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Finance vs Accounting Degrees: Which Choice Is Best For Your Career?

Finance vs Accounting Degrees: Which Choice Is Best For Your Career?

Finance and Accounting both play a vital role in running a business and earning a degree in these subjects gives you the entry level position in an industry. Every company requires the finance and accounting department to balance budgets, keep track of the cash flows, taxed files.

Choosing a potential career in these fields helps in advancing career better. The job opportunities available for candidates have also increased to several thousands over the years.

But which path to pursue? Should you choose finance or accounting? To clear the confusion, we're here to help you decide on which field to pursue with a detailed comparison.

Accounting vs Finance: What's the Difference?
An undergraduate degree, you could pursue jointly a degree including both accounting and finance as major. But this gives a general overview on the surface of the topics. On further studies continued, you're given the option to choose one of these to specialize and expertise in a particular field. Both fields deal with numbers but here are few key difference mentioned,

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1. Definitions
Accounting is the process of recording, reporting, measuring, summarizing and interacting about the financial transaction. It is mainly concerned with ensuring the accuracy of account balances, balance sheets and financial transactions. The financial statements include profit and loss statements, cash flow statements and balance sheets.
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Is Accounting your field of interest? Make your decision now and learn about How To Become an Accountant in simple steps, what are the roles of an accountant and much more.

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Finance: Finance is a study of planning and distribution of money, management of assets and study on how investment is for individuals, government or organizations. Irrespective of the size of the business, government or private organization, finance is required to manage the capital.
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2. Job growth and Salaries
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary offered to an accountant in 2020 is about $71,550 and it can typically range from $44,480 to $124,450.
Job growth is expected to have an increase of 6% over the period of 2018 to 2028 faster than an average growth of a job. The employment opportunities are also increased and 770,000 new jobs are expected to increase by the end of 2026. The rapid growth is due to the growing economy, globalization, their skills and which is leading to the strong demand

Finance: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary offered to a financial analyst is about $85,660 where it can range between $52,540 to $167,420. The salary offered depends on the education,qualification, experience in particular field and additional skills acquired. The employment opportunities are projected to grow about 6% during the period of 2018 to 2028 which is faster than the average growth of the job. This is due to the increase for the demand of financial products and need for financial knowledge on various geographic regions.

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3. Type of degree
students can pursue their career at grad and undergrad level to advance career.  99% of the employers require you to have a bachelor's degree, other degree levels are detailed below.
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Finance: Finance students can choose these degrees to get good academic skills and advance career at graduate and undergraduate level,
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  4. Master of Finance (M.Fin)M
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4. Accreditation
A student pursuing any career path must complete an accredited degree program  and coursework to increase their credibility for a job. Accreditation is important to certify that the specific program is conducted at a standard quality level. Hence, the professional accreditation for accounting and finance degrees are,
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5. Academic concentrations
Accounting students have high knowledge on balancing the financial transaction and the course concentrations offered under an accounting degree program help in gaining necessary skills,
  1. Auditing
  2. Budget analysis
  3. Business strategy
  4. Financial accounting
  5. Financial reporting
  6. Forensic accounting
  7. Information systems
  8. International accounting
  9. Macro/microeconomics
  10. Management accounting
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  12. uantitative analysis
  13. Risk management
  14. Tax accounting
Finance: the coursework offered under this degree program help in managing the capital and estimating the return, they are,
  1. Advanced derivatives
  2. Asset markets
  3. Behavioural finance
  4. Corporate finance
  5. Economics/econometrics
  6. Financial mathematics
  7. Financial management
  8. Financial markets
  9. Financial planning
  10. Financial engineering
  11. Financial accounting
  12. Financial reporting
  13. International financeP
  14. rivate equity
  15. Risk management
  16. Venture capital
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6. Career concentrations
With an accounting degree students can choose various other career paths in the public, government or management sector. Here are some career opportunities open for account students,
  1. Budget analyst: A budget analyst is a professional who is responsible for preparing the budget to allocate resources for an organization to maximize profits. They strategize the budget to manage the finance and address budget issues. 
  2. Public accountant: they are specialised in giving financial advice to clients, organizations and individuals to address tax issues and assist in strategizing business decisions.
  3. Internal or external auditor:  An internal auditor addresses the issue related to company practices and potential risks. They conduct auditing throughout the year to reduce the faults in funding, fraud and waste with improving processes. The external auditors analyze the financial records  and statements of the company annually.
  4. Management accountant: This profession includes the role of managing, planning and administering  the financing decision making process according to the financial information to monitor the company’s account.  It includes cost analysis, documenting and risk analysis.
  5. Government accountant: This job role includes working for government agencies who are trained in  managing public funds, investigating white-collar crime, performing financial statement audits, conducting research on emerging accounting issues.
Finance: A finance students who earned a degree opens the door of opportunities and can land on other job concentrations such as,
  1. Fund managers:  fund manager is responsible for strategizing and implementing the investment by conducting research, taking decisions and managing trading activities. It also includes buying, selling and estimating the future values of property or mutual funds.
  2. Portfolio managers: they're concerned with the overseeing and investment of mutual, exchange-traded or closed-end funds. Also investment on stock, real estate, bonds and other. 
  3. Ratings analysts: they focus on rating a particular stock based on factors and analysis. Experienced professions objective and rate the stock, specialize in assessing a business or government organization’s ability to repay loans based on rating.
  4. Risk analysis: they are trained in analysing the financial documents, records and economic conditions to determine the probable risk while making a business decision. Estimating the possible risk while investing is essential.
  5. Buy-side analysts: they are professionals who work on return of investment, management strategy, giving financial advice  to a firm or their clients.
If you are a pro at crunching numbers, you must surely look forward to pursuing your career in finance or accounting. Every organization values these two departments in order to maintain financial security and to run the business function smoothly.

Choosing between these two career paths with diverse opportunities helps make your choice tougher. The comparison between finance and accounting detailed above will help you choose the right career that is compatible with your career goals. This article aims to cut down the research time that you’d normally spend while deciding between a degree in accounting and finance and help you in making quicker and better career decisions.

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