What is the Difference Between a Finance Degree and an Accounting Degree?

The decision to go after a finance degree or an accounting degree depends on the career field that you have chosen. Before you decide on the course of study, make sure that you know the curricula and degrees for each program. These can be different from one school to another and some schools might even combine them under one program.

Major Differences

A finance degree requires mastering the management of money and investments. An accounting degree focuses on dealing with financial data and manipulating the information that has been collected.

It’s possible to earn both an accounting degree and a finance degree by doing a double major, but that is quite an undertaking. In the article Finance Degree vs Accounting Degree: Just what is the difference? writer Brendan Conway explores the idea.

The double degree is an option that can offer a lot of rewards in the future, so it’s well worth the effort to research the possibility. Many of the required subjects overlap, so a dedicated student could earn both degrees simultaneously without having to double the class load. Both fields demand skill in math and analytics, so business administration or financial management courses, as well as higher math courses.

For the student who knows exactly which field they want to work in, the choice between a financial degree and an accounting degree will be clear, once they find the college program that fits their needs. In other cases, choosing may be difficult. While some job descriptions in either field can be filled by an applicant holding either degree, this isn’t always the case.

Fields of Employment

CPAs have more opportunities for employment, so if this is the goal, an accounting degree would be the best option. On the other hand, a financial analysist who is able to work with more uncertain data to estimate returns on investments or stock fluctuations is also in demand. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and reported on the Business Administration Information website, both the accounting and finance field are poised to grow at a fast rate in the coming years.

The accounting profession includes accountants, who usually are employed within a business, or auditors, usually working for firms that check other firms. Of course, the field is not that strictly limited as professionals in both career fields can work as external consultants or audit the finances of their own firms.

A career in finance usually leads to expertise in a specific field. Examples are fund managers, portfolio managers, and analysis. Some work with clients or business on procuring investments, and others work

Making a decision on which degree to pursue may come down to personality. A financial analyst is expected to be able to quickly make good decisions in an often stressful situation. Communication skills and confidence are needed for success. If strengths lie in organizational skills, attention to detail and the ability to work alone, the best choice might be accounting.