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Public Sector Career Prospects
Public Sector accounting gives you the opportunity to work in local government or municipalities. Working in this field with the correct training and education enables you to bring valuable skills into government, helping it run more effectively. If you care about helping your community while building your career, this is a great choice for you.
Your impact as a public sector accountant will mainly involve assisting with, or managing, the day to day financial activity of a municipality or government institution. Handling tax payer’s money is a huge responsibility. It’s important to make sure that they reap the benefits of their contributions to running our country. With the high levels of corruption in South African government, you have the opportunity to make sure things are handled ethically.
The role will differ from general financial administration to management accounting. Whether employed directly within the public sector or working on a consultative basis, public finance accountants ensure that public money is used as effectively and efficiently as possible and that a high level of transparency is maintained.
Responsibilities of a Public Sector Accountant
Public Sector accountants have a wide range of responsibilities, and are also able to specialise in one or more of these duties. Possible duties that might be allocated to you include:
- developing and managing financial management systems and policies
- ensuring the effective financial management of public money
- making financial decisions and advising key bodies and individuals
- preparing and monitoring budgets and accounts
- controlling expenditure and cash flow
- undertaking financial administration
- preparing reports on annual accounts and budget information for the auditor
- controlling the overall capital and revenue budgets for departments
- assessing and advising on estimates for project funding and continuing running costs
- preparing recommendations on large-scale projects
- checking that funding is properly distributed
- conducting internal audits, e.g. working on wage reviews
- checking creditors’ invoices
- charging customers for services
- examining financial records and statements to check for accuracy
- balancing the costs of specific public services against income
- keeping up to date with developments in public sector financial and management accounting practices
- managing and training staff, when employed at a senior level
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