Do you aspire to be a part of the world of money? Well, when it comes to navigating that world of business, there are two pathways that steal the spotlight – Finance and Accounting.

If you’re wondering which path to follow, you are on the right page. The choice between these two fields can significantly shape your career trajectory, opening doors to an ocean of opportunities.

But how do you decide which path is the right fit for you? It’s easy if you know about them in detail. To help you out with that, here we are with this article.

In this article, we’ll delve into the details of finance and accounting degrees, break down the differences between the two, and highlight their respective career options, so you can make an informed choice that aligns with your aspirations.

Let’s explore –

Finance vs. Accounting Degree

What is an Accounting Degree?

An accounting degree isn’t just about crunching numbers. It equips you with the skills to manage financial records, track transactions, and make sense of the intricate financial condition of the business.

With this degree, you’ll learn the ins and outs of financial statements, budgets, and auditing practices. It’s about painting a clear picture of financial transactions, ensuring accuracy, and maintaining financial integrity.

More On -> What Can I Do with an Accounting Degree? 

Let’s explore the details –

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Degree Levels

An accounting degree can be pursued at various academic levels –

Associate’s Degree in Accounting

Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting

Master’s Degree in Accounting

Also, you can opt for an accounting concentration within a broader business program or some certificate programs as well. Or, you can even advance your education with a Doctoral Degree in Accounting. 

Since we have discussed a lot, and in detail about them, we won’t do it again, follow the links to know in detail about respective degree levels. 

Admission Requirements

  • Admission criteria can vary but typically include –
  • A high school diploma or equivalent
  • Transcripts
  • Letters of recommendation
  • SAT or ACT scores

Course Curricula

The standard course curricula include –

  • General Education
  • Foundational Accounting Principles
  • Financial Reporting
  • Managerial Accounting
  • Auditing
  • Taxation
  • Business Law
  • Might also include topics in Economics, Ethics, and Business Communications


Many certification options in this field can set you on a solid career path, and greatly enhance your job prospects and earning potential.

Know about them in this article-> Master’s Degree in Accounting.

What is a Finance Degree?

What is a Finance Degree

A Finance Degree isn’t just about managing money — it’s about understanding how to allocate resources, manage risks, and make strategic financial decisions. It zooms in on the big picture of money management.

A finance degree equips you with the skills to navigate financial markets, analyze investment opportunities, and craft financial strategies that can shape a company’s financial growth.

You’ll also hone the art of allocating resources, understanding markets, and making informed financial strategies.

Let’s explore the details –

Degree Levels

The choice of degree level in finance depends on your career goals, interests, and where you are in your educational journey. If you’re just starting, an associate’s or bachelor’s degree can provide a solid foundation and then you can advance your education with a master’s or doctoral degree.

Associate’s Degree in Finance

An associate’s degree in finance is typically a two-year program that provides foundational knowledge in finance and related subjects. This degree enables students to get entry-level positions in the finance industry.

You’ll Learn about the basic principles of finance, including financial markets, investments, and financial analysis. With some basic knowledge of accounting, economics, business fundamentals, Personal finance concepts, and budgeting skills.

With this degree level, you become eligible for career options like – Financial Assistant, Financial Services Representative, and Credit Analyst.

Bachelor’s Degree in Finance

A bachelor’s degree in finance is a four-year program that offers a more comprehensive understanding of finance concepts, theories, and practical applications.

This degree provides a solid foundation for various roles in the finance sector and is a common path for individuals seeking to establish themselves in the industry.

You’ll Learn in detail about advanced financial concepts such as risk management, investment analysis, and corporate finance. Also, developing an understanding of financial modeling, quantitative methods, data analysis, and business ethics.

With this degree level, you become eligible for career options like – Financial analyst, Investment Banker, Financial Planner, Risk Manager, and more.

Master’s Degree in Finance

A master’s degree in finance is a postgraduate program that allows individuals to specialize further in specific areas of finance. It is often pursued by professionals looking to advance their careers, switch fields, or deepen their knowledge in a specialized area of finance.

You’ll Learn about advanced financial theory and applications in specialized areas like derivatives, international finance, and portfolio management. Also, you’ll be learning about research methodologies, data-driven decision-making, leadership, and management skills.

With this degree level, you become eligible for career options like – Senior Financial Analyst, Portfolio Manager, Financial Consultant, Investment Manager, and more. 

Doctoral Degree in Finance (Ph.D.)

A doctoral degree in finance is the highest level of education one can achieve in the field. It is primarily pursued by individuals interested in academia, and research, and contributing to the advancement of finance theory and practice.

You’ll Learn about conducting original research in finance and contributing to the body of knowledge in the field, advanced topics in financial economics, quantitative methods, and empirical research. Besides that, you will also hone your teaching and mentorship skills.

With this degree level, you become eligible for career options like a university Professor, Researcher, Financial Economist, and Consultant for Specialized Projects.

Admission Criteria

Admission requirements are similar to those for accounting degrees, often including transcripts, standardized test scores; letters of recommendation, and possibly a statement of purpose for the higher degree levels.

Specializations or Concentrations

Within finance, you can explore specialized areas such as –

  • Corporate Finance
  • Investment Banking
  • Financial Planning
  • Sustainable Finance —a field gaining prominence due to its focus on socially responsible investing


While not mandatory, certifications can boost your credentials and career prospects.

  • Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)
  • Certified Financial Planner (CFP)
  • Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA)
  • Certified Government Financial Manager (CGFM)
  • And more 

Now, you know about these degrees in detail, so let’s move ahead with the differences between the two degrees in the world of money.

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Finance Degree vs. Accounting Degree

Master’s Degree in Accounting

While both finance and accounting deal with money and numbers, their focuses and skill sets diverge significantly.

Here’s a detailed breakdown of the distinctions –

Focus of Study

Financial records hold the key to understanding the health of businesses, governments, and organizations. To make you eligible to understand and analyze financial records, an accounting degree comes into play.

With a finance degree, you’ll dive into the world of investments, risk management, and financial markets. You’ll also delve into investment strategies, corporate finance, financial modeling, data analysis, and business ethics.

Skills Needed

Accounting Grads require meticulous attention to detail for maintaining accurate financial records and reports.

For Finance graduates’ analytical prowess is essential, as you analyze market trends, assess risks, and make informed investment decisions.

Role in Decision-Making

Accounting professionals provide the data needed for financial decision-making, ensuring transparency and compliance making sure everything adds up correctly.

Finance professionals play a pivotal role in shaping a company’s financial strategies, investments, and capital allocation.

Job Variety

An accounting degree opens doors to positions like auditor, tax accountant, or management accountant.

With a finance degree, you can dive into roles like financial analyst, investment banker, or personal financial advisor.

More on career options later.

Salary Expectations

Both accounting and finance offer rewarding career paths with competitive earning potential.

As per the BLS salary data 2021, the category of Accountants and Auditors earned an average annual salary of $77,250 while the category of Business and Financial Occupations earned an average annual salary of $76,570.

However, the salary data might vary depending on the professions that are available in the respective fields.

Career Outlook

The BLS projects the category of accounting graduates to grow by 6% in this decade (2021 to 2031) with about 136,400 job openings each year.

While; the category of finance graduates is projected to grow by 7% in this decade with over 715,100 new job openings each year.

Finance Degree vs Accounting Degree – Which is Better?

In the vast landscape of finance and accounting, there exists an array of avenues, each offering unique challenges and rewards. Whether you find yourself home in the meticulous world of financial records or crafting bold investment strategies, undoubtedly both play integral roles in driving business success.

If you thrive on data accuracy and enjoy working with numbers up close, an accounting degree might be your calling. On the other hand, if you’re intrigued by analyzing trends, managing investments, and shaping financial strategies, then a finance degree could be your ticket.

So, coming to the million-dollar question – which degree path is better? Well, the answer isn’t one-size-fits-all.

As you try to weigh the details of a finance degree and an accounting degree, remember that the answer depends on your interests, strengths, and career aspirations.

Here are some factors to consider when making your decision –

Why is Accounting Such an Illustrious Career?


If you’re intrigued by dissecting financial data, ensuring accuracy, and diving deep into financial records, accounting might be your calling.

If analyzing market trends, crafting investment strategies, and making financial decisions excite you, finance could be the ideal fit.


Consider your natural aptitudes. Are you detail-oriented and meticulous? Accounting might be a strong match.

If you possess analytical thinking, strategic planning, and risk assessment skills, finance could be more aligned.

Job Outlook

Both fields boast promising job outlooks. The BLS 2021 report projects a 6% growth in employment for accountants and auditors and Business and Financial Occupations are expected to see a 7% growth during this decade.


Compensation varies based on roles, experience, and location.

As per the BLS salary data 2021, the category of Accountants and Auditors earned an average annual salary of $77,250 while the category of Business and Financial Occupations earned an average annual salary of $76,570.

So, whatever your choice is, numbers or strategies, remember it is all about sculpting a future where you contribute your expertise to the world of money management and financial decision-making.

Happy career choosing.

Read More:

-> Is an Accounting Degree Worth it?

-> Requirements for Accounting Degree

-> How Long Does It Take to Get an Accounting Degree? 

Career Options: Finance vs. Accounting

Both finance and accounting play vital roles in the world of business, offering unique perspectives on the art of managing money.

So, whether you find yourself more drawn to analyzing data or crafting financial strategies, each path holds its own appeal – and a promising career at the end of the tunnel.

You now know the differences, that could help you decide on the degree path that you should choose.

Now, let’s explore the career options with the respective degrees with their salary data.

Careers You Get with an Accounting Degree

A degree in accounting can lead you to many career options in accountancy, auditing, and taxation. Here are the accounting careers –

Accountant – Annual average salary: $56,089

Certified Public Accountant – Annual average salary: $74,060

Management Accountant – Annual average salary: $71,680

Accounting Analyst – Annual average salary: $81,590

Forensic Accountant – Annual average salary: $93,527 

Accounting Manager – Annual average salary: $129,890

Tax director – Annual average salary: $166,938

Accounting professor – Annual average salary: $79,640 to $202,080

More on -> What Jobs Can You Get with an Accounting Degree?

Careers You Get with a Finance Degree

While both finance and accounting offer diverse career paths, let’s zoom in on the career possibilities that a finance degree unfolds. Salary data, as per BLS 2021 report.

Financial Analyst – Average Annual Salary: $83,660

Personal Financial Advisor – Average Annual Salary: $89,330

Financial Manager – Average Annual Salary: $134,180

Financial Analyst – Average Annual Salary: $83,660

Personal Financial Advisor – Average Annual Salary: $94,170

Financial Manager – Average Annual Salary: $134,180

Risk Manager – Average Annual Salary: $122,840

Financial Planner – Average Annual Salary: $89,330

Investment Banker – Average Annual Salary: $100,000 (varies per business, from $95,000 and $276,000)

FAQs – Finance vs. Accounting

Types of Accounts in Accounting

Which major pays more Accounting or Finance?

Both accounting and finance offer rewarding career paths with competitive earning potential. However, the compensation varies based on experience, location, and the professions that are available in the respective fields.

As per the BLS salary data 2021, the category of Accountants and Auditors earned an average annual salary of $77,250 while the category of Business and Financial Occupations earned an average annual salary of $76,570.

Which is more Hard Accounting vs. Finance?

Both the fields are harder in their own ways but which area of study is harder depends on you and what you expect out of a degree. Some consider accounting to be more difficult, while others find finance to be harder. 

Both areas are part of the world of business and deal with similar subjects. If you love subjects like advanced mathematics, business courses, and economics courses, you won’t find these majors hard. While if you don’t, you definitely will.

Therefore, the toughness of the major would depend on your interest in these subjects and the skills you possess to deal with them.

Can I Get a Finance Job with an Accounting Degree?

With a degree in accounting, you qualify for jobs in other variety of positions in the finance industry, as well. Most finance employers also employ accounting graduates in their businesses.

The careers are –

Financial planner – Annual average salary: $69,737

Financial Examiner – Annual average salary: $81,090

Financial Analyst – Annual average salary: $81,590

Financial Manager – Annual average salary: $129,890

Which has less Math, Accounting, or Finance?  

Are you scared of Math? You are absolutely normal, just like us.

Coming back to the math in accounting and finance, you’ll be sad to know that they both require some math work.

With computers and software, the calculations are made easy, but while graduating you need to undergo some math tasks.

Now, considering the course work of both majors, we could state that, in the basic degree levels, like associate’s or bachelor’s the math work in Accounting is more compared to Finance.

But, if you try to advance your education, the coursework becomes more math-heavy in finance than accounting.

So, the point is, if you are starting out, you may find finance degrees less math-heavy compared to accounting degrees. 

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About the Author
Grant founded with a purpose-driven mission: make college accessible and affordable for everyone. After graduating college with an overwhelming amount of debt, he was determined to change how students embark on their education. He's a frequent speaker and author in higher education, and has been featured in Forbes, Bloomberg Businessweek, Business Insider, American Express, AOL, MSN, Thrive Global, Reader's Digest, Inside Higher Ed, Evolllution, EducationDive, and nearly 100 radio shows and podcasts.