Dually-licensed Attorney-CPAs Offer Best Of Both Worlds

There are myriad options available when it comes to selecting the professionals you will utilize in your business and personal life, but the two most common are likely a CPA and an attorney.
Dually-licensed Attorney-CPAs offer a far more advanced and superior option than an expert in just a single field.
The skillsets required for both of these specialists are unique; the attorney must be able to devise creative and persuasive solutions within the constraints of the law, whereas the CPA must be painstakingly organized with a meticulous attention to detail to avoid costly financial errors.

Although both professions require a different sort of mindset to achieve success in their respective fields, the qualities that make up a good attorney and a good CPA are remarkably complementary. For this reason, a dually-licensed Attorney-CPA can be an exceptionally powerful asset.

Practical applications of dual-qualification

Dually-qualified professionals will typically find a niche in one of their disciplines, meaning they will primarily practice in various areas of law or somewhere in the accounting field. Nevertheless, the additional training will likely impact their work in remarkably beneficial ways.

Consider the Attorney-CPA who primarily practices law:

One of the most common witnesses used in trials are financial advisors. When your attorney is equally as trained in accountancy as a witness of the opposing party, they are much more qualified to cross-examine and refute their testimony.

This could potentially be the difference between winning and losing a case, since an attorney who is not trained in finance may have trouble understanding and countering their claims.

Now take the Attorney-CPA who primarily practices accounting:

There is a good chance that a CPA will someday wind up being a witness in court because the job often entails auditing and preparing financial documents for businesses. However, many CPAs in this situation are unprepared for the litigation process and will be ill-equipped to present their facts and figures in a suitably persuasive manner that a judge or jury can understand.

Having the trial education and training of an attorney will ensure that if your business ever winds up on the wrong end of a lawsuit, your Attorney-CPA will be able to present the best case to help defend your interests.

And while these are two examples where dual licensing enhances the ability of your hired professional to perform their assignment, there are plenty of other situations where an Attorney-CPA is a superior option, including:

  • Preparing tax documents if you are audited;
  • Defending you before the IRS;
  • Drafting estate planning documents;
  • Serving as an expert witness for any sort of financial litigation;
  • Representing you in divorce or drafting prenuptial agreements;
  • Overseeing due diligence for merger and acquisition transactions; and
  • Consulting or advising business development and operations.

In essence, any reason you may consider soliciting the services of an attorney or accountant will benefit by the hiring of a dually-licensed Attorney-CPA.

An enhanced perspective

While your typical attorney or CPA is trained to think a certain way through their focused education, a dually-licensed professional offers the advantage of a more comprehensive objectivity; they are able to view and solve problems with the ingenuity of an attorney combined with the resourcefulness of a CPA.

The integration of these skillsets can be incredibly valuable, as your Attorney-CPA can draw from experiences in both industries as they assist with your legal and financial requirements.

You can also feel confident in their motivation and diligence when it comes to meeting your needs due to the staggering amount of work and effort that goes into attaining accreditation in both of these technical fields — it requires a special person with significant drive to go through essentially double the education and certification testing necessary to achieve dual-accreditation.

This is something that a client clearly wants to see in the personality of a professional who will be trusted to handle serious and complex responsibilities that can have a substantial impact on their future.

When you are selecting a professional to protect you legally or financially, it is important to choose the most qualified individual. For this reason, dually-licensed Attorney-CPAs offer a far more advanced and superior option than an expert in just a single field.

Don’t get stuck with professional tunnel vision; consider the enhanced perspective of a dually-licensed Attorney-CPA.

AAA-CPA Listserv ‘Alone Is Worth The Annual Dues’

From discounts with numerous retailers to earning your CPE and CLE credit simultaneously, the American Academy Of Attorney-CPAs offers a number of useful resources to its members. However, one of the most beneficial (and often underappreciated) is the AAA-CPA Listserv, which connects all members of the organization regardless of where you practice.

Utilizing this service offers an almost incalculable value, as you are able to draw on the combined knowledge and expertise of hundreds of dually-licensed practitioners from a variety of backgrounds and experiences.

Additionally, the Listserv offers a sense of community and camaraderie by increasing your network of like-minded professionals across the country — something that would typically be very difficult to accomplish due to the exclusivity of dually-licensed Attorney-CPAs.

A wealth of knowledge at your fingertips

“The Listserv alone is worth the annual dues.”
Matthew McBride
AAA-CPA Member
Marine City, MI

Whether you have been a practicing attorney or CPA for 5 years or thirty, you are never going to have all the answers. You are bound to have a problem come up at some point that leaves you scratching your head or at least unsure of exactly how to proceed.

The AAA-CPA Listserv offers a go-to resource to seek advice and guidance from hundreds of professionals in your field. You are able to start a discussion regarding extremely technical aspects of accounting or law and receive real-time input that is sure to tackle the problem from every angle, guaranteeing that you do not miss anything.

The combined experience of the organization available at your fingertips is an invaluable resource, as you will not be able to access this exclusive knowledgebase anywhere else.

It is also particularly useful for solo practitioners, since you do not have an entire firm of experts available to help brainstorm solutions to complex problems.

The AAA-CPA Listserv offers small firms and practices a resource that is potentially even greater than what is available to the largest law or accounting firms.

Bringing Attorney-CPAs together

The Attorney-CPA designation is exceedingly unique, leaving individuals who hold a dual-certification in fairly exclusive company. Even in major markets, you are unlikely to have a large number of local dually-licensed attorneys or CPAs available to be a part of your professional network.

In addition to serving as a tool to aid your practice, the AAA-CPA Listserv expands your access to professionals with equivalent credentials to a network that spans the country.

You are able to get to know other like-minded individuals from a variety of different practice areas, offering you the opportunity to make new friends and colleagues from the comfort of your home or office.

You are also able to find individuals who specialize in different areas than your own area of expertise to become a point of contact for problems that are out of your comfort zone.

And since the member base focuses on a wide variety of practice areas, the Listserv becomes an excellent referral source for clients who may need an expert in a different jurisdiction or with different skillsets.

For example, you may have a local client come in who has needs guidance on an issue out of state. By a simple post in the Listserv, you will be able to refer your client to an equally-qualified individual that can provide for their needs in less than 24 hours.

While some of the American Academy of Attorney-CPAs benefits have value that is more tangible, none offer more potential worth than the AAA-CPA Listserv.

Through an improved network of dually-licensed professionals that offers an excellent referral source and a wealth of unparalleled knowledge in the field, the Listserv alone is worth membership in the organization.

The Benefits Of A Dually-Licensed CPA

There are many situations that require the assistance of a skilled financial advisor and even more where professional guidance is beneficial. From improving your credit rating and reducing debt to starting a business or managing real estate, having an experienced accountant you can turn to can save you many headaches in the future.

However, selecting the right advisor for you can be taxing, as the financial field includes countless different specializations and credentials.

A good bet for most is to start your search with a Certified Public Accountant, the most versatile, trusted and recognized financial designation out there due to the rigorous study and comprehensive accounting knowledge that is required.

But even CPAs have certain limitations in their ability to assess and represent all your financial needs — particularly when they cross over into areas of law.

A more diverse skillset

With all the overlap between the legal and financial worlds, a dually-licensed Attorney-CPA is by far the superior choice to offer a more complete range of services due to their broad perspective and extensive education.

Many dually-licensed Attorney-CPAs achieve both certifications, but end up practicing primarily one field over the other due to their personal preference. By retaining a practicing CPA who carries a law degree, you increase the services your financial professional can potentially offer.

For example, lawyers can specialize in a diverse range of legal fields. A common area for attorneys to practice is the preparation and execution of trusts, and while CPAs may have some estate-planning knowledge, they typically will not have the legal familiarity to accurately advise on this subject.

However, a dually-qualified Attorney-CPA will have studied estate planning and trusts in law school and may have even practiced in that field at some point over the course of their career.

Should you have the desire to find out more about the financial implications of a trust or have the desire to set one up, you would not have to seek out a new professional — you could feel confident that your CPA is qualified to offer well-informed and educated advice regarding the specific details of this complex financial device.

A more versatile financial professional

Another benefit to the dually-licensed Attorney-CPA is in the realm of tax preparation and defense, a common reason many seek out a CPA.

Both tax attorneys and CPAs offer services in this area and their expertise can overlap, but each performs distinct tasks. For example, CPAs are often responsible for the preparation of tax returns and submission to the IRS, whereas the tax attorney specializes in specific legal ramifications of the overall tax planning process.

The separation between these services becomes more distinct when a case must be taken before the IRS. While your standard CPA may be useful in helping to build your case since they most likely prepared the returns, a tax attorney is better equipped to represent clients in the courtroom.

A dually-licensed Attorney-CPA has education and training in both fields, so they can potentially save you the trouble (and cost) of hiring a second professional should you ever be investigated by the IRS.

While a CPA is qualified to handle a wide variety of financial issues, the addition of a law degree adds an extra layer of versatility. When considering which financial professional is right for you, there are a number of aspects you need to consider given your specific circumstances.

However, you would always want to find the most qualified individual when it comes to something as important as securing your financial future. In this case, a dually-qualified Attorney-CPA is your best option since they offer a more comprehensive range of services with the education to back it up

AAA-CPA Simplifies The Search For Your New Attorney & Accountant

Whatever your reasons are for seeking the services of an attorney or CPA, you want to find the best possible candidate to meet your needs.
AAA-CPA is the logical starting point in your search for a well-rounded professional to handle your legal or financial needs.
This usually means meeting with multiple lawyers or accountants to narrow your search based in large part on certain professional characteristics — a process that can be difficult and time-consuming.

However, taking specific credentials into consideration can make the decision easier.

Dually-qualified members of the American Academy of Attorney-CPAs, who are licensed to practice both law and perform the tasks of a CPA, possess the talents and ability necessary to meet a variety of your legal and financial needs.

Regardless of the profession that an Attorney-CPA emphasizes, having learned professional skills through the viewpoint of two complementary industries gives an Attorney-CPA a far more comprehensive perspective.

Starting your search with AAA-CPA members will often simplify the selection process by allowing you to consider well-rounded professionals who possess a superior skillset.

A combination of professional qualities

When someone needs to hire an attorney or CPA, there are certain qualities they want the professional to embody. Some of these include:

  • Up-to-date knowledge — Law and accounting practices are constantly evolving. If you are hiring someone to manage your business’ money or help you resolve a legal problem, you want to be sure your professional is informed on the latest industry trends and regulations.
  • Honesty — You want an attorney or CPA who is going to shoot straight with you and not simply tell you what you want to hear. When you need a lawyer or accountant, there will likely be serious ramifications depending on the choices you make, so you need to ensure your professional is up front about your options.
  • Analytical & resourceful — Whether you are dealing with personal finance or trying to sort out asset division in a divorce, you need an accountant or attorney that is able to view problems from all angles and devise creative solutions to get you the best possible outcome.
  • Good communication skills — Your attorney or CPA needs to be able to break down complex legal and financial jargon in a way that you as a client can understand. Additionally, you want a professional who will listen to your concerns so they don’t miss any pertinent information.

Although other characteristics should be considered, such as experienced, organized, and ethical, there is clearly a great deal of crossover when it comes to the qualities you should be looking for in an attorney or accountant.

This makes the American Academy of Attorney-CPAs a great place to start your search since members have the education and experience of two professional industries in one person.

Benefits of AAA-CPA members

Regardless of whether they are primarily working as an accountant or practicing law, a dually-licensed Attorney-CPA offers clients superior service due to their extensive education and training in two highly-technical fields.

Not only are they able to view problems through the lens of both an accountant and a lawyer, but they also have had the opportunity to learn professional qualities in two different settings. This combination can offer a far better perspective than someone who has only been trained in one field.

Additionally, with access to a number of exclusive resources provided by the American Academy of Attorney-CPAs, members are much better equipped to handle problems you may have.

For example, the AAA-CPA Listserv connects the entire organization, which consists of an international membership base practicing a diverse range of legal and accounting concentrations.

The ability to access a vast network of experienced attorneys and accountants means your attorney will be able to find answers for even your most obscure questions. They are also able to provide quality referrals should you or someone you know need an out-of-state expert or someone who specializes in different area of practice.

And with more than a dozen committees designed to keep members knowledgeable on the latest changes in a variety of legal and financial practice areas, you can feel assured that your Attorney-CPA is well-versed in current industry trends and regulations.

Should the time come that you need to seek the services of a lawyer or accountant, don’t become overwhelmed trying to find the right fit.

The American Academy of Attorney-CPAs is the logical starting point in your search for a well-rounded professional to handle your legal or financial needs.

Through rigorous education and balanced experience, beginning with a dually-qualified AAA-CPA professionals will greatly simplify the selection process for your law or accounting needs.

Tax Attorney vs. CPA: Why Not Hire A Two-In-One?

Whether you are seeking a professional to assist with tax issues on personal or business-related concerns, it can be difficult to determine exactly which expert best fits your needs; there are so many financial advising specializations with innumerable designations that it eventually seems to become a confusing jumble of letters on a business card.
It is easy to see why small businesses would benefit from hiring a dually-certified Attorney-CPA.
However, two of the most reliable and well-known professionals that can aid you with various tax problems are the tax attorney and the CPA, both of which offer different — though often overlapping — services.

Tax attorneys and CPAs can both assist with a variety of your tax needs, yet there are distinct limitations to what roles they can play on their own.

This is why hiring a dually-certified Attorney-CPA is the smarter way to go, as they can provide a more comprehensive level of service due to their background and education in both highly technical fields.

The role of a tax attorney

Tax attorneys are lawyers who have gone through law school, passed their state’s bar exam and emphasize tax issues in their practice.

Unlike CPAs, who are skilled in managing financial records and preparing tax returns, the tax attorney is more planning and dispute-oriented; meaning they are primarily trained to help minimize a business’ tax liability through the structuring of assets or to represent them through tax-related litigation.

While CPAs are authorized to represent clients in IRS disputes, they typically do not have the training or experience that a tax attorney would have when it comes to representing a client. If you are facing an audit with the potential for harsh penalties, a tax attorney would be the better choice due to their negotiation skills and intimate knowledge of legal principles and case law.

Tax attorneys also offer one major benefit that a CPA does not — confidentiality. Any information you provide your tax attorney is protected by client-attorney privilege, meaning they cannot be forced to testify against you.

This offers a distinct advantage if you are dealing with possible criminal charges from the IRS and you wish to prevent conversations with your tax expert from inadvertently being used against you.

The role of a CPA

CPAs dedicate their education — which is extensive — to a broad range of accounting fields. From auditing and taxation to bookkeeping and business strategy, CPAs are one of the most versatile financial planners available.

Considered the most trusted advisor in their industry, CPAs are a great choice for year-round financial recordkeeping and tax preparation; however, their diverse skillset and stringent education requirements sets them apart from other accounting professionals.

While a CPA is one of your best options when it comes to filling out those convoluted IRS forms come tax season, they can also serve as a principal advisor for many different financial decisions, including estate planning, investment and real estate advice, certain IRS problems and more.

However, one of the most beneficial services a CPA can offer is the ability to review or audit a business’ financial records to identify problem areas that need improvement, as well as where you are in good standing.

This can not only help you make better-informed business decisions, but also ensures you are in compliance with IRS regulations to help you avoid future tax penalties and can even help your business achieve better interest rates.

The benefits of a dually-certified professional

While a tax attorney is typically reserved for more specific and complex tax issues whereas the CPA is usually utilized on a more regular basis to keep your financial records in order and prepare your taxes, the advantages of having a two-in-one professional are hard to overstate.

Not only do dually-licensed Attorney-CPAs have the financial background to understand the intricate details of your company’s balance sheets, but they are also able to advise on business structure to reduce tax liabilities and hopefully help you avoid any trouble with the IRS.

However, should you ever run into any legal trouble regarding your tax filings, your dually-licensed Attorney-CPA would be well-equipped to represent you due to their knowledge of your business’ financial records and their litigation training.

Additionally, you may be able to save money in the long run by hiring one professional who has the knowledge and expertise to advise on both important business decisions while still preforming the routine tasks of keeping your finances running smoothly and ensuring your taxes are professionally filed.

With the improved value of a tax attorney and CPA rolled into one professional, it is easy to see why small businesses would benefit from hiring a dually-certified Attorney-CPA.

A Dually-Licensed Attorney: The Business Owner’s Best Friend

Small business owners and entrepreneurs quickly learn there is a lot more to starting a business than simply having a great idea. Navigating the bureaucratic red tape involved with getting a company off the ground — and in the greater scheme making it successful — requires determination and effort.
If you want the most well-informed business advice you can get, a dually-licensed Attorney-CPA has the tools to help your company succeed.
However, even the most motivated of individuals will likely run into situations where they are unsure of how to proceed, which is where seeking professional guidance can help ensure your dream doesn’t fall flat.

Two of the most commonly utilized professionals for small business owners are the CPA and the attorney.

While the role of your accountant is obvious — they will help you with the financial and tax issues — the reasons for needing a business attorney are much more diverse. From writing and reviewing contracts to analyzing and reorganizing a company’s structure, a skilled attorney can assist with a variety of small business needs.

Yet finding the right fit for your business needs can be difficult, as there are a plethora of attorneys boasting of their business prowess. However, the most qualified individual to advise you on business decisions should have a firm grasp of both the financial and legal implications of the advice they offer.

Meet the small business owner’s best friend

Due to their comprehensive skillset, a practicing attorney who also holds an active CPA license provides a much wider range of services than your typical business attorney.

Not only are they able to perform the plethora of tasks that attorneys already offer, but their financial knowledge gives them a significant advantage in many of their responsibilities.

For example, despite many attorneys claiming to specialize in helping small businesses, many are not trained to understand the finer points of bookkeeping.

This obviously poses a serious problem, since it is difficult to trust the business advice of someone who does not fully understand the fiscal ramifications of taking certain actions — even if the attorney is knowledgeable about a specific industry.

A dually-licensed Attorney-CPA would be a much better fit since they could not provide you with trustworthy legal services, but they can also analyze your company’s finances to offer better advice on how to successfully grow your business.

Additionally, attorneys who lack the CPA credential may have a more difficult adequately representing you should you ever end up in court — a risk that highlights why it is so important to have an attorney you can call upon who is familiar with your business.

A better protection from lawsuits

Let’s say a small business is being sued for fraud, with the primary evidence presented being the company’s financial statements. An attorney lacking the CPA certification may not understand the accounting methods being used, which would make it difficult to build a proper defense.

If the attorney is prudent, they would collaborate with a financial advisor to sort things out, though the charges of that additional professional would likely end up coming back to you.

What happens all too often, however, is the attorney simply assumes they understand the issues at hand well enough and heads to court. This could potentially cost you a lot of money if they are wrong and the judgement goes against you.

On the other hand, a dually-licensed Attorney-CPA would be able to glance over the financial statements and explain to the judge exactly how the numbers add up, reducing misunderstandings or mistakes.

Skilled business attorneys are able to provide a variety of services for entrepreneurs, whether you are trying to get a business off the ground or you have watched your business grow and succeed.

However, an attorney familiar with the financial side of your business who understands intricacies of your company’s cash flow will be able to provide much more accurate and trustworthy advice.

It is important for all business owners to have an attorney at the ready who can help out when legal complexities arise, and the added level of protection a lawyer offers is particularly necessary due to the lawsuit culture endemic throughout the United States.

Your typical attorney is unlikely to have the skillset required to offer legal counsel and accurate business advice, but a dually-qualified Attorney-CPA knows both sides of the business.

If you want the most well-informed business advice you can get, a dually-licensed Attorney-CPA has all the tools to help your company succeed.