Accounting Vs Finance Degree: What’s the Difference?

Finance and accounting are two great business degrees, but what’s the difference? Read on for the difference in accounting vs finance degree.

TCM Staff

18th February 2022

As you consider your college future and beyond, one thing’s certain: you want to obtain a business degree. You might not care much for administration or economics, but you’re interested in accounting and finance. Now, you just have to choose between a finance vs accounting degree.

The only question is: what is the difference between finance and accounting? Accounting is more about financial reporting, while finance is about analysis. But there’s much more behind accounting and finance degrees.

If you’re wondering whether to pursue a finance or accounting degree, keep reading. We’ll cover the difference between an accounting vs finance degree when it comes to entry requirements and job prospects. 

 

What is Accounting vs Finance?

Accounting encompasses the financial reporting of a business. Accounting students learn how to record and recognize financial data to help businesses file their taxes and maintain financial records. Studies at accounting colleges include budgeting, auditing, cost data, sales information, and more. There are a few different kinds of accounting, like:

  • Financial Accounting: Accounting services that entail recording and analyzing financial transactions. 
  • Public Accounting: Accounting services that include auditing, filing tax returns, consultancy, and financial statement preparation from one accounting agency to a separate business. 
  • Government Accounting: Maintaining financial resources and records for various levels of government. 
  • Management Accounting: Accounting to help a business understand expenses, revenue, profitability, and more to guide business decisions. 
  • Auditing: Investigating financial transactions to improve efficiency and find any signs of fraud or tax evasion. 

 

Accounting Jobs, Duties, and Salaries

Wonder what your future looks like after an accounting degree? Here are some common jobs for accounting grads and their corresponding duties and salaries. 

Seniority

Job

Duties

Salary

Entry

Cost Clerk

Profit and loss calculations; Cost variations and price movements; Preparing budgets

$44,000

Entry

Bookkeeper 

Maintain accounts payable and receivable; Daily and monthly financial reporting; reconciliations

$40,000

Senior

Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA)

Financial reporting; financial and tax consulting; Filing tax documents

$82,000

Senior

Forensic Accountant

Forensic financial analysis; asset recovery

$66,000

 

What is Finance?

The study of finance is more concerned with analyzing financial data rather than reporting it. Finance and accounting professionals often work together to help businesses and organizations understand their financial habits. 

Finance forecasts trends and supports investments and budgeting. Moreover, a finance team within a business will oversee acquisitions, investments, and allocation. If you want to study for a finance degree, you’ll learn about cash flow statements, financial analysis, macroeconomics, business ethics, statistics, and mathematics

Finance majors can specialize in a few different areas, like:

  • Personal Finance: Money management like investing and budgeting on the family or individual level. 
  • Corporate Finance: Financial analysis in a business or corporation to guide business strategy and growth.
  • Public Finance: How the government uses budgeting, spending, and debt to pay for public services
  • International Finance: Analyzing financial interactions between countries and cities abroad.

 

Finance Jobs, Duties, and Salaries

On average, finance jobs tend to pay a little bit higher than accounting jobs. Here’s a summary of some common jobs you can find after graduating from a finance program, as well as their corresponding duties and salaries. 

One interesting note about the accounting degree vs finance degree is that finance professionals tend to earn higher salaries. 

Seniority

Job

Duties

Salary

Senior

Banking Manager

Staff management; customer service; sales goals

$68,000

Entry

Budget Analyst

Budget analysis and strategy

$63,000

Entry

Financial Advisor

Market research; client management; money management and consulting

$75,000

Senior

Financial Controller

Corporate documenting; insurance advice; finance activity management

$92,000

Senior

Financial Manager

Credit management; financial advice and consulting; budgeting and forecasting

$134,000

Entry

Financial Analyst

Financial analysis; financial reporting; profit planning

$68,000

 

Accounting Vs Finance Degree: Main Differences

You might wonder: should I major in finance or accounting? Here are the main differences to consider. Accounting is more process-oriented, used to identify, record, and report financial data for individuals and organizations. Finance is more analytical, garnering insights from the financial data recorded by the accounting area to lead strategy.  

Finance or accounting: which is better? That depends on your values and interests, but we put together some quick notes and a chart outlining the differences for you:

 

Accounting

Finance

Education

Bachelor’s

Bachelor’s

Entry Requirements

Easier to achieve admission

Harder to achieve admission

Courses

Business Management, Economics, Institutions

Taxes and Various types of Accounting

Salary Potential

$75,000 - $90,000

$50,000 - $85,000

Common Jobs

Analysts, Consultants

Auditors, Accountants

Stability

6% (2020-2030)

7% (2020-2030)

 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

 

    1. Is a Finance Degree Better Than Accounting?

It is when it comes to salary potential after graduation. However, the degree itself is only better if you’re more interested in finance courses than accounting courses. If you prefer analysis over reporting, a finance degree might be better. 

    2. Which Degree is Harder, Accounting or Finance?

Although difficulty comparisons really depend on the individual student, many people agree that accounting is a harder discipline to master. 

    3. What Pays Better, Finance or Accounting?

Finance degrees tend to result in higher salaries, averaging between $75,000 - $90,000, versus $50,000 - $85,000 for accounting. 

    4. Is an Accounting Degree the Same as a Finance Degree? 

No. Accounting degrees teach you more about the financial reporting side of business, while finance degrees cover the financial analysis section. 

    5. Can a Finance Major Do Accounting? 

Yes, but they might require a little more training. Finance graduates can even sit for the CPA exam, but they might have to ensure they have a few specific courses. As for securing senior accounting positions, though, you would usually need an accounting degree. 

Conclusion

The bottom line when it comes to picking between a finance degree vs accounting degree is that both are great business degrees with interesting courses of study and high salary potential. 

Accounting is great for the detail-oriented mind that’s meticulous and process-oriented, while finance is a great field for those with more analytical minds. Accounting professionals can enjoy more job security, while finance professionals enjoy higher salaries. 

Read through the differences between the two degrees carefully to help you decide between accounting vs finance degree. And remember to follow your strengths, interests, and dreams!

Frequently Asked Questions

  • 1.What is Accounting?

    Accounting is the process of drawing insights from the day to day transactions of money and hence creating reports for a shorter period of time.

  • 2.What is finance?

    Finance helps to manage assets and liabilities and helps to plan for future growth. It helps to earn a high-level strategy control at the company.

  • 3.What are the types of accounting?

    Financial Accounting, public accounting, government accounting, management accounting, and internal auditing are the different types of accounting.

  • 4.Which are the different types of finance?

    Personal finance, corporate finance and, public finance are different types of finance.

  • 5.Which are the different career options in the accounting field?

    The various job roles available in the accounting field include Accountant, auditor, tax collector and many more. 

  • 6.Which are the different job roles in the finance arena?

    The different job roles in the finance arena include investment banker, financial analyst, financial consultant and many more.

  • 7.Is a CPA accreditation essential for a successful accounting career?

    Though a CPA certification isn't essential for a successful academic career, a higher pay can is based on the certifications that a person holds.

Recent Articles