Post # 1
I’ve made up my mind. I’m quitting teaching and going back to school for another BS degree. I’m a math person and love numbers. My local university has two degrees that interest me: Accounting and Finance. My problem is I’m not sure which one I should get. What’s the main difference? Are the more job opportunities connected to one than the other? Tell me your opinions please.
Post # 2
karmalkween: Ooh! You are like me! Here’s what I’ve got to say on the topic:
I love math. In high school, I actually thought I wanted to get a degree in math and teach. I changed my mind before starting school and decided to go into business instead, so I started my major in accounting. I did three full years of accounting classes and hated it. It’s not actually math AT ALL. It’s memorization of rules & regulations with som very simple addition and subtraction. I was super frustrated because I simply wasn’t enjoying the classes in the subject that I was majoring in….until I took my first finance class. WHOA! Loved it. One week into that semester, I switched majors, dropped my accounting classes and switched to more financed-focus studies.
I got my BS in Finance with a minor in Accounting and ended up staying to get an MBA. I’m an analyst and love what I do. I would mention, however, that my background knowledge of accounting has been really helpful in my current position, so whichever way you choose, I would try to focus your elective classes on the other (so if you major in Finance, take extra accounting classes and vice-versa) the two degrees really work well together. The simplest way I can state it is this: accountants prepare financial statements. People in finance figure out what those statements mean.
Post # 3
Accounting and finance are totally different. And there are lots of different areas of expertice and work within them. For example my best friend and fiancé have finance degrees, she works for a company where she handles finacical transactions between buyers and the company, works with payroll, and works with accounting to make sure the books are accurate. My fi on the other hand is a certified financial planner and helps people with their 401k’s and the stock market. You could also be a broker or trader or most people end up working at finance jobs where they sell specific stocks and bonds to customers on a commission base. Our other friend also has the same degree as my Fiance and works at a bank. Now accounting I look at more like book keeping, you could work for a company or for a firm. You could help people with their taxes too. I would go to your schools career services center and talk to them more to get a better understanding and to narrow down what it is that you want to do. Job hunting is easier if you have more specific job desires and skill sets.
edit to say that accounting does involve math but it’s more about the rules in my opinion. lots and lots of rule memorization. for example when you buy an asset such as a machine, how do you take into account its depreciation, how do you divy up and where do you allocate that money. In my opinion it’s more of a puzzle than actual math.
Post # 4
The most simple way to distinguish is that Accounting looks backwards and Finance looks forwards; are you more interested in invesgitating or forecasting?
[there are exceptions, like managerial accounting is used for forecasting, but in general that is an easy way to look at it.]
That being said, Finance and Accounting are as much ‘math’ as statistics and economics are ‘math’. They are numerical-heavy subjects but it is more about number fluency than mathematics.
I work in a world that uses both finance and accounting (consulting) but there are a lot of fields that use cross-dicipline techniques like audit, so you won’t be limited by the degree, it’s more about work experiences after graduation.
Post # 5
If you like math/numbers, accounting is not what you want. I always hate when people say, “you’re an accountant, you should be good at math.” No, that’s what excel is for!
Post # 6
Accounting isn’t math. It’s spreadsheets and bookkeeping. There’s a lot of rule memorization and depending on your school, ethics classes.
I took one finance class. It was an extension of my statistics class.
Post # 7
Hey snap! I did the same, I’m a mature student doing an accounting degree and I love it. It’s not all math though, like pp’s have said it’s lots of memorising and being able to dissect a situation and apply lots of different rules to it.
I would say that you would need to be very analytical and detail orientated to get the best from it and maybe if you really love maths something like economics might actually suit you better.
I did a lot of research as I was in the same situation as yourself and I found that an accounting degree seems to be the more respected degree when it comes to job opportunities in a wide range of areas, not just accounting. I’m in the UK though so it might be completely different where you are. Good luck with your decision, if it’s what you want to do you should absolutely go for it 🙂
Post # 8
amanda.417: I’m I guess what you would call a mature student (31) and just recently went back to college thinking I wanted to major in Accounting. I love working with numbers, math, budgets etc but about halfway into Acct 101 (or 110 or whatever number this class is lol) I’m thinking otherwise. <br />What you had to say about accounting being about the reports and finance being about what to do with them or what they mean is EXACTLY what I’m learning so far.
Every time we get to a new chapter I think “ok and then what?” lol I keep looking for the part where we DO something with all these numbers. Make a decision. Use the information to make some changes. SOMETHING! It just seems like a lot of work for some one else… managers, finance ppl, analyst (idk) to then take it and do something with it. I can definitely see how knowledge of both subjects would be extremely beneficial though.