right arrow
Examples: Monday, today, last week, Mar 26, 3/26/04

What to do to end up in government accounting ?

ChristdoChristdo 2 replies8 threads New Member
Hello, first time posting and I am a lost undergrad student in cal state uni pursuing accounting. I have no desire to go big4 and work crazy hours for money. My priority is work life balance and I found out governemnt accounting is what I desire. But I don't know where to begin. Meaning I don't know what is required to get a job in gov position. I have no internship but I'm planning to do so next summer. I have about 3.0 GPA ( really really had difficult time studying ) and I don't network. I know I am not desirable candidate to any companies but I want to make a change. But just to be gov accountant.

What is cutoff for GPA ?
What should I work on to be right candidate for state gov ?
Is there any pathway ?
Any advices would be helpful and will save my life. I thank you all !
15 replies
· Reply · Share

Replies to: What to do to end up in government accounting ?

  • PublisherPublisher 8536 replies91 threads Senior Member
    edited September 20
    Accounting jobs are competitive. Accounting is, in large part, about accuracy. A 3.0 GPA suggests that accuracy may not be your strong suit. Hopefully your accounting GPA is higher than 3.0.

    My best guess is that to work for a local or state government is easier to get than for the federal government.

    Consider getting a masters in accounting--as you will need the hours for the CPA exam anyway--and focus on SALT (state and local taxation). Your masters can be either in accounting or in taxation.

    Once you have established credentials in SALT, and hopefully some internship work experience in state & local taxation, then securing a full time position should be within reach.

    Additionally, there are many reasonably priced online certificate programs in accounting and in taxation. Check out UC-Davis continuing education as well as Golden Gate University & the University of San Francisco for ideas.
    edited September 20
    · Reply · Share
  • HippobirdyHippobirdy 442 replies1 threads Member
    edited September 21
    1)Is there accounting club? If so, often has recruiting events.
    2)Check career services center for when state and local governments hold recruiting events at your uni.
    3)Who teaches courses in municipal, state, local government accounting? Reach out to instructors, ask for mentor. May be able to get volunteer or part time leads.
    4) federal job usually requires certain course, 3-3.5 GPA in accounting courses.
    See their website. But there are paths from student/paid intern to full time/permanent
    https://www.usajobs.gov/Search/?l=California&k=Accounting
    5) volunteer for club or nonprofit to help with bookkeeping.
    edited September 21
    · Reply · Share
  • UCBUSCalumUCBUSCalum 1081 replies4 threads Senior Member
    @Publisher : It does not appear OP is interested in government taxation or getting a CPA license or a Masters in Accounting or Tax. OP just wants to try getting an accounting job in government. Maybe in time, that might change. The OP should start early and review government job announcements in their websites and apply early. The government is slow moving when they are hiring. Same for summer internships with the government and apply early @Christdo
    · Reply · Share
  • PublisherPublisher 8536 replies91 threads Senior Member
    edited September 24
    OP is an accounting major who wants a job as a "government accountant" for work / life balance.

    OP asked: "What should I work on to be the right candidate for state government?"

    OP also asked: "Is there any pathway?"

    I have attempted to answer OP"s questions in a meaningful manner.

    Simply advising OP to "start early and review government job announcements in their websites and apply early" is a bit too simplistic.
    edited September 24
    · Reply · Share
  • PublisherPublisher 8536 replies91 threads Senior Member
    OP: Also important to understand that many, probably most, government positions give preference to military veterans. Certainly true for federal positions, but probably varies by state for state government positions.

    My point is that by simply responding to want ads without any special training or knowledge, no prior relevant work experience & as a non-vet, your chances are very low of being invited for an interview.
    · Reply · Share
  • happy1happy1 22981 replies2266 threads Senior Member
    I would be sure to take governmental accounting if it is offered in your college. And apply widely to local, state, and federal jobs.
    · Reply · Share
  • PublisherPublisher 8536 replies91 threads Senior Member
    OP: Just google "Governmental Accounting course". Affordable on line options available if not offered as a course at your school.

    Google: "Governmental Accounting CPE course" for a great outline of the course content.
    · Reply · Share
  • UCBUSCalumUCBUSCalum 1081 replies4 threads Senior Member
    @Publisher , unlike accounting firms and corporations, the governments do not recruit very much for accountants on campuses and that is why I suggested checking the government websites for announcements for internships and entry level positions. When you started discussing SALT and a Masters in Accounting/Taxation and since I am in the field of income taxation with a CPA and a Master degree, my first thought was a CPA firm. Large accounting firms like to hire experience SALT staff since this highly specialized area is not taught much on the campuses or if at all, limited at the graduate levels.

    I was only suggesting first to get an government accounting position and there are many which do not involve taxation. Then in time consider a masters degree. Taxation is highly specialized and
    · Reply · Share
  • UCBUSCalumUCBUSCalum 1081 replies4 threads Senior Member
    accidentally posted did not finish.

    I don't want this to be an argument back and forth "tit for tat".
    · Reply · Share
  • PublisherPublisher 8536 replies91 threads Senior Member
    edited September 25
    I do not think that we are arguing, just approaching the problem differently.

    SALT courses can be found in almost all Masters in Accounting, Masters in Taxation & Masters of Laws (LLM Taxation) in Taxation programs. Should also be widely available in undergraduate accounting programs.

    I mentioned masters degrees due to the number of hours required for CPA exam eligibility.

    P.S. I have no qualms with checking government website job postings, but the reality of hiring practices in state & local governments makes this approach a long shot for an inexperienced, non-veteran, in my opinion.
    edited September 25
    · Reply · Share
  • UCBUSCalumUCBUSCalum 1081 replies4 threads Senior Member
    First of all most undergraduate programs in business or accounting do not offer SALT classes. They will offer a federal income tax course. SALT courses, if any, are offered at the graduate Master's level.

    I just confirmed with one of my young staff who started his first job after college by working for the CA State Board of Equalization (SBE). He confirmed with me that government is very bureaucratic which makes entry level positions and internships difficult to get. Government recruiters for accounting positions do go to campuses but not as frequent as accounting firms and corporate employers. Students would still have to check for announcements and apply to the government websites to check for openings.

    For example, the IRS will post an announcements in their website if they are recruiting entry level IRS agents. IRS campus interviews are not as frequent as accounting firm or corporate recruiters. They will look at accounting or finance majors with some accounting courses and train them.

    After college, my staff person got his entry level job through the SBE website announcement. After a few years of experience, he passed the CPA exam and got a Masters degree. I tell him that with his sales, used and property tax experiences and the CPA license, he is positioning himself to be a highly sought after SALT person with the Big 4 accounting firms. He agreed.

    For government accounting, finance or auditing jobs, the government will hire students with only accounting/finance degrees. There are fewer taxation jobs and they are unique. Government accounting and taxation jobs are specialized and the government will train new hires.

    The suggestion to take government accounting is good. I remember government accounting was only taught for about a week in an advanced accounting course.
    · Reply · Share
  • PublisherPublisher 8536 replies91 threads Senior Member
    edited September 25
    Those with degrees in taxation almost always have an undergraduate degree in accounting and/or finance unless the taxation degree is an LLM in which case the holder has a law degree (JD) before earning the LLM in Taxation.

    Again, I think that you miss the point that educational requirements to sit for a state CPA exam now require a substantial number of coursework hours (30 semester hours) beyong the normal undergraduate degree requirement. This has led to the development of a great number of masters degree programs in accounting & in taxation. Whether or not an undergraduate accounting or finance major is permitted to take graduate courses in state & local taxation (SALT) may vary by school, but the extra 30 hour requirement to sit for the CPA exams almost assures that one will have ample opportunity to take SALT courses. If not, then many CPE certificates in SALT are available online.

    My advice remains: For one seeking a position in a local or state government accounting division, SALT courses are a great way to draw attention to one's resume.
    edited September 25
    · Reply · Share
  • UCBUSCalumUCBUSCalum 1081 replies4 threads Senior Member
    I am very aware and familiar with the additional 30 semester units or 45 quarter units which are essentially one additional year of college course work beyond the normal 4 years of college. This additional 1 year of units can be achieved by college AP credits for AP tests taken (must have a passing score) when in high school, community college courses, college extension courses, courses from an accounting certificate, etc., OR by simply completing a Master's program. The Haas website suggests the former because the traditional 4 year bachelor degree does not fulfill the requirements to sit in for the CPA exam and their MBA is an "overkill" to accomplish this. Getting a 1 year Master's degree, say in accounting or tax, is an option. That is the reason why some of the other UC's, CSU's and lessor known privates (i.e., UCR, UCI, SJSU, CSF, St. Mary, Santa Clara Univ., etc.) offer master's in accounting or tax. Also, some of these schools offer the accounting certificate to qualify a student to sit for the CPA exam. My S got the 5 years without a Master's degree. He changed majors and took 5 years to graduate. He qualifies to take the CPA exam and is working at Deloitte, a premier Big 4 firm.

    I agree that SALT courses are a good way to draw attention to one's resume, but also SALT positions, outside of government, can be or are high pressure jobs, especially in the accounting firms, like the Big 4. OP wants more work-life balance, not high pressure which goes with high pay.

    I don't agree with the manner you mentioned in getting the entry level government accounting position. Since campus interviews for those positions are infrequent, the government website announcement postings and word of mouth are good resources to apply for government accounting jobs.
    · Reply · Share
  • MaineLonghornMaineLonghorn 38819 replies2131 threads Super Moderator
    MODERATOR'S NOTE: CC is not a debate site, as I'm sure you know. When you find yourself posting things such as, <<I don't want this to be an argument back and forth "tit for tat">> or <<Again, I think that you miss the point that...>> those are signs that you are drifting into debate territory. Please move on. I won't close the thread at this point in case other users can help the OP.
    · Reply · Share
  • NCalRentNCalRent 6169 replies14 threads Senior Member
    there are lots of state and local gov jobs you will qualify for when you graduate. Many state agencies and municipalities have internships and temporary positions posted in campus recruiting offices as well as their main job sites. They will be a great way to make connections and prove yourself in your profession. it is really tough to get a job
    anywhere without either.
    · Reply · Share
Sign In or Register to comment.

Recent Activity