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What's the difference between a degree in finance and accounting?

2 years ago
UNIBusiness Editor
Balancing Check book

Your love of numbers and analysis has inspired you to attend business school, but should you go into accounting or finance? Although both fields involve analyzing and managing funds, accounting and finance careers are not the same. When deciding your degree and career path, should you go into finance or accounting - what's the difference anyway?

Finance versus Accounting

An easy way to differentiate between finance and accounting is accounting embodies the past and finance plans for the future. Accounting careers include gathering and analyzing past financial data, and finance careers plan investments and distribution of future earnings and assets. A good question to ask yourself is, "do you like determining and reporting on financial status, or would you rather take that current information and plan for its future?"

Accounting - A Day in the Life

What do accountants do all day? There are numerous tasks that someone in accounting could be responsible for, but basically, accounting involves tracking, researching and reporting financial information. Career options in accounting include:

  • Certified Public Accountant
  • Auditor
  • Budget Analyst
  • Controller/Comptroller
  • Chief Financial Officer
  • IT Specialist

Not only is there a huge variety of careers in the accounting field, there are several areas of concentration such as government and corporate positions.

Finance - A Day in the Life

What will you do with a finance degree? Finance careers involve analyzing the current financial situation and then deciding how to grow those finances for the future. Possible careers in finance include:

  • Financial Management
  • Financial Advisor/Analyst
  • Stock Broker
  • Financial Planner
  • Securities Analyst
  • Loan Advisor
  • Like accounting careers, finance careers are found at the public, private, and government level.

Whether you want to handle ledgers and reports or help someone financially plan their retirement, both accounting and finance are solid career choices that utilize your love of business. 


UNI Business

UNIBusiness Editor

UNIBusiness uses a team of writers to conceptualize, develop and share stories and updates with the public. If you have a story idea, an update on an alum or just want to say 'Hi', please email