Image: Victoria Auditor-General’s Office
Bachelor of Economics (1987)
Andrew Greaves is currently the Auditor-General of the Victorian Government. He is also a Fellow of both CPA Australia, and of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand. Andrew has been involved in public-sector external auditing for most of his career, starting in Canberra with the Australian National Audit office in 1984. His work led to his latest appointment as the Auditor-General of Victoria in 2016, a role he will remit to 2023. No stranger to reporting to the Australian Parliament, Andrew was the Auditor-General of Queensland from 2011 to 2016, and beforehand worked at the Victorian Auditor-Generals Office from 2003 to 2011 as Assistant Auditor-General, Performance Audit; and Assistant Auditor-General, Financial Audit.
Andrew’s career advice to CBE students:
What is a typical day in the life of an Auditor General?
Most days seem to present some new issue to grapple with like responding to challenges to my mandate; or dealing with a request from a member of Parliament or the public to examine some systemic issue (within my power and mandate), although sometimes also seeking to try to get me to right a particular wrong or injustice (outside my power and mandate). But from the perspective of the more routine aspects of my work the three things that occupy most of my days are:
- regularly scheduled meetings with the heads of departments, and also with the public accounts and estimates committee of Parliament—as an independent officer of the Parliament this committee is my main client.
- reviewing and, if needed, editing the reports on audits that my staff produce—these have my name on them when tabled in Parliament so I take a lot of care to make sure they clearly express our findings, are grounded in evidence, and also that they are balanced and fair.
- weekly meetings with my direct reports and monthly operational and strategic governance meetings to track progress against our annual business plan and longer term strategic plan—adjusting key settings as needed.
What was the biggest mistake you've ever made in your career?
None of us like to admit our mistakes, and on reflection I am very satisfied with my career and my current position. It may seem of less significance in the grand scheme of things, but if anything I do regret spending too much time at work, especially in the middle of my career; missing too many weekends with family and friends. It took me a long time (too long) to work out that work/life balance was not a sign of weakness, or a display of lack of aspiration or ambition. I think I’ve solved that one now.
Have you got any advice for a student who is in the first year of their degree?
We’re all unique and each have different motivators and circumstances. What I valued in my first year, coming from a small country town, were the new experiences, connections and relationships that built into lasting friendships. So, don’t ignore the social side of your life, stay connected, but as above ‘all things in balance’!