The difference between accounting and finance may be confusing if you are seeking to settle on a degree program. Though the degrees are indeed similar, there are some key distinctions between the two. It is important to study these factors before deciding which program is best for you.

What is an Accounting Degree?

An accounting degree allows you to pursue positions working as an accountant, tax manager, or financial analyst. You will learn the skills required to balance ledgers, understand financial statements, manage accounts payable and receivables, and more. Accounting careers are in demand and are likely to remain so. This degree is best suited to you if you want to become an accountant, CPA, or auditor.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the career prospects for this type of degree are in keeping with current trends. This means that future accountants can expect to see the same number of available accountant positions upon graduation as are available now. The BLS also reports that the median pay for accountants is above that of the median pay of all salaries in the United States.

What is a Finance Degree?

A finance degree gives you access to a wide variety of financial skills. You will be prepared to manage financial statements, prepare financial forecasts, and make economic plans, models, and analysis. This degree is more general, and therefore could theoretically apply to a number of financial fields. However, it does not supply the in-depth skills that future accountants may need.

The good news, if you are interested in a financial degree, is that you are very likely to have a job offer once you complete your studies. According to US News and World Report, those with finance degrees have a higher likelihood of finding employment than most fields. The numbers are likely to grow as more people seek retirement and investment advice.

Why Choose One Over the Other?

The answer to this question largely lies within your future career choices. Consider what you want to do as a profession, and then base your degree on that answer. If you want to be an accountant, your choice may be an easy one. If you are simply interested in working with dollars and cents, you may be open to a more flexible field. Many choose to pursue both with a double major. This gives you the widest range of knowledge and a resume that opens the door for all financial opportunities.

Some colleges and universities do not necessarily offer a distinction between the two degrees. They may combine the two together or offer only one or the other. This sometimes makes the decision easier for students who are still unsure as to which type of career to pursue. In this instance, you can choose to seek an undergraduate degree in a wider field, and then fine tune your choice if you decide to seek an MBA. In the end, the difference between an accounting and finance degree can be significant when planning your future.