Top 5 Accounting Careers in the Local Government Sector

Contrary to popular belief, working in the local government sector can be an exciting career choice. Do you have a passion for accounting and finance? If so, working in this sector could provide you with the platform you need to launch a long and successful career. The job opportunities in this field are widespread, and range from entry-level and junior to senior and managerial level positions.

Accounting

At the junior level, you can find positions for financial admin officers, junior accountants, or even interns in various bodies operating in the local government sector, including:

  • Municipalities
  • SALGA
  • SARS
  • National Treasury

At a more senior level, you will find, for example, positions for financial managers, financial analysts, or programme managers.

Have a look at the top 5 accounting-related careers in the local government sector:

1. Junior Accountant / Bookkeeper: This position is ideal for anyone looking to step into an accounting career in local government. Tasks that you will be required to perform in this position include liaising with debtors and creditors, preparing payment requisitions, managing petty cash,doing bank re-conciliations, and preparing regular reports and summaries of accounting activities.

The skills and qualifications you need if you want to apply for this type of position include:

  • A bookkeeping (or similar) qualification from a recognised institution
  • Computer skills (including proficiency in Excel and other relevant accounting software programmes)
  • Good language and communication skills
  • Analytical skills
  • Problem solving and decision making skills

The advantage of starting out in this type of position is that there is plenty of scope for career growth. Once you have some experience, you may be able to study further (possibly at your employer’s expense) to gain additional qualifications, and you may be able to apply for more senior positions, such as Senior Accountant, Payroll Manager, or Financial Manager.

2. Financial Admin Officer

This is another position that allows you to work your way up the ranks fairly quickly, provided that you have the necessary skills and qualifications.

As a junior financial admin officer, you may be required to perform basic office admin tasks, such as filing documents, fulfilling reception duties, and providing assistance to the accounts department. You may also be required to perform basic bookkeeping tasks, such as managing petty cash, sending out invoices, and handling account enquiries.

In a more senior financial admin role, you may be given more extensive responsibilities, which may include the supervision of junior admin staff.

The skills and qualifications you need if you want to apply for this type of position include:

  • A recognised qualification in bookkeeping, accounting, office management, or similar
  • Computer skills
  • Communication skills
  • Time management skills
  • Managerial/leadership skills, including the ability to delegate tasks efficiently

3. Economist

This career path can be highly rewarding if you’ve always had an interest in the world of economics and finance. You will be required to have strong analytical skills in order to conduct economic analyses and to interpret a range of microeconomic and macroeconomic data,as well as to forecast key economic indicators.

The skills and qualifications you need if you want to apply for this type of position include:

  • A recognised qualification in economics or financial management
  • Excellent analytical and problem solving skills
  • Research and report writing skills
  • In-depth knowledge of the local and global economy
  • An understanding of economic trends

4. Audit Manager

As an audit manager, you will be responsible for co-ordinating staff and overseeing audits to ensure that all audits are completed in line with the relevant standards. Some of the tasks that you will be required to perform include the following:

  • Supervising an audit team
  • Drafting audit communications and presenting them to the relevant stakeholders
  • Identifying audit process development opportunities
  • Designing audit programmes to meet the stated audit objectives

Audit

The skills and qualifications you need if you want to apply for this type of position include:

  • A relevant qualification in accounting and/or auditing
  • Communication and other interpersonal skills
  • An eye for detail
  • Critical and analytical thinking skills
  • Report writing skills

This is a potentially rewarding and fulfilling career option, as you will be playing a key role in making sure that public funds are properly accounted for.

5. Budget/Financial Analyst

This position will require you to conduct financial and budget analysis, as well as assess financial operations within a specific unit (or units) of local government. Depending on where you work, you may also be required to perform basic accounting functions, such as preparing financial reports.

Piggy Bank

The skills and qualifications you need if you want to apply for this type of position include:

  • A relevant qualification in accounting or finance
  • Relevant experience in finance, as well as in the local government sector
  • Analytical skills
  • Numerical skills
  • Communication and report writing skills

Working as a financial analyst in the local government sector can be highly rewarding if you enjoy finance, and you want to make a difference in your local community, as part of your job will be focused on making sure that public funds are allocated and used effectively.

Want to start studying toward an accounting career in local government? Click here!

Already qualified in this field? Check out the latest accounting jobs on Job Mail.

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