There are many productive and rewarding careers available as an accountant. Many of them exist, not in the private sector, but in service to the public. One of the best overall career paths for accountants lies with the US government, which offers high pay, excellent benefits, highly trusted certifications, and valuable job experience (as well as ongoing paid training in the latest techniques and practices). This is one of the best ways for a young accountant to develop and advance his or her marketability, and it remains a rewarding long-term path in itself.
Here are five of the best public sector options available to today’s accountants:
Treasury Enforcement Agent
A Treasury Enforcement Agent conducts investigations into suspected violations of treasury policy, analyzes pertinent data, and otherwise combines a variety of accounting and law enforcement techniques. This career can lead to promising advancements as an accountant, as well as within the law enforcement field. Standard job functions also include organizing reports and presenting evidence in court as an expert witness.
Anyone who’s ever watched the news knows the level of difficulty that the US government often experiences when confirming a budget. The spending of tax money is always a controversial subject, and budget analysts are desperately needed to make sure that the numbers in each proposed budget make sense. This is true of the overall federal budget, as well as of departmental budgets, individual projects, and budgets at the state and local level.
Perhaps the most well-known career path on this list, the job of the IRS auditor is to make sure that money owed to the IRS is paid in a timely manner. That isn’t the entire scope of their job, however: IRS auditors also conduct internal reviews, and are responsible for gathering evidence and testifying in court with regards to potential tax code violations. It is an important position, critical to the proper functioning of the national economy. IRS auditors earn valuable experience in dealing with individuals at every income level, and with every type and size of organization.
The General Services Administration is a US federal agency which exists to provide support and administrative services to other federal bureaus, departments, and agencies. A GSA accountant provides invaluable services in this capacity. They serve in every professional capacity, earning highly reputed experience, while assisting in balancing budgets, tracking expenses, and investigating apparent discrepancies. By its very nature, there is no aspect of governing with which the GSA is not involved in some capacity, which ensures varied experiences for each of its employees.
One of the biggest employers of accountants in the US governmental infrastructure is the Federal Bureau of Investigation. FBI has a rich tradition of using accountants’ services in its investigations. Today’s FBI forensic accountants participate in a wide range of criminal investigations. These include money laundering and other expected types of crimes, but their services are also in demand when it comes to tracking the resources used in entirely different endeavors. Drug lords, smugglers, terrorists, cybercriminals, and foreign agents all require substantial and readily available cash flow; forensic accountants help track the money back to its source.
There are a wide range of official accountant careers available today, fostering a diverse set of skills. The experience which they provide is also invaluable for professional growth, and can lead to employment with some of the most prestigious firms in existence.