Accountancy and financial management

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Public sector accounting: graduate area of work

Graduates keen to improve public services for the community should consider a career in public sector accounting.

Finance professionals working in the public sector use their skills to make a real difference to millions of people’s lives throughout the UK and internationally. Public sector accountants work in local or central government, health, education, housing, uniformed services or charities, and are responsible for some of the £460 billion spent in the UK public services each year. It’s their responsibility to manage this money for the public.

They may work directly in an organisation’s finance department, as part of a division within that organisation or within an accountancy firm supporting a number of public sector clients. Their contribution and ability is crucial in order to improve public services for the community.

Starting out

The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) is the only accountancy institute in the UK which trains finance professionals specifically for the public services. There are endless opportunities as an accountant and, for those aiming for the top, the possibilities of becoming a finance director, senior manager or chief executive are realistic and achievable.

Skills required

  • Numeracy
  • Analytical ability
  • Lateral thinking
  • Diplomacy