Accounting vs Law: Which is the Right Career Choice for You?
Choosing between accounting and law isn’t easy.
Not only do they have their similarities, but they also attract individuals who want to make a decent living in a dynamic field. If you’re having a hard time picking one or the other, read on. This guide will help you choose by the end of it.
What’s the Difference Between Law and Accounting?
Although lawyers are sometimes called accountants in the United States, their professions couldn’t be more different. The law deals with people, whereas accountants deal with numbers.
What do Lawyers Do?
Lawyers are professionally licensed after passing the bar in their state of choice. With this qualification, they can advise clients on the impacts of the law and represent them in court.
Here are some things lawyers do in law work:
- Lawyers advise clients on legal matters
- Lawyers read and interpret the law
- Lawyers have to do a large amount of intellectual work
- Lawyers figure out solutions to legal problems
- Lawyers try to prevent legal trouble
- Lawyers fight an opposing side
Lawyers can choose to go into many specialties, including family, personal injury, tax, corporate, labor, environmental, criminal, immigration, bankruptcy, property, and real estate law.
What do Accountants Do?
Accountants spend most of their day analyzing data, numbers, and financial situations. An accountant is legally allowed to file taxes and perform routine bookkeeping and payroll tasks.
Here are some things accountants do in finance work:
- Accountants prepare financial documents
- Accountants read and analyze financial reports
- Accountants record financial transactions
- Accountants must utilize data to find solutions
- Accountants may advise clients on financial topics
- Accountants may give accounting suggestions
Accountants can also choose to go into many specialties, including auditing, forensics, government, investment, project, and management accounting. They can also be CPAs.
Accounting vs. Law: A Comparison of Pros and Cons
Accounting and law can suit all types of people, but you need to know what you’re in for. If you’re interested in either profession, use this guide to understand their pros and cons.
Accounting vs. Law: Degree Difficulty and Costs
Even if an accountant goes to one of the finest American accounting schools, their education still won’t compare to the lawyer. Lawyers must get a bachelor’s degree, just like an accountant, but they need to go to law school for an additional three years, which can become expensive.
Accountants have the option to get a further certification, the hardest of which is the CPA. To get a CPA, accountants need a bachelor’s degree, 150 credit hours, get 30 months of accounting experience, and complete an exam. It can take 3 extra years for an accountant to get their CPA.
With that said, accountants don’t have to get a CPA, whereas lawyers have to pass the bar to practice. This makes becoming a lawyer more expensive and harder than an accountant.
Accounting vs. Law: Average Salary
Lawyers typically make more than accountants on average, but both professions generally pay well. On average, lawyers make $120,000 per year, whereas accountants make $71,500 per year. Lawyers also have the opportunity to make millions, whereas accountants don’t.
But with all that money, there’s a downside. Lawyers often face an aggressive job market that gets even worse when they open their law firm. Accountants have an easier time finding jobs because everyone makes money. You can go your whole life without needing a lawyer.
It’s important to note that accountants can make six figures if they get a CPA or other certification. Lawyers will make more in top law firms or if they open their law firm.
Accounting vs. Law: Job Satisfaction
To be successful in either profession, you need to accept the fact that your job will be boring sometimes. Accounting is often seen as one of the most boring professions, whereas law is more dynamic and exciting. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t happy accountants.
A more laid-back career may be more your speed. Lawyers often have to run around, put out fires, and work long hours. This can contribute to a lot of stress, which can get so chronic that people will leave the profession. Around 50% of lawyers want to leave their current role or quit the profession entirely. You have to be okay with the negatives associated with the law.
While accounting can be boring, the profession has higher satisfaction scores. And even with AI and automation, accountants are still needed. Accountants are also more mobile than lawyers.
While accounting work is more boring, it’s much easier and cheaper to get into than law. Not only that, but accountants have a more accessible job market. On the other hand, lawyers get to experience a dynamic career that allows them to meet exciting new people every single day.
Choosing the right profession depends on your personality, needs, and budget. We hope that our article gave you some insight into how to choose between both career options.