Finance vs. Accounting: Which Is The Best Course For You?

Finance and accounting are business sectors that require savvy computation. Individuals who enjoy working with financial figures and seek for rewarding and challenging professions will find the two fields exciting and lucrative. Nonetheless, since the two subjects are not worlds apart, you might be unsure as to whether you should choose finance or accounting.

That said, here are the key differences worth noting while making the finance vs accounting decision:

The Basics

Finance is specifically a field that entails the management, manipulation, and shifting of money. It is forward-looking and takes into account potential growth as well as revenue capacity of a business. The finance specialists utilize tools to value assets using the concepts of risk, time, and money.

Accounting, on the other hand, includes collecting, obtaining, organizing, or dealing with financial information. It involves recording financial transactions, analyzing financial health, and reporting information about financial operations. Ultimately, accounting shares the history of financial aspects of the business.

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Finance vs Accounting coursework

While some finance and accounting degree coursework overlaps, the finance curriculum is more mathematics-intensive, analytical, and evaluative than accounting. It focuses on financial markets, portfolio and investment management theory, and security analysis and valuation.

Conversely, accounting coursework involves quantitative analysis, income taxation, and internal auditing. It tends to be process-oriented and has fewer electives in degree programs than finance.

The Specializations

While studying finance, students can specialize in fields like financial evaluation, corporate finance, Econometrics, capital markets, behavioral finance, and financial regulation and reporting. Other programs include banking, financial engineering, and international finance.

Those studying accounting can typically specialize in topics like taxation, auditing, risk assessment, and international accounting. These specializations can help students to plunge in real-life case studies. More so, they will gain a rounded concept of how accountancy processes are utilized in legal proceedings, such as electronic crimes, fraud, bankruptcy, insurance claims, and corporate ethics.

Career Growth and Salaries

Both accounting and finance careers are promising in career advancements and rewarding salaries. According to the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics), accounting jobs are anticipated to increase by 13 percent through 2022. Similarly, financial analyst jobs could increase by 16 percent over the same period. Moreover, the BLS reported that the median annual salary for the accountants was $63,550 while the financial analyst about $76,950 in 2012.

Work-life Balance

Typically, most financial analysts and accountants work 40 to 50 hours per week. They receive time off and will rarely pull shifts on the weekends. Nonetheless, finance has varied sub-domains, and therefore it presents different work-life balance. For instance, equity research professionals will have ample free time while an investment banker may have constrained time since the profession involves lots of workloads.

For the accountants, work-life balance is usually maintained. However, at the end of the financial year and during the tax payment period, the field will require the specialists to spend more time working.

Closing Thoughts

If you have a knack for the business realm, finance and accounting are the two fields of study that will certainly cross your radar. You may be torn between the two, but understanding your strength and interest is the first step towards narrowing down your decision. If you love a mathematics-intensive and evaluative course, finance is your best choice, but if quantitative analysis is your passion, then go for accounting.

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