Benjamin Mbana tops in Ernst & Young Competition

Posted on February 02, 2015

Benjamin Mbana, who graduated with a BCom Hons in Taxation from the University of Pretoria in 2012, was announced as the very worthy winner of the International Ernst & Young (EY), Young Tax Professional of the Year 2014 in Amsterdam in December 2014. Benjamin also received the South African Ernst & Young Young Tax Professional of the Year (EY YTPY) 2014 award.  

In addition to Benjamin's achievement, the University of Pretoria also delivered the two runners-up of the South African EY Young Tax Professional of the Year Competition 2014. For the South African chapter of the competition, Catherine Bailey finished in second place and Shirleen Ritchie finished in third place.  Both are currently MCom students in Taxation at the University of Pretoria. Eleven of the thirteen finalists studied or are still studying at UP.  These finalists are exemplary ambassadors for the Department of Taxation by living the vision of the Department to be inspired thought leaders in taxation generating quality knowledge that is recognised internationally for its impact.

This competition aims to identify leading young talent in taxation globally. The South African representative was selected based on a three-stage process. The first stage consisted of an online assessment of tax skills, where all the students studying taxation up to master’s level at a South African university were challenged both on their technical abilities and wider commercial strengths. From the students that entered, twenty candidates were identified and invited to simulated client interviews with partners of EY. In the final stage of the competition, thirteen finalists competed against each other in front of a panel of judges consisting of EY partners, tax academics and tax executives.

Benjamin received extremely positive feedback from clients, jury members, coaches and most importantly, the 23 participants. Upon hearing the news of Benjamin’s international victory, Jim Deiotte, EY Africa Tax leader said:  “We are very proud of Ben and his accomplishments, the entire practice is celebrating his achievement. Ben is becoming an accomplished tax practitioner. A professional that is much sought after due to his work ethic and diversified experiences.”

Cleedon Botha, EY Director for Tax, says: “This competition is playing a huge role in elevating the tax profession and encouraging students to study further in tax. Tax professionals are a scarce resource in South Africa and we are seeking to attract passionate and energetic students to the profession. We congratulate Benjamin on this award.” 

- Author Department of Taxation

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