Government Accountant Career Specializations
Not all persons employed as governmental Accountants are CPAs (certified public
Accountants) however having a CPA certification can certainly aid an accountant
in finding employment within governmental agencies. The area of specialization required
or desirable for any Government accountant will depend upon the employing agency.
Job Duties and Responsibilities
The Government Accountant will, depending upon their position, be responsible for
maintaining accurate record-keeping within the state, local, or federal agency they
are employed by. Government Accountants employed by state and federal and local
agencies not only maintain the internal records of their agency but also verify
that taxes owed have been paid. They may also work in the area of financial management,
financial institutions examination, or budget analysis and administration for the
agencies by which they are employed. The job responsibilities are usually broader
for the Government Accountant working within a state or local agency as there are
fewer people to accomplish a set number of tasks.
Most Government Accountants will find themselves working a standard 40 hour work
week in a comfortable office situation. The exception might be those Government
Accountants employed by the federal government during tax season when longer hours
may be required.
Employment Outlook and Opportunities
Strictly speaking the employment settings for the Government Accountant is generally
limited to state and local and federal governments. The focus of the job and duties
entailed are somewhat are variable from agency to agency.
Employment opportunities for Accountants over all is expected to grow at a faster
than normal rate through the year 2016 according to a US Department of Labor 2006
report. This job growth may well impact the Government Accountants as well because
of certain recent tax laws and an increase in focus on financial crimes and tax
How much does a Government Accountant make - Government Accountant Salaries and
Salary ranges are highly variable dependent upon not only the area in which the
Government Accountant resides and works bug in the type of agency employee in the
Earnings for Government Accountants with 1 to 4 years experience are reported
to be within the range of $43,726-$58,034 per year.
Earnings for Government Accountants with 5 to 9 years experience are reported
to be in the range of $50,302-$70,292 per year.
Earnings for Government Accountants with 10 to 19 years experience are reported
to be in the range of $56,302 $87,508 per year.
How to Become a Government Accountant
Education for Government Accountants
Almost all Government Accountants need a bachelor degree in business or accounting.
Entry-level positions within the federal government require a bachelor degree in
any field as well as 24 semester hours in accounting or auditing. State and local
requirements vary, but for more senior positions a Master degree in accounting or
finance may be required or desirable.
As mentioned before not all Government Accountants are CPAs, but in order to further
their careers and many choose to obtain this certification. The CPA certification
is obtained through the state board of accountancy. Many states require a CPA candidate
also be a college graduate there are however a few states that will allow on-the-job
experience in place of academic credentials. In order to keep a CPA license current
most states require a program of continuing education as well.
Within state local and federal agencies time on the job does help in terms of career
and advancement, but it's not the only factor. Advanced certifications including
the CPA certification or a Masters degree in finance or accounting will help to
advance the Government accountant's career and demonstrated competency within
the field is a large factor as well as displaying leadership abilities. Career advancement
within state local or federal governments generally means a new job title as well
as increased responsibilities that may include supervisory responsibilities.
There are links provided on this site for schools that offer a degree program for
the Government Accountant job seeker.
Government Accountants Resources
CGFM Association of Government
GFOA Government Finance Officers Association