Being a lawyer vs. being an accountant

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holeinone600
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Re: Being a lawyer vs. being an accountant

Postby holeinone600 » Sat Jan 30, 2010 12:17 pm

tag.

heyguys
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Re: Being a lawyer vs. being an accountant

Postby heyguys » Sat Jan 30, 2010 12:19 pm

Renzo wrote:Forget both and become an Actuary.



Seriously, this is credited. If I had known about actuarial science before I started law school, there's probably no way I would be in LS.

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chadwick218
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Re: Being a lawyer vs. being an accountant

Postby chadwick218 » Sat Jan 30, 2010 12:25 pm

biv0ns wrote:Being an accountant would be even worse than doc review


Perhaps in the tax practice, but associates in the audit / forensic practices typically have far more client interaction than do newly hired associates in biglaw.

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chadwick218
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Re: Being a lawyer vs. being an accountant

Postby chadwick218 » Sat Jan 30, 2010 12:29 pm

Chairman wrote:I spent 3+ years at a Big 4 firm, so I can add a little to this.Not many people make partner at Big 4 firms. The accounting org chart would be a very bottom heavy pyramid compared to a law firm. The poster who said 12-16 years to partner is probably about right; they'll probably tell you 8-10 at recruiting events, but that's VERY uncommon in the real world.


Historically, it was probably closer to 8-10. In fact, I know of one partner who was promoted at the tender age of 28 (6 years out of school). In recent years, there has simply been no turnover amongst the partner ranks. Indeed, I am unsure why any partner would leave public accounting. I personally believe that for the pay, there is far less stress than partners working in biglaw (as clients are treated as clients of the firm and not so much those of individual partners).

mountaineerlaw
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Re: Being a lawyer vs. being an accountant

Postby mountaineerlaw » Sat Jan 30, 2010 12:32 pm

All the firms I interviewed with for an internship told me that making partner would take at least 12 years (if I was on the 'fast-track') and most people take at least 16 years to make it that high. They also threw the stat out that only 5% of staff accountants ever make partner - but he said there's an "ungodly" amount of turnover, as most people who work in public accounting leave to travel different career paths. I took that to mean early burn-out because of the hours.

MaineCourse
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Re: Being a lawyer vs. being an accountant

Postby MaineCourse » Sat Jan 30, 2010 1:47 pm

Good answers folks, thanks. One other question-for those accountants on this thread(or board) what are some good accounting forums kinda like TLS?

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chadwick218
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Re: Being a lawyer vs. being an accountant

Postby chadwick218 » Sat Jan 30, 2010 2:58 pm

MaineCourse wrote:Good answers folks, thanks. One other question-for those accountants on this thread(or board) what are some good accounting forums kinda like TLS?


There is nothing quite like TLS for accounting. However, if you are looking for a fun read, you should checking out goingconcern.com. Goingconcern is sort of a partner site with Abovethelaw.

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crazycanuck
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Re: Being a lawyer vs. being an accountant

Postby crazycanuck » Sat Jan 30, 2010 2:59 pm

I got offers from PwC, Deloitte and KPMG n Vancouver, I chose Deloitte. I'm planning on doing the CA (same thing as a CPA, only Canadian) for a few years, and if I enjoy it keep at it, and if not then apply to law school or move in to industry. I have a friend who is a hiring partner at one of the big national law firms here in Van, and he said that there is usually 1-2 CAs with big 4 experience coming out of the local law school (UBC) who basically get to name their price and are highly sought after by all the big firms. Pay is pretty low, like 39k to start at Deloitte, $39,150 at PwC, and 32k at KPMG (they supposedly pay overtime lol).

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chadwick218
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Re: Being a lawyer vs. being an accountant

Postby chadwick218 » Sat Jan 30, 2010 3:10 pm

Seriously, you are starting south of $40K in Canada? I can speak on behalf of both Dallas, Houston, and Los Angeles, but starting salaries for new associates was b/w $48,000 and $52,000 depending on whether they had sought a masters degree in accounting.

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chadwick218
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Re: Being a lawyer vs. being an accountant

Postby chadwick218 » Sat Jan 30, 2010 3:13 pm

crazycanuck wrote:I got offers from PwC, Deloitte and KPMG n Vancouver, I chose Deloitte. I'm planning on doing the CA (same thing as a CPA, only Canadian) for a few years, and if I enjoy it keep at it, and if not then apply to law school or move in to industry. I have a friend who is a hiring partner at one of the big national law firms here in Van, and he said that there is usually 1-2 CAs with big 4 experience coming out of the local law school (UBC) who basically get to name their price and are highly sought after by all the big firms. Pay is pretty low, like 39k to start at Deloitte, $39,150 at PwC, and 32k at KPMG (they supposedly pay overtime lol).


I started 6 years ago in Big 4 in Los Angeles at $49K prior to leaving for law school this fall.

swimbrad
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Re: Being a lawyer vs. being an accountant

Postby swimbrad » Sat Jan 30, 2010 3:18 pm

chadwick218 wrote:
biv0ns wrote:Being an accountant would be even worse than doc review


Perhaps in the tax practice, but associates in the audit / forensic practices typically have far more client interaction than do newly hired associates in biglaw.



but all you do as an audit associate is tick and tie the audit workpapers, it's doc review as you follow last year's workpapers... it's a shit boring job - it makes tax seem awesome......

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chadwick218
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Re: Being a lawyer vs. being an accountant

Postby chadwick218 » Sat Jan 30, 2010 3:23 pm

swimbrad wrote:
chadwick218 wrote:
biv0ns wrote:Being an accountant would be even worse than doc review


Perhaps in the tax practice, but associates in the audit / forensic practices typically have far more client interaction than do newly hired associates in biglaw.



but all you do as an audit associate is tick and tie the audit workpapers, it's doc review as you follow last year's workpapers... it's a shit boring job - it makes tax seem awesome......


Oh, come on, there is a lot more than just ticking and tying going on ... most associates do spend a significant amount of time performing substantive testwork.

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crazycanuck
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Re: Being a lawyer vs. being an accountant

Postby crazycanuck » Sat Jan 30, 2010 3:23 pm

chadwick218 wrote:Seriously, you are starting south of $40K in Canada? I can speak on behalf of both Dallas, Houston, and Los Angeles, but starting salaries for new associates was b/w $48,000 and $52,000 depending on whether they had sought a masters degree in accounting.


Yep, I was actually quite disappointed with the salaries in my offer package. It does go up to about 50k in 2 years though when I pass the UFE exam and earn my CA designation. It's still a good name to have on the resume with good training and networking opportunities so I'll take the pay cut for it.

What really sucks is that Vancouver is a really expensive city to live in.
Last edited by crazycanuck on Sat Jan 30, 2010 3:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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chadwick218
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Re: Being a lawyer vs. being an accountant

Postby chadwick218 » Sat Jan 30, 2010 3:26 pm

crazycanuck wrote:
chadwick218 wrote:Seriously, you are starting south of $40K in Canada? I can speak on behalf of both Dallas, Houston, and Los Angeles, but starting salaries for new associates was b/w $48,000 and $52,000 depending on whether they had sought a masters degree in accounting.


Yep, I was actually quite disappointed with the salaries in my offer package. It does go up to about 50k in 2 years though when I pass the UFE exam and earn my CA designation. It's still a good name to have on the resume with good training and networking opportunities so I'll take the pay cut for it.


That makes sense. I did always think that the salary levels b/w associate levels was also much too tight in the States. Moreover, it has only been until recently that the firms are beginning in to take the approach that if you haven't passed the CPA exam by the time you are up to be promoted to senior associate, promotion is very unlikely.

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crazycanuck
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Re: Being a lawyer vs. being an accountant

Postby crazycanuck » Sat Jan 30, 2010 3:30 pm

chadwick218 wrote:
crazycanuck wrote:
chadwick218 wrote:Seriously, you are starting south of $40K in Canada? I can speak on behalf of both Dallas, Houston, and Los Angeles, but starting salaries for new associates was b/w $48,000 and $52,000 depending on whether they had sought a masters degree in accounting.


Yep, I was actually quite disappointed with the salaries in my offer package. It does go up to about 50k in 2 years though when I pass the UFE exam and earn my CA designation. It's still a good name to have on the resume with good training and networking opportunities so I'll take the pay cut for it.


That makes sense. I did always think that the salary levels b/w associate levels was also much too tight in the States. Moreover, it has only been until recently that the firms are beginning in to take the approach that if you haven't passed the CPA exam by the time you are up to be promoted to senior associate, promotion is very unlikely.


Hmm that's interesting. I don't know what salaries are like at the other offices in Canada, but I figured about 40k was fair considering I'm not really qualified to do anything and the first year is mostly training anyway. I'm pretty excited about it, I have 2 work co-ops to do with them, one during the summer and another during the busy season, while I finish my BCom degree, and then I start as a second year, so actually at that point it will be higher for me. The 39000 is the first year salary, and then it gets pro-rated for co-op students.

Also, I think the hours are less. I have a friend who is a 2nd year (counts as 3rd year since he did the same thing as me with the 2 co-ops) who told me that during the busy season it's typically 45-50 hour weeks with some 60-80 hour weeks once in a while, and during the summer/fall he has 8 hour days with a hour and a half lunch break and a few coffee breaks, and obviously never weekends during that time. He makes about 55k, pretty decent gig for those kinds of hours. It is very predictable, you know that january-april you will be busy so you don't make any big plans during that time, the rest of the year is free game. Apparently the office really empties out during the summer.

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Hattori Hanzo
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Re: Being a lawyer vs. being an accountant

Postby Hattori Hanzo » Sat Jan 30, 2010 6:00 pm

heyguys wrote:Why is it that the folks at big 4 accounting firms get treated like s&*(? What do they do afterwards that makes it worth it?


They get to put the name on their resumes. Most of my friend in public accounting have no intention of staying with the big 4 after getting their senior promotion. After that people go back to school (MBA) or go into private/finance. Smaller firms are also good because they love people with big4 experience and after working big4 hours small/mid tier firm hours are like a vacation :)

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Hattori Hanzo
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Re: Being a lawyer vs. being an accountant

Postby Hattori Hanzo » Sat Jan 30, 2010 6:03 pm

crazycanuck wrote:
chadwick218 wrote:
crazycanuck wrote:
chadwick218 wrote:Seriously, you are starting south of $40K in Canada? I can speak on behalf of both Dallas, Houston, and Los Angeles, but starting salaries for new associates was b/w $48,000 and $52,000 depending on whether they had sought a masters degree in accounting.


Yep, I was actually quite disappointed with the salaries in my offer package. It does go up to about 50k in 2 years though when I pass the UFE exam and earn my CA designation. It's still a good name to have on the resume with good training and networking opportunities so I'll take the pay cut for it.


That makes sense. I did always think that the salary levels b/w associate levels was also much too tight in the States. Moreover, it has only been until recently that the firms are beginning in to take the approach that if you haven't passed the CPA exam by the time you are up to be promoted to senior associate, promotion is very unlikely.


Hmm that's interesting. I don't know what salaries are like at the other offices in Canada, but I figured about 40k was fair considering I'm not really qualified to do anything and the first year is mostly training anyway. I'm pretty excited about it, I have 2 work co-ops to do with them, one during the summer and another during the busy season, while I finish my BCom degree, and then I start as a second year, so actually at that point it will be higher for me. The 39000 is the first year salary, and then it gets pro-rated for co-op students.

Also, I think the hours are less. I have a friend who is a 2nd year (counts as 3rd year since he did the same thing as me with the 2 co-ops) who told me that during the busy season it's typically 45-50 hour weeks with some 60-80 hour weeks once in a while, and during the summer/fall he has 8 hour days with a hour and a half lunch break and a few coffee breaks, and obviously never weekends during that time. He makes about 55k, pretty decent gig for those kinds of hours. It is very predictable, you know that january-april you will be busy so you don't make any big plans during that time, the rest of the year is free game. Apparently the office really empties out during the summer.


Your friend's hours and saary is pretty much what the first years have in the US. CA is a much more serious affair than CPA though because at least on the audit side the requirements are stricter than just passing 4 easy-ish exams and having a year of general audit experience.

fortissimo
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Re: Being a lawyer vs. being an accountant

Postby fortissimo » Sun Jan 31, 2010 9:43 am

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Last edited by fortissimo on Sat Mar 20, 2010 1:30 am, edited 1 time in total.

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liplaw
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Re: Being a lawyer vs. being an accountant

Postby liplaw » Sun Jan 31, 2010 10:15 am

kn6542 wrote:
MaineCourse wrote:Which career pays more(I'd assume lawyer)-but by how much, and you have to go to school for longer. Basically, how would a career as an accountant compare to a career as a lawyer?

THESE are the two options you've chosen?


And whats wrong with these options?

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Hattori Hanzo
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Re: Being a lawyer vs. being an accountant

Postby Hattori Hanzo » Sun Jan 31, 2010 4:41 pm

liplaw wrote:
kn6542 wrote:
MaineCourse wrote:Which career pays more(I'd assume lawyer)-but by how much, and you have to go to school for longer. Basically, how would a career as an accountant compare to a career as a lawyer?

THESE are the two options you've chosen?


And whats wrong with these options?


Long hours and dismal job satisfaction rates come to mind.

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DGLitcH
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Re: Being a lawyer vs. being an accountant

Postby DGLitcH » Tue Feb 02, 2010 11:41 pm

Would 2-3 years as auditor at Big 4 be something that NU look for in WE?

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sirchristaylor
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Re: Being a lawyer vs. being an accountant

Postby sirchristaylor » Tue Feb 02, 2010 11:43 pm

I think OP should go ahead and become an accountant. The legal market is already saturated, and I'm entering law school in the fall... :P

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Stringer Bell
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Re: Being a lawyer vs. being an accountant

Postby Stringer Bell » Tue Feb 02, 2010 11:56 pm

If you can land a big 4 accounting job, that is a nice place to start out at. LS will be there in a couple of years or you can look at going to a t10 MBA program and having some other nice career opportunities. If you ever want to become an entrepenuer, accounting is a phenomenal skill set to own.

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Stringer Bell
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Re: Being a lawyer vs. being an accountant

Postby Stringer Bell » Wed Feb 03, 2010 12:06 am

Hattori Hanzo wrote:
liplaw wrote:
kn6542 wrote:
MaineCourse wrote:Which career pays more(I'd assume lawyer)-but by how much, and you have to go to school for longer. Basically, how would a career as an accountant compare to a career as a lawyer?

THESE are the two options you've chosen?


And whats wrong with these options?


Long hours and dismal job satisfaction rates come to mind.


The thing with accounting is that if you work as an external auditor at a big 4 firm, you have biglaw hours, but it's only for a few months out of the year. From what I've been told, you are on hulu for most of the work day in the other months.

Scurredsitless1
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Re: Being a lawyer vs. being an accountant

Postby Scurredsitless1 » Wed Feb 03, 2010 12:39 am

My wife was just promoted to manager at Delloitte after 5 years. She hopes to be given the partner nod in 3 years or so. She works in tax, there are some pros and cons. She works on the accounts for the local pro hockey team, the NFL team owner, and other mega business' in our secondary market. But she is really dedicated, and works 100 hour weeks during certain parts of the year. She's also about to spend 6 weeks in india working in the outsourced officeyea (which I think is AWESOME).

Considering how things are now, I never expect to be the bread winner. I can't see a situation in which law will make me more cash then accounting has worked for her. But she's really the exception, not the rule. Very few of the associates/seniors that were there when she started are still there.

She was paid better after 3 years than the attorney new hires. But again, she got much better raises than the average associate.




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