What Is a Financial Examiner?

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If you’ve ever paused to wonder why you can trust your bank with safeguarding your savings, the answer rests with one critically important professional: a financial examiner. This article explores what this role does, the skills you need to be effective in this field, and how to begin your professional path toward this position.

Financial examiner job description

Financial examiners are the skilled professionals who help prevent financial crises by ensuring financial institutions operate according to all applicable laws and regulations. Practitioners in this field choose one of two specializations, risk assessment or consumer compliance. Here’s a breakdown of what each specialization entails:

Risk assessment: Focuses on the health of the financial system and includes monitoring financial institutions’ solvency, or their ability to cover expenses and unexpected losses, and ensure banks aren’t offering risky loans to consumers.

Consumer compliance: Focuses on monitoring financial institutions’ lending practices and safeguarding consumers against predatory and discriminatory lending.

Financial examiners may work for institutions such as banks and insurance companies or pursue employment with state or federal agencies.

Financial Examiner In Front of Laptop

What are the responsibilities of a financial examiner?

Financial examiners ensure financial institutions comply with applicable laws and regulations. As part of this oversight, financial examiners commonly:

  • Create guidance on how financial institutions can comply with rules and regulations
  • Conduct risk assessments of consumer and institutional loans
  • Analyze balance sheets to confirm an institution’s solvency
  • Monitor and evaluate the institution’s governance and management

Financial examiners also are instrumental in suggesting corrective actions a financial institution should undertake to address any deficiencies.

What skills do financial examiners need?

The role of financial examiner closely aligns with other finance-related roles, such as accounting. Because of this, prospective financial examiners should develop a similar knowledge base and build the same skills recommended for accountants. This includes having an understanding of business and financial practices, finance-related mathematics, business law, auditing, and reporting, to name a few.

To be an effective financial examiner, you should also develop your attention to detail and analytical skills. This will help you become quick at catching the smallest discrepancies in financial statements and determining the health of the financial institution under investigation. Because you’ll be reviewing numerous documents in this role, having highly developed reading comprehension skills will help keep you efficient.

What is the employment outlook for financial examiners?

You can expect to enter a promising field as a financial examiner. The projected growth for this role is 18% from 2020 to 2030 — much faster than average for all occupations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). BLS also reported that the average financial examiner salary was $81,430 per year in 2020.

How can I become a financial examiner

If you want to help safeguard the global economy, and if you’re highly analytical with a refined attention to detail, becoming a financial examiner may be an excellent career choice for you.

To become a financial examiner, you’ll need to earn a bachelor’s degree in a related field, such as accounting. Your degree can help you build the crucial skills and qualifications to take an entry-level position in this field. However, if you want to progress further in your career, a graduate-level education (such as a master’s in accounting) and further industry certification might be required.

Here’s a brief rundown of how some of these credentials can help you as you prepare to begin or advance in your career as a financial examiner.

Bachelor’s degree in accounting

A bachelor’s degree in accounting can prepare you for a career as a financial examiner. Not only that, but the National Association of Colleges and Employers recognized the undergraduate accounting degree as the most in-demand bachelor’s degree choice in 2021. As you earn your accounting degree, you may develop the skills, experience, and expertise you need to safeguard the global economy as a financial examiner.

The career-oriented, 100% online Bachelor of Science in Accounting at Maryville University may be your next step. With rigorous coursework centered on accounting, our program satisfies the six semester hours the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) requires for its financial examiners.

Master’s degree and advanced certification

If you’re seeking to pivot in your professional path or want to increase your earning potential, you should consider pursuing your online Master of Science in Accounting at Maryville. In this future-focused program, you’ll be able to prepare for additional accounting certifications to become a certified financial examiner in one of the three areas from the Society of Financial Examiners: Accredited Financial Examiner, Certified Financial Examiner, or Automated Examination Specialist.

It takes a brave step forward to pursue your professional goals — and we’re here to help you every step of the way.

Want to learn more about how your bachelor’s or master’s degree in accounting can help you take your next steps as a financial examiner? Schedule an appointment with one of our enrollment advisors, and we’ll help you discover how your education from Maryville University can help connect you with your career goals on your time.

Recommended Reading

Accounting Employment Outlook

Why Entrepreneurs Need Accountants by Their Side

Why Major in Accounting?

Sources

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook: Financial Examiners

Society of Financial Examiners Certification

NACE Salary Survey, Winter 2021