If you are thinking of majoring in accounting or finance, you might be wondering which would be better for you. This post will show you the key details of each of them and help you decide which would be a better major for you.
At a glance:
|Ease of finding a job||Good/Moderate||Moderate/Good|
|Types of jobs|
you can qualify for
|Difficulty of the|
|Key things to note||Often necessary to|
complete the CPA
exam to progress
into senior positions
and to get the more
lucrative jobs. A
master’s degree will
also help significantly.
Lower level bookkeeping
roles are likely to become
Has good overall job prospects.
Can be a path into a number of
different fields including finance
|Most finance jobs|
require longer working
hours than most accounting
Can qualify for a number
of jobs with just a bachelor’s
High potential pay at the
Source for finance salary and jobs
There are many things to consider when deciding between the two degrees. Also, there are other things to consider if you do decide to major in either of them such as what classes you should take.
Details about a degree in accounting
Some of it might be automated especially lower bookkeeping roles and only average expected job growth.
According to payscale, the average pay of someone with a bachelor’s degree in accounting is $70,762. This is higher than most other majors and roughly equal to finance. This could be because there is some overlap in the jobs than a finance major and an accounting major will qualify for.
Something to consider is that completing the CPA exam and getting an accounting master’s degree will increase your earning potential significantly.
A degree in accounting should give you good opportunities with just a bachelor’s degree. This is because the degree can qualify you for a number of accounting roles and it can also qualify you for roles in related fields such as finance and business since accounting knowledge is useful in many business applications.
However, a lot of the more lucrative accounting roles require you to be a CPA and most people that become a CPA also get a master’s degree in accounting.
Jobs that you can qualify for with a bachelor’s degree in accounting can include:
- Account manager
- Financial analyst
- Tax manager
- Financial advisor
Some other jobs that you can get with a master’s degree would include:
- Forensic accountant
- Managerial accountant
- Chief financial officer
An accounting degree can be difficult especially in the junior and senior years when the classes become more specialized. Overall, accounting is generally considered as a moderately difficult degree. When compared with a finance major, you can expect accounting to be equal in difficulty.
Things to consider
If you are thinking of majoring in accounting, it could also help to minor in finance. This is because many people with accounting degrees end up in finance. Getting a finance minor should help you when looking for jobs within finance. Getting an internship, in the field, could also help a lot.
If you want to go far in accounting, it would help you to complete the CPA exam as soon as you are able to. This is because many of the more desirable jobs require that you have completed the exam.
While accounting is a degree with good job opportunities, it can still be competitive. With that being the case, it would help you a lot to try to get some summer internships while you are completing the degree.
Details about a finance major
Below are some details about the finance major.
According to Payscale, the average pay of someone with a finance degree is $71,737 and the hourly rate is $20.64 dollars. This makes finance one of the best paying majors available. It also has the potential to pay very well at senior levels.
Types of jobs you can qualify for
A finance degree can qualify you for a number of different types of jobs that are available to people with just a bachelor’s degree. This is not something that can be said for many other degrees where a master’s degree is often required to be competitive in the job market.
With that being said, some jobs, such as investment banking, will be very hard to get into if you do not have a degree from an ivy league university or an ivy league equivalent university.
Jobs that you can qualify for with a finance degree can include:
- Financial analyst
- Data analyst
- Investment analyst
- Financial advisor
- Credit analyst
- Budget analyst
Something to consider about the jobs you will qualify for is that they are often reported as being stressful jobs. This is likely to be due to high working hours, high levels of competition, some of them being commission-based and the fact that you will be dealing with other people’s money.
With that being said, the major does have a below-average unemployment rate, so you should not have too much difficulty finding a job, there is good pay and finance jobs are expected to grow by more than the average across all jobs.
Internships can help a lot when looking for jobs in finance after graduation. With that being the case, it would help a lot to try to make sure to get some summer internships while completing the major.
Difficulty of the major
A finance undergraduate degree can have some moderately difficult classes. However, there will not be many math-heavy classes. Overall, you can expect finance to be equivalently difficult to an accounting major.
Classes you can expect to take in the major can include:
- Microeconomics and macroeconomics
- Personal finance concepts
- Project management
- Fundamentals of marketing
- Principles of business
- Corporate finance
- Managerial accounting
- Other upper-level finance courses as available
At the undergraduate level, you can expect a degree in accounting to qualify you for a decent amount of good-paying jobs. However, if you are interested in getting an accounting degree, it would help a lot to make sure to also complete the CPA exam since this will provide you with many more job opportunities. Also, it could be helpful to get a minor in finance, especially if you are interested in finance roles, since this will also help you to qualify for more jobs.
Like accounting, a finance degree should qualify you for a lot of good-paying jobs. If you enjoy competitive environments, a finance degree could suit you well. Also, finance does have very high potential pay in the long run since senior-level positions can pay very well.
However, finance jobs tend to require long working hours and the jobs often have low job satisfaction ratings. Before choosing the degree, it would help to consider what sort of working environment would suit you the most and what you would find satisfying personally.
Ultimately, both degrees come with good job prospects. It would help to consider what sort of job you would be interested in the most and to choose your major and classes accordingly.