aat

Accounting vs Finance: What Should I Study

Choosing between Finance and Accounting is often a difficult choice as both fields are not restricted. Students usually regard both professionals as the same but are different. It is like a house and a room where Finance is the whole house with one accounting room. In other words, accounting is a component of Finance and Finance has a broader scope than accounting. 

What are the core differences between Finance and Accounting? 

Accounting’s focus is much narrower than Finance and includes topics such as creating and sorting financial records. They can work for private companies, state or government agencies, and individual people. 

Finance focus on financial systems and money and investment management. It involves working with banking institutions, investment funds, transaction policies, and credits. 

  • The difference is main tasks.

Accounting

The main tasks for professional accounting include:

Ensuring all financial transactions are accurately processed. 

Keeping account balance updated.

Verifying and guaranteeing the accuracy of financial statements.

Following the latest accounting regulations, policies, and changes. 

Finance 

The main tasks for the financial expert include:

Ensuring that individual client, company, or government has enough funding to meet their goals.

Overseeing the optimal fund distribution.

Managing capital and funds to avoid potential risks. 

  • Types of Profession

Accounting

Various types of accounting include:

  • Financial 
  • Public
  • Forensic
  • Tax
  • Management
  • Audit 

Finance 

Different kinds of Finance include:

  • Personal 
  • Public
  • Corporate
  • Social
  • Behavioural 
  • Typical topics covered in the courses

Accounting 

The typical topics covered under accounting courses include:

  • Financial accounting
  • Auditing
  • Financial reporting
  • Business strategy
  • Budget analysis
  • Forensic accounting
  • Macroeconomics and microeconomics
  • Information system
  • Management accounting 
  • International accounting
  • Professional standards and ethics
  • Quantitative analysis
  • Tax accounting
  • Risk management 

Finance

  • Asset markets
  • Advance derivatives
  • Corporate Finance
  • Behavioural Finance
  • Economics/ Econometrics
  • Financial management
  • Financial mathematics
  • Financial planning
  • Financial markets
  • Financial reporting
  • Financial accounting
  • Financial engineering
  • International Finance
  • Risk management
  • Private equity
  • Venture capital 
  • Employers and clients

Both finance and accounting professionals have clients who can be individuals, companies or corporations, government, or non-profit organisations. However, there is a difference in employers of both sectors and common employers’ types for each. 

Accounting

The common types of employers in accounting include:

  • Public Accounting Firms responsible for auditing large companies
  • Personal Tax filing firms
  • Operating companies or businesses 

Finance

The common types of employers in Finance include:

  • Insurance companies
  • Banks such as investment, commercial, or retail banks
  • Operating companies or regular businesses
  • Research companies 
  • Core personality difference in both sector professionals

Personality differences present the biggest distinguishment between both sectors that make career choice easy for students.

Accounting

Individuals having the following traits must opt for an accounting career as their features facilitate their most tasks.

  • Accountability
  • Detail-oriented
  • Risk management
  • Rules-based thinking
  • Procedure oriented
  • Particular about work accuracy

Finance 

Individuals having these traits must choose a finance career as their traits to guide their most financial tasks.

  • Inquisitive
  • Analytical
  • Scenario-based thinking
  • Focus on value-adding
  • Problem-solving 
  • Business development skills
  • Core skills for both professions

Some common skills in both sectors enable you to ascertain a career in Finance or accounting that you desire and require. 

  • Gathering, organising, and interpreting data
  • Creating accurate and detailed financial reports
  • Critical and analytical thinking
  • Proficiency in spreadsheets, Microsoft Excel, and Google Sheets
  • Digital skills such as using accounting software including Xero, Sage, QuickBooks, and Microsoft Excel.
  • Types of qualifications in both fields

Accounting

Undergraduate Level 

The undergraduate courses available for accounting are as follow.

  • Bachelor of Accountancy 
  • Bachelor of Science in Accounting (BSc/ ACC)
  • Bachelor of Arts in Accounting (BA/ACC)

Graduate Level 

  • Master of Accounting 
  • Master of Professional Accounting
  • Master of Science in Accounting

Other courses in accounting

Future Connect Training Institute offers AAT courses, various accountancy training and services, and short accounting courses to facilitate your career in accountancy.  

AAT qualification is based on foundation certification, Advanced Diploma, and Professional Diploma covering fundamental and advanced accounting concepts and skills. 

Professional accreditations

  • Chartered Accountancy (CA/ ACA)
  • Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)
  • Chartered Institute of Management Accountancy (CIMA)

These accredited professional courses in accounting allow students to fast track their career progression and offer them more time to develop their expertise and skills.

Finance

Undergraduate Level

  • Bachelor of Arts in Finance (BA/F)
  • Bachelor of Science in Finance (BSc/F)

Graduate Level

  • Master of Science in Finance (MSF)
  • Master of Finance (M.Fin)
  • Master of Financial Economics (MFE)
  • Master of Applied Finance (MAF)

Professional accreditations

  • Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)
  • Certified Treasury Professional (CTP)
  • Certified Professional Risk Manager (CPRM)
  • Accredited Valuation Analyst (CVA)
  • Corporate Finance Qualification (CF)
  • Certificate in Quantitative Finance (CQF)

The accredited professional courses in Finance enable students to fast track their career journey and provide them more time to build their expertise and knowledge.

  • Career paths in both sectors

Accounting

  • Trainee, Certified, Professional, or Public Accountant 
  • Auditor
  • Actuary
  • Budget Analyst
  • Bookkeeper
  • Credit Controller
  • Financial examiner
  • Financial Consultant
  • Forensic Accountant
  • Risk Assessor
  • Payroll Accountant 
  • Payroll Administrator 
  • Tax Advisor
  • Treasurer 

Accountants with CPA License can apply for the following job roles. 

  • Corporate Entertainment Accountant
  • Forensic Accountant or FBI Agent
  • Sports Accountant
  • Environmental Accountant
  • IT Auditor
  • Accounting Consultant
  • Accounting Professor
  • International Accountant 

Finance

  • Financial Consultant
  • Financial Manager
  • Financial Trader
  • Insurance Officer
  • Hedge Fund Manager 
  • Commercial Banker 
  • Investment Banker
  • Quant Specialist 
  • Advantages of undertaking accounting profession

Accounting professionals have great flexibility as their courses cover business, accounting, and Finance.

Fresh graduate accounting professionals have various career paths to adopt and begin their careers.

Accounting majors can choose to work in private and public sectors and any industry they desire.

Getting a CPA License opens more gateways to numerous career opportunities having high salaries, security, and career paths.

  • Advantages of the undertaking finance profession

Finance students’ courses have more emphasis on financial services and consultancy.

It is the best choice for students having an interest in the financial management of various organizations. 

The career is for you if you are good at taking responsibility and analysing and predicting potential growth and profit. 

Having skills in assessing monetary assets, using accounting reports and statistics, and looking for external economic resources facilitate your career in the finance profession. 

Conclusion

The article has offered comprehensive information on the difference between accounting and Finance. It will make your choice easier, and you can also seek the consultation of an accounting or financial expert.

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