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Accounting and Finance are important subjects that can take you far and wide especially in a country like Sri Lanka. Selecting one or both of these subjects can be very promising as every workplace and employer deals with money at the end of the day.
However, some questions such as which subject to pick, accounts or finance, and exactly how can we aspire in those subjects can often arise when selecting the subject. So this week, in career guidance, we decided to specialise. Finance vs. Accounting: job opportunities

One of the most puzzling parts about deciding between a finance degree and an accounting degree is the similarity in potential job titles.

tableYou may note that financial analysts are found in both categories. While this may be a source of confusion for choosing one degree over the other, the truth is that finance and accounting jobs often require similar skills. Just think of this duplication as doubling your options.

Primary  difference
At undergraduate level, it’s possible to take a joint accounting and finance degree, in order to gain a more general knowledge of both accounting and finance professions. However, those who study further will usually specialize in either one or the other, in order to gain more advanced expertise in one particular field.
The primary difference in the battle of accounting vs finance is that accounting has a relatively narrow focus, while finance is wider-ranging, covering an array of specializations in the world of business, economics and banking. While accounting focuses on the day-to-day management of financial reports and records across the business world, finance uses this same information to project future growth and to analyze expenditure in order to strategize company finances. So finance degree students will likely be more interested in financial strategy and control while accounting degree students will be more focused on professional principles and processes, used in order to manage numbers rather than influence them.

Focus
An accounting degree will provide a foundation for specialized accounting careers as well as many other related careers. Accounting careers typically involve analyzing and utilizing financial information in order to evaluate a business financial position. This can involve anything from basic book-keeping to managing balance sheets and income statements. Accounting careers often have a large focus on past records and present reports, involving the creation and analysis of these records and now often also extend to encompass planning, controlling, decision-making, stewardship, accountability and more.

Although it is fairly easy to pursue accounting careers with just a bachelor’s degree, postgraduate study is an option for those who want further specialized knowledge in a particular area. In order to become a chartered accountant, you’ll need to gain further professional qualifications specific to the country in which you wish to work. Depending on the hiring business, however, these professional qualifications can sometimes be gained on the job, often with subsidies from the employer.

Responsibility
A finance degree, on the other hand, is a great starting point for careers in financial services, across business, banking and consultancy sectors. According to US salary data gathered by PayScale, finance careers also have the potential to be slightly more lucrative than most accountancy routes. This is due to the fact that finance careers typically focus on the management of current and future figures of a business or organization, as opposed to just the recording of past and present income and expenditure. This means that those in finance careers often have the added responsibility of predicting and analyzing the potential for profit and growth, assessing monetary resources, utilizing accounting statistics and reports and also looking externally for future funding options.

The popularity of FAME subjects (finance, accounting, management and economics) comes from their vital role in the world of business, particularly those first two letters of the acronym: accounting and finance. Without accountants, financiers and economists, businesses would go bankrupt quicker than you can say ‘liquidity problem’. Thus, whether selecting accounting or finance you can aspire in both fields.