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Accounting vs Finance Degree - Which Is the Right Perfect Path for You?

When it comes to pursuing a career in business, it's important to understand the differences between an accounting degree and a finance degree. While both degrees can lead to successful careers in the field, the two paths have distinct differences that can impact job opportunities and career goals. Accounting majors may have a more narrow focus, while finance covers a broader range of topics. To make an informed decision about which path to take, it's important to consider the types of job opportunities that interest you and your career goals.


If you’re interested in math and numbers, an accounting degree program could be the right choice for you. This program usually covers financial reporting and risk management through data analysis. In addition, accounting involves organizing and interpreting data to make decisions about a company’s financial health. Graduates with accounting degrees can pursue a variety of careers that involve analyzing financial information and creating financial reports such as balance sheets, income statements, and cash flow statements. They use both past and current financial data to ensure accountability and influence company decisions.

Many types of accounting degree programs exist. You may want to consider more than one. Some options include these:

    • (BAcc) Bachelor of Accountancy

    • (BA or ACC) Bachelor of Arts in Accounting

    • Bachelor of Science in Accounting

Many may start pursuing work with a bachelor’s degree. You may go further. You may spend several more years learning. Some of the grad program options include these:

    • Master of Accounting (MAcc)

    • Master of Science in Accounting (MSA)

Students may learn the basics of the degree they choose. Then, they may choose a concentration that interests them. They may also choose electives. This may give you more room to expand your degree. You may even take some finance courses.


    • A finance degree program is quite distinct from an accounting degree program as it equips graduates with the skills and knowledge necessary to work in a range of fields such as banking, consultancy, and investment. While finance professionals use data to inform their decision-making processes, they are primarily responsible for creating strategies that help companies grow and generate profit. This may involve assessing financial data, determining if funds are being used effectively, and making recommendations for change. The curriculum for a finance degree program is usually more specific compared to an accounting program, with a focus on topics such as investment and financial analysis for corporations. Students have several finance degree program options to choose from, depending on their career aspirations.


    • (BA/F) Bachelor of Arts in Finance

    • (BSc/F) Bachelor of Science in Finance

You may go on to a grad degree. Many students do this. It helps them focus their education. You may need to do this for some positions. It may provide more advanced education. Some of the grad school options include:

    • (MSF) Master of Science in Finance

    • (M.Fin) Master of Finance

    • (MAF) Master of Applied Finance

    • (MFE) Master of Financial Economics

Which Degree Program May Be Perfect for You?

When it comes to choosing a career in finance, there are many options to consider. It can be difficult to find the one that suits you best, especially if you have a variety of interests and skills. If you enjoy working with numbers and analyzing data, accounting could be a good fit for you. This field requires a lot of attention to detail and critical thinking skills. Tax careers are also an option in accounting. On the other hand, if you prefer working with people and are interested in creating financial strategies, finance might be a better choice. In this field, you may be involved in investment management, economics, or helping to start new businesses. Regardless of your choice, both accounting and finance offer valuable skills that can lead to successful careers.

What about your skills?

Accounting degrees require a strong foundation in math and statistics. These programs emphasize the importance of following accounting principles and compliance regulations. If you’re interested in interpreting data and are up for a challenge, this may be the right path for you.


On the other hand, finance degrees require critical thinking and decision-making skills, as well as excellent communication abilities. You’ll likely be analytical and have theoretical knowledge. People in finance may teach, offer insight into problems, and develop innovative strategies.


When choosing between accounting and finance, it’s crucial to consider your career goals, the type of business you want to work in, and the day-to-day work you’ll be doing. Accountants tend to spend more time with computer software, while those in finance work more with people, attending meetings and using technology to develop insights.


What may you pursue with an accounting degree?

An accounting degree can lead to a wide range of career paths. With a bachelor’s degree, many graduates can find employment in various fields. However, some individuals may wish to pursue higher education and obtain a graduate degree. In certain fields, obtaining certification or licensure may be necessary. For example, becoming a certified public accountant (CPA) requires additional training and passing an exam. Similarly, becoming a chartered accountant requires further education and certification.

If you find taxes fascinating, a career in tax may be a good fit. This may involve working for a tax firm, doing taxes for companies, or even owning a private business. Another area of accounting is international accounting, which involves helping companies expand across borders. You may also work in insurance companies, helping with insurance claims. Government agencies often hire accountants to manage finances at a local, state, or federal level.

A focus on business may also be part of an accounting degree program. In this case, you might take sales data and record it using software to track profits and expenses. You may also ensure the accuracy of a company’s financial statements by reconciling them with bank statements.


What may you pursue with a finance degree?

Individuals with a finance degree often choose a concentration or specialization, such as corporate finance, financial regulation, behavioral finance, or financial modeling. These areas allow individuals to focus on their specific interests and career goals.

If you are interested in creating wealth and making financial decisions, a finance degree may be the right choice for you. Finance professionals make important decisions and also educate others on financial matters.

Undergraduate finance degrees typically focus on one area, while postgraduate degrees provide the opportunity for further specialization in areas like banking, financial engineering, or financial planning. It is important to choose the right finance degree for your career goals and interests, whether you enjoy creating plans or analyzing data.



The courses you take for any program could help you prepare for your future job. There is some overlap in these courses. Here is a look at some of the courses you may take in accounting vs finance degree programs.

Common Accounting Courses

    1. Financial Accounting: This course introduces students to the principles and methods of accounting that are used to record, classify, and summarize financial transactions. It covers topics such as the accounting equation, the double-entry accounting system, financial statement preparation, and analysis of financial statements.

    1. Managerial Accounting: This course focuses on the use of accounting information for internal decision-making by managers. It covers topics such as cost behavior, cost-volume-profit analysis, budgeting, variance analysis, and performance measurement.

    1. Auditing: This course covers the principles and practices of auditing, which is the process of examining financial statements and other records to ensure they are accurate and comply with relevant laws and regulations. It includes topics such as audit planning, evidence gathering, risk assessment, and reporting.

    1. Taxation: This course covers the principles and practices of taxation, including federal, state, and local taxes. It covers topics such as income taxation, deductions, tax credits, tax planning, and tax compliance.

    1. Accounting Information Systems: This course focuses on the use of computerized accounting systems and the design and implementation of accounting information systems. It covers topics such as database management, systems analysis and design, internal controls, and security issues.

    1. Ethics in Accounting: This course covers ethical issues and dilemmas that arise in the accounting profession. It covers topics such as professional responsibility, conflicts of interest, confidentiality, and fraud detection and prevention.

Common Finance Courses

    1. Corporate Finance: This course focuses on the financial management of corporations. It covers topics such as capital budgeting, financial planning, risk management, and investment decision-making.

    1. Investments: This course provides an overview of various investment vehicles, such as stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). It covers topics such as portfolio management, risk assessment, and asset allocation.

    1. Financial Markets and Institutions: This course explores the workings of financial markets, including stock markets, bond markets, and derivatives markets. It also covers financial institutions such as banks, insurance companies, and investment firms.

    1. Financial Statement Analysis: This course teaches students how to analyze financial statements, such as balance sheets, income statements, and cash flow statements. It covers topics such as financial ratios, trend analysis, and forecasting.

    1. International Finance: This course focuses on the financial management of multinational corporations. It covers topics such as exchange rates, currency risk management, and international capital markets.

    1. Behavioral Finance: This course explores the psychological and emotional factors that affect financial decision-making. It covers topics such as investor behavior, market bubbles, and financial crises.

    1. Financial Modeling: This course teaches students how to build financial models using spreadsheet software such as Excel. It covers topics such as forecasting, valuation, and risk analysis.

    1. Derivatives: This course covers the use of financial derivatives such as options, futures, and swaps. It covers topics such as pricing, hedging, and trading strategies.

    1. Financial Planning and Analysis: This course teaches students how to create financial plans for individuals and businesses. It covers topics such as budgeting, cash flow management, and retirement planning.


Career Path Options

When considering a career in finance or accounting, it’s important to choose the right degree program and coursework to match your career goals. Both finance and accounting professionals are in high demand across various industries, including banking, insurance, retail, and government agencies.


Employers rely on professionals in both fields to manage finances and data, as software alone is not sufficient. The skills and knowledge gained through education and experience can make a significant difference for companies of all sizes, including non-profits.


With a degree in finance or accounting, you may also have the opportunity to start your own business, although this may require additional education or training. To determine the right path for you, research the type of work that interests you and the necessary education and skills required. It’s also important to consider factors such as salary and job demand.


To get a better understanding of potential jobs in finance and accounting, refer to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in the United States.


Accounting Sample Career Paths

With an accounting degree, you may qualify for jobs such as the following.

    1. Accountant: An accountant helps organizations keep track of their financial records, prepares financial statements, and ensures compliance with financial regulations.

    1. Auditor: An auditor is responsible for reviewing an organization’s financial records to ensure accuracy and compliance with financial regulations.

    1. Tax Accountant: A tax accountant specializes in tax planning, preparation, and compliance for individuals, corporations, and other organizations.

    1. Financial Analyst: A financial analyst analyzes financial data to provide insights and recommendations for investments, financial planning, and risk management.

    1. Budget Analyst: A budget analyst is responsible for developing and managing an organization’s budget, analyzing financial data, and making recommendations for cost savings.

    1. Forensic Accountant: A forensic accountant uses accounting skills and techniques to investigate financial crimes such as fraud, embezzlement, and money laundering.

Finance  Sample Career Paths

    1. Financial Analyst: A financial analyst helps companies and individuals make investment decisions by analyzing financial data and economic trends.

    1. Investment Banker: An investment banker advises companies and governments on financial transactions, such as mergers and acquisitions, and helps them raise capital by underwriting and selling securities.

    1. Financial Planner: A financial planner helps individuals and families manage their finances by creating and implementing a plan to achieve their financial goals.

    1. Risk Manager: A risk manager identifies and assesses potential risks to a company and develops strategies to minimize or eliminate those risks.

    1. Corporate Finance Officer: A corporate finance officer manages a company’s financial operations, such as budgeting, forecasting, and financial analysis, to ensure the company’s financial health and growth.

    1. Portfolio Manager: A portfolio manager manages investments for individuals or institutions, such as pension funds, and makes decisions about asset allocation, risk management, and investment strategies.

    1. Financial Advisor: A financial advisor provides financial advice to individuals and businesses, such as investment recommendations, retirement planning, and tax strategies.


Sometimes, you may benefit from a certification. These show you have specific skills in an area of focus.

Some accounting certificates that may help you include:

    • Certified public bookkeeper

    • (CIA) Certified internal auditor

    • (CPA) Certified public accountant

    • (CMA) Certified management accountant

Some finance specific certificates may help you, such as:

    • (CFF) Certified in financial forensics

    • (CFA) Certified financial analyst

    • (CFE) Certified fraud examiner

    • Certified tax preparer

    • Enrolled agent