Categorized in: Working at the State Auditor's Office

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Published: Dec. 12, 2022

Whether you’re fresh out of college with an accounting degree, or someone with work experience craving a career change, a job in the public sector might be right for you. 

According to a recent article published in the Journal of Accountancy (JOA), “accounting professionals working in the private sector should consider whether switching to a career in the public sector could meet their needs for professional advancement and job satisfaction.” 

The article identified several benefits to working in the public sector—many of which prospective employees may not have considered—such as opportunities to contribute to society and social justice. At the Office of the Washington State Auditor (SAO), our staff is committed to increasing trust in government through independent audits of how public funds are spent. SAO auditors also have an opportunity to audit programs and issues that are important to Washington’s citizens and residents.  

For example, earlier this year SAO started publishing first-of-their-kind audits related to investigations of police use of deadly force by law enforcement agencies. Other issue-focused audits include evaluations of contracted homeless service needs, mail-in ballot rejection rates, K-12 students’ access to behavioral health services, and more.

Regardless of audit type, our staff aim to develop recommendations that will help governments become more efficient, effective and, ultimately, better serve Washingtonians.

Contributing to society is particularly important for Erik Simonson, an assistant state auditor at SAO. In the JOA article, Simonson said, “I think bringing accountability to government is a noble calling, and I find it a very meaningful part of my work.”

JOA noted that another benefit of working in the public sector is the work-life balance, particularly compared to working for a private business or large accounting firm. 

With office locations around the state, flexible work schedules, and hybrid and work-from-home options, SAO offers employees the opportunity to craft work arrangements tailored to their own needs.  

“Work-life balance is something that is important from the top-down at SAO,” said Deena Garza, an audit manager with SAO. “I shut off my computer at the end of the day, and my projects don’t trail into my weekend or take over my life.”  

As a state government agency, SAO’s compensation package also comes with a competitive salary, retirement plan options—including a guaranteed pension—health and wellness benefits, and generous paid vacation, sick leave and holidays.  

SAO also works to ensure its employees’ success through collaborative on-the-job training and mentorship, which extends to educational and certification reimbursements—a benefit SAO audit manager Cinthya Medina found quite helpful.  

“There’s the option for SAO to help pay for certification and study materials, which is really helpful especially when you’re starting off fresh out of college,” she said. Medina also noted SAO offers paid internships for students while in college. 

Working in public service is both personally and financially rewarding, and careers at SAO are worth a look. For more information, visit the SAO careers page or find out more about current openings here. You may also email applicationsunit@sao.wa.gov for more details about jobs at SAO or to connect with a recruiter.

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Categorized in: Working at the State Auditor's Office

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