Profiles on Three Financial Compliance Jobs

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With the recent developments of financial frauds committed by professionals in Wall Street, the need for financial compliance amongst corporate organizations cannot be overemphasized. Laws, rules and regulations must be followed in spirit and in substance if we are to live in an economy where market forces operate instead of a few manipulative minds. This is where financial compliance jobs come in.

Basically, the jobs in financial compliance requires of its practitioners to ensure that the organization, be it for profit or for non-profit purposes, operates according to the applicable laws and its implementing rules and regulations. Thus, a balanced knowledge of the applicable laws and the financial standards is a definite advantage for professionals desiring to land a job in the financial compliance sector.

The labyrinthine laws of the land have engendered many types of financial compliance professions. Three of the more notable of these professions are accountants, auditors and tax examiners, all of which will be discussed briefly in this article.



Accountants

The main job of accountants is to ensure that the financial statements of the organization such as the balance sheet, income statement and cash flow report are timely, accurate and prepared according to generally accepted accounting and auditing principles. As corollary duties, these professionals will prepare, analyze and verify financial documents; perform budget analysis, information technology consulting, financial and investment planning and limited legal services; ensure that taxes are paid on time and according to applicable laws; and public records are kept correctly. Of course, the main goal is to provide financial expertise to the organization's overall management.

Like other financial compliance jobs, accountants have their specialties, of which there are four - public accountants, management accountants, internal auditors as well as government accountants and auditors. As such, accountants are very important professionals on all organizations with money to keep track of and, hence, the profession is said to be recession-proof.

Most accountants work in an office for 40 hours a week although overtimes are common, too.  Annual earnings vary depending on the experience, location and position with the median annual earnings at $65,840 as of May 2008.  In many ways, becoming an accountant is one of the most rewarding jobs in financial compliance from its excellent employment opportunities to its relatively high income.

Auditors

A specialization of the accounting profession, auditors come in two types: government auditors and internal auditors. On one hand, government auditors perform two interrelated functions - maintain and examine the financial records of government agencies as well as examine and audit the private individuals and organizations subject to government taxation and other forms of regulation. Usually, places of work include the federal, state and local governments as well as the Internal Revenue Service.

On the other hand, internal auditors are employed by private organizations to perform similar functions like the government auditors.  Responsibilities include verification of management internal controls with the aim of preventing and/or detecting waste, fraud and mismanagement; evaluation of the financial management system to ensure accurate record-keeping, updated information systems and efficient procedures; and review of company operations for the evaluation of its efficiency, effectives and compliance.

For both types of accountants, a bachelor's degree in accounting or in a related field is necessary with many employers also preferring applicants with a master's degree. A license and certification must be issued by the concerned government agency before the professional can assume the title of accountant or auditor.

Tax Examiner

This is probably one of the vilified financial compliance jobs especially when tax time comes around. Just like the auditors, there are two types of tax examiners - the private and the public. Both ensure that the organization adheres to the applicable tax laws and then pays in taxes accurately and on time. The main difference is that the private tax examiner is an in-house employee of the organization while the public examiner works for the government specifically the Internal Revenue Service.

Education and training requirements vary according to the occupational specialty. However, a bachelor's degree in accounting or in any related field coupled with experience in taxation is preferred by employers. In the Internal Revenue Service, new employees are provided with multi-week training on taxation and its related laws. It is also possible to become a tax examiner with an associate degree and specialized experience although the job opportunities may be on the limited side.

Choose from among these jobs in financial compliance and be rewarded through their relatively good incomes. Plus, there is also the matter of doing your part in ensuring financial order in the world.
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