If you want to find a job that mixes your legal and business interests, you might look into accounting law. The accounting and legal fields are closely associated especially in cases of tax, audits and business valuation. Certified public accountants (C.P.A.) and lawyers often work together to accurately prepare cases for litigation. Although both the Juris Doctorate (J.D.) and C.P.A. credentials are distinguished and not easily attained, the competition within both career fields is high. Those who want to gain a competitive edge seek to become accounting lawyers. Here are the requirements for becoming an accounting lawyer as well as some educational programs and professional organizations that help these dual career professionals reach their goals.
Becoming An Accounting Lawyer
There are usually two kinds of candidates for the accounting lawyer dual career field. Legal professionals who want to become more competitive within the law firms for which they work are the main candidates. These lawyers may already be familiar with certain accounting practices through their work with tax regulations and auditing cases, but they will have to meet certain state specific education, experience and examination requirements to gain the accounting credential. The typical prerequisites for becoming a C.P.A. is 150 hours of accounting education that is usually done through a state approved university undergraduate accounting degree program, a comprehensive four-part accounting proficiency examination and relevant accounting work experience that is supervised by a C.P.A.
The other accounting lawyer candidates are students who know that they want to embark upon a dual legal and accounting career field early. These students usually major in accounting as an undergraduate and fulfill the state’s requirement to become a C.P.A. During their undergraduate years, these students take as many courses related to the legal field as possible. After obtaining the important C.P.A. designation, these business professionals take the Law School Admissions Test to get into a law school program. After obtaining a law degree, students who pass the bar examination earn their J.D. credential.
Educational Programs For Accounting Lawyers
Today’s students who know early the career path that they want to follow have many choices when it comes to preparation for a dual legal and accounting career. For example, many universities recognize the demand for the dual designations and offer academic programs that allow students to double major in accounting and pre-law. Other programs allow students to earn a Master of Accountancy and a J.D. at the same time.
Professional Organizations For Accounting Lawyers
Both the accounting and legal professions require a passion for lifelong learning, since the codes that regulate both disciplines are subject to change. Also, rulings on legal cases tend to set precedence for future cases, and accounting lawyers should be familiar with those that apply to their areas of specialty. The C.P.A. designation also requires its bearers to conduct continuous learning education to maintain the credential. Dual practitioners receive help in these areas from professional organizations like the American Association of Attorney Certified Public Accountants (AAA-CPA) that provides study aids, networking opportunities and educational seminars for its members.
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Business and legal professionals that are well positioned within profitable accounting and legal firms have opportunities to significantly increase their job satisfaction and income potential by becoming accounting lawyers. However, future accounting lawyers must thoroughly investigate answers to what an accounting lawyer does, before making such huge time and financial investments.