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How to Become a Financial Examiner

Career News August 26, 2013

Accounting would be a good place to start for most who want to be a financial examiner. Charities, banks, credit unions, the government and anyone else who moves a lot of money around will need a financial examiner. Government is the most obvious employer, but these professionals are needed in South Dakota, as well as Washington D.C. The only limitation to the need for a financial examiner is that there must be a company and financial ledgers, and those can be found anywhere from Tonga to Topeka.

You may want to become a financial examiner if you like figuring out discrepancies, or perhaps even if you enjoy acting as a lawyer incognito. A financial adviser tries to see where money can be made, an analyst sees where trends are, and a forensic accountant tries to find where money may be hidden. The difference here is that the financial examiner has to see not only if the numbers add up, but must ensure all existing laws are complied with. You could describe it as macro accounting.

What Do You Need To Become A Financial Examiner?

First, you must hold a bachelor’s degree in accounting, economics, financial or related degrees, and you must be extremely good with math and analytics. Next you will need to seek certification, which entails understanding loans, balance sheets, and bank management, as well as three years experience and various classes and tests.

Then, you get your degree and get hired with a rising company. The analogy is not perfect, but you can see your new job as akin to a first year lawyer. They do the base work that sets the table for more experienced people to come in and do their job. It made by seen as trivial to an entry-level worker, but is essential in the overall function of the operation. From this job, you may join a certification group and will get oversight from a certified member. Continuing education classes follow and then you sit and take the exam.

What Can You Expect as a Financial Examiner?

Median income is just shy of $80,000 annually. It is growing and will reach 27% over the next 10 years. This data actually came before the new laws and restrictions of the Affordable Care Act in Washington. The new laws will create an even greater need for examiners at business, state and federal levels. It is a mentally rigorous job, but can be rewarding personally and financially.

It may be ironic that one of the most intensive of the financial jobs has the easiest description: everything. You look at a company to see if it is obeying the laws and is giving an honest accounting of its business activities. You also look to see if it is spending money wisely and if the company is sound financially. If you work for a bank or the government, you may look to see if the company can withstand a downturn. There are numerous areas you can look into as it meets your interests.

The greatest part of this job is that it’s not time limited. You can work significantly into your 70’s and even 80’s, as long as your mental abilities remain. Most of the companies or governments that would use your talents have excellent benefits packages. In many ways, it would be a perfect job; if you like puzzles, numbers, and can understand and apply the law.

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