she quickly realised her passion for tax and excelled in the subject.

After completing her commerce degree at Melbourne University, she joined a mid-tier firm and eventually made her way to the prestigious Big Four accounting firm.

However, after achieving her CA qualification and experiencing the challenges of professional practice, Joyce began to question her path.

She decided to explore the “other side” and joined the Australian Tax Office (ATO) in a senior leadership role.

At the ATO, she was given the opportunity to lead the National Tax Governance program for the Top 500 Program in Private Wealth. She also played a crucial role in enhancing the commercial knowledge and skills of ATO officers within the audit and engagement team.

During her time at the ATO, Joyce realised that she had a unique talent for simplifying complex tax concepts and making them easily understandable.

The creation of Tax Nuggets

She began creating whiteboard explainer videos to share her knowledge and help others. However, due to the strict publication criteria at the ATO, she faced challenges in getting her videos published internally.

Undeterred, Joyce decided to take matters into her own hands and posted her videos on LinkedIn. The response was overwhelmingly positive, and she realised she had stumbled upon a new way to share her expertise and make a difference in the accounting community.

Combining her aspirations to be an influencer with her passion for tax, Joyce started a YouTube channel and aimed to earn passive income as an influencer.

However, her two worlds collided, and she realised that being an influencer and spreading tax knowledge within the ATO were not compatible.

This realisation led Joyce to make the bold decision to quit her job and fully commit to her business venture. Tax Nuggets was officially born.

Today, Joyce Ong continues to build her business and share her tax expertise through Tax Nuggets.

Her mission is to eradicate death by PowerPoint and create pay-free CPD (Continuing Professional Development) for accountants.

Through her videos and online resources, she aims to make tax education more accessible and enjoyable for accounting professionals.

Joyce’s career journey is a testament to the power of following one’s passion, taking risks, and embracing entrepreneurship.

From her humble beginnings in Malaysia to her current role as a CA Top 20 Future Leader, Joyce has proven that with determination and a willingness to adapt, one can forge their own path to success.

Slow, sustainable growth is key

One of the key lessons Joyce learned throughout her entrepreneurial journey is the importance of slow, sustainable growth.

Rather than rushing to achieve rapid success, Joyce took a measured approach to building her business, Tax Nuggets Academy.

This approach allowed her to navigate the challenges of starting a business during the COVID-19 pandemic while also maintaining her mental health and financial stability.

As her business began to gain traction, Joyce gradually increased her salary and recently gave herself a pay rise.

This incremental growth allowed her to maintain financial stability while also rewarding herself for her hard work and dedication.

Importance of continuous learning

Joyce emphasises the significance of investing in one’s skills and knowledge in order to stay competitive in a rapidly changing world.

This is particularly relevant in the context of her professional practice as an accountant, where legislation changes frequently and staying up-to-date is crucial.

Joyce suggests setting aside dedicated time each month for learning and sticking to that commitment.

By doing so, professionals can avoid complacency and ensure they are expanding their knowledge and staying ahead of industry trends.

People-focused approach is crucial

Joyce highlights the importance of providing employees with opportunities for continuous learning and growth.

By offering subscriptions to platforms like Tax Nuggets Academy, professionals can learn at their own pace and on their own time, ensuring they stay updated with industry changes and acquire new skills.

Retention of employees is another aspect that requires a people-focused approach.

By providing tips and support in these areas, businesses can create an environment that values and nurtures its employees.

Invest in systems, people, and make time for learning

Simply adding more people to a team does not necessarily lead to improvement or economies of scale.

Instead, businesses should focus on implementing efficient systems and processes that streamline operations and enhance productivity.

Specialisation is another important aspect of practice growth.

It is no longer feasible for one accountant or firm to cater to every type of client.

By choosing a niche and becoming experts, businesses can differentiate themselves and attract clients who specifically seek their specialised services.

Investing in people is vital for the growth and success of a business.

It is essential to provide employees with opportunities for learning and development.

This investment in people fosters a positive work environment, boosts employee morale, and enhances employee retention.

Capacity to grow through self-care

Joyce shares how she maintains her capacity to learn throughout her career journey, which ultimately contributes to her success.

One of the key aspects of self-care that Joyce emphasises is meditation. She believes that meditation not only helps in creating mental capacity but also contributes to emotional well-being.

Joyce suggests that to have the capacity to grow, one’s emotional life and home environment need to be stable.

This highlights the importance of taking care of your mental health as a foundation for personal and professional growth.