By Jessica Scheck, MBA
Have you ever considered a career in government accounting? Accountants have countless options when it comes to choosing a career path.
Accounting graduates often contemplate working in the private or public sectors of accounting, but employment in government accounting also provides opportunity for a fulfilling career.
This article presents the top five reasons to consider an accounting career in government:
Compensation and Benefits Package
If you are assuming that government jobs are not highly compensated, you are incorrect. Government accountant salaries are often based off of a market analysis of non-government jobs to determine a competitive salary. In May 2015, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the median annual wage for all accountants and auditors was $67,190 compared to a median annual wage of $65,180 for accountants and auditors working in the government industry.2
Additionally, the benefits that government employees receive are superior to most other organizations. Be sure to research employee benefit deduction amounts to compare actual take-home pay between government and non-government jobs. Government benefits include impressive health insurance coverage, lofty retirement contributions, generous paid vacation and sick leave, education assistance, and other post-employment benefits.
Career Advancement Opportunities
Once you have your foot in the door, there are plenty of opportunities to climb up the ladder within government. Information regarding open positions is easily accessible and promoting from within is encouraged. Accounting career paths in government expand to areas in auditing, financial reporting and management accounting.
Government employees have tremendous mobility with 84 percent of federal government jobs located outside of the D.C. area and more than 50,000 federal government employees working outside of the United States.3
As an accountant working for the government, you may feel more satisfied knowing that you are employed by an organization that is working to benefit our society. Government accountants are public servants that comply with federal and state laws and regulations to ensure that revenues are not misappropriated.
As a government accountant, you may be responsible for managing budget and expenses of government agencies that are providing education, keeping us safe, developing vaccines for fatal diseases, etc.
Government jobs are excellent for working families. A flexible work schedule and telecommuting options make it easier for professionals to juggle a full-time job with family responsibilities. Additionally, government employees receive generous vacation and sick leave as wells as paid time off for all the federal holidays.
Certified Public Accountant, Ann Gunn, explained why she transitioned into a career in government:
“For me, choosing a government job was all about the flexibility. I was looking for the right work/life balance, and today I’ve got that – along with the feeling that when I come to work, I’m making a difference by giving back.”1
Government is a massive industry. In fact, government was the second largest industry to employ accountants in 2014. Out of the 1.3 million accounting jobs, 8 percent were government.2 There are several government agencies at the federal, state, and local level that regularly hire accountants. Examples of government organizations include the U.S. Department of Treasury, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), US Department of Defense, and State Departments of Revenue.
While most accountant and auditor positions within government require at least a bachelor’s degree in accounting, a master’s degree in accounting is preferred. Many accountants that advance their career in government will receive the designation of Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Government managers typically encourage professional development and support the continued education of their employees.
- Big budgets need big brains. Retrieved March 13, 2017, from https://thiswaytocpa.com/profession/articles/industries-specializations/big-budgets-need-big-brains/
- Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. Occupational Outlook Handbook 2016-17 Edition. Accountants and Auditors. Retrieved February 2, 207, from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/accountants-and-auditors.htm
- Service, P. F. The pros and cons of working in government. Retrieved March 13, 2017, from http://gogovernment.org/government_101/pros_and_cons_of_working_in_government.php