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First National Bank (FNB) recently appointed Lizette Smit as their new retail senior financial manager.

16 October 2020 | People

MARISELLE STOFBERG

The vibrant Lizette Smit believes that in order for one to grow, you need to move outside your comfort zone and push yourself beyond what you think you are capable of.

Smit has been married for six years and with her two dogs who are like her very own children, she strives to make every moment and day count.

“Outside of work I like to spend time with my family and friends, exercise, go to the spa or cook. I also started Brazilian jiu-jitsu in January 2020, which allows me to learn a new skill and de-stress.”

Smit completed her bachelor of commerce degree and her postgraduate diploma in accounting at Rhodes University from 2007 to 2010. She then joined Deloitte in 2011 where she completed her three-year articles.

“During this time, I passed both my board exams which made me eligible to register as a chartered accountant (CA) at the start of 2014. I was selected for the Deloitte JIT (Just in Time) programme which placed me in the Deloitte Chicago office for three months from January 2014 to March 2014.”

Smit re-joined Deloitte Namibia as an assistant manager in April 2014. “During my time there I was promoted to manager in March 2015 and then to senior manager in September 2016, which is considered a short period for promotion to senior manager level.”

A promotion to senior manager level usually takes four to five years, but Smit impressed with her technical knowledge and skills, leadership capabilities and willingness to take up any challenge.

Smit was responsible for managing various audits in retail, property, financial services, telecommunications and mining industries. She further assessed international financial reporting standards applications, managed various teams, facilitated training and was a member of the recruitment team. Apart from other responsibilities, Smit was also the lead manager for the planning of all audit engagements in the office, and compiling and presenting proposals.

Smit is the embodiment of the saying that age is just a number, as in 2017 she was presented with the opportunity to become the chief financial officer (CFO) of Oryx Properties at the tender age of 28.

She joined Oryx on 1 August 2017 and was responsible for all financial, governance and compliance matters of the company. Smit showed great determination, perseverance and willingness to learn, and continued to impress throughout her career.

“Now I will join the FNB Namibia Retail Banking team as a senior financial manager, where I will assist with driving forward the work already done to streamline and automate current financial functions within the retail segment.”

She is also responsible for month-end reporting, assisting with implementing a financial resource management model, budgets and forecasting, and analysing of variances. She will further assist the entire retail team to drive the retail segments strategy to customer-centric and digital strategy.

“I am really excited about my new role, not only because this is a new industry that I will need to understand and become familiar with, but also because of where banking is heading in the future. I am an individual that enjoys learning new skills and personal and professional development – I try to live my life according to a quote attributed to Ginni Rometty that growth and comfort do not coexist.

During the next five years she would like to focus on developing and growing herself as a professional and at the same time see how she can continue to add value to FNB.

“Initially I would like to start with my day-to-day team and in the future see in which ways I can add to the greater FNB team. At the end of the five years I would like to ensure that I have laid out a clear direction for my career path over the longer term within the bank,” Smit says.

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