When choosing a career, thousands of questions may arise. The best thing to do is to try to answer as many as possible to have a good outlook since a career could define your future in the medium to long term. There are often misunderstandings and confusion between finance and accounting careers.
If you are thinking of choosing one of these two careers, it’s safe to assume that you like numbers; but the different ways calculations are used in both can be a determining factor in choosing which of the two best suits your needs and career goals.
What is a Finance Degree?
Let’s start with the basics; finance provides funds necessary for a company’s operation. It can also be the action of covering the cost of a specific work or activity. We can see that it is about providing money for a specific expense.
Finance, a branch of economics and administration, involves numerical and resource management. It analyzes the exchange of money between people or companies to check if the operations are profitable, how they look in the future, and the benefits or losses that could occur.
In other words, it is the use of numerical data and information to achieve more profitable management of the resources of a person or company.
The finance degree focuses on the skills needed to interpret financial information and analyze data. This ensures that you will be able to foresee some situations in the future that may not have had the best results, as well as predict some financial trends that can help the company.
In addition, the finance graduate, in turn, must design action plans according to the available resources and determine if the plans or projections presented to them are indeed profitable.
What is an Accounting Degree?
The word accounting means “quality of being able to count”, which means that accounting is the act of counting or measuring anything countable for a record.
Counting is the required skill, and accounting is the practice of knowledge, which is an important distinction.
The accounting degree measures, counts, analyzes, and records financial capital. It refers to managing and reporting the state of all financial accounts and their detailed financial planning.
By recording accounting inputs, the accountant follows a chronological order of the operations performed, making it possible to see the company’s financial picture. This makes it easier for the company to decide its resources since these are already expressed in values.
Accounting students are taught to develop skills in analyzing financial data, ranging from the receipt of materials, their costs, sale, and collection of accounts.
Difference between Financial and Accounting Degrees
It is extremely common for people to confuse the two degrees, since both focus on a company’s financial sector and the management of its resources.
The main difference between the two degrees is their focus; accounting focuses on concrete numbers that come from budgets, taxes, or audits, while the degree in finance handles a much wider range because it must cover the branches of economics, business, and banking.
However, to better understand the differences, we will provide a series of articles to help understand both careers.
According to the academic content
Both careers focus on developing skills that help graduates fulfill financial management roles in the company. According to the academic content of the careers, we can get an idea of what each one specializes in.
Accounting offers subjects such as auditing, business strategy, tax accounting, macro and microeconomics, budget analysis, risk management, accounting, quantitative analysis, financial reporting, international accounting, business strategy, and forensic accounting.
While in finance, we can see subjects such as financial mathematics, advanced derivatives, financial management, financial planning, economics, econometrics, venture capital, asset markets, international finance, financial markets, corporate finance, accounting, and risk management.
According to skills development
Each career helps develop skills to become proficient in the intended study area. Many of the skills taught in each career are associated with the functioning of the other, which is why both degrees are said to go hand in hand.
In the accounting degree, the aim is to achieve quantitative skills and specialized knowledge in accounting techniques, the business sector, accounting regulation, and accounting principles.
On the other hand, in a finance degree, the objective is to develop research and communication skills, dependable theoretical knowledge, analytical skills, understanding of industry practices and principles, up-to-date knowledge of reliable business practices, knowledge of the stock market, trading and investment, and the ability to understand and interpret numerical and statistical data.
Best colleges to study Finance and Accounting
Both careers share the universities considered the best options for studying finance or accounting.
The education quality and prestige will depend on the academic options offered by the different universities, the curriculum, program content, the number of professors, the excellence of the student body, internship opportunities in important companies, early job offers, and other factors pertaining to the university, that is, while still a student.
The best academic offers for these careers are at the University of Pennsylvania, Georgetown University, and the University of Notre Dame.
How much does each professional earn?
It is necessary to discuss the salary of the average professional of each career because it is usually a key point in the decision-the opportunities that will come from studying for the degree. Pay attention!
|Finance Job Title||Average Median Salary||$84,300||Accounting Job Title||Accountant/Auditor||$69,350|
|Budget Analyst||$75,240||Management Analyst||$82,450|
|Personal Finance Advisor||$90,640||Tax Examiner||$53,130|
Types of specialization
Once the career is advanced, both accounting and finance offer specializations in the field. There are 3 for accounting and 2 for finance. The specialization chosen can also determine the course of career options in the fututre.
The bachelor’s degree in accounting comprises three different branches of specialization, public accounting, tax planning, and auditing.
Public accountants are responsible for the maintenance of financial statements as well as the preparation of financial records. It is a specialization of daily business use and accurate and detailed results.
Tax planning includes several objectives, such as tax returns, advice, and financial planning. This specialization includes the field of law since it requires knowledge of company regulations and the country’s tax system.
Finally, auditing supervises that the financial records are correct; it is a specialization of detail.
Finance majors are divided into two options, traditional finance, and financial planning. Specializing in traditional finance also involves studying the branch of economics, global markets, and investments. It is an analytical and managerial specialization.
Financial planning, also known as financial consulting, is not as closely tied to financial statement calculations. It is more about analyzing income and expenses linked to taxes, insurance, or investments and deciding which path is best for the company or client. It also focuses on creating financial plans to offer the one that is most appropriate; it specializes in analysis and strategy.
Accounting Field Jobs
After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in accounting, you can be part of a company in one of several different positions; this will also depend on which accounting major you have chosen, as the field of work is different.
Accountants can be a company’s management advisors because they are always in contact with the company’s cost data and sales information.
Auditors review the company’s financial statements and maintain transparency in financial movements.
A financial analyst must provide realistic data on profitability and future risks and is responsible for interpreting and performing the economic analysis to advise the client in his financial decision and valuation.
They are responsible for crafting strategies and searching for means to improve the company’s efficiency and thus increase profits. As their name suggests, management consultants investigate ways to reduce costs and review the effectiveness of investments and financial movements.
The tax examiner’s job is to ensure that the company pays its taxes. They can work recurrently in one company or be a tax examiner for several companies and organizations.
Finance Field Jobs
Mainly, finance graduates are responsible for designing action plans for the use of the company’s available resources; which must be analyzed so that the capital is profitable in all departments of the organization, working through financial analysis to optimize the operation of the budgets.
Finance graduates possess skills that make them qualified for different positions.
Accountants and finance graduates share this position since finance also analyzes market issues.
Budget analysts analyze the financial statements prepared by accountants and then design the budgets that best suit the company. They also report what is and is not working in the financial area, where they usually make economic recommendations to optimize budgets.
Personal Financial Advisor
This is not a company position. Instead, they are responsible for evaluating a person’s financial situation, analyzing their earnings and expenses, determining their financial needs, and improving their economy.
They are responsible for helping their client consider investments and necessary expenses such as life insurance and find the option that best fits the budget.
This is a higher position within a company since the financial manager is responsible for supervising the entire finance department, i.e., they must check that the analyses are as accurate as possible, that the financial option chosen is the most suitable, look for potential investments and supervise the company’s capital flow.
Financial Services Sales Agent
A financial services sales agent has the job of researching banking data, insurance rates, stock market values, income, and expenses of personal or business clients to provide the financial accommodations of the contractors that best fit.
Another responsibility of this job is to bridge the gap between the client and the financial needs the client states they want guidance on.
The minimum education required depends on the chosen profession
According to Burning-Glass data, approximately 99% of financial positions and 97% of accounting positions require a degree or bachelor’s degree. Below, we will leave you with detailed information on the minimum level of education required:
|Education||Finance Jobs||Accounting Jobs|
|High school or vocational training||89||2,620|
|Graduate or professional degree||4,320||4,236|