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How Do I Become a Government Auditor?

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  • Written By: Bobby R. Goldsmith
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 24 November 2016
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To become a government auditor, you will need to accomplish several things in order. First, you will need to enroll in an accredited college or university program for accounting, business management, or financial record keeping. Some colleges and universities offer specific programs tailored to teach you to be a government auditor. These programs may be associate's, bachelor's, or master's degree programs and provide intensive focus on government financial investigation procedures. Often, you will need to have a certain number of hours logged working as an accountant or internal auditor for a private firm, though some government agencies do offer entry level auditor positions.

As a government auditor, you have the option to work for federal, state, or local government. You will be responsible for gathering and analyzing the financial records of the government agency that you work for as well as the records of private companies, charity organizations, and other entities as needed. This requires a comprehensive familiarity with accounting practices, tax laws, research, financial analysis, and, sometimes, more specialized areas.

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The amount of schooling you need depends upon the level of government that you want to work for. Generally, if you wish to become a government auditor for the federal government, you will need to obtain at least a bachelor's degree, though a master's degree and certification as an accountant will improve your chances. To become a government auditor for a state government, a bachelor's degree may also be required, but in some instances, experience as a bookkeeper along with a certification or an associate's degree in finance may suffice.

Often, the only education required by a local municipality is an associate's degree or a certification earned at a community college. Usually, you can work your way into a government auditor position with a local government through promotion. You begin by taking a position in the clerk's office or as a record keeper in some other capacity for that local government agency.

Experience is also necessary to become a government auditor, especially if you want to work for a federal agency such as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). For example, the IRS requires prospective employees not only to possess a bachelor's degree in a related financial field, but to have at least 30 hours of accounting coursework or equivalent experience. Prior graduation, you may want to consider applying for an internship with the government agency that you want to work for. This will provide valuable experience, and you will establish a track record with the agency for the exact type of work that you wish to perform.

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