Whereas Chartered Management Accountants only care about their paycheque, Chartered Public Finance Accountants (PFAs) are all about helping other people out.
They primarily work in public sector organisations, including local and national governmental bodies, and companies and professional practices in the private sector which are focused on public sector services and solutions.
A PFA provides expertise on financial/accounting transactional activities, policy development and implementation, compliance and internal controls, financial advisory services, financial reporting, budgeting and cost management, and overall governance and risk management - a jack of all (financial) trades, with a charitable heart. What’s not to like?
You can find current vacancies on our Jobs page in the Banking, Finance and Accountancy sector.
Salary & benefits
Salary scales in government bodies and funded public sector enterprises are lower in comparison to private sector scales, but are reasonably pegged and accompanied by a host of additional benefits such as job security and longevity.
Entry-level salaries range between £20,000 and £35,000; post-qualification salaries range between £35,000 and £70,000; and salaries for employees with over five years of experience post-qualification are upwards of £50,000 and up to £100,000 at the higher end.
Working hours and travel requirements are fairly standard, with extra hours during and around project or financial accounting deadlines.
Travel is restricted to geographical areas falling within the purview of the public authority, with nationwide travelling available for the big shot PFAs employed at a national level.
Standard entry-level requirements are A-C grades at GCSE and A-levels (three at GCSE and two at A-levels), including English and mathematics and not including General Studies, followed by a 2:1 or higher degree in any discipline.
Other qualities required are excellent numerical and quantitative reasoning, innovative and logical thinking, verbal and written communication, teamwork, and advanced levels of commercial awareness.
Training & progression
Chartered qualifications are administered by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) and are conducted over a period of three years.
The overall training and development programme includes multiple structured placements across all relevant areas of business, completion of three levels of professional qualification studies and company-specific in-house learning.
PFA expertise is sought after in both public and private sector businesses, and successful performance and merit-based assessments provide the route to long-term career growth.
PFAs interested in public service initiatives and public administration jobs have the option of working across a variety of governmental and public authorities, covering health, education, community welfare, public infrastructure and transport.
Those employed in the private sector mainly take up advisory and consultancy services across multiple industry segments.