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Accounting or Finance Degree: Which Should You Get? – A Brief Summary «

Accounting or Finance Degree: Which Should You Get? – A Brief Summary

You like working with numbers. You’re good with math. You’ve decided to get a degree in business. And you’re considering specializing in finance or accounting. But you haven’t settled on a career path yet because you’re still exploring your options. Should you become a certified public accountant, a financial analyst or is there another career choice you’d like better?

Know the Difference between Accounting and Finance

Before you choose to pursue a degree in accounting or finance make sure you know the difference between the two. These two terms have often confused people, especially new college students. However, they are very different.

The term accounting generally relates to standards and rules – Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) – for setting up, recording, reporting and auditing the accounting records of an organization. Careers in accounting work with journal entries, bank reconciliations, invoicing, quarterly and annual financial reports, taxes and similar processes that relate to the daily operation of a business.

Finance, on the other hand, focuses on the monetary resources and the analysis of the profitability of the organization. This includes issues related to money, assets, banking, investments and credit. Careers in finance look at how organizations allocate and use monetary resources over a period of time, and people in finance frequently deal with others outside the organization such as government agencies, banks, stockholders and suppliers.

Here’s an easy way to look at it. People who work in accounting account for what has already taken place. People who work in finance analyze what the future might hold.

Careers Related to Finance and Accounting

If you decide to get a degree in accounting, the types of careers that you might consider include:

■Chief Financial Officer (CFO)
■Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
■Accounting Manager
While a degree in finance might also net you one of the careers above, those who choose to get a degree in finance generally choose careers such as:

■Commercial or Investment Banker
■Financial Services Broker
■Financial Manager
■Financial Advisor
■Financial Analyst or Planner
Naturally, these are just a few of the possible careers that an accounting or finance major might consider. However, what is important to remember is that choosing which degree to obtain is completely dependant on what course of study interests you most.

Are you the type that likes to follow the rules, balance the books, and know where each and every penny has been spent? Perhaps you even manage your personal budget with laser-like accuracy. You should probably consider a degree in accounting. However, if you prefer to speculate on the markets, analyze the risk of investments, and look at the long-term financial market, a degree in finance is probably a better choice.

Keep in mind that whichever you choose – accounting or finance – they are complimentary fields and a good choice for a career.

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