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View Poll Results: Which profession has a higher prestige in the eyes of the public
CPA 36 61.02%
Programmer 23 38.98%
Voters: 59. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 05-24-2015, 11:35 AM
 
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I am a CPA and I have to explain to everyone exactly what I CPA is in an unbiased fashion. Who is more prestigious? A CPA or lawyer? That is objective or subjective thought. Depends on who you ask and what the needs are of that segment ! Most CPAs respect doctors and lawyers and trust me many doctors look at CPAs like we are smarter than them.

However, a CPA is little to do with the perceptions you all have stated below. First of all being a CPA requires you to be very legally savvy and very close to a lawyer in the ability to know thousands of regulations and guidelines of generally accepted accounting principles and the internal revenue code. That does not include all the treasury regulations, gov regulations, international financial reporting guidelines, SEC rules, and IRS interpretations.

Being a CPA is much more than doing tax returns and in fact you most likely can't be a CFO or director without one. The public trust and investment community rely on the independence and competence of CPAs from staff auditors, to partners, VP Finance, audit director, to CEOs. And most all business people, lawyers, and doctors all know this since we all operate in the same degree and in conjunction with each other. In fact the main practitioners as it relates to business and individuals complying with the affordable care act and other regulations--are CPAs!

So in the business world and in the legal world, CPAs are extremely prestigious and respected. If you are not in the know then you wouldn't know. Doctors and lawyers need us and we need each other! Programmers and IT folks are also extremely prestigious in business and it has nothing to do with phone apps. Without them we would not be able to operate global business and have a sound system of financial internal controls in all levels of business and government.


The perception of prestige transcends TV shows and btw Ben Af has a movie coming out called the accountant
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Old 08-25-2015, 05:34 PM
 
2,190 posts, read 1,601,855 times
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Accounting and Law are easier to compare as long established professions, with education requirements, licensing, membership associations and employee-owned firms.

The stereotypical CPA or JD is a clean cut, intelligent professional, who has highly specialized knowledge and is generally seen as a "pillar of their community". Most have to have reasonable social skills to make partner and win clients.

Of these, law is the more prestigious profession, despite the negative reputation and growing glut of underemployed JD from low tier schools. Becoming a lawyer requires obtaining high undergraduate grades, scoring well on the LSAT, going through a very rigorous 3-yr law school curriculum and them passing the bar example. Becoming a CPA has historically required obtaining an undergraduate accounting degree (from a mid-tier school) and then studying for the CPA exam. Recently, a masters' degree has become more common and required for new people.

Roughly, a lawyer is to accounting as physician is to physical therapist. In both cases, skilled professionals with specialized knowledge. But, one is clearly more prestigious than the other. There is no Accounting School to rival Harvard or Yale Law. Business Schools are generally less prestigious than law schools and even then, most graduates from HBS or Stern go to finance/management consulting, not accounting. The average JD makes more than the average CPA.

Not saying CPAs are smart. But, it is just generally less prestigious than law.

Computer programing is a much newer occupation with less established career paths. Law and accounting are seen as professions for intelligent people, but not necessary the genius types. Computer programmers tend to be all over the place. There are lots of programmers who work as middle skilled technicians writing and modifying code for relatively straight forward processing tasks. Often times they are self taught or have some basic computer programming classes. I would say they are considered less prestigious than CPAs or lawyers.

Then there are the "genius" hard core MIT/Cal Teach programmers who are more like engineer/scientists. They apply really complex math to solve novel computational issues. They generally have backgrounds in abstract subjects like real analysis, differential equations, neural networks, machine learning, etc. I would say this group is held in higher intellectual regard, if not social prestige, than lawyers or accountants. They not only know their subject matter, but generally use higher level abstract reasoning that isn't needed in law or accounting, which relies more on linear qualitative analysis.
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Old 08-25-2015, 09:21 PM
 
Location: NC
5,135 posts, read 2,305,556 times
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as a part time programmer, ill say lawyer.
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Old 08-25-2015, 09:51 PM
 
Location: League City
3,803 posts, read 7,561,401 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jpdivola View Post
Accounting and Law are easier to compare as long established professions, with education requirements, licensing, membership associations and employee-owned firms.

The stereotypical CPA or JD is a clean cut, intelligent professional, who has highly specialized knowledge and is generally seen as a "pillar of their community". Most have to have reasonable social skills to make partner and win clients.

.....

Then there are the "genius" hard core MIT/Cal Teach programmers who are more like engineer/scientists. They apply really complex math to solve novel computational issues. They generally have backgrounds in abstract subjects like real analysis, differential equations, neural networks, machine learning, etc. I would say this group is held in higher intellectual regard, if not social prestige, than lawyers or accountants. They not only know their subject matter, but generally use higher level abstract reasoning that isn't needed in law or accounting, which relies more on linear qualitative analysis.
I definitely agree with this. There are people who make a 2 page website after reading a Wordpress article and call themselves programmers (really they are web developers). Then there are the programmers that make software that controls gas pipelines by genetic algorithms, programmers who use advanced math to model blood flow in body organs, programmers who create software that searches for weaknesses in the HIV virus, and programmers who write software (I have read it was java) for the Mars rover. We are reading an internet forum produced by generations of programmers - from the browser, to the operating system, to the networking software that routes the electrons across the internet...

Also, programming != computer science.
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Old 08-27-2015, 07:55 AM
 
Location: NC Piedmont
4,023 posts, read 3,419,812 times
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I am a programmer married to a CPA. It is clearer to people that a CPA has cleared a bar in the profession; a programmer could be a scruffy kid writing am iPhone game or a consultant to Fortune 500 companies; you just don't know. So I think CPA carries more prestige if all you know is the job title between the two.
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Old 08-27-2015, 04:49 PM
 
1,040 posts, read 786,795 times
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When I see that someone is a CPA, I think they're automatically a loser.
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