Who should students of the Erasmus University consult? In this section, graduates talk about their career and their lives: what have they learned? They pass on a number of tips on what you should do, and what you should avoid when starting your own career.
Name: Ingrid van Rijswijk
Education: Graduated in Business Economics (1998) with a postgraduate qualification in Accountancy (2004)
Career: Chartered accountant at the Public Enterprises Tax Liability Agency (part of the Tax Authorities). “Since 2016, local authorities such as municipalities, provinces and water boards are legally required to pay corporation tax on competitive activities. I consult with external parties on how we can implement this piece of legislation as smoothly as possible, and how we can continue to monitor the progress.”
Career path: As a new employee at the audit office EY, Ingrid checked the annual accounts of companies. After a few years, she began to find that this career was not allowing her to make the contribution to society that she wished, and she was ready to take on a new challenge. In the meantime, she became interested in fraud, and soon saw an interesting newspaper vacancy for a role at the Rotterdam-Rijnmond police service. They were looking for an accountant for a new Interregional Fraud Team. She was hired, and contributed her financial expertise towards combating fraud cases. The role also involved house searches and questioning accountants.
After spending thirteen years solving fraud cases (seven years with the police and six with a private investigation agency), her interest shifted towards preventing fraud. She heard word of a new team being set up at the Tax Authorities, and started work just over a year ago.
Not the sexiest of employers
“You? At the Tax Authorities?” I often see people frowning when I tell them about my current job. It’s clearly a noteworthy transition. I myself found that to be the case too, but after a few discussions with the Tax Authorities, I saw that it was actually a logical step. The organisation does a lot of ‘supervision at the front’, such as horizontal supervision. This means that companies set up their businesses in collaboration with us, so that they comply with the law, while we provide information. In addition, the Tax Authorities provide the funds for paying all social services. This was what fitted into my preference for contributing to society. When I explain things like that, people gain a better understanding of my decision.”
Watch your prejudices
“Over the years, listening and asking questions have become second nature to me. It’s important to listen to what somebody has to say before making a judgement. As a result, I’m seeing more and more agreements between people or parties than seemed to exist previously. This makes connecting people easier, and I love it when it works out. We use this to inform local authorities about the new legislation, which helps the implementation process. The Tax Authorities are concentrating more and more on this point: better organisation at an early stage, removing the need to rectify errors later on.”
“I also use my communication skills to accelerate certain processes. I sometimes feel things take too long, and I can become impatient, so I try to speed things up by informing people in advance about what is going to happen.”
“During my investigation into fraud and promotion of compliance among taxpayers, I kept noticing that there was an opportunity contained within every threat. It just depends on what approach you choose. This is why I think it is important to focus not only on people’s weaknesses, but also on their strong points.”