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Everything you wanted to know or should know about accounting

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Replies to: Everything you wanted to know or should know about accounting

  • southpasdenasouthpasdena Registered User Posts: 1,718 Senior Member
    well if your a top candidate that wants to go to law school - a top 20 law school - then you have to compare 49-60k salary depending on city with the ability of 160k + bonus up to 100% of salary (depending on firm).
  • taxguytaxguy Registered User Posts: 6,629 Senior Member
    Southpasdena, the folks who make 100K+ to start as lawyers are from top schools who do among the very best in their schools. Thus, you are talking about ther top 1-2% of the law school graduates. In addition, most lawyers who work for top firms and receive 100k++ are working like animals. Many usually hate their jobs and find more stable jobs with less stress.

    Also, you can't compare law to accounting. Accounting is generally an undergraduate major, although you can get a masters in accounting ,which would satisfy the CPA requirements. Law is a graduate degree.

    They also do somewhat different work. If you go into accounting, you have close to a 100% chance for a job ( as long as you have some personality at the interview) and should make a good living. Lawyers are having a hard time finding any job. When they do, most don't make any significant money for quite a while. Yes, you hear about the few who started out making $120,000++ or who won a huge law suit in the millions,but these are the small exceptionswhen compared to the large number of students graduating from law schools.

    You have to compare accountant salaries and job opportunities to other undergraduate majors and maybe MBA Candidates. Even with this ,an accountant, with an MBA or MS in a specialized field, might make a lot more money with a consulting firm or the consulting department of an accounting firm.

    Bottom line, as one CPA noted, accountants can make a LOT of money and also have a life. In fact, they can make more than most other fields of endeavor. They just keep quiet about it so their profession seems to "be under the radar" among college students. In addition, even if they don't make partner or have their own practice, a good CPA is pretty well guaranteed a decent career for life! How many fields of employment,whether it be math, economics, english, history, management, MBA grads etc., can say that?

    Finally, I should note that if you want to be in big demand forover and make big bucks, you eventually want to be competant in some speciality,whether it be tax, financial statement preparation and auditing, banking, auditing of tax exempt organizations, computer controlls, forensics etc. A good specialist is hard to find, and they make great money because of it.
  • 2VU06092VU0609 Registered User Posts: 3,482 Senior Member
    Excellent post, taxguy! Last week I attended a conference with my state society for members in education. Our last session was "Skills for New Graduates." We had three panelists, including a partner for a Big 4 firm. He emphasized that in addition to a reasonable GPA (3.5+), a desirable candidate would have excellent writing skills, some kind of EC activity(ies) to show leadership and some kind of interest beyond the classroom, and excellent interpersonal skills. The example he used for interpersonal skills was of a candidate who would approach the campus interviewer and introduce themselves first rather than hang back. His office has a strong international presence and he said any experience in language, particularly Spanish, Chinese, or Japanese would be a plus. All three panelists used the term "self-starter" repeatedly.

    One other comment - a number of states have reduced the requirements for sitting for the CPA exam to 120 hours (BA/BS), although liscensing is not complete until 150 hours are obtained and the experience requirement is fulfilled. The panelist from the Big 4 firm indicated that it would be a huge plus if a candidate came to the interview with parts (or all) of the exam complete since the new hire would be far more productive by not being torn away to study at night for the exam.
    For those reading this post who may be close to sitting for the exam, our state board director encouraged students to sit for the FARS section ASAP since the shift to IFRS will be incorporated into the exam soon (2 years?) and students may not have had the classroom exposure on this shift in governance that is about to occur and he mentioned that it wasn't incorporated into current textbook literature as of yet.
  • SBDadSBDad Registered User Posts: 847 Member
    As a CPA, I'd like to add another couple thoughts.

    1. Taking the CPA exam. Make no mistake about it, the CPA exam is tough. It takes two full days of testing (was 2 1/2 when I took it) and by no means do most people pass the whole thing on their first sitting.

    2. I came to the conclusion in college that I really didn't like pure accounting - and especially auditing. I was lucky enough to sign up with Coopers & Lybrand in their tax department upon graduation and have been very happy with that career choice ever since. I have found that taxation is much more akin to the practice of law than the practice of accounting.

    3. By cutting back my practice and cherry picking which clients I keep, I will probably never retire. It keeps me engaged and will be a nice source of seasonal income in my golden years.
  • DawgieDawgie Registered User Posts: 1,576 Senior Member
    Accounting is good.
  • DaNDHSIrishGuyDaNDHSIrishGuy Registered User Posts: 197 Junior Member
    Can you guys specify between the different types of accouting? I'm trying to decide which field I would be best at... If this helps, I'm a phenomenal writer, have great mental math skills, and great computer skills, especially PP, Excel, and Word. I would say that I have very good interpersonal skills if it's something I'm knowledgeable about (i.e. sports, "accounting," etc.) I would like to travel at least once or twice a month, also. Which of these would be best for my type of personality? By the way, how do you get into forensic accounting?

    -Auditing
    -Tax
    -Assurance
    -any more?
  • steeveesteevee Registered User Posts: 828 Member
    And accounting firms are known to be rather inefficient when in comes to marketing - articles can be found on the internet about this as well if interested.
    Surprisingly, every kid wants to go into accounting in Canada.

    Nice post taxguy. You just got me all hot and heavy for accounting. Too bad I'm already an engineering student. :(
  • southpasdenasouthpasdena Registered User Posts: 1,718 Senior Member
    ^ i am talking about marketing geared toward the client.

    And taxguy, that is why i noted top students, if your not a top student, accounting is the safer bet

    irishguy, go to any big4 site and click on careers and you can easily find more information
  • DawgieDawgie Registered User Posts: 1,576 Senior Member
    Assurance is auditing and requires a lot more interaction with people. Writing skills will also come in handy as you will be proof reading everything. Also there is a lot of traveling. Auditing seems right for you.
  • kmzizzlekmzizzle Registered User Posts: 1,248 Senior Member
    Response: Generally, you should have an accounting degree if you want to work for an accounting firm..DUH! Some of the larger firms do have consulting divisions. If they do, they might take a few economics folks;however, even the consulting divisions usually want accountants with computer science or some other speciality.

    However, don't forget,lawyers go to school for an extra two years over that of accounants. The partners of big firms make about what the partners make at top accounting firms.
    But like I said what if your school only has an accounting minor, or nothing at all?

    And why do we keep talking about partners? Very few will make it there, and if they do, they've already been working for ~20 years on an average salary
  • DawgieDawgie Registered User Posts: 1,576 Senior Member
    ^^^ Wrong.
  • passerbypasserby Registered User Posts: 617 Member
    What about a minor (like UCLA I believe)?

    I don't know about the accounting minors at other schools, but UCLA's is top-notch. The Big 4 heavily recruit from UCLA, and so do mid-tier firms. The Accounting Minor curriculum at UCLA also gives you enough credits to sit for the CPA Exam in California (36 quarter units in accounting is required to sit, but the Accounting Minor requires you to take 38 quarter units.)
  • southpasdenasouthpasdena Registered User Posts: 1,718 Senior Member
    ucsb has an accounting emphasis that is also heavily recruited
  • radronOmegaradronOmega - Posts: 805 Member
    Does anyone have any free resources/web sites I can use to self-study accounting to get ready for my classes? I currently have the Glenncoe Accounting book, but I feel that it's too geared toward high school students and won't be enough for the college level.

    Thanks!
  • ferryboat10ferryboat10 Registered User Posts: 636 Member
    Rutgers offers a great resource for everything accounting.
    Rutgers Accounting Web
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