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How to Become a Governmental Accountant

Career News September 24, 2013

In terms of job stability and high pay, there are certainly few paths brighter than a governmental accountant. This professional works for the government, though that could be a local government, state government, or even the federal government.

The professional who pursues this career will be working with public funds, prepare financial statements, and may even investigate crimes of the white-collar level. You will be working with government officials and researching major pressing issues. A lot of the work will be in revenue, fraud investigating, financial auditing and performance audits.

How Do You Start?

Training is essential for this career path. Most agencies will not consider an application without a minimum of a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree. Furthermore, these degrees must be in a relevant field, such as finance or accounting.

Competitively speaking, more agencies are hiring applicants with special certification, including Certified Fraud Examiners, Certified Public Accountants, Chartered Accountants and Certified Internal Auditors. Furthermore, there are other certifications you can earn that pertain directly to the government. The Certified Government Auditing Professional and Certified Government Financial Manager would be both impressive for an entry-level application.

The inside word says that CFEs stand the best chance of finding a job, and they also have a 19 percent income premium over other applicants. Employers are obviously looking for someone with proven responsibility and a standardized certification may work better than just casual work experience. Furthermore, the CFE achievement is recognized by agencies such as the ACFE Law Enforcement Partnership, so it never is a bad idea to aim for certification early.

All this heavy in-advance training is required because you will be working with government money as well as tax-payer dollars. You have to examine the records given to you and ensure that all files are transparent. Furthermore, you may have to analyze government bodies and ensure that all of their decisions are ethical and responsible.

Remember that you may be working to catch white-collar criminals and are expected to be thorough in all of your handling of documents. Once you receive your training, you might go on to work for such prestigious agencies as the U.S. Department of the Treasury, The FBI, the GSA or General Services Administration or the IRS.

Skills You Need

In addition to college training, you must cultivate due diligence, forensic skills, analytical abilities, verbal and written communication skills, and the professionalism required to testify in court, if needed. You can also benefit from learning computer systems and applications, evidence integrity analysis, tracing under-the-radar information, locating hidden assets, and the ability to work independently.

If you want to work for the government and enjoy a steady income with a promising job outlook, now is the time to begin your educational goals. Attending a college such as UMCP or another college nearby can help you start the entry-level training that employers are expecting.

With some training, certification and minimal working experience, you may be able to find that high profile, high paying job everyone envies right now.

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