Why a career in public finance ? 

With a public finance career, your work is vital to public services that change and improve lives.

Public finance and accountancy roles are well-paid and rewarding. Work you’ll lead on could include:

  • Monitoring major budgets and accounts
  • Controlling cash flow and organisational spending
  • Developing and managing organisation-wide financial management systems
  • Preparing financial reports
  • Assessing funding estimates for projects
  • Auditing accounts
You could work in:

  • Civil Services - transport and emergency services
  • Local Government - working within key departments such as education, leisure, environment and housing services
  • Central Government - Home Office, HM Treasury and Ministry of Defence
  • Healthcare and the NHS
  • Charities and social enterprises
  • Major private sector audit firms working with public sector clients

myth vs fact

 Accountancy is a solitary role, dealing with only numbers
  You could be managing a team, working across a range of departments with external clients.
   Public service pay is low
   Starting salaries range from £18,000 to £30,000.  Two years after qualifying, you could earn between £32,000 and £65,000.  Senior level post holders can earn upwards of £80,000.
   There is a lack of career progression
 Public accountants can progress quickly and move across to the private sector.
   Jobs are insecure and hard to find
   Recruitment in public and not-for-profit sectors is buoyant, according to Hays.
   These are no bonuses or added benefits
   Public sector organisations have great benefits packages including: public services pension, bonuses, health insurance and excellent annual leave.

Related case studies

Neil Sartorio

Neil Sartorio
Director – Lead for England Local Public Services
EY (Ernst & Young LLP)

‘I was presented with a choice of accountancy qualifications and due to my passion for the public sector I was only interested in the CIPFA qualification that was most relevant and respected to that.’

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Jayne Stephenson

Jayne Stephenson 
Chief Finance Officer
Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Greater Manchester

 'Working in the public sector is incredibly rewarding, there is a real sense that you are making a positive contribution to our communities. The responsibility for stewardship of public monies should not be underestimated.'

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Aziz Ali

Aziz Ali
Service Accountant
London Borough of Tower Hamlets

‘The CIPFA qualification is providing me with the comprehensive accounting skills to become a successful public finance accountant’.

Read more