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Public finance accountant

Public finance accountants make sure money is spent properly within public sector organisations.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £18,000 to £100,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 30 to 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

You’ll need a professional qualification from an organisation like:

You might not have to complete all the exams if you:

  • have an accountancy related degree
  • are part-qualified 
  • are a chartered internal auditor or senior finance professional

You could get into this job through an apprenticeship.

2. Skills required

You’ll need:

  • maths and IT skills
  • analytical and problem-solving ability
  • a high level of accuracy and attention to detail
  • organisational and time-management skills

3. What you'll do

You’ll work in organisations like government departments, local authorities, housing associations, charities, the NHS or universities. 

Your day-to-day duties could include:

  • preparing financial records and statements
  • estimating the cost of new projects
  • reviewing budgets and investments
  • monitoring spending and cashflows
  • allocating money to projects and departments
  • analysing the effectiveness of services
  • managing organisations’ finance systems
  • conducting internal audits
  • presenting to boards and budget holders

4. Salary

Starter: £18,000 to £30,000 (as a trainee)

Experienced: £32,000 to £65,000

Highly Experienced: up to £100,000

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You’ll usually work standard office hours Monday to Friday. 

You might need to work later at busy times, like the end of the financial year. 

You’ll be office-based.

6. Career path and progression

With experience you could move into management and progress to director of finance.

You could also move into private practice or management accountancy.

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Last updated: 08 December 2016