Opportunities do present themselves in every corner we look, but will only be seen by those who have the rest of the package to put to good use. Damith Gangodawilage, Managing Director and Chief Compliance Officer of Taxperts is a living monument of hard work, dedication, and undeniable focus that has now gained him the prestige he holds by founding not one, but four business entities. Damith is a product of Lumbini College, Colombo where he completed his advanced levels. Not only did he thrive in his academic skills, but also was a skilled debater, sports, drama, and a prefect of his alma mater.
His natural talent at academics won him a scholarship through the Association of Accounting Technicians, which, he says, was the ultimate point that made him decide his career path. He further completed his audit training at a firm in association with the chartered accountants and kept to his goal with the next step of receiving training in the Board of Investment of Sri Lanka, before his work in the construction and apparel industry. Not long after, he received a life-changing opportunity to be a part of the leading telecom player in the world, TATA Communications (TATA Com). He started his journey at TATA Com as a freelancer and left 11 years later, ripened and thriving as a Deputy Chief Financial Officer, armed with the exclusive knowledge that makes a memorable entrepreneur and the best of his kind.
According to Damith, TATA Com held the opportunities and guidance that helped him grow and evolve where he earned several academic and professional qualifications. He then made his way into a foreign university where he was entrusted to handle operations between Sri Lanka and Cambodia as a Deputy Campus Director and Head of Academics. He proudly adds that his multidisciplinary academic qualifications have enabled him to explore different sorts of valuable opportunities. Further down the road of his success story, he became the Vice President at the Sri Lanka Institute of Taxation.
When asked about why he wanted to initiate Taxperts, Damith answered comprehensively that the concerns of mere learning are not enough without the practical exposure to taxation and the concern of using technology for taxation were the matters that did not just pass by him without having him wonder of alternative ways, while he was following the taxation course at the Sri Lanka Institute of Taxation. His first venture of providing finance and accounting outsourcing operations saw light in 2007 as a more practical alternative to deal with his first concern. In 2009, he focused on a project which tested the possibility of adopting technology for the process of taxation. With its extensive performance, it was in 2017 that Taxperts was initially established as the very first software system to manage the country’s tax compliances. The effort flew into colors with its beta version released in 2018 and the ever-easy mobile accessible application in 2020.
When recounting his experiences to the top of the ladder, being a tax and not a tech expert appears to have made his journey a little more complex. Once hurdling over that, the everchanging tax rules in the country and the finances for this massive project were a few among the puddles that slowed him down. However, none of this was able to stop his growth. According to him, teamwork, leadership, research, and the process of setting goals and achieving them without failure have made each milestone productive, memorable, and successful. “Success does not come overnight. Persistence in doing the task despite difficulties experienced is vital as an entrepreneur to achieve success,” stated Damith.
“I have to acknowledge the support given by Kanishka Weeramunda, award-winning ICT entrepreneur, and Sampath Gunawardena, the leader in ICT project management. Also, the ICTA for the exposure to the tech start-up ecosystem to get the knowledge in the industry”, he added further while explaining how he managed to overcome the difficulties he initially encountered.
“The dedication, commitment, and interest to achieve the desired outcome always sharpen the idea to reality,” added Damith, who has redefined persistence, sacrifice, hard work, leadership, and dedication.While the rest of the world suffered due to their businesses hitting rock bottom because of COVID-19, Taxperts continued to thrive due to its digital nature. Further, he shared with his plans on making Taxperts preferable, more user-friendly, making its functions easier and simpler, allowing customers to handle their taxes anytime, from anywhere, making it a much-needed application during this chaotic time, stating “Despite the pressure from family, society, technology, and financing, entrepreneurs have to stand out with a smile”.