Biglaw to CPA?

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Biglaw to CPA?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jul 22, 2016 11:13 am

Anyone here who has done both? How do they compare?

I've done a few years in biglaw and just don't give a fuck about practicing law anymore. I've realized I don't particularly enjoy reading and writing. I don't enjoy constantly having to learn new stuff and work on "new" projects. I don't enjoy arguing with people all the time over minutiae.

I have a math/econ undergrad, and I enjoyed math and problem solving. I've been thinking of getting a one year, cheap MACC (in order to qualify for the CPA exam).

Is being a CPA as bad as being a lawyer? Keep in mind, I wouldn't want to do Big 4(which is bad hours like biglaw for less pay). I'd just target a regional accounting firm with better hours or F500 companies and go in house, hopefully land a 9 to 5 gig.

Also, burnout seems to be a lot lower among CPAs than lawyers...why is that?

TXgal

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Re: Biglaw to CPA?

Postby TXgal » Fri Jul 22, 2016 12:20 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Anyone here who has done both? How do they compare?

I've done a few years in biglaw and just don't give a fuck about practicing law anymore. I've realized I don't particularly enjoy reading and writing. I don't enjoy constantly having to learn new stuff and work on "new" projects. I don't enjoy arguing with people all the time over minutiae.

I have a math/econ undergrad, and I enjoyed math and problem solving. I've been thinking of getting a one year, cheap MACC (in order to qualify for the CPA exam).

Is being a CPA as bad as being a lawyer? Keep in mind, I wouldn't want to do Big 4(which is bad hours like biglaw for less pay). I'd just target a regional accounting firm with better hours or F500 companies and go in house, hopefully land a 9 to 5 gig.

Also, burnout seems to be a lot lower among CPAs than lawyers...why is that?


I have only interned/SA'd in both biglaw and Big 4 and I am sure there are other people here on TLS with far more valuable insight than I have, but I will say that I found the work in the Big 4 to be excruciatingly, mindnumbingly boring. I hear what you're saying about not wanting to constantly learn new stuff, but you might possibly be swapping one problem for another, equally bad (just different) one.

(I also realize that this information relates to the Big 4, which you aren't interested in, so this may be of little or no value. Someone here on TLS might be able to speak to what other accounting positions are like.)

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Re: Biglaw to CPA?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jul 22, 2016 12:37 pm

That seems like an unnecessarily large pay cut if just want boring work -- tax compliance in house seems insanely boring but would probably pay better.

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Re: Biglaw to CPA?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jul 22, 2016 12:48 pm

How is fortune 500 hiring of in house accountants. Is previous Big 4 work almost required like biglaw is for in house counsel? No offense, but if you think legal work is boring I can't see how being a CPA and looking at balance/cashflow/income statement sheets all day is less so.

TXgal

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Re: Biglaw to CPA?

Postby TXgal » Fri Jul 22, 2016 12:50 pm

Forgot to mention that very little of working as a CPA is actual "problem solving" like you probably experienced in your math/econ undergrad... it's more like inputting numbers from financial statements into workpapers (excel spreadsheets) to generate tax returns.

And burnout in the big 4 is very, very high. I'm not sure about burnout for other accounting positions.

spyke123

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Re: Biglaw to CPA?

Postby spyke123 » Fri Jul 22, 2016 12:57 pm

You are probably better off trying out consulting. Similar pay and more along the line of "problem solving" than accounting. It won't be 9-5 though.

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Re: Biglaw to CPA?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jul 22, 2016 3:01 pm

Anonymous User wrote:How is fortune 500 hiring of in house accountants. Is previous Big 4 work almost required like biglaw is for in house counsel? No offense, but if you think legal work is boring I can't see how being a CPA and looking at balance/cashflow/income statement sheets all day is less so.


For some jobs, yes. For others, you can get hired straight out. My mom did accounting (not public though) - just private, and she worked 9 to 5 for life in house.

The thing is biglaw is both boring and stressful and you're constantly having to learn new things under fire drill timelines. At least being a CPA is generally just boring (and not stressful).

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Re: Biglaw to CPA?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jul 22, 2016 3:02 pm

spyke123 wrote:You are probably better off trying out consulting. Similar pay and more along the line of "problem solving" than accounting. It won't be 9-5 though.


I've heard consulting has biglaw hours...not really looking for something with bad hours. Unless there is such a thing as 9 to 6 consulting?

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Re: Biglaw to CPA?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jul 22, 2016 3:04 pm

Anonymous User wrote:That seems like an unnecessarily large pay cut if just want boring work -- tax compliance in house seems insanely boring but would probably pay better.


Not sure I'm that interested in tax. I'd rather not be "challenged" all the time by boring work. If its boring, I'd rather it just be boring, rather than both boring and stressful (like it is in biglaw IMO).

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Re: Biglaw to CPA?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jul 22, 2016 3:07 pm

OP here - anybody here worked as an analyst before? I mean like data modeling, etc.



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