Many think that accounting and finance are the same, but actually they are different or field or subjects, but they have a close association with each other. Accounting mainly records the transaction of business for a particular company along with the profit and loss presentation in order to reveal the gain and loss for company on yearly basis. It also includes balance sheet preparation reflecting the financial status on a specific date for the company.
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How do finance and accounting differ?
- Finance helps in making related decisions such as raising money in company’s future projects and utilizing company’s resources to generate the goods with efficiency and effectiveness and a resultant good profit as a for the company. Finance may be termed as a concept that looks into future making use of the stored data of accounting to take decisions for future.
Finance cannot make decisions without data of accounting and accounting has no value if it has no use in finance.
- Accounting is believed to have a comparative lean focus but finance has a wider-range. Finance covers a specializations array in the field of economics, business, and banking. As accounting concentrates on management of day-to-day finance reports and does record this data in the business area.
Finance makes use of this information and helps in projection of future growth and also in analysis of expenditure so that company finances can be strategized.
- Accounting degree students will concentrate more on professional processes, principles to manage numbers and not on strategizing them, while Finance degree students will focus more on finance control and strategy.
- A degree in accounting will offer foundation in unique careers of accounting along with related career options. As an accountant your career will be dealing with analysis and utilization of finance information so that the financial status of business can be evaluated. It may involve basic things like management of balance worksheets, book-keeping and maintaining income statements.
Accounting will emphasise on records of past and present both, and creating and analysing the records. It also encompasses to plan, control, and make final decisions, accountability and stewardship with other activities.
- As a student it may not be difficult to follow an accounting career starting with a bachelor’s degree. Postgraduate degree may be an option for some who are keen to achieve a specialized extended knowledge in a specific scope of accounting.
If you desire to be a chartered accountant, what you need is to achieve special professional qualifications as per the country where you intend to work. If you are fortunate to get hired by a company which will finance you in attaining the professional degree it is a double bonus for you.
- On the other hand if you have a degree in finance it may be a great start for your career in sectors like business, financial services, consultancy sectors and banking. As per the statistics, careers in finance can be a better and lucrative option when compared with most accountancy jobs.
The main reason being careers in finance mainly depends on managing the present or future data of an organization or business. But accounting mainly is to record the current and past income or expense.
- People working in finance domain need to predict and analyse the gain and loss potential, assess fund resource, utilize account statistics or reports and searching for future sponsor or fund options. This is the additional responsibility on the finance executives or workers.
Specializations in Accounting
If you are a student of accounting you may opt to specialize in certain topics like tax, auditing, international accounting, assessment of risk with management accounting. Another possible path can be Forensic accounting which will allow pupils to know the Steps to know how your child is doing in academics to concentrate on real-life case studies so as to offer a complete and full proof understanding about the accountancy processes in close connection to legal proceedings.
Cases related to fraud, insurance claims, corporate ethics, electronic crime and bankruptcy are few of such real life examples. Similar to finance the students intending to do accounting with added specialization or independent research can enrol in an extended postgraduate degree at PhD level.
Specializations in Finance
For students who are doing Finance at degree level there are some common specializations such as financial evaluation, financial modelling ,derivatives, corporate finance, investment management behavioural finance, econometrics, quantitative finance, capital markets, financial reporting, financial regulation and few topics on accounting as well.
At undergraduate level the specializations are sometimes taught under a single program, but in some courses they may be treated like individual courses in postgraduate study level. Apart from this banking financial management, financial planning and risk, financial engineering and international finance are some other specializations.
What are the entry requirements for finance and accounting degree?
There is no requirement or expectation that you need to have relevant working experience or specific qualification in finance and accounting when you admit to study finance, accounting at undergraduate level. But as applicants or aspiring students you need to exhibit your proficiency in numerals and your keen interest in the field of finance and accounting.
You can pursue these degree level courses if you have A-level qualifications in high school in the FAME, STEM like mathematics, business, computer science, economics and other technologies and sciences. Some students are math club members, which may also be considered.
When you intend to apply in finance or accounting program for post-graduation, the basic criteria for entry will be completion of an undergraduate degree or an equivalent number of year’s professional working experience. But this may not be mandatory always, as interested students those who are able to show the analytic and quantitative aptitude with the syllabus covered in the earlier degree course or by securing good grades in several exams like GMAT and GRE are also eligible candidates.
Some students take a joint course in finance and accounting at undergraduate level so as to gather better knowledge of both the domains and fields. But if you want to study further you must take specialization in any one of the disciplines to achieve higher expertise in that.