Why Choose Accounting? Exploring Government Work

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According to the Department of Labor, the government is the largest employer in the United States. As such, job opportunities within the government are attractive to those who value job stability as well as a diverse range of career paths.

The accounting discipline offers its graduates a range of career options within the government; budgets and monetary concerns are, after all, key issues in state and federal governments. Committees, sub-committees, and groups throughout all branches rely on the detailing, recording, and management of their finances.

Accountants are generally in demand in government, and your ability to move between departments with an online accounting degree may present you with an advantage over areas with narrower career options. For instance, you may begin a stint working for the military and end up in Veterans’ Affairs or the Department of Education, depending on the suitability of your skill set.

Explore some of the government departments that employ accountants as you work to achieve your Bachelor of Science in Accounting degree online from UAB:

The Government Capitol building under a full moon

U.S. Department of Defense

There are a number of opportunities for properly trained accountants to work within the U.S. Department of Defense. The Defense Department employs accountants to track spending, perform internal audits and help direct budgets. There is also an opportunity for accountants in the following areas:
• Within the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS), which facilitates the payment services of the Department of Defense.
• With one or more of the many companies that do business with the Department of Defense.
• Within departments responsible for administering and managing retirement payments to veterans and spouses.
According to reports from Glassdoor, the starting salary for an accountant in the U.S. Department of Defense is $67,612. This salary can potentially move into six figures once an accountant reaches Senior Accountant status.

U.S. Department of the Treasury

The U.S. Department of the Treasury is the hub of all government financial processing. Accountants at the Department of the Treasury are entrusted with a significant amount of responsibility in various departments. These include:
• The Office of Accounting Policy
• The myRA Program offices
• The treasury bureaus or headquarters
• The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA)
• The Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
• The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC)
There are also several roles that you can pursue with an accounting background, but that are not explicitly accountant positions. These include positions as an economist, an analyst, a financial analyst, an auditor or a policy advisor.

Internal Revenue Service

The Internal Revenue Service is one of the bureaus under the Department of the Treasury that typically has a need for accountants. Accounting jobs within the IRS can be even more readily available when the executive branch places a priority on the IRS.
According to Payscale.com, the salary range for an accountant working for the IRS can vary from $33,468 – $105,422. The higher range is reserved for workers that hold more advanced or senior positions within the government.
The IRS has a variety of jobs available. You may choose to work internally within the IRS or externally, where you might interface with taxpayers as you conduct audits of their returns. You may also be tasked with conducting audits and field examinations of small businesses.
The IRS values a strong grasp of accounting principles to ensure its agents can apply their knowledge and skills toward the enforcement of the IRS’s tax code, regulations, and policies.

Here are just a few of the many positions available at the Internal Revenue Service:
• Tax Specialist
• Tax Compliance Officer
• Tax Examiner
• Tax Law Specialist
• Internal Revenue Officer
• Taxpayer Advocate
• And many more

Pursuing an Accounting Career in Government

The government can be a viable employment option as you begin your post-graduate job search. Obtaining a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from UAB can be your first step toward a rewarding career with many opportunities for advancement in government.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham is ranked among U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Online Bachelor’s Programs” for 2017. UAB’s accounting program is AACSB-accredited and endorsed by the Association of Accountants and Financial Professionals in Business (IMA). IMA’s Higher Education Endorsement Program recognizes business curricula that meet the quality educational standards required to enable students to prepare for the CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) designation. UAB also offers preparation for CPA, CISA, CIA, and CFE exams. Choosing UAB for your online accounting degree means you will receive your degree from a nationally recognized, AACSB-accredited, IMA endorsed institution.