Public accountants work for firms ranging from small, local accounting practices to large, international organizations. Public accountants specialize in tax, audit, management, consulting and various 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. Candidates who have earned their CFE credentials are regarded as leading experts in the field, making them more preferential to many employers. 
The ACFE’s Global Salary Study found that CFEs earn a 17% 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 Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (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 and three to six years of experience is required. 
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 and six to eight years of experience is required.


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: 

 Knowledge Skills Abilities
Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP)  Testifying as an expert witness  Analytical
 Overall business function   Interpersonal communication

Computer systems and applications

  Written communication
Government structure and function   Verbal communication

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    


Income level varies depending on education, experience and certifications. Download the 2022 Compensation Guide for Anti-Fraud Professionals, which benchmarks salary and benefits across several categories for anti-fraud professionals around the world.