Public finance accountants make sure money is spent properly in public sector organisations.
Salary Range: £18,000 to £100,000
How to become a public finance accountant
You can get into this job through:
- a university course
- an apprenticeship
- training with a professional body
You could take a degree and then further professional training to qualify. Relevant subjects include:
- business and management
You’ll usually need:
- 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths
- 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
- equivalent entry requirements
- student finance for fees and living costs
- university courses and entry requirements
You could do a Level 7 degree apprenticeship as an accountancy and taxation professional.
You’ll usually need:
- 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a degree apprenticeship
Many public finance accountants qualify with The Chartered Institute of Public Finance & Accountancy (CIPFA). You’ll need to complete the CIPFA Professional Qualification (PQ).
You can take the CIPFA PQ if you’re:
- a graduate with an accountancy related degree
- an accountant qualified with another professional body
- a part-qualified accountant
- a chartered internal auditor
- a graduate with the Association of Accountancy Technicians
You could also do the CIPFA PQ if you’re in a senior public finance role but don’t yet hold a professional accountancy qualification.
You may be able to claim exemptions from some exams if you already have relevant qualifications.
CIPFA also work with the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) to produce a specialist apprenticeship scheme.
You may be able to join some larger employers directly through a finance management training scheme. You’ll usually need at least A levels or equivalent, though some employers may ask for a degree.
You can find out more about careers in public finance accountancy from The Chartered Institute of Public Finance & Accountancy.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- knowledge of economics and accounting
- maths knowledge
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- administration skills
- analytical thinking skills
- the ability to work well with others
- ambition and a desire to succeed
- the ability to use your initiative
- to have a thorough understanding of computer systems and applications
What you’ll do
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
You could work in an office.
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.