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Old 11-01-2019, 09:45 PM
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Default Law vs Accountancy

Hi all, I got into SMU Law and NUS Accounting last year. I chose NUS cos I heard that the law industry was pretty saturated.

My senior told me that things weren’t THAT bad (most can still find a job) and that the pay was probably much higher than studying accountancy.

Still, im assuming that I would probably score much higher in accountancy than law (law is much more competitive), so the pay won’t be that different.

Can anyone give me some advice? Will I be better off as a better-than-average accountant or an average lawyer? How about the working hours? (I think accountancy would be slightly better)

Thanks for any inputs!

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Old 11-01-2019, 10:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Cefiro22 View Post
Hi all, I got into SMU Law and NUS Accounting last year. I chose NUS cos I heard that the law industry was pretty saturated.

My senior told me that things weren’t THAT bad (most can still find a job) and that the pay was probably much higher than studying accountancy.

Still, im assuming that I would probably score much higher in accountancy than law (law is much more competitive), so the pay won’t be that different.

Can anyone give me some advice? Will I be better off as a better-than-average accountant or an average lawyer? How about the working hours? (I think accountancy would be slightly better)

Thanks for any inputs!

The average lawyer earns more than average accountant.
Even at junior level, per hour law beats accounting.

In terms of AI replacing you, both are equally susceptible.

Accounting entry is easy, just an ACCA. Law is so much more difficult.

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Old 12-01-2019, 02:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Cefiro22 View Post
Hi all, I got into SMU Law and NUS Accounting last year. I chose NUS cos I heard that the law industry was pretty saturated.

My senior told me that things weren’t THAT bad (most can still find a job) and that the pay was probably much higher than studying accountancy.

Still, im assuming that I would probably score much higher in accountancy than law (law is much more competitive), so the pay won’t be that different.

Can anyone give me some advice? Will I be better off as a better-than-average accountant or an average lawyer? How about the working hours? (I think accountancy would be slightly better)

Thanks for any inputs!
Both law and accounting are vastly different beasts.

It might sound like hollow advice at this stage (I'm assuming you rejected your spot in SMU?) but you really should choose based on whether you can see yourself practicing in either field, not job prospects, quality of life or starting salary - all these considerations are transient and temporary.

As a lawyer i for the love of God can't stomach a lifetime of staring at spreadsheets full of numbers. But that's just me. You may have a phobia of writing. It really depends on the individual.

Working hours wise the main difference is that you're going to have peak seasons and lull seasons in Big4, assuming that you take the conventional audit route. As a lawyer you are constantly fighting fires so there's no true high-key or low-key period. Your schedule is dictated by either the client or the court, so unpredictability is a greater issue.

Pay wise I really doubt scoring better in uni will give you in edge in accounting since all graduate audit hires start off on the same payscale, like most professional services firms. You could try aiming for more lucrative areas like IB with a first class but then again you could also do the same with a law degree.

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Old 19-01-2019, 04:36 PM
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Good advice here. Pick what you think you'll enjoy and excel at rather than what you feel will pay more or is perceived to be more glamorous. I went through the accounting route, am now the FC of a company and I must say I really enjoy my job. My wife happens to be a lawyer and it seems neither of us could live doing what the other one does - she simply can't deal with numbers or spreadsheets whilst I'd rather die than read the amount of words she does.

Money wise - We both earn good, comfortable salaries, over the years sometimes I've earned more and sometimes she has. We know people in both industries and I'd say the money can go both ways - we know some lawyers that make much more than the average accountant and some accountants that make much more than the average lawyer. Be prepared to work hard in the first few years for both fields, and I would say that straight out of university, lawyers do have higher starting salaries, but in the long-run I think it's really up to the individual. Overall I'd say they're both very rewarding careers with many long term options for growth and challenges but if I were you I'd do some serious thinking and pick something you think you'll enjoy for a long time.

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Both law and accounting are vastly different beasts.

It might sound like hollow advice at this stage (I'm assuming you rejected your spot in SMU?) but you really should choose based on whether you can see yourself practicing in either field, not job prospects, quality of life or starting salary - all these considerations are transient and temporary.

As a lawyer i for the love of God can't stomach a lifetime of staring at spreadsheets full of numbers. But that's just me. You may have a phobia of writing. It really depends on the individual.

Working hours wise the main difference is that you're going to have peak seasons and lull seasons in Big4, assuming that you take the conventional audit route. As a lawyer you are constantly fighting fires so there's no true high-key or low-key period. Your schedule is dictated by either the client or the court, so unpredictability is a greater issue.

Pay wise I really doubt scoring better in uni will give you in edge in accounting since all graduate audit hires start off on the same payscale, like most professional services firms. You could try aiming for more lucrative areas like IB with a first class but then again you could also do the same with a law degree.
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