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Elliot Rolston

Investigator

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What does an Investigator actually do?

My role as an Investigator involves a range of work that encourages taxpayers to meet their tax obligations. I get to help people who have made mistakes in their tax returns and track down taxpayers who actively try to avoid paying their fair share of tax.

 

Tell us abour your path to becoming an Investigator for Inland Revenue?

Growing up, I watched my parents work hard to grow their business and this spurred my passion for understanding businesses and using financial information to make decisions.

Accounting made a lot of natural sense to me, and after learning accounting in college, I chose to study accounting and commercial law at Victoria University.

One day my parents suggested I speak to Inland Revenue about a career. At first I though, "Why would I want to work for them? I wouldn't have any friends!"

I took my chances, and got a job at the Inland Revenue call centre at the end of my third year of study. They gave me work full-time over the summer university break and part-time during semesters.

Around the same time I was looking for graduate jobs, a group of Inland Revenue Investigators made a presentation at the call centre about the work they were doing. I found it fascinating and was inspired to pursue a career as one. It wasn't long before I got an Investigator job, and surprisingly... I have still kept all my friends!

 

Tell us about being and Investigator for Inland Revenue?

I work within the area of Investigations specialising in small to medium enterprises, looking at anything ranging from a corner dairy, to multi-national organisations turning over $300 million.

One of the things I enjoy most about the work that I do, is the range of work available. There's such a broad range of organisations under our scope, all with different issues to consider.

I think the best thing about working for Inland Revenue is the flexibility and support that the organisation provides for continuing professional development. I've been given opportunities to complete further study to achieve Chartered Accountant Accreditation, train staff and run projects within Investigations.

It's also very satisfying to know the work I do contributes to ensuring that everyone pays their fair share of tax and the tax system is equitable for everyone.

 

What's one tip you would give someone considering a career as an Investigator?

Keep your horizons broad. Being a good Investigator is more than having a good accounting knowledge. It also requires good interpersonal skills, the ability to think outside the square and a broad knowledge across a range of areas. 

Don't be afraid to questions things. Too often, people take what they hear or learn as gospel. A good Investigator is able to question things that don't make sense, and challenge different assertions at the appropriate times. 

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