Together, Reducing Fraud Worldwide
Public Accountants work for firms ranging from small, local accounting practices to large, international organizations. Public Accountants specialize in tax, audit, management, consulting and many other disciplines.
Benefits of the CFE Credential
The CFE credential provides accountants with the knowledge to detect and deter fraud by evaluating accounting systems for weaknesses, determining the degree of organizational fraud risk, interpreting financial data for unusual trends and following up on fraud indicators. The CFE credential is preferred by many employers, and candidates who have earned it are looked to as leading experts in the field. The ACFE’s global salary study found that CFEs earn a 18.4 percent income premium over their peers without the credential, which demonstrates the value employers place on the credential. The study also provides valuable information and comparisons helpful to all anti-fraud professionals in benchmarking their compensation levels and career growth. The training, fraud resources and continuing education provided by the ACFE will help in any stage of your career path. Refer to the Compensation section below for more information about compensation ranges for Public Accountants.
Entry-level accountants prepare and review financial statements, perform financial reporting, administer A/R and A/P functions, and assist management with budgeting and planning. A bachelor’s degree is required and some companies encourage experience from an internship.
Lead/senior accountants are responsible for performing audits and preparing financial statements, as well as improving internal controls and providing direction and assignments for staff accountants. A bachelor’s degree is required and three to six years of experience.
Accountant supervisors/managers supervise the entry-level and senior accountants. They are responsible for the planning and approving of accounting practices, including the audit program, internal control procedures, operational budgets and business financing. A bachelor’s degree is required and six to eight years of experience.
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A bachelor’s or master’s degree in accounting, finance or a related field is required for public accountants. Many universities offer a five-year program to obtain both bachelor’s and master’s degrees as well as provide hands-on experience through internships. Many companies encourage obtaining the Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE), Certified Government Financial Manager (CGFM), Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Chartered Accountant (CA), and/or Certified Internal Auditor (CIA).
Knowledge, Skills and Abilities
It is important to plan and conduct an honest self-assessment of your knowledge, skills and abilities. In particular, employers are looking for:
Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP)
Overall business function
Computer systems and applications
Government structure and function
Financial data analysis
Evidence integrity analysis
Eliciting other experts’ assistance
Tracing illicit funds
Locating hidden assets
Due diligence reviews
Forensic intelligence gathering
Testifying as an expert witness
Below are compensation ranges by several different accounting job functions taken from the 2010/2011 Compensation Guide for Anti-Fraud Professionals:
American Institute of Certified Public Accountants
Chief Financial Officers Council
Government Auditing Standards
The Institute of Internal Auditors
International Federation of Accountants
UNC Finance Division Policy and Procedure Manual
Association of Business Recovery Professionals
Association of Charted Certified Accountants
Charted Institute of Management Accountants
Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales
Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland
Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland
London International Financial Futures and Options Exchange—NYSE Euronext
UK HM Revenue and Customs
UK National Audit Office
Governance, Risk Management and Compliance
Risk Management Professional
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