SAP Mentor Spotlight Interview: Karen Rodrigues
|The SAP Mentor Spotlight Interview Series highlights key strategic topics, such as emerging technologies, learning, and other topics, and provides insights from Mentors and SAP leaders on turning ideas into innovative approaches that impact people, process, and technology.|
A career in technology can be the key to realizing many aspirations and empowerment for girls in Brazil and around the globe. While there is a great potential for success and innovation, there can be barriers which impede career advancement and the opportunity to become tomorrow’s leaders.
What’s needed is successful technology professionals who can collaborate with girls and women, identify the key steps forward, and encourage taking action.
One of those successful role models, Karen Rodrigues, an SAP Mentor, SAP TDF/ACR expert, Founder at SeInspire, remembers her own career path and the challenges along the way, and supports the girls in Brazil by taking the time to share her stories, lessons learned, and inspiration. From her professional and community interests, Karen has a passion to share her knowledge, and support people in their development and professional growth.
Recently we reached out to Karen in São Paulo and had a wonderful exchange on a few topics that span across business, IT, and community service.
Julia Russo (JR): From your school days ranging from Colégio Protásio Alves to Dominican University, you studied many different subjects including: Accounting, Project Management, Tax Management, and Business Administration. How did these subjects lead you to becoming an SAP Tax Declaration Framework (TDF) and Advanced Compliance Reporting (ACR) expert? What was it about TDF and ACR that interested you?
Karen Rodrigues (KR): I wasn’t sure about the path I wanted to follow, so I chose the broadest course that might help me find a job very quickly. I graduated in business administration, then I did accounting, and then came graduate courses: Project Management and Tax Management. In some way these subjects complemented one another, and I developed new skills.
The transition to a technical career in systems happened by chance, with an opportunity to put my business knowledge into practice and build practical solutions that brought real and tangible benefits to companies. Knowing how things work behind the interfaces and being an innovation agent is the fuel that keeps me going. Also, the privilege of being an educator and sharing my knowledge and experiences is very rewarding.
JR: What inspired you to volunteer with the non-profit, Mentora, to mentor girls and inspire them to pursue a career in technology?
KR: Despite the growing presence of women in technology with leadership roles, I feel a barrier we still face is that when we get promoted, our background is called into question. How much you studied and struggled to get there is not noticed. People still think that if you’re a woman, you went up the career ladder because you’re pretty, not because you’re smart and worked hard for it.
The lack of female role models is said to be a reason for girls not being interested in technology. Volunteering while being a woman in tech was the way I found I could inspire girls to follow this fantastic career, and experience fulfillment in their professional choices. A career in technology can be the key to realizing many aspirations and for empowerment.
JR: How did you become an SAP Mentor? What does it mean to you to be in this program?
KR: I was honored to be recognized as an SAP Mentor in 2015 for my contributions to the SAP Community in the Portuguese space. I remember how elated I was when I was nominated during the SAP Forum Brazil event (today SAP Now Brazil).
As I was inspired by other SAP Mentors who knew a lot and had helped me along the way. I thought it would be interesting to give back to the SAP Community.
Participating in the program allows you to learn about trends that will guide the future of technology, enable us to give feedback on SAP products, guide and support the SAP Community and other important initiatives within the ecosystem. I am proud to be a member of SAP Mentors, and also help the SAP Community drive innovation in their business.
JR: What is your experience with emerging technologies to help empower finance to gain insights based on trusted data and digital transformation?
KR: In the digital age, whoever has the greatest capacity to act and make decisions based on data, wins. Emerging technologies have contributed to finance in several ways:
- By managing large volumes of data at high speed, financial professionals have everything they need in one place, facilitating access to any information from any process.
- With information stored in a safe place and accessible from anywhere, the financial area has more flexibility to control processes and work in a network.
- It is no longer necessary for everyone to be at the same place at the same time.
Software that integrates financial systems and procedures simplify the area’s activities and allow employees to direct their attention to the quality of delivery. The fewer processes, the faster executions and reports, the better for everyone.
JR: Whether in Brazil or other parts of the globe, it’s critical to be aware of local tax law updates which impact the implementation, compliance, and outcomes of a tax solution. From your experience, what are a few ways that SAP TDF helps reduce operational costs (e.g., auditing, analysis, and assessment) and provides greater accuracy for fiscal planning and payment of taxes?
KR: SAP offers two tax solutions: SAP TDF and SAP ACR:
SAP TDF is a solution exclusively created and designed to meet tax requirements in Brazil and with integration with SAP ECC and SAP S/4HANA running like a sidecar.
SAP ACR is a global solution embedded on SAP S/4HANA and delivery tax requirements for more than 40 countries around the world which addresses:
- Optimizing compliance, increasing efficiency and operational sustainability by managing electronic documents and statutory reports through a standard SAP solution.
- Deploying a fiscal framework enabling the creation of new scenarios in a simplified way.
- Adopting changing tax deliveries with an integrated solution.
JR: For students and recent graduates who may start in majors outside of accounting and tax law, as you did early in your career, what suggestions do you have to build the confidence to transition into a new job or career journey?
KR: First, improve skills as needed and fill gaps you have in relation to the new area you want to work in. Also, make sure you have a mentor, a person who can support you in this journey. Finally, make sure you understand that you will need to work hard to achieve what you want.
LinkedIn is an amazing tool for digital networking. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date, and that you connect online with the people you meet at networking events who have the same job interests as you do and consume their content as well.
Bring all your past experiences and knowledge with you! Life experiences can boost your confidence and be used as a tool to support you in this change.