Fleeing from the Taliban under a burka at 20 – and at 42 a high flyer in Sydney
A few decades back, the gender inequality gap was significant; women were paid less and held smaller roles in organizations. However, things are quickly shifting as there were over 252 million women, entrepreneurs out of 582 million in 2021. Women have proven to be effective leaders and decision-makers again and again. One of such rising entrepreneurs is Tahera Nassrat. She is a confident tax agent, business coach, successful entrepreneur and advisor with over two decades of experience.
Tahera hails from Afghanistan during the Taliban regime in 1998 and received higher education in Australia. She has a solid academic background with a Bachelor’s of Business and Commerce major in accounts from the University of Western Sydney and an Advanced Diploma in Accounting. Tahera took part in multiple educational programs throughout various countries to further polish her soft skills. Some of them include Assertiveness development training in London, Team Leading & Management in Scotland, Tools & Procedures for Effective Development in Dubai, and Geographical Information System and Program Manager System in Islamabad.
Miss Nassrat has filled various key roles in the business space and amassed several significant achievements throughout her career. Besides being the Director at T & R Accountants, she is a Peace Advocate, UNICEF’s Honorary Women Representative in Afghanistan, she’s also the Afghan Peace Foundation’s Director, the Peace Ambassador for International Women Peace Group, a nominee for Citizen of the year 2022 in Parramatta LGA and winner of the Outstanding Professional Service Parramatta Local Business Award, among other roles. She also closely worked with the Ministry of Finance in Afghanistan to make strategies for poverty reduction and initiated adding her country Afghanistan’s new year “Nawroz” into the Cumberland council calendar with significant support from Councillor Steve Christou.
Tahera established her private tax firm, T & R Accountants, in 2009 and has been successfully running it since then. Her firm currently manages over 5,000 clients from various industries, including health, retail, construction, childcare, finance, disability, and more.
Even though Tahera is associated with United Nations, numerous NGOs, and peace programs, her years of professional experience has enabled her to find the right balance between her business and philanthropic lifestyle. She is always available to offer tax advice and services to her new and existing clients no matter where she is in the world.
“I am actively communicating with my existing clients by being reachable to them as the first point of contact, providing free workshops via zoom or face to face (if health order allows) to small businesses, and providing free tax advice and consultations to a broader community,” said Tahera Nassrat.
As the director of the Afghan Peace Foundation, Tahera’s current focus is on helping Afghan refugees settle and find employment in Australia – in fact, she has already helped several refugees get a fresh start in Australia. Because of her efforts, the Afghan Peace Foundation was featured in the Sydney Morning Herald for their amazing charity work. The refugees and the foundation has impressively helped in a campaign that raised over 15 thousand signatures for the intake of more Afghan refugees into Australia.
Tahera is a strong, bold, and independent Afghan woman who believes her success is not a chance but a choice she made! Because of the efforts of women entrepreneurs like Tahera, the corporate and business space is now recognizing the true potential of women and bridging the gap of gender inequality.
Global Elite Entrepreneur recently caught up with Tahera to discuss her journey as an entrepreneur, and here’s what went down:
What are you currently doing to maintain/grow your business?
I always try to be the first point of contact of my existing clients so that they can feel I am actively communicating with them. I also provide free workshops via zoom or even face to face, free tax advice, free consultations, and I never let my clients leave the office without a personalized goodbye. I want every client to feel important regardless of their size or structure.
What form of marketing has worked well for your business throughout the years?
Word of mouth is our primary marketing tool; we try to stay relevant in newspapers, radio stations, social media, and other media sources. Potential clients and existing customers can reach our team via Facebook as well as other social media platforms seven days a week.
What social media platforms do you usually use to increase your brand’s awareness?
Instagram, Facebook, Whatsup, and Tiktok.
What is the toughest decision you had to make in the last few months?
The most challenging decision we’ve had to make over the last 12 years was shutting our business down due to the COVID-19 lockdown in July last year.
July has always been our peak time every year, so we typically hire more casual staff to assist us with our client’s tax returns. However, due to the COVID-19 lockdown, our office was forced to shut down because the government ordered everyone from our team to stay at home. I was left to manage around 5000 clients on my own because of our lack of staff!
I was processing applications for various government grants and managing over 500 phone calls daily.
It was definitely tough for us to close the office, but servicing over 5000 clients with the same standard and quality as that of an entire team was even more challenging.
I worked from home during those times and the number of grant applications I was able to process was equivalent to the workload of seven employees for an entire two and half months!
How has your business been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted businesses worldwide, including ours. We were affected at the worst possible time of the year! Every second day, one of our employees was forced to isolate; this resulted in some of our clients being unable to make their tax obligations.
As much as we wanted to help our clients, we were forced to ask them to hold back on lodging their tax returns due to staff shortages. We definitely suffered enormous losses due to the COVID 19 pandemic.
How have you adapted your business operations in response to COVID-19 and its associated impacts?
We had to stop receiving walk-in clients. Our appointments changed from face-to-face to Zoom, and most of our clients who don’t know how to use Zoom get on a priority list to come to our office in person. When the government finally allowed face-to-face visits, everyone went through an appointment process. No one was allowed to walk into the office without an appointment. We were scheduling client visits based on appointments, and each consultation was 15 minutes apart from each other to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 by maintaining a physical distance. Physical distancing and wearing masks will always be our top priority during every consultation.
What have been some of the most important lessons you have learned because of this pandemic?
Take your health seriously and have a risk assessment for your business during a crisis such as COVID or a lockdown. You need to have a strategy in place to be able to work and run your business remotely – remote access to your database and business now should be a MUST!
What do you hope to see happen in the near future for small businesses all over the world?
Small businesses should be able to operate remotely, no limitation to work from wherever. They must have a solid system and saving strategy as this is very crucial.
What advice would you give to a newbie Entrepreneur setting up a new business in this pandemic?
Make sure you have backup options in this time of crisis and don’t panic if your business shuts down because it’s not just you, the pandemic is everywhere. Prioritize your health over money (safety comes first), make sure your books and systems are correctly done, make sure there’s remote access to your servers, and don’t use shortcuts to save money – you need to spend money to make money. Don’t wait for success to come, go after it – work hard and achieve what you want in business!
To know more about Tahera Nassrat or receive a consultation, contact her via firstname.lastname@example.org or call at 02- 8810 1031.