Whether you’re considering which route you’d like to take after you obtain your CPA license, or if you’re looking to make a career switch from public accounting to something with more reasonable hours, many accounting professionals don’t normally think about government accounting as their first option.
However, there are many benefits to working for the government as a CPA, one of which is its company culture. We know that nowadays, one of the most important things that people look for when considering a new job is whether the work environment fits their personality and values.
So we spoke to our former guest blogger, Kimberly Smith, who is an auditor in the government sector about what the company culture is like working as an accountant not in public or private accounting. Here’s what she had to say.
A great deal of teamwork within and across departments is necessary.
The government is accountable to its citizens for every dollar spent for the services it provides. As a result, a great deal of teamwork within and across departments is necessary in order to ensure that every transaction that occurs is accurate, accounted for, and properly recorded.
Another reason for this is because government entities are commonly understaffed, so employees may be held responsible for performing many duties. However, this is no different than wearing many hats and it's not as overwhelming as many people think. In addition, you get exposure to many areas, becoming well rounded and there is not a lot of time for micromanaging.
Instead, management is responsible for implementing procedures for monitoring processes on a periodic basis that are known to be high risk.
The atmosphere is usually calm unless there is an important deadline that arises. There are lots of cubicles and employees are normally sitting behind their computers creating spreadsheets, analyzing costs, or answering important questions over the phone.
Employees who occupy the accounting roles typically dress professionally in business casual attire. However, if a manager or director needs to meet with the Mayor, address a Council member, or make a presentation before the audit committee, business suits are more appropriate.
The camaraderie within government offices can vary.
When everyone lives closer to work, there is a tendency for coworkers to spend time together having fun at the end of a given work day. For larger government entities, many people commute from nearby counties. In those instances, most of the fun, which can include potlucks and birthday celebrations, take place at work during the lunch hour.
Work/life balance is easy to achieve as a government employee with the standard 8:00 am to 4:30 pm workday with no weekends required.
This is a huge benefit as a government employee, and something that many accounting professionals strive for if they're looking to get out of public accounting. What's also great is that the government pays for CPE training as well as annual licensure fees, which is a huge perk. And you don't have to put your personal pursuits on hold.
Another nice benefit is that both creativity, innovation, and taking initiative are highly valued. Although the salary is not always comparable to the private industry, working in government provides employees with the opportunity to gain valuable experience and contribute to the public in a long-lasting, impactful way.
--Kimberly Smith, Guest Blogger for Roger CPA Review