Frank’s dual licensure and experience as an attorney and CPA provides a unique benefit to his clients in his areas of practice as it enables him to analyze the legal, tax, business and financial aspects of his client’s tax, real estate, business or estate transaction/matter.
Top considerations to hire and retain a dual licensed Attorney-CPA include:
- Uniquely Qualified – Multiple Skill Sets Without Multiple Costs – There are a myriad of 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 skill sets required for both of these specialists are unique; the attorney is trained to research and understand the law, sophisticated contracts, business agreements and is skilled at communicating defendable positions to authorities and devising creative and persuasive solutions within the constraints of the law. On the other hand, the CPA is recognized as being savvy with financial statements and balance sheets, numbers and calculations, highly analytical, detail oriented and having excellent math and financial skills and must be painstakingly organized with a meticulous attention to detail to avoid costly financial errors. Although both professions require a different type of education and mindset to achieve success in their respective fields, the qualities that make up a good attorney and a good CPA are remarkably complementary and necessitated in tax, estate, business and real estate transactions and matters. For this reason, a dually-licensed Attorney-CPA can be an exceptionally powerful asset as only a small number of professionals achieve dual licensing, setting them apart from their single licensed peers in these respective professions.
Keep in mind that the acronym EA refers to Enrolled Agent. EA’s have no unique privilege other than being able to represent a taxpayer before the IRS. Requirements for EA status are simply a high school diploma or GED and the passing of an IRS administered exam which can be waived if employed for 5 years with the Service.
Both money and time will be saved by hiring a dual licensed Attorney-CPA trained to handle diverse tax, real estate, business, estate and business transactions and responsibilities. Securing two professionals in one professional will bridge the gap between your legal, tax, business and financial needs.
- Application to Tax/Estate, Business and Real Estate Transactions and Issues – The analytical, mathematical, financial and detailed oriented skills of a CPA are highly advantageous for your attorney to have as tax, estate and real estate transactions entail multiple detailed number crunching issues and exercises that most attorneys are ill-equipped to handle.
Real Estate Sales/Purchases – As to real estate residential or commercial sales and purchases, the entire transaction is approximately 50% a legal exercise and 50% an accounting exercise. The initial phase of the purchase/sale necessitates legal skills in the drafting, analysis and negotiation of contracts, agreements, title reports, and resolution of issues, etc., whereas the second phase (the closing itself) entails calculations, allocations, and apportionments. Since most attorneys are adverse to calculators and lacking in skills that CPA’s possess, the errors that arise in real estate transactions are mostly attributable to the closing phase resulting in increased costs and liability to clients that may never be disclosed or discovered.
Tax/Estate Matters – Since tax and estate matters entail the preparation and review of various federal and state & local tax returns as well as the ability to research and understand the complexities of the law, typically attorneys and CPAs work together to resolve a tax issue before an IRS or State & Local issue arises or to defend a position taken by the business or individual on a tax return. However, most attorneys are not adept at preparing, reviewing or understanding tax returns and most CPAs are not trained to the extent lawyers are to exhaustively research and communicate/argue defendable positions to the various tax authorities. The dual licensed Attorney-CPA is likely to successfully complete a transaction or filing or audit in a more effective, timely and cost-effective manner than separately licensed attorneys and CPAs, thus saving the client fees and potential liability.
Business Entity Formation, Sales and Purchases – Business entity choice, sales or purchases will invoke the services of both an attorney and an accountant and can be best served expertly and more cost efficiently via retaining a dual licensed attorney-CPA.
- Attorney-Client Privilege – Compared to a CPA, accountant or other professionals, attorneys have the highest privilege. An important benefit of hiring an attorney early on is to preserve the attorney-client privilege. This privilege protects communications between the individual or company (including employees) and the attorney for purposes of obtaining legal representation. Essentially, the attorney must keep private and protect information the client communicated in strict confidence and the IRS, authority, court or otherwise, cannot legally force an attorney to provide information or testify whereas other professionals, if requested, must provide information or testimony that could negatively impact their clients. This protection allows the client to freely and unreservedly speak with the attorney about the legality of their tax, real estate, business or estate issues.