CPA vs MAcc

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TheCaptain
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CPA vs MAcc

Postby TheCaptain » Fri Mar 18, 2011 4:30 pm

TLSers - Greetings from another person seeking your collective advice.

I want to be a tax attorney. To get an edge in the job market, I've decided to study accounting at the University of Texas at Dallas before heading to law school. It would take me one year to finish the required classes for the CPA (I know there is also a work requirement) whereas it would take a year and a half to earn a master's in accounting.

What do you guys see as the pros/cons of these options? Will studying accounting even really help me get a better job during or after law school? The CPA would get me in law school a year earlier, but I have a feeling the master's might be more beneficial in the long run. Am I being retarded? Please help.

Relevant numbers:
2.9 from UT Austin
164 LSAT
Mid-twenties


Looking forward to hearing from you.

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YaSvoboden
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Re: CPA vs MAcc

Postby YaSvoboden » Fri Mar 18, 2011 5:02 pm

I have looked into this for myself quite a bit. The advice I have gotten from forums and, more importantly, professors that are tax attorneys with the CPA/Macc is that the law degree is what really matters. I was also advised to go somewhere that I can get the J.D. and LLM in 3 or 3 1/2 years combined. The best thing that I have heard about having the other designations is that it can help you get that first job, but that is mostly with work experience in the field.

That said, I am still very seriously looking into picking up the MAcc and as long as there isn't a huge cost to it I don't see a drawback to having an extra degree.

On a side note, Why not back to UT Austin for the Accounting classes?

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robotclubmember
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Re: CPA vs MAcc

Postby robotclubmember » Fri Mar 18, 2011 6:47 pm

First of all, as you noted, there is a WE requirement of one year to be a CPA. This must be "of a public accounting nature" and a CPA will have to sign off. Passing the exam and then going straight to law school will mean you are a guy who passed a test, but you will not be an active CPA and it will not help in OCI or admissions.

Having work experience will help you in OCI and in admissions, marginally. The CPA license by itself may not matter. Understand that the CPA is a professional designation for those who prepare and audit financial data (e.g., booking journal entries, compiling financial statements, filing tax returns, attesting to the fairness and accuracy of financial statements, etc). This is not similar to what you will do as a tax attorney.

If your intention is to go into Big Four as a tax attorney, that work experience should qualify you to be a CPA. In that case, don't get the MACC, the credits from your law degree will count towards the 150 hour requirement. Get a BS in accounting and take some tax courses in law school. Don't waste a year on MACC, you'll be learning financial accounting and audit... things you don't use as a tax attorney.

I'm a CPA.

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fatduck
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Re: CPA vs MAcc

Postby fatduck » Fri Mar 18, 2011 6:48 pm

if you get the MAcc you get to refer to yourself as a "MAcc Daddy"

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predent/prelaw
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Re: CPA vs MAcc

Postby predent/prelaw » Sat Mar 19, 2011 11:57 am

Yo this is a very different path and I would not shoot for tax law through this route. Go to wallstreetoasis.com forum they will know a lot more about this... Normally Macc programs allow the person enough hours after bachelors to sit for the cpa exam but you also need to have work experience. Also if you went to a mac/macc program and did not get some (preferably consulting) or less so auditing work experience under your belt this would be a stupid. I also believe and you will find on wallstreetoasis that if you pass up the chance for big 4 work experience you are dumb. Normally people shoot for Macc/extra undergrad hours -> Big 4 (5 years or less)+CPA -> top MBA -> executive management F500 or go into IBanking. Though I have read/heard about a few people who do Macc/extra undergrad hours -> Big 4 (5 years or less)+CPA -> law school -> Big law (a few years in M&A) -> CFO/Controller
http://www.cfo.com/article.cfm/11081358?f=search

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HarlandBassett
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Re: CPA vs MAcc

Postby HarlandBassett » Sat Mar 19, 2011 12:59 pm

There is some fairly bad advice in this thread.

1. Go for your MAcc or preferably MS Tax because of the OCI to get into the Big4 so that you can become a CPA. You need one year work experience (in my state NY).

2. Get into a research and planning position at the Big4 (or lateral into one after one or two years) to see what the Big4 tax lawyers do. Read up on what BigLaw tax lawyers do (or talk to BigLaw tax attorneys).

3. Go to top14 JD, preferably NYU since it is known for its sexy tax program. DO NOT GET THE LLM.

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robotclubmember
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Re: CPA vs MAcc

Postby robotclubmember » Sat Mar 19, 2011 4:15 pm

HarlandBassett wrote:There is some fairly bad advice in this thread.

1. Go for your MAcc or preferably MS Tax because of the OCI to get into the Big4 so that you can become a CPA. You need one year work experience (in my state NY).

2. Get into a research and planning position at the Big4 (or lateral into one after one or two years) to see what the Big4 tax lawyers do. Read up on what BigLaw tax lawyers do (or talk to BigLaw tax attorneys).

3. Go to top14 JD, preferably NYU since it is known for its sexy tax program. DO NOT GET THE LLM.


He said he had a 2.9. Big Four isn't going to touch him and neither is NYU. You win the award for worst advice ITT.

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predent/prelaw
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Re: CPA vs MAcc

Postby predent/prelaw » Sat Mar 19, 2011 4:35 pm

robotclubmember wrote:
HarlandBassett wrote:There is some fairly bad advice in this thread.

1. Go for your MAcc or preferably MS Tax because of the OCI to get into the Big4 so that you can become a CPA. You need one year work experience (in my state NY).

2. Get into a research and planning position at the Big4 (or lateral into one after one or two years) to see what the Big4 tax lawyers do. Read up on what BigLaw tax lawyers do (or talk to BigLaw tax attorneys).

3. Go to top14 JD, preferably NYU since it is known for its sexy tax program. DO NOT GET THE LLM.


He said he had a 2.9. Big Four isn't going to touch him and neither is NYU. You win the award for worst advice ITT.



If he did well in a top macc program like UNC the big four would... just sayin... but he would need a really good gmat for them to take a 2.9 non urm

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birdlaw117
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Re: CPA vs MAcc

Postby birdlaw117 » Sat Mar 19, 2011 4:44 pm

robotclubmember wrote:I'm a CPA.

Wow. Full of yourself much?

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robotclubmember
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Re: CPA vs MAcc

Postby robotclubmember » Sat Mar 19, 2011 4:47 pm

birdlaw117 wrote:
robotclubmember wrote:I'm a CPA.

Wow. Full of yourself much?


I didn't say "I'm a mutha-fuckin' CPA so suck muh dick biatch." I said I'm a CPA so OP would know I have a frame of reference to speak from. If you were taking advice on the internet, wouldn't you want to know that the person giving it knew what he was talking about?

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ArthurDigbySellers
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Re: CPA vs MAcc

Postby ArthurDigbySellers » Sat Mar 19, 2011 4:47 pm

A CPA is a CPA, with or without an MAcc. I think the former is a much more impressive designator, as it proves certification. An MAcc is just a degree.

That said, your money is better spent buying a new vet than either of the two. If you want to be an accountant/CPA for the next few years before lawl school, by all means go ahead. There are those who can answer the question better than I, but CPAs and Tax Attorneys are not one and the same. In the long run, if all you're interested in is accounting and filing returns and all that bullshit, save yourself the 3 years and shitload of money that is law school and just become a CPA. As it is, I would be absolutely astounded if any potential employers gave a flying fuck about the fact that you're a CPA if you have no work experience as one.

If you actually want to be a lawyer, go ahead and just go straight to law school. I swear to god, I think certification is the next bubble that is going to burst. Neither of the tax attorneys I know are CPAs or have degrees in accounting. Unless you have a burning desire to do both, I would strongly recommend one or the other.

Why don't you try to get a job with a firm that will pay for a CPA course and your exam fees? That way you're not blindly dropping money on another degree, and you're gaining valuable work experience. Then, not only do you have CPA work experience (which is the only way being a CPA would matter), you have general work experience that strengthens your application. And who knows, if in a few years you're making good dough and you like what you do, you can make a more informed decision on law school.

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ArthurDigbySellers
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Re: CPA vs MAcc

Postby ArthurDigbySellers » Sat Mar 19, 2011 4:49 pm

Disclaimer of course: While I know people studying to become CPAs (and completing the course of action I recommended), and I know tax attorneys through externships and family friends, I am neither a CPA nor a lawyer.

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birdlaw117
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Re: CPA vs MAcc

Postby birdlaw117 » Sat Mar 19, 2011 4:54 pm

robotclubmember wrote:
birdlaw117 wrote:
robotclubmember wrote:I'm a CPA.

Wow. Full of yourself much?


I didn't say "I'm a mutha-fuckin' CPA so suck muh dick biatch." I said I'm a CPA so OP would know I have a frame of reference to speak from. If you were taking advice on the internet, wouldn't you want to know that the person giving it knew what he was talking about?

Let's be real here. You said it to be cocky, you do it all the time on here. Every single thread that talks about CPAs.

Anyways, to give some real advice here: There is such a thing as a MAcc with a tax emphasis. Such a degree would not be mostly auditing and financial accounting like was previously stated. It would give you classes in tax and potentially give you a leg up in tax law classes down the road (which could in turn help you out in getting interviews at OCI). I'm getting my MAcc right now and I sat in on a tax class at NYU and not only did I know what they were talking about, I actually knew the answer to most of the questions being asked. Now, is it worth the extra time and money to get the degree? In most cases I would say probably not, I just had more of a reason to stay in school for an extra year than most people would.

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ArthurDigbySellers
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Re: CPA vs MAcc

Postby ArthurDigbySellers » Sat Mar 19, 2011 5:01 pm

birdlaw117 wrote:I'm getting my MAcc right now and I sat in on a tax class at NYU and not only did I know what they were talking about, I actually knew the answer to most of the questions being asked.


Wow. Full of yourself much?

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birdlaw117
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Re: CPA vs MAcc

Postby birdlaw117 » Sat Mar 19, 2011 5:02 pm

ArthurDigbySellers wrote:
birdlaw117 wrote:I'm getting my MAcc right now and I sat in on a tax class at NYU and not only did I know what they were talking about, I actually knew the answer to most of the questions being asked.


Wow. Full of yourself much?

:lol: Oh shut it!

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robotclubmember
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Re: CPA vs MAcc

Postby robotclubmember » Sat Mar 19, 2011 5:03 pm

birdlaw117 wrote:Let's be real here. You said it to be cocky, you do it all the time on here. Every single thread that talks about CPAs.

Anyways, to give some real advice here: There is such a thing as a MAcc with a tax emphasis. Such a degree would not be mostly auditing and financial accounting like was previously stated. It would give you classes in tax and potentially give you a leg up in tax law classes down the road (which could in turn help you out in getting interviews at OCI). I'm getting my MAcc right now and I sat in on a tax class at NYU and not only did I know what they were talking about, I actually knew the answer to most of the questions being asked. Now, is it worth the extra time and money to get the degree? In most cases I would say probably not, I just had more of a reason to stay in school for an extra year than most people would.


Yeah, I remember you. The guy who is finishing up his MACC and wants to sit for the CPA before going to law school. Even though you won't actually be a CPA until you get WE, which will be after law school, and which your law school creds would have made you just as eligible as the MACC you wasted a year on. You're not a CPA or a person who has insight into the impacts that it has on hiring. You won't be a CPA until after law school. You may never be one because the WE requirement is "of a public accounting nature," which tax consulting doesn't count as. You may give a lot of great advice in other topics you know about, but this isn't one of them. You're just saying what you did, and that other people shouldn't do it, and giving no real reasons for either course of action.

OP, this whole thread has decent info but there is a lengthy discussion about the merits and logistics of obtaining a MACC before law school starting an page 4. viewtopic.php?f=2&t=105891&start=75

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birdlaw117
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Re: CPA vs MAcc

Postby birdlaw117 » Sat Mar 19, 2011 5:07 pm

robotclubmember wrote:
birdlaw117 wrote:Let's be real here. You said it to be cocky, you do it all the time on here. Every single thread that talks about CPAs.

Anyways, to give some real advice here: There is such a thing as a MAcc with a tax emphasis. Such a degree would not be mostly auditing and financial accounting like was previously stated. It would give you classes in tax and potentially give you a leg up in tax law classes down the road (which could in turn help you out in getting interviews at OCI). I'm getting my MAcc right now and I sat in on a tax class at NYU and not only did I know what they were talking about, I actually knew the answer to most of the questions being asked. Now, is it worth the extra time and money to get the degree? In most cases I would say probably not, I just had more of a reason to stay in school for an extra year than most people would.


Yeah, I remember you. The guy who is finishing up his MACC and wants to sit for the CPA before going to law school. Even though you won't actually be a CPA until you get WE, which will be after law school, and which your law school creds would have made you just as eligible as the MACC you wasted a year on. You're not a CPA or a person who has insight into the impacts that it has on hiring. You won't be a CPA until after law school. You may never be one because the WE requirement is "of a public accounting nature," which tax consulting doesn't count as. You may give a lot of great advice in other topics you know about, but this isn't one of them. You're just saying what you did, and that other people shouldn't do it, and giving no real reasons for either course of action.

OP, this whole thread has decent info but there is a lengthy discussion about the merits and logistics of obtaining a MACC before law school starting an page 4. http://top-law-schools.com/forums/viewt ... 1&start=75

Or I'm sitting for the exam when I have the knowledge and don't have to try and relearn everything if I have a situation down the road where the CPA would be beneficial. As I said before, I redshirted my freshman year, so I had 5 years at my UG school. So I used those 5 years to get a BA, MAcc, and now I'm going to sit for the CPA exam. Yep, seems like a waste to me :roll:

But yeah, it's not like you're irrational and emotional about things (Mr. "Georgetown didn't even look at my application, they just decided to reject me. No way they would have done that had they LOOKED at it").

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birdlaw117
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Re: CPA vs MAcc

Postby birdlaw117 » Sat Mar 19, 2011 5:12 pm

Also, if you would have read my whole post I did concede that for most people I don't think what I did would be the best decision.

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Re: CPA vs MAcc

Postby robotclubmember » Sat Mar 19, 2011 5:13 pm

birdlaw117 wrote:
robotclubmember wrote:
birdlaw117 wrote:Let's be real here. You said it to be cocky, you do it all the time on here. Every single thread that talks about CPAs.

Anyways, to give some real advice here: There is such a thing as a MAcc with a tax emphasis. Such a degree would not be mostly auditing and financial accounting like was previously stated. It would give you classes in tax and potentially give you a leg up in tax law classes down the road (which could in turn help you out in getting interviews at OCI). I'm getting my MAcc right now and I sat in on a tax class at NYU and not only did I know what they were talking about, I actually knew the answer to most of the questions being asked. Now, is it worth the extra time and money to get the degree? In most cases I would say probably not, I just had more of a reason to stay in school for an extra year than most people would.


Yeah, I remember you. The guy who is finishing up his MACC and wants to sit for the CPA before going to law school. Even though you won't actually be a CPA until you get WE, which will be after law school, and which your law school creds would have made you just as eligible as the MACC you wasted a year on. You're not a CPA or a person who has insight into the impacts that it has on hiring. You won't be a CPA until after law school. You may never be one because the WE requirement is "of a public accounting nature," which tax consulting doesn't count as. You may give a lot of great advice in other topics you know about, but this isn't one of them. You're just saying what you did, and that other people shouldn't do it, and giving no real reasons for either course of action.

OP, this whole thread has decent info but there is a lengthy discussion about the merits and logistics of obtaining a MACC before law school starting an page 4. viewtopic.php?f=2&t=105891&start=75

Or I'm sitting for the exam when I have the knowledge and don't have to try and relearn everything if I have a situation down the road where the CPA would be beneficial. As I said before, I redshirted my freshman year, so I had 5 years at my UG school. So I used those 5 years to get a BA, MAcc, and now I'm going to sit for the CPA exam. Yep, seems like a waste to me :roll:

But yeah, it's not like you're irrational and emotional about things (Mr. "Georgetown didn't even look at my application, they just decided to reject me. No way they would have done that had they LOOKED at it").


I would have preferred they rejected me and even said so. They didn't, I was put on preferred WL, so don't go slanderin' my ass! I was annoyed because they returned my app in 14 days as WL. I felt like I wasted a hundred bucks for them to scan my app for 3 minutes and shove it in a pile. A thorough holistic review process doesn't occur in 14 days, lol. But way to help OP out by giving awful advice and hijacking the thread to call me a dickhead? Way to win at life dude, I'm sure OP appreciates it.

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robotclubmember
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Re: CPA vs MAcc

Postby robotclubmember » Sat Mar 19, 2011 5:13 pm

birdlaw117 wrote:Also, if you would have read my whole post I did concede that for most people I don't think what I did would be the best decision.


I did.

robotclubmember wrote:You're just saying what you did, and that other people shouldn't do it, and giving no real reasons for either course of action.

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birdlaw117
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Re: CPA vs MAcc

Postby birdlaw117 » Sat Mar 19, 2011 5:19 pm

I'm saying there is value in a MAcc degree (particularly one with a tax emphasis), but that it may be worth the lost time/additional expense. Sorry some anecdotal evidence to the contrary of your beliefs is available.

Oh, and Duke does Priority Track where they give hundreds of applicants a decision within 10 days, so it can happen. Maybe they spent a little more time during the day looking at your application? If they were to take more than 14 days on all 7,000 or whatever applicants they get, it would take years to put together a class. Get over yourself brah.

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Re: CPA vs MAcc

Postby robotclubmember » Sat Mar 19, 2011 5:25 pm

birdlaw117 wrote:I'm saying there is value in a MAcc degree (particularly one with a tax emphasis), but that it may be worth the lost time/additional expense. Sorry some anecdotal evidence to the contrary of your beliefs is available.

Oh, and Duke does Priority Track where they give hundreds of applicants a decision within 10 days, so it can happen. Maybe they spent a little more time during the day looking at your application? If they were to take more than 14 days on all 7,000 or whatever applicants they get, it would take years to put together a class. Get over yourself brah.


Dude, I came in this thread to offer what was actually very reasonable input and me saying "I'm a CPA." caused you to tell me I'm full of myself. I'm just trying to contribute knowledge to the community. This thread has nothing to do with Georgetown WL'ing me. My feelings weren't hurt (though my wallet was).

One exception doesn't unprove a rule. With a 164/2.9, no intention of WE before law school, you can't seriously think that a MACC degree is the right answer for him, do you? He'll be CPA eligible at the end of 2L, if not 1L, without the MACC. OP wasn't asking a general question, he wanted personalized advice, that's why he gave stats. He asked "Am I being retarded." My answer was the polite way of saying "Yes." You are basically agreeing with me, so what's your deal man?

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birdlaw117
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Re: CPA vs MAcc

Postby birdlaw117 » Sat Mar 19, 2011 5:34 pm

robotclubmember wrote:
birdlaw117 wrote:I'm saying there is value in a MAcc degree (particularly one with a tax emphasis), but that it may be worth the lost time/additional expense. Sorry some anecdotal evidence to the contrary of your beliefs is available.

Oh, and Duke does Priority Track where they give hundreds of applicants a decision within 10 days, so it can happen. Maybe they spent a little more time during the day looking at your application? If they were to take more than 14 days on all 7,000 or whatever applicants they get, it would take years to put together a class. Get over yourself brah.


Dude, I came in this thread to offer what was actually very reasonable input and me saying "I'm a CPA." caused you to tell me I'm full of myself. I'm just trying to contribute knowledge to the community. This thread has nothing to do with Georgetown WL'ing me. My feelings weren't hurt (though my wallet was).

One exception doesn't unprove a rule. With a 164/2.9, no intention of WE before law school, you can't seriously think that a MACC degree is the right answer for him, do you? He'll be CPA eligible at the end of 2L, if not 1L, without the MACC. OP wasn't asking a general question, he wanted personalized advice, that's why he gave stats. He asked "Am I being retarded." My answer was the polite way of saying "Yes." You are basically agreeing with me, so what's your deal man?


For starters, OP wouldn't be CPA eligible at the end of 2L. He wouldn't have the accounting coursework requirement, unless I'm misunderstanding what he's saying. So in this case, OP couldn't take the exam unless he/she went back and took accounting courses after law school, which seems really silly. I guess to me, the key isn't whether OP gets the MAcc, it's whether OP takes the right courses. Take tax courses to get the minimum accounting course requirement, then you are CPA eligible and have some knowledge to carry into law school.

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Re: CPA vs MAcc

Postby robotclubmember » Sat Mar 19, 2011 5:57 pm

birdlaw117 wrote:
robotclubmember wrote:
birdlaw117 wrote:I'm saying there is value in a MAcc degree (particularly one with a tax emphasis), but that it may be worth the lost time/additional expense. Sorry some anecdotal evidence to the contrary of your beliefs is available.

Oh, and Duke does Priority Track where they give hundreds of applicants a decision within 10 days, so it can happen. Maybe they spent a little more time during the day looking at your application? If they were to take more than 14 days on all 7,000 or whatever applicants they get, it would take years to put together a class. Get over yourself brah.


Dude, I came in this thread to offer what was actually very reasonable input and me saying "I'm a CPA." caused you to tell me I'm full of myself. I'm just trying to contribute knowledge to the community. This thread has nothing to do with Georgetown WL'ing me. My feelings weren't hurt (though my wallet was).

One exception doesn't unprove a rule. With a 164/2.9, no intention of WE before law school, you can't seriously think that a MACC degree is the right answer for him, do you? He'll be CPA eligible at the end of 2L, if not 1L, without the MACC. OP wasn't asking a general question, he wanted personalized advice, that's why he gave stats. He asked "Am I being retarded." My answer was the polite way of saying "Yes." You are basically agreeing with me, so what's your deal man?


For starters, OP wouldn't be CPA eligible at the end of 2L. He wouldn't have the accounting coursework requirement, unless I'm misunderstanding what he's saying. So in this case, OP couldn't take the exam unless he/she went back and took accounting courses after law school, which seems really silly. I guess to me, the key isn't whether OP gets the MAcc, it's whether OP takes the right courses. Take tax courses to get the minimum accounting course requirement, then you are CPA eligible and have some knowledge to carry into law school.


Tax law courses taken in law school count as accounting courses. Most bachelor's degrees would require 24 hours of accounting work. He'd only need to take two tax courses in law school. If he's taking them anyway to be a tax lawyer, I think bypassing the MACC makes sense. Still CPA-eligible.

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birdlaw117
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Re: CPA vs MAcc

Postby birdlaw117 » Sat Mar 19, 2011 6:06 pm

robotclubmember wrote:
birdlaw117 wrote:
robotclubmember wrote:
birdlaw117 wrote:I'm saying there is value in a MAcc degree (particularly one with a tax emphasis), but that it may be worth the lost time/additional expense. Sorry some anecdotal evidence to the contrary of your beliefs is available.

Oh, and Duke does Priority Track where they give hundreds of applicants a decision within 10 days, so it can happen. Maybe they spent a little more time during the day looking at your application? If they were to take more than 14 days on all 7,000 or whatever applicants they get, it would take years to put together a class. Get over yourself brah.


Dude, I came in this thread to offer what was actually very reasonable input and me saying "I'm a CPA." caused you to tell me I'm full of myself. I'm just trying to contribute knowledge to the community. This thread has nothing to do with Georgetown WL'ing me. My feelings weren't hurt (though my wallet was).

One exception doesn't unprove a rule. With a 164/2.9, no intention of WE before law school, you can't seriously think that a MACC degree is the right answer for him, do you? He'll be CPA eligible at the end of 2L, if not 1L, without the MACC. OP wasn't asking a general question, he wanted personalized advice, that's why he gave stats. He asked "Am I being retarded." My answer was the polite way of saying "Yes." You are basically agreeing with me, so what's your deal man?


For starters, OP wouldn't be CPA eligible at the end of 2L. He wouldn't have the accounting coursework requirement, unless I'm misunderstanding what he's saying. So in this case, OP couldn't take the exam unless he/she went back and took accounting courses after law school, which seems really silly. I guess to me, the key isn't whether OP gets the MAcc, it's whether OP takes the right courses. Take tax courses to get the minimum accounting course requirement, then you are CPA eligible and have some knowledge to carry into law school.


Tax law courses taken in law school count as accounting courses. Most bachelor's degrees would require 24 hours of accounting work. He'd only need to take two tax courses in law school. If he's taking them anyway to be a tax lawyer, I think bypassing the MACC makes sense. Still CPA-eligible.

I took OP's comments to mean he didn't get his first degree in accounting. Can't really tell based on the OP though. If OP did get his bachelor's in accounting then I would agree for the most part




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