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

The finance and accounting industries are often closely linked in the eyes of the average consumer. Most job seekers even have a difficult time discerning between the two. However, they are very different. The one that you choose must depend upon your goals, interests and strengths. If you are thinking about what to go to college for or create a new career opportunity, it helps to know the difference. In order to find out whether finance vs accounting is right for you, take a look at our guide below. There, you will find all of the definitions and distinctions you could need to make our final decision.

What Is Accounting?

Accounting is the systematic and comprehensive process of recording financial transactions pertaining to an individual or business. Additionally, accounting includes other key functions such as summarizing, analyzing and reporting these transactions to oversight agencies and tax collection organizations. Many times, accountant will also deal with payroll companies to make sure everything balances. When it comes to finance vs  accounting, this industry deals with concrete, stable information. This is important to know if you are looking to decide between the two careers.

What Jobs Can I Get With An Accounting Degree?

The jobs available to a college graduate with an accounting degree greatly outnumber those available to one with a degree in finance. With an accounting degree, you can become more than just an accountant. You can also choose to pursue a career as an actuary, auditor, bookkeeper, budget analyst, credit controller, financial consultant or examiner. You can also elect to become a forensic accountant, risk assessor, payroll administrator or tax advisor. There are many career opportunities available to those who graduate with a degree in accounting.

What Is Finance?

The finance industry focuses on the management, creation and study of money. You will not have to worry much about memorizing specific W-4 allowances. Additionally, this type of position will focus on banking, credit, investments, assets and liabilities that make up financial systems. Finance can generally be broken down into three categories: public finance, corporate finance and individual finance. Unlike accounting, finance tends to focus on future profits as a way of managing money. This is just one key example of the many differences between the two industries.

What Are Some Similarities?

To further analyze the differences between finance vs accounting, it is important to note their most basic similarities. Both accounting and finance focus on numbers and less on business acumen training. They require savvy computation and mathematical confidence. In order to succeed in either of these industries, you must develop these strengths. Additionally, both industries are expected to experience a vast rate of growth in the coming years. If you are interested in future job opportunities and security, either industry would be a good choice.

What Are The Differences?

Now that you understand the similarities, it is time to point out the differences. One of the main distinctions between accounting and finance is the types of numbers they deal with. Accounting studies the history and past spending of a business or individual. On the other hand, finance looks to the future, studying potential return on investments and other uncertain numbers to project a company or individual’s growth. Finance assists with developing a financial strategy for businesses, while accounting tracks the outcome of these budgets and transactions. With these differences in mind, you should have a much easier time making your decision.

What Are The Requirements?

If you still cannot decide what career you want, it may be a good idea to look into the requirements. Finance and accounting have largely interchangeable courses available to take. However, in order to become an accountant you will need a CPA license that requires a minimum number of accounting courses while the financial equivalent (CFA) does not require any. Of course, the CPA exam can be difficult. If you want to keep your options open, accounting could be the best major for helping with your job search in the future.

Finance vs accounting is an important distinction to consider. If you are looking to work with numbers in a promising industry, either career would be good for you. However, considering the differences between the two, and the possible requirements, you may find yourself more drawn to one than the other. If you would like to one day fill a business analyst role, for example, a finance degree may be the better choice for you. Review this post the next time you are considering your future career to help decide what path is best for you.

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