Finance vs. Accounting: Which Field Is Right for You?


Looking for a job that’s always in demand? A job that allows you to work with numbers and money? Finance and accounting might be the right choice. 

Better still, accounting jobs are projected to grow 7% from 2020 to 2030, as fast as average for all occupations. After all, every business needs an accountant. Finance jobs overall are projected to grow 10% by 2026, introducing more than 773,800 new jobs to the market. 

But for students first making the choice between finance vs accounting, it can be hard to know where to begin. Here are a few key differences between the two career fields, the types of jobs you can get, and how to choose which career is right for you. 

Finance vs. Accounting: The Basics

While both finance and accounting deal with money, they approach it in different ways. Accounting focuses on the day-to-day flow of money in and out of an institution, which is why you turn to an accountant to balance your books. Finance is a much broader field that handles the management of assets and liabilities, and rather than just tracking performance, you can make decisions to support financial growth. 

If you’re interested in digging through the details of a business’s books, you’re probably more interested in accounting. If you want to handle money but also be involved in the company’s overall strategy, you’re probably more interested in finance. 

Types of Finance Jobs

There are three broad categories of finance: individual finance, corporate finance, and government finance. Within those three categories, there are a huge variety of finance jobs available to you, even if you don’t want to work on Wall Street. 

Some great finance career options off the Wall Street track include: 

  • Actuary
  • Qualitative analyst
  • Financial planner
  • Economic analyst
  • Financial analyst
  • Investment banker
  • Securities trader
  • Portfolio manager

Before you get started, it pays (literally) to think about what types of finance are exciting to you. Do you like looking at the big economic picture? Do you enjoy breaking down the details of a portfolio to craft a strategy? Do you like finding strategies to grow someone’s money? This will help you narrow down the type of finance career that will be most rewarding for you. 

Types of Accounting Jobs

Yes, accountants are best known for handling taxes. But there are a lot of accountants who do more than just taxes, such as: 

  • Certified public accountants
  • Forensic accountants
  • Auditors
  • Cost accountants
  • Management accountants
  • Government accountants
  • Investment accountants
  • Project accountants

Plus, depending on the type of accounting qualifications you hold, you don’t necessarily need to work for one company. Tools like allow accountants to find freelance jobs and be their own bosses. 

Is Finance or Accounting Right for You?

The choice between finance vs accounting is all about finding what excites you and figuring out what career is the best fit. Once you know what’s interesting, you’ll be able to pursue a career that rewards you for years to come. 

Looking for more great tips to get your career off on the right foot? Make sure to check out our blog for more great posts like this one. 


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