There are many advantages to pursuing government jobs in accounting for those pursuing a career in accounting. Working for the government offers many advantages that accountants have many opportunities to take advantage of to further careers and to expand their knowledge of the field of accounting. Almost every government agency that exists- whether on the local, state, or federal level- must rely on the expertise of accountants to manage financial and budget issues.
Career Opportunities Within the Government
Career opportunities for accountants exist on the local, state, and federal level. Those working as accountants in a position on the federal level could work for many different agencies. Job opportunities for accountants are especially common in the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service, the Department of the Treasury, and the General Accounting Office of the U.S. Government Accountability Office. The job tasks for which government accountants may be responsible for in these organizations include investigating white collar crime and fraud and handling financial audits, according to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners.
When working for the government on the state and local level, accountants might find themselves managing local revenues. As with federal level positions, state and local level government jobs might entail some investigative responsibilities regarding white collar crime. Furthermore, accountants working for state and local governments may be involved with compliance initiatives in regards to laws and regulations of the locality in which they work, and they may also conduct, manage, or facilitate financial audits.
Knowledge and skills that are particularly necessary for those pursuing careers in government accounting include a thorough understanding of fund accounting, familiarity with Generally Accepted Government Accounting Standards, skills with tasks such as tracking illicit funds, locating hidden assets, and damage assessment, and experience with forensic intelligence gathering.
Training For a Position as a Government Accountant
Training for a government position as an accountant is similar to training for employment as an accountant in a private or nonprofit organization. Aspiring government accountants will usually need to complete at least a Bachelor’s degree in accounting. Continuing one’s studies on to the Master’s degree level will facilitate one’s job search and make it easier to find higher level positions as an accountant. While having accounting as an academic focus is obviously the best way to land a position as an accountant with the government, government accountants might also have degrees in finance or economics.
An internship or a previous work experience with a government agency is extremely useful when one is attempting to find work as an accountant with the government. Those who are interested in becoming government accountants should try to complete an internship with a government agency during the summers of their college years if possible.
Related Resource: Tax Accountant
Landing a Job with the Government
According to Accounting Web, the three most important steps towards landing a government accounting job are pinpointing your position of choice, finding out who you need to apply to and how you need to apply, and being persistent in your pursuit of your position of choice. If one focuses on these three factors, it should be easy to land one of the many government jobs available in accounting.