If you have studied accounting and finance, you may want to learn more about government jobs available in accounting. There are definite benefits and challenges to working as an accountant with the government. Looking carefully at these may help you decide if you want to pursue such a job, and if so, at what level of government: federal, state or local.

Federal, State and Local Government Jobs

Accountants are needed at all three levels of government. Federal level accountants often perform audits for various government agencies as well as investigating what’s known as “white-collar” crime. They also may manage funds for public use, or work to help balance the budget of a particular government agency. In general, federal government accountants are paid a bit higher than their counterparts in either the private sector or at state or local levels. Some of the federal agencies that need accountants include the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Treasury Department and its various agencies, such as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO).

State and local government accounts will perform many of the same types of duties, but at lower levels. The funds you manage will be local or regional revenues. It is likely that you will also sometimes have to investigate fraud or perform various types of audits to ensure that local or state government agencies are running efficiently and complying with financial law.

CFE Credential

Whether you work at federal, state or local levels, you will be helping to manage taxpayers’ money. As you look at various government jobs available in accounting, remember that the role of any government accountant is important in ensuring that the public’s money is being used in an ethical and responsible way. That’s why many government accountants must be trained in investigating fraud. According to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, many government accountants hold the CFE credential, which stands for Certified Fraud Examiner. While the credential may not be required, it is respected, and some employers provide higher salaries for those accountants who hold it.

Benefits and Challenges

While a higher level of pay may or may not come along with a government accounting job, there are some other job satisfactions that may come with such a position. This may be particularly true if you are able to combine your accounting skills with your concern for a certain governmental goal. For instance, you might be able to put your skills to use in an agency that works to better education or the environment. On the other hand, certain government jobs may rise and fall with the political fortunes of a given administration or party. You may have slightly less job security than you would if you were working in the private sector.

Related Resource: Investment Accountant

No matter what level of government you work for, or what agency, you can have the satisfaction of knowing that a job well done contributes to the wise and ethical handling of public money. If that sounds like a goal worth striving for, then exploring government jobs available in accounting may be something you want to do.