With Caleb way way out of town, I’m finally able to talk about the Fed. In this case, I figured I’d make it useful for those of you looking for non Big 4 careers but unsure where to start.
The Fed has money. Your salary, were you to use your accounting degree to work there, would come out of the money they allegedly return to Treasury each year as “profit,” so they can pretty much make up any number. A luxury Uncle Ernie just doesn’t have.
This is just my personal experience (having dated an accountant who worked at the SF Fed in a former life), to qualify you probably have to have a sick attention to detail (I won’t go so far as to use the word anal but you get it), enjoy a rigid schedule (he would get up at 3 in the morning every work day) and possibly play too much WoW (self-explanatory). I know several of you who read this site that completely fit that bill, so read on and see if you want to get on this sweet money gravy train:
As the central bank of the United States, the Federal Reserve’s mission is to provide the nation with a safer, more flexible, and more stable monetary and financial system. For us to succeed in meeting this public mandate, we depend on the expertise, judgment, integrity, and dedication of employees with various skills, backgrounds, and training. As a Federal Reserve staff member, you will play a critical role in accomplishing this mission.
You can finally use your Masters for something useful in exciting areas like Financial Analyst/Bank Examiner, Bank Supervision and Regulation, or Consumer and Community Affairs.
Individuals interested in a career as an analyst should have a degree in business administration with concentration in accounting or finance, and experience in financial analysis as it relates to banking. Knowledge of the laws and regulations governing banks and bank holding companies is preferred. A master’s degree is required for most higher-level positions.
That’s at the Board, where they still have to pretend to be government. But the regional banks need number-crunchers too, so if you are in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Kansas City, Minneapolis, New York, Philadelphia, Richmond, San Francisco or St. Louis, check with your local regional Fed bank to see what’s available. There are also smaller branches in places like Salt Lake City, Portland, Baltimore and Houston, they may need some warm bodies to count the beans or supervise said counting of beans.
Here’s a decent (if slightly outdated) report on Fed bank pay to give you a general idea what they’re working with. According to Glassdoor, a Senior Accountant at the Boston Fed makes around $70k, although from what I’ve read from others, starting pay at the Fed is significantly lower than Big 4 starting salaries in comparable markets.