Los Angeles CPAs

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  • #3301003

    Hello Ninjas,

    Can any of you LA natives let me know what your CPA life is like? Specifically I’m wondering what your salary is and how many years you’ve worked? What are your hours like? Is there room for growth etc. I got my accounting degree back in 2011 and after a few tries at the CPA just left it alone. Now I work in legal billing and earn $75k a year after 9 years of experience. Its a stable 40 hour a week job with almost no overtime. I like my stable schedule and the pay comfortably covers my rent and life. But I’m wondering if I’m missing out by not going for my CPA still. I’m 35 years old. If I went for a CPA it would basically only be for a bigger salary, but ideally, I’d like to keep a 40 hour or so a week schedule. Do you guys think I should take another shot at the CPA or just let it go at this point?

Viewing 7 replies - 1 through 7 (of 7 total)
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  • #3301219

    The CPA with no accounting skills or experience is not likely to land you a big payday.
    If you switched to accounting you might even have to take a pay cut, while you learn the skillset.
    I would almost guarantee if you were a hard worker, the long term earning potential for a CPA in accounting would far eclipse your current role.
    If you take your current skill set in legal billing, and get some clients and start your own company, probably have much better return on investment than going for the CPA and working for someone else making them lots of money in the process.

    Memento Mori - Kingston NY CPA & EA (SUNY Albany 2002)

    FAR-93 11/9/17 (10wks, 250 hrs, Roger 1800+ MCQs, Gleim TB 600+MCQs, SIMs)
    AUD-88 12/7/17 (3 wks, 85 hrs, Roger 1000 MCQs no SIMs hail mary)
    REG-96 1/18/18 (6 wks, 110 hrs, 1400 MCQs, no SIMs)
    BEC-91 2/16/18 (4wks, 90 hrs, 1240 MCQs)


    I'm a CPA with only a year and a half of experience so take what I say with a grain of salt. I'm only at 60k but i'm sure itll continuously increase from this point on. Hours are crazy at cpa firms given the time of year, but I'm not sure if you'd want to unless you can enhance cpa with your experience in law firms. Theres a decent amount of competition but I'd guess they'd give you a pay cut regardless from what youre making now. However I think It could be worth it if you're willing to put in the time and suffer for a couple years in public acc.

    AUD - 81
    BEC - 83
    FAR - 81
    REG - 85

    I have a great friend who is a CPA and Controller for a law firm in Santa Ana. He is also a law student. He makes good money though I don’t know exactly how much. His schedule allows him to study the law extensively and his salary allows him to pay for law school one course at a time without debt.
    I live in CO and do all the tax work for a law firm and do well with a good schedule except this time of year. I like the grind at tax time. The rest of the year my hours are on an as needed basis.
    If you have the time to do the CPA, what’s the harm? It will open doors. Since being licensed, I have been a CFO for a startup to help with initial funding and asked to be on several boards. I did tax before I was licensed but spent very little time in public accounting. I think now is the time if you think you can get the experience because the exams are changing yet again over the next couple of years. Besides you are still young.
    Let us know what you decide.

    AUD - 93
    BEC - 82
    FAR - 76
    REG - 88
    How have you been?
    Ninja book and MCQs and the forum, all first try! 2016
    Licensed State of Montana April Fool’s Day 2020
    State of Colorado June 2020 - AICPA Ethics 93
    Experience was the worst part of the journey for me. You?
    If you want things to change you have to do something different.

    FAR 7/25/15 76!
    AUD 10/30/15 93
    BEC 2/27/16 82
    REG 5/23/16 88!
    Ninja Book and MCQ and the forum - all the way!!!
    and a little thing i like to call, time and effort!
    if you want things to change, you have to do something different


    Stay in the comfort zone. You don’t have experience in accounting so you have to build your skill set and then go on your own if you like. But it’s a lot of studying and work hours if you decide to work public (which were majority of new accountants begin). Then maybe stay in public and work your life away or get into private and end where you are at. In the end it’s you that decide. If you have the spirit of a fighter then proceed but if you are happy where you are at then stay. Don’t follow the money and be miserable.

    AUD - 89
    BEC - 82
    FAR - 78
    REG - 84
    “He never failed because he never tried”

    I'm the same age as you and am pursuing the cpa exams.
    My thought process was “I can't control what I am now, but I have every bit of control of shaping my 40s and 50s.”
    A CPA is a CPA, no matter the age.
    Those three letters will never take you back but only push you forward.
    Even if you maintain your current job, it's better to do so as a better version of yourself with more options at the side when you're 40 with minimum of 20 years left to work.

    AUD - 2
    BEC - 15
    FAR - 07
    REG - 2
    Daniel Kwak

    Thanks Daniel
    Do you have experience as an accountant or did you end up in some other profession?

    Jake Cahill

    If you guys are having difficulty earning your credits. Click here for Cpe Credits.

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