What is a Financial Examiner?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

People use the term “financial examiner” to describe several different types of jobs. All of these jobs involve the examination of financial records to confirm that they comply with the law and comprise an accurate representation of the financial situation of an individual or organization. Financial examiners usually have training in accounting and the law, and may have some additional specialized training depending on where they work and what types of materials they work with.

Businesswoman talking on a mobile phone
Businesswoman talking on a mobile phone

Like other financial professionals, financial examiners are expected to be of high personal integrity. They have access to confidential and potentially compromising information including detailed data about financial activities and financial accounts. They must demonstrate that they can adhere to an ethical code, that they have a clear understanding of the areas of the law which pertain to the documents they inspect, and that they have no conflicts of interest.

In the United States, a financial examiner is specifically someone who inspects tax records. The examiner looks at a tax return to confirm that it is correct, and that the taxpayer is in fact eligible for all of the exemptions claimed on the return. Some financial examiners work for the Internal Revenue Service, examining taxpayer records for signs of wrongdoing. Others work in the private sector, examining tax documents before they are filed to help people and companies avoid common tax pitfalls which could get them into trouble or delay the processing of their tax information.

In other regions of the world, financial examiners work more generally examining financial records, and they may not focus on or even handle tax documentation in particular. Financial examiners can work within organizations, auditing their financial data to make sure that it is accurate, and they can also be brought in to inspect financial data. This type of financial examiner makes sure that financial activities comply with the law, and that documents are filed legally and in accordance with industry standards.

Someone who is interested in being a financial examiner should have a fine eye for detail. The work requires the ability to patiently sift through large volumes of material to identify deviations and problems. A financial examiner needs to be attentive or risks missing important information, and these professionals also need to be familiar with up to date standards, practices, and the law. Many financial examiners belong to professional organizations which are designed to keep people current with their field.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments


@indemnifyme - The ability to keep information confidential is actually essential in many fields. Health care workers are also obligated by law and ethics to keep patient information confidential.


I don't work in the finance industry but I do deal with consumers personal information at my job. I can tell you that the article is completely right on that any one working in a job with access to personal information should have high ethical standards.

When you have access to financial records, social security numbers, bank account numbers etc. there is no end to the damage you could do to someone. That's why a person working as a financial examiner, or any other similar job, needs to be able to keep the information confidential.

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