Fort Belvoir, Va. –
Approximately 3,555 dedicated auditors in nearly 300 worldwide DCAA offices support the Warfighter and protect the taxpayer. Mr. Omar Kaloub graduated with an accounting degree from George Mason University in 2018. Omar learned about DCAA from a career services email for entry-level auditor positions with no certified public accountant (CPA) requirements.
“I was paying out-of-state tuition, so an additional 30 credits and a part-time job at a retail store [to get my CPA] were no longer things I was interested in doing. I wanted to start working and be able to fully rely on myself.”
Now, Omar is in his fifth year with DCAA and has time to reflect on his career. Omar is willing to share what he’s learned and what he looks forward to in the future.
What is your current position?
I started as an auditor and have been on a temporary assignment as a recruiter since the fall. This position is different from auditing but helps me sharpen my soft skills like communication and public speaking. These skills are very important for an auditor who collaborates with contractors and commanding officers. This opportunity helped me gain new connections while gaining a deeper understanding of the agency.
What’s your current career goal?
I am working on obtaining my master's degree in business analytics. This will help me achieve the 150-semester hour requirement to take the exam for my CPA. A CPA provides more credibility as an auditor, even if my job doesn’t require it. My goal is to gain as much diversified experience as possible to grow in my knowledge and experience.
What is your favorite part about working for DCAA?
My favorite part about working with DCAA is my coworkers. This is my first job out of school. I did not have any prior professional experience before DCAA. When I learned that I would report to Defense Contract Audit Institute (DCAI) in Atlanta on my first day, I was nervous but also excited to start my career with a business trip. After meeting the instructors and the other new hires, my stress went away.
I was worried that the office reality would differ from training, but I met co-workers that I consider friends and I’ve had great supervisors that help me in my career. I appreciated working with a variety of people and learn a lot from their experiences.
How was your transition from college to DCAA?
Working with DCAA was an unexpected career path. My accounting professors focused on financial accounting and taxation. Government work was never mentioned, and I never even knew about contract auditing.
My accounting classes helped me with the general mindset and auditing concepts. I was much more prepared for tasks like memo writing and performing rate checks. DCAI training helped build a solid foundation with audits and set me up for success at DCAA.
What advice would you give to a first-year class of students pursuing an accounting degree?
My advice would be to learn as much as possible about the different opportunities and career paths available as accounting majors. The CPA and Big Four is a popular path, but it is not the only path to success. I would advise to keep an open mind about working with other companies, whether it is a non-profit firm or government agency.
These careers offer more than just a salary, they offer a real meaning and sense of purpose. Here at DCAA, our mission is to guard the taxpayer’s money. I find great satisfaction in knowing that I am part of the collective effort to ensure our hard-earned tax money is spent as intended and benefits the service men and women protecting our country.
Do you have a favorite story you’d like to share from working at DCAA?
When I first started with DCAA, we went to Atlanta for training. I made some friends with other new hires, and we would connect after class. Sometimes we would get back to the hotel after 9 p.m. The lobby would be full of people still socializing but none of them were DCAA employees. I assumed this was because we had early morning classes but when I returned to the office, I learned many of my coworkers were early birds. It turned out that I was one of the few who started work later in the day. We still joke about how few DCAA people are night owls! One of my favorite parts about working at DCAA is how flexible our schedules are for everyone from the early birds to the night owls.
Is there anything else you'd like to share I haven't asked?
I appreciate working for DCAA. DCAA gives me the work-life balance I need to pursue my hobbies and work on my personal goals like obtaining a master’s degree. I like that auditors at DCAA are not expected to work longer hours and more during busy seasons. I love my job, but I work to live not live to work!