Government Accountants are employed at all levels of government — federal, state and local. At the federal level, Government Accountants manage public funds, investigate white-collar crime, perform financial statement audits for government agencies and conduct research on emerging accounting issues. At the state and local levels, Government Accountants manage use of local revenues, investigate frauds, perform financial, performance and compliance audits and recommend corrective action where needed.
Benefits of the CFE Credential
Government Accountants have the important duty of managing the use of federal, state and local taxpayer dollars. Government accountants ensure that governmental bodies are transparent, efficient, ethical and responsible in their use of funds. Since a major part of what government accountants do is investigate and combat white-collar crime, the CFE is an invaluable credential. Additionally, government agencies involved in the ACFE Law Enforcement and Government Partnership (LEGP) officially recognize the CFE credential in hiring and promoting practices.
global salary study found that CFEs earn a 31 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 the compensation ranges for several different accounting job functions.
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A bachelor’s or master’s degree in accounting, finance or a related field is recommended for government accountants. Many companies encourage becoming a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE), Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Chartered Accountant (CA), Certified Internal Auditor (CIA), Certified Government Auditing Professional (CGAP), and/or Certified Government Financial Manager (CGFM).
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 Government Accounting Standards (GAGAS)
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
Income level varies depending on education, experience and certifications. Below are compensation ranges of several different potential government accounting job functions taken from the 2017/2018 Compensation Guide for Anti-Fraud Professionals:
County Sheriff’s Offices—By State
Database of Government Websites
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Federal Bureau of Prisons
National Conference of State Legislatures
Supreme Court of the U.S.
U.S. Federal Inspectors General
U.S. Supreme Court Internet Sites
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