Lawyer vs. CPA?

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de5igual
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Re: Lawyer vs. CPA?

Postby de5igual » Mon Sep 21, 2009 12:52 pm

holeinone600 wrote:Where on that salary range ($53-57k) should a new staff hire at PwC and Deloitte in Tampa expect to be?

Also, if you had such a desire to attend law school, what was your reasoning for taking the year off to work for the Big 4?

Thanks


i'm with a big4 in the atlanta office. i'm a senior now, but staff1 salaries (2 years ago) were around $49K. i hear people that are now just getting offers have an even lower salary, but current staff1s are above $50 (around $51 or $52)

Scurredsitless1
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Re: Lawyer vs. CPA?

Postby Scurredsitless1 » Mon Sep 21, 2009 1:06 pm

My wife is in a pittsburgh office and started below 45k just over 3 years ago. She was offered by PWC and Deloitte, and was able to negotiate a little higher starting salary.

Her pay increases were much larger than folks I know in mid sized firms though.

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thepunisher24
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Re: Lawyer vs. CPA?

Postby thepunisher24 » Mon Sep 21, 2009 1:22 pm

f0bolous wrote:
holeinone600 wrote:Where on that salary range ($53-57k) should a new staff hire at PwC and Deloitte in Tampa expect to be?

Also, if you had such a desire to attend law school, what was your reasoning for taking the year off to work for the Big 4?

Thanks


i'm with a big4 in the atlanta office. i'm a senior now, but staff1 salaries (2 years ago) were around $49K. i hear people that are now just getting offers have an even lower salary, but current staff1s are above $50 (around $51 or $52)


^^ This can be the expected range for Big Four firms in the Southeast. Also, from what I've heard/read, Deloitte and PwC have slightly higher starting salaries than the other two (E&Y and KPMG).

As far as my reasoning for taking the year off (what will actually end up as two years off before Fall 2010), I knew I wanted to obtain both my JD and CPA license. This job offer came along between my junior and senior years of undergrad, and I couldn't turn it down. The firm pays for all study materials, classes, exam fees, and license fees, and pays a nice signing bonus (and additional bonus when you pass the exam). This will put me in a better position to afford law school, especially since I moved back home after undergrad due to my heavy travel schedule for work (I've spent about 9 out of the past 12 months living in hotels - paid for by work of course) and I have minimal expenses and am currently living comfortably, debt-free. I belive these factors, combined with the breadth of knowledge I've gained through my work experience, have put me in a much better position to succeed in law school. Most people don't really know exactly what an auditor does, but it really does provide you with a tremendous base for business knowledge. The learning resources offered by these Big Four firms are what I would say is the top benefit offered by them, perhaps followed by the connections and networks available to you. Over the past year I've taken advantage of these resources and plan to use the firm as a launching pad into my next goal - a law degree.

I apologize for the long response, but there really isn't a brief way to summarize my reasoning. Let me know if you have any further questions, I'd be glad to answer them.

openedskittles
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Re: Lawyer vs. CPA?

Postby openedskittles » Mon Sep 21, 2009 1:56 pm

Here at U Texas, you'll basically get a big 4 job if you want one. I probably will end up working for a big 4 (leaning toward Deloitte at the moment) for a while, because I won't have any money for law school and I like business a lot. I know the big 4 is more for a learning experience than for money, but it might look good to a future employer, too.

I figure I could start with 50k and a signing bonus of 5k pretty easily (it would be below average for UT accounting students) and you're usually promoted a bit annually unless you mess up, so lets just say I do this if I go into big 4:
55k+55k+60k+65k+70k = 305k
This would be enough to pay off a modest house in a city like Dallas, Houston, or Austin on top of living expenses.
After 5 years tops I would probably move on to a managerial or consulting position somewhere else and likely be able to pull 6 figures, perhaps even have an MBA paid for wherever I go and end up making 200k+ within 10 years if I'm good.

I could go straight to law school (about 40k tuition and 5k related expensese, not including room and board) and if we assume I get a pretty good big law offer of about 120k that moves up a little each year, my first 5 years would look like this:
-45k-45k-45k+120k+130k = 115k
This wouldn't go very far, particularly because I would likely need to live somewhere much more expensive to get a biglaw offer.
Afterward, my salary would gradually increase to perhaps the high 100ks or low 200ks within 10 years.

At this point a law degree seems iffy. However, if I got a very good offer in law and started at 180k, it would make a big difference:
-45k-45k-45k+180k+200k = 290k
I could end up making mid to high 200k within 10 years. It's better than what I would likely have in business, but there's always the chance that I'll do really well in business, too, and the chance that I wouldn't get an offer that good, because it's pretty rare.

de5igual
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Re: Lawyer vs. CPA?

Postby de5igual » Mon Sep 21, 2009 2:51 pm

openedskittles wrote:Here at U Texas, you'll basically get a big 4 job if you want one. I probably will end up working for a big 4 (leaning toward Deloitte at the moment) for a while, because I won't have any money for law school and I like business a lot. I know the big 4 is more for a learning experience than for money, but it might look good to a future employer, too.

I figure I could start with 50k and a signing bonus of 5k pretty easily (it would be below average for UT accounting students) and you're usually promoted a bit annually unless you mess up, so lets just say I do this if I go into big 4:
55k+55k+60k+65k+70k = 305k


lol you're grossly overestimating your income opportunities at a Big4

there were pay freezes (or paycuts) across all firms in all regions, and raises typically are less than 10%

Scurredsitless1
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Re: Lawyer vs. CPA?

Postby Scurredsitless1 » Mon Sep 21, 2009 3:05 pm

I don't care where you go to school, Big4 jobs are competitive and demanding.

Apple Tree
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Re: Lawyer vs. CPA?

Postby Apple Tree » Mon Sep 21, 2009 5:46 pm

f0bolous wrote:
openedskittles wrote:Here at U Texas, you'll basically get a big 4 job if you want one. I probably will end up working for a big 4 (leaning toward Deloitte at the moment) for a while, because I won't have any money for law school and I like business a lot. I know the big 4 is more for a learning experience than for money, but it might look good to a future employer, too.

I figure I could start with 50k and a signing bonus of 5k pretty easily (it would be below average for UT accounting students) and you're usually promoted a bit annually unless you mess up, so lets just say I do this if I go into big 4:
55k+55k+60k+65k+70k = 305k


lol you're grossly overestimating your income opportunities at a Big4

there were pay freezes (or paycuts) across all firms in all regions, and raises typically are less than 10%


Exactly. Once you go in there, you should be happy that they still let you keep your job. You won't have any bargain power over salary and they don't give that much salary increase these days. They are blood suckers! :P

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longhornem
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Re: Lawyer vs. CPA?

Postby longhornem » Mon Sep 21, 2009 5:47 pm

openedskittles wrote:Here at U Texas, you'll basically get a big 4 job if you want one. I probably will end up working for a big 4 (leaning toward Deloitte at the moment) for a while, because I won't have any money for law school and I like business a lot. I know the big 4 is more for a learning experience than for money, but it might look good to a future employer, too.

I figure I could start with 50k and a signing bonus of 5k pretty easily (it would be below average for UT accounting students) and you're usually promoted a bit annually unless you mess up, so lets just say I do this if I go into big 4:
55k+55k+60k+65k+70k = 305k
This would be enough to pay off a modest house in a city like Dallas, Houston, or Austin on top of living expenses.
After 5 years tops I would probably move on to a managerial or consulting position somewhere else and likely be able to pull 6 figures, perhaps even have an MBA paid for wherever I go and end up making 200k+ within 10 years if I'm good.

I could go straight to law school (about 40k tuition and 5k related expensese, not including room and board) and if we assume I get a pretty good big law offer of about 120k that moves up a little each year, my first 5 years would look like this:
-45k-45k-45k+120k+130k = 115k
This wouldn't go very far, particularly because I would likely need to live somewhere much more expensive to get a biglaw offer.
Afterward, my salary would gradually increase to perhaps the high 100ks or low 200ks within 10 years.

At this point a law degree seems iffy. However, if I got a very good offer in law and started at 180k, it would make a big difference:
-45k-45k-45k+180k+200k = 290k
I could end up making mid to high 200k within 10 years. It's better than what I would likely have in business, but there's always the chance that I'll do really well in business, too, and the chance that I wouldn't get an offer that good, because it's pretty rare.


Not ITE. I have a sister at UT in the MPA program with good grades, part-time accounting experience while in school, Spanish fluency, and strong connection at one of the 4. She got 2 Big 4 callbacks and no offers, and is going to do her internship at a midsize independent central Texas firm instead (this was this past recruiting season). I also went to McCombs (not for accounting though) and I know they sell you on how you can take your job opportunities to the bank, but don't count on that ITE because you'll be in for a rude awakening. If you do already have an offer(s), congrats, but don't think that "you can basically get a big 4 job if you want one out of UT" ITE just because you did, because that is simply not true.

Edit: Also, if you still think everything is rosy because UT MPA is the shit, I would direct you here: http://goingconcern.com/cgi-bin/mt/mt-s ... s&limit=20

T14orBust
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Re: Lawyer vs. CPA?

Postby T14orBust » Mon Sep 21, 2009 11:51 pm

crazycanuck wrote:
Apple Tree wrote:I am CPA-to-be (still have two tests left) and I'm an accountant at a mid-size company. I make an okay salary (of course not compared to biglaw associates) but I only work 40 hours a week. I have to work on the weekends about twice a year when our tax return is due.

My friend is an auditor at big four and she HATES it. She works about 50-55 hours, a lot of travelling, and she only makes $2,000 more than me. They have gone through waves of layoffs too. But I do think as of right now, the accounting job market is a lot better than the legal market.

Accounting wasn't my first choice, but I'm really glad I sticked with it till now. It is a very practical field, and you will always be able to find a job if you are a CPA (at least right now).


Just curious, I have interviews at PWC and Deloitte next week, can you give an approx range on what your friend makes and what she made her first year there?


i just got an offer from pwc and starting salary with bonus is 54k in nyc so expect lower numbers in smaller markets.

openedskittles
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Re: Lawyer vs. CPA?

Postby openedskittles » Tue Sep 22, 2009 12:07 am

longhornem wrote:
openedskittles wrote:Here at U Texas, you'll basically get a big 4 job if you want one. I probably will end up working for a big 4 (leaning toward Deloitte at the moment) for a while, because I won't have any money for law school and I like business a lot. I know the big 4 is more for a learning experience than for money, but it might look good to a future employer, too.

I figure I could start with 50k and a signing bonus of 5k pretty easily (it would be below average for UT accounting students) and you're usually promoted a bit annually unless you mess up, so lets just say I do this if I go into big 4:
55k+55k+60k+65k+70k = 305k
This would be enough to pay off a modest house in a city like Dallas, Houston, or Austin on top of living expenses.
After 5 years tops I would probably move on to a managerial or consulting position somewhere else and likely be able to pull 6 figures, perhaps even have an MBA paid for wherever I go and end up making 200k+ within 10 years if I'm good.

I could go straight to law school (about 40k tuition and 5k related expensese, not including room and board) and if we assume I get a pretty good big law offer of about 120k that moves up a little each year, my first 5 years would look like this:
-45k-45k-45k+120k+130k = 115k
This wouldn't go very far, particularly because I would likely need to live somewhere much more expensive to get a biglaw offer.
Afterward, my salary would gradually increase to perhaps the high 100ks or low 200ks within 10 years.

At this point a law degree seems iffy. However, if I got a very good offer in law and started at 180k, it would make a big difference:
-45k-45k-45k+180k+200k = 290k
I could end up making mid to high 200k within 10 years. It's better than what I would likely have in business, but there's always the chance that I'll do really well in business, too, and the chance that I wouldn't get an offer that good, because it's pretty rare.


Not ITE. I have a sister at UT in the MPA program with good grades, part-time accounting experience while in school, Spanish fluency, and strong connection at one of the 4. She got 2 Big 4 callbacks and no offers, and is going to do her internship at a midsize independent central Texas firm instead (this was this past recruiting season). I also went to McCombs (not for accounting though) and I know they sell you on how you can take your job opportunities to the bank, but don't count on that ITE because you'll be in for a rude awakening. If you do already have an offer(s), congrats, but don't think that "you can basically get a big 4 job if you want one out of UT" ITE just because you did, because that is simply not true.

Edit: Also, if you still think everything is rosy because UT MPA is the shit, I would direct you here: http://goingconcern.com/cgi-bin/mt/mt-s ... s&limit=20


Sorry to hear about your sister. Perhaps she doesn't interview well? She is competing against a lot of exceptional candidates. I don't mean to be rude, maybe I just hang around an unusual group, but it seems like internships and job offers are still coming our way. I know people who interned with the big 4 over the summer and I, as well as many others, have already talked to some recruiters this year about an internship for next year with seemingly possitive results.

The part about how accounting is on the decline is irrelevant considering almost everything is. If Chicago law grads are having trouble finding jobs, it seems like law is doing worse in that regard. I know on some of the business forums I check, the big 4 are very popular. A lot of people are comparing them to the late buldge bracket banking jobs (in popularity, at least). Everything is relative.

We're coming out of the recession now anyway, so maybe the hiring will pick back up and the layoffs will slow down, and they likely will before I graduate. Either way, the accounting field has grown in popularity in the decline of investment banking among business-minded grads from top schools and the McCombs MPA just happens to be first in line, even if the field is showing signs of recession (as small as they may relatively be). It will be the shit again if it really did lose it, and it better be because it's the reason I came to U Texas.

the123kid
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Re: Lawyer vs. CPA?

Postby the123kid » Tue Sep 22, 2009 1:24 am

Why not decide which one suits your interests and talents better instead of figuring out which makes the most money?

Oh and chances are you probably don't know what you're in for regarding law school if you haven't yet made a firm yes to the question of whether you want to go there or not. And it will be pretty hard to get into HYSCCN (probably the rest of the top 14 too) with a GPA below 3.3. Will be hard to get a Big 4 Accounting job too with those grades.

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TUP
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Re: Lawyer vs. CPA?

Postby TUP » Tue Sep 22, 2009 1:55 am

You're comparing apples to oranges. However, there are people out there that have done both, and I'd be willing to bet that every one of them found accounting more boring and monotonous than law.

And comparing big law with big 4 public accounting really isn't fair, as big law was MUCH more difficult to get even before the economy tanked. Not only that, but big 4 public accounting is nearly big law hours (and is certainly equivalent when you factor in travel) for less than 1/3 the pay at the entry level, and that doesn't change much if you compare a senior with 3 years of experience to a first-year associate.

There is one benefit to taking a year or two off to do public accounting, though ... you'll never have more motivation to prep for the LSAT than after spending a few months ticking and tying and doing inventories.

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hyunseoki
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Re: Lawyer vs. CPA?

Postby hyunseoki » Tue Sep 22, 2009 2:14 am

accounting is fun. i think i might get an MBA with my JD to get a CPA. this might be useful once I try to start my own practice.... we'll see

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thepunisher24
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Re: Lawyer vs. CPA?

Postby thepunisher24 » Tue Sep 22, 2009 12:45 pm

TUP wrote:There is one benefit to taking a year or two off to do public accounting, though ... you'll never have more motivation to prep for the LSAT than after spending a few months ticking and tying and doing inventories.


This is 100% true. EXACTLY the position I'm in now and is exactly why I've killed myself over the past two months prepping for this Saturday's exam.

jin
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Re: Lawyer vs. CPA?

Postby jin » Sat Oct 10, 2009 4:53 am

wholetexpeach wrote:id go with CPA.

while being a lawyer might be the last thing you do, being an accountant is usually only the beginning of a successful business career.
there is more room for growth in the accounting field than in legal services.

or get the best of both worlds - go to a law school that offers dual JD/MAcc degrees or has a strong tax/financial program.


+1

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SeymourShowz
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Re: Lawyer vs. CPA?

Postby SeymourShowz » Sat Oct 10, 2009 5:43 am

TUP wrote:There is one benefit to taking a year or two off to do public accounting, though ... you'll never have more motivation to prep for the LSAT than after spending a few months ticking and tying and doing inventories.


amen brother!!!!

ooo294422
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Re: Lawyer vs. CPA?

Postby ooo294422 » Wed Oct 14, 2009 8:55 pm

I'm still following this thread.

mountaineerlaw
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Re: Lawyer vs. CPA?

Postby mountaineerlaw » Thu Oct 15, 2009 12:05 pm

I guess the economy just extra-sucks where I live. Big4 firms aren't even offering many internships this semester - PwC and Deloitte each offered internships to 10-11 people at my UG for busy season, and this year they combined to offer interviews to 10-11 each. I've got a 3.82 and I couldn't get an interview with either after sending them my resume, and still waiting on pins and needles after having office visits with one of the other international firms outside the big4.

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Hattori Hanzo
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Re: Lawyer vs. CPA?

Postby Hattori Hanzo » Thu Oct 15, 2009 2:07 pm

In terms of income potential and hours of work, it depends on the school you're going to. If you can get into t25, a law degree will pay more. If not, they will probably pay the same and public accounting hours are far less than law firm hours from what I have heard.
Fortunately in CA you wouldn't have to choose between the two. You don't need a masters (i.e. 5 years of school) to get a CPA license in CA and the required classes can be taken even at a community college :)

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Sogui
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Re: Lawyer vs. CPA?

Postby Sogui » Thu Oct 15, 2009 2:29 pm

I've taken a fair share of accounting classes at my institution (#1 ranked accounting undergrad program) and it play out like this for me:

Accounting:
- 5 years
- Less debt
- Ultimately less pay
- Holy shit I'm going to scratch my eyes out if I did this for a living

Law:
- 7 years
- More debt
- More pay
- Distinct possibility of not having to scratch my own eyes out

The only interesting Accounting classes I took was a foundation of financial accounting taught by a very intelligent prof and the managerial accounting course. Once it started wading through all the BS in the advanced classes they easily became some of the most boring, mind-numbing classes I've ever taken.

Oban
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Re: Lawyer vs. CPA?

Postby Oban » Thu Oct 15, 2009 2:51 pm

how about lawyer and cpa? That way when you strike out at OCI you have a backup?

de5igual
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Re: Lawyer vs. CPA?

Postby de5igual » Thu Oct 15, 2009 3:22 pm

Oban wrote:how about lawyer and cpa? That way when you strike out at OCI you have a backup?


yeah, but then you just wasted $100k+ and missed out on 3 years of income. in the accounting world, jd + cpa = cpa alone

ooo294422
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Re: Lawyer vs. CPA?

Postby ooo294422 » Thu Oct 15, 2009 3:25 pm

MTal wrote:More fortune 500 CEO's have accounting backgrounds than from any other field.


LOL. My Accounting major friends always use this quote.

ooo294422
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Re: Lawyer vs. CPA?

Postby ooo294422 » Thu Oct 15, 2009 3:27 pm

Sogui wrote:I've taken a fair share of accounting classes at my institution (#1 ranked accounting undergrad program) and it play out like this for me:
.


Which insitution is this (#1 ranked accounting undergrad)?
So, which one is your ultimate choice?

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longhornem
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Re: Lawyer vs. CPA?

Postby longhornem » Fri Oct 16, 2009 2:36 pm

ooo294422 wrote:
Sogui wrote:I've taken a fair share of accounting classes at my institution (#1 ranked accounting undergrad program) and it play out like this for me:
.


Which insitution is this (#1 ranked accounting undergrad)?


Texas.




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