This sector page contains all our financial services and finance jobs in the public sector. Public sector jobs and careers can include everything from working for central government, local government, and government-related bodies. In this sector, for example, we have jobs at central banks and government regulatory bodies, as well as jobs at government treasury departments (managing central government expenditure and cash flow), the civil service, education and the health service (where public). A financial job in the public sector can include everything from accounting and financial management, to managing local government investments, to actuarial jobs managing a government’s pension commitments, to senior finance jobs and investment consulting jobs, or working in public sector strategy and IT.
Accountants play a pivotal role in the public sector. They are responsible for ensuring that assets are properly managed, costs calculated, targets met and poorly performing areas identified. Scrutiny in the public sector is being increased: employees are dealing with taxpayers’ money and governments globally are under pressure to reduce expenditure.
Accounting jobs in the public sector include those for internal auditors and cost accountants, financial accountants and the chief finance officers with overall responsibility for managing the financial affairs and risks of the organisation. Public sector accountants frequently have specific public sector qualifications. In the UK, for example, this is the CIPFA, run by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy. Internationally, there is the Certificate in International Public Sector Financial Reporting (Cert IPSFR), run by the ICAEW.
Within this sector, we also include roles in public sector treasury management departments at a local level. These are the departments that manage a local government organisation’s investment and cash flows and the control of risks associated with those activities.
Not all jobs in the public sector involve working within government directly. Plenty of private companies support public sector operations. For example, most big accounting firms have thriving public sector practices employing auditors to perform independent public sector audits. The Big Four accounting firms also employ teams to help with IT projects or conduct reviews of public sector service delivery. There are roles for private companies in areas such as investment and lending to ‘not-for-profit’ organisations, and providers of public sector financing solutions.
Financial jobs in the public sector are generally perceived as being lower-stress than those in the private sector, although many would dispute that. Decisions made in the public sector generally have a social as well as financial dimension and balancing competing social and financial requirements can be both interesting and challenging.