Without CPAs, the government could blow our $3.6-trillion budget on sports cars and caviar and no one would ever know. If you want to keep our politicians in check someday, here are some jobs you could hold along the way:
State Auditor. Every state in the country has an auditor’s office, a watchdog for how the state is spending the taxpayers’ money. On the state audit team, you’d investigate the spending of state agencies, counties, school districts, libraries, and other organizations that get funding. You’d travel pretty often, so it’s a great way to get to know your state or a new one.
FBI Agent. Every government agency needs the skills of a CPA—including the FBI. There are a lot of criminals out there stealing money, and CPAs at the FBI are the people who bust them. You’d help solve business crimes like corporate fraud, working at one of the FBI’s 56 U.S. offices or overseas. To prepare for a job at the FBI, you’ll need a couple years of experience in public accounting first.
CPA for a Federal Agency. With the billions of dollars our government spends each year, there are jobs for CPAs in just about every area you can think of—from Defense to Agriculture to Homeland Security. There’s even a Government Accountability Office, employing over 300 accountants and auditors to make sure taxpayer money is well spent. Right up your alley? Try to get early exposure to government work by taking government accounting courses in college.
Know this: For a shot at the best government jobs with the best pay, you’ll want to apply with a degree in accounting as well as your CPA license. You could get an extra boost by double majoring in college in public administration, public policy or law.