• Public Accountant

    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 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 compensation ranges for Public Accountants.

    Job Types

    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

    Compiling information

    Eliciting other experts’ assistance

    Maintaining documentation

    Damage assessment

    Tracing illicit funds

    Locating hidden assets


    Due diligence reviews

    Forensic intelligence gathering

    Business valuation



    Testifying as an expert witness




    Interpersonal communication

    Written communication

    Verbal communication


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    Below are compensation ranges by several different accounting job functions taken from the 2017/2018 Compensation Guide for Anti-Fraud Professionals :


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