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Which major is better? Math, Finance or Accounting?

I love numbers . I don't know if I should pursue a major in Math, Finance or Accounting. #accounting #finance #business #math #major


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Molly’s Answer

There is no right answer here, my advice is to always study what interests you most! When you create a career out of your major/education, it's important that it be something you enjoy. All of these majors have different pros and cons and all of them could turn into wonderful careers that are enriching and exciting. I will give my advice on the question of finance vs. accounting though. My personal opinion is that an individual who begins their career in accounting can always switch to finance later on, but the reverse is not always true. Individuals with strong accounting foundations typically have opportunities in their careers to interact with the finance teams at their clients. Many individuals eventually make the switch from public accounting into "industry" meaning joining those finance-type teams. Accounting is a really great base of foundational knowledge and could set you up for a successful career in accounting, but also in consulting and finance roles down the line. Lastly, you could always consider a double major or a minor if you have multiple interests and cannot decide. Or you can pursue graduate school later on!

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Allison’s Answer

Accounting is a great foundation for your career. It's easy to jump to other opportunities (within Math and Finance) if you have an Accounting background to start with.

#accounting #pwc #pwcisgo

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Christine’s Answer

Hi! Whichever one you choose, it might be a good idea to pair your numbers-related major with a minor in Information Systems or something else related to technology. I work in HR operations at an accounting firm and technology is revolutionizing the way our accountants and consultants perform their work. Get a leg up on the competition by learning about automation and the digitization of work so you future proof your career with numbers! Best of luck!


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Jacklyn’s Answer

Hello Arely!

Great question! Choosing a major is a big decision and can feel overwhelming for many students! It is so important to consider all factors when choosing as it creates the path for the rest of your years in school and shapes your professional career.

I do not believe that any of the majors you are considering are better or worse than each other on their own. But, you have to really think deeply about what you want your career to be after school!!

My advice would be to get connected with Student Professional Organizations on your campus (each major should have a few groups to get plugged into) While you're at the meetings, chat with the upperclassmen already pursuing each major and learn about their career plans. Occasionally, student professional organizations will also bring in companies that are recruiting their students. You could attend information sessions about these companies to learn more about the type of work you can do with each major that way as well.

Once you gather that information you will have a clearer picture of each major and hopefully be able to choose the one is best for you and your career goals!!

Best of luck!
Jackie Molz
PwC TID Recruiter
Austin, TX

Jacklyn recommends the following next steps:

Get connected with Student Professional Organizations on you campu
Ask questions about potential careers opportunities with each major (to upperclassmen and recruiters)

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David’s Answer

As commented by Rachel, the path may depend on what area of business interests you. I am part of an insurance company Corporate Planning department whose the leaders have been Actuaries, Accountants and Financial Analysts. So one can get ultimately get to Finance leadership roles from any of these options, as long as you can learn the business, as Nuno points out.

Note that, depending upon your particular university, Actuarial Science may be a minor in a Math degree, a stand-alone major in that School, or a stand-alone major in the Business School, or none the above ("just" a Math degree). Successful actuaries have come from all of these options.


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Diane’s Answer

In my experience, people who major in math have an advanced ability to think logically, work through complex problems, develop solutions, and see the big picture. I am not a math major but have worked with several during my career and they are some of the smartest people I know! I would not hesitate to hire a math major.

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Nicholas’s Answer

Math is the formal study of patterns. And pattern recognition is the key to all problem solving. It's a great foundational skill to have. As a math major myself, I can say you'll be well-equipped in life with a math degree no matter what field you decide to launch your career. It will offer you critical thinking and creativity in problem solving, all because you're well adept at seeing patterns.

Accounting is the formal language of business. Having it will make you an attractive candidate for jobs, especially entry level. The big four routinely hires a large class of entry level every year, and they're looking for (in most case) people with accounting major. To make partners at most of the consulting/accounting firms like the big four requires you to have a CPA.

Finance (in my opinion), at least at the undergraduate level is too broad and offers little to differentiate yourself against other candidates. You're better off majoring in math or accounting. Or, why not both?

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Narina’s Answer

I would advise Finance. Math is great if you are going to focus on statistics, science or teaching in your career. Accounting is great but can be easily leveraged after getting a finance degree. Add CPA certificate to your financial degree and you become an Accounting manager, Director of Finance and a lot of other options are opened up for you. Also if you haven't made your decision yet on what area to choose - you can shift between bank, real estate company or education business for example. Finance degree gives you that ability to move from industry to industry easier. Good luck to you and whatever you choose I am sure it will be a great decision!

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ErikaLynn’s Answer

My advice to you is to take classes in all areas so YOU can decide what suits you most. Also try doing internships at firms that specialize in each (while in school) OR just shadow a professional for a few days.

Experiencing the "real word" will help you in deciding what you are comfortable with and enjoy. While in school, take a variety of classes so you can learn the details of each major.

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Emilio’s Answer

Hi there!

I think this question all depends on personal preference. In highschool I was really into math and originally wanted to go into engineering, but after taking various science courses I learned that engineering was the wrong path for me. I always had an interest in business and thought that either accounting or finance was a good balance between math and business. Ultimately I chose accounting because I felt that it would be easier to transition from accounting to finance rather than the other way around. I ended up sticking with accounting and really happy where it has taken me.

Emilio recommends the following next steps:

Look into the different types of careers from each major and see what interest you

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Gabriela’s Answer

Hi,

I would advise any career in accounting is great. You have so many opportunities in the field. You can even get a full time offer before getting out of school.

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JAYAKRISHNAN’s Answer

Math, Accounting and Finance are highly correlated disciplines. As you mentioned if you really love numbers I will suggest you to do majors related Financial Mathematics

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Iman’s Answer

My vote would be for Accounting, I personally majored in accounting and finance and the opportunities in Accounting are endless. If you pursue accounting, you may want to consider if you're interested in getting your CPA license too.

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JAYAKRISHNAN’s Answer

Math, Accounting and Finance are highly correlated disciplines. As you mentioned if you really love numbers I will suggest you to do majors related Financial Mathematics

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Steven’s Answer

It's going to be dependent on your individual goals. If you are interested in pursuing a career in actuarial and truly like interacting with the numbers, Math would be the best degree. If you want to be more business oriented, accounting would be the best path. I would recommend sitting with individuals in each career vein to see what is going to be the most interesting to you, as that really will be the "best" major.

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Brandon’s Answer

This all depends on your personal preference. However it is easier to go from accounting into finance than finance into accounting. Accounting is the "language of business" and gives you a true understanding of what goes on at a business so you can go anywhere in any type of business function. Whereas finance is very specific into markets and trading, etc. Math is completely unrelated to these two as math would be if you want to be a teacher of some form and would have a lower salary overall.

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Matthew’s Answer

Arely, great question. All three majors definitely have their applications in the business world so any that you choose will do you good in the future. There is one important consideration to make when looking at these three majors: if you want to work in public accounting and get your CPA then an accounting major will be necessary, otherwise the three will be viewed (depending on the job) fairly equally. Math will be favored in highly quantitative roles whereas accounting and finance will be favored for finance/business roles. Have you considered a major in one and a minor in another? This may be very beneficial for you as you will get to touch more areas of study that you are interested in.

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Rachael’s Answer

Hi Arely,

I think it depends on what you intend to do with your degree. If you want to become an actuarial, I would suggest math. If you are interested in becoming a CPA, accounting. If you enjoy financial planning, finance. I would do some research into the career path you intend on persuing and determine which majors align most closely. Those majors are certainly a trifecta of success for any career you choose (speaking as an accounting and finance major). Consider the possibility of double majoring or majoring in one and minoring in the other two.

Best of luck.


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Melissa’s Answer

All of these a great majors. I feel like this depends on what you'd like to do in the future. I would say accounting and finance would be the best two options to consider. It all depends on what type of industry you would like to work in and where you see yourself. When you break down each of these majors there could be overlap in some position, but in others they can be completely unique. It depends on your interest level and if you plan on seeking any further education. If you are considering a Masters I would suggest Accounting or Math. If you want to jump right into the market after college finance might be the best choice. I would need more information to provide further direction.

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Kiana’s Answer

I don't think there is a correct answer here, as it depends on your own personal career goals. However, I would definitely say that if you choose to go the accounting route, it will provide you with the opportunity to learn about many different aspects in business. Understanding accounting will allow you to apply your knowledge in many different business fields aside from the accounting industry, whereas a math degree may not necessarily allow you to understand accounting etc. For me accounting is more beneficial.

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Richard’s Answer

Hi Arely,

I too love numbers and ended up with a degree in accounting as I assumed that this was a natural career path. If i had my time over, I would have gone a broader finance route/business major to use my passion for numbers to help businesses grow, rather than just sit in the background and pump out information.

I agree with most of the other answers that are given. There is no 1 major that is better than the others. Rather, I would ask yourself what do you want to do with the numbers?

Do you want to use your love for numbers to drive analysis?
Do you want to interact with other stakeholders? or run fairly solo and leave the stakeholder mgmt to someonelse?


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Emily’s Answer

Hi Arely,

I had a similar question when I was deciding my major. If you want to go the business route, I would lean more towards finance than accounting. Many people tend to think accounting jobs (especially public) is all number crunching but it has a lot of analytical and writing to it as well. You obviously deal with numbers day to day so if some analytical thinking and writing interests you I highly suggest it! It also gives you the ability to see how different companies work.

Best,
Emily

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Stephen’s Answer

This is a very difficult question as it is depends on what intrigues you the most.

In my opinion, if you are leaning towards either finance or accounting, you would benefit from going into accounting as that will help you gain a good understanding of the background of how the financials of a company work. From there, having an accounting background is great for a finance career as it gives you a different perspective on how everything works.

Most importantly, you should take classes in college that encompass all three of those fields. This way you can get a better perspective and understanding of how all of them work for you and which one you like best.

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Solmaira’s Answer

These are all great majors and there are lots of things you need to consider like what you are good at etc. I would definitely recommend accounting and would even suggest adding a second major or minor in management information systems or some other major in that field as it pairs very well and there is always a high demand for people with both of these skills especially within the Big 4 and other big accounting firms that offer a ride range of professional services.


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Richard’s Answer

The three things you've listed will restrict your career more and more. Accounting majors will be restricted to accounting careers, whereas finance gives you a much broader range. Neither of those fields, in general, will involve more than simple arithmetic. If you love numbers, math is the way to go; it will also open up more quantitatively oriented finance careers

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Nuno’s Answer

Suggest finance since it will give you a solid foundation for you to grow your career in business. Check how many CFO's become CEO's...I myself did business administration, had math, accounting and finance and started my career as an auditor. Knowing the connect dots, understanding company's financials is a fundamental capability and skill you will be able to leverage in your future career


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Joshua’s Answer

My guess is you'll get a wide variety of responses to your question so I'm not going to try and provide the "perfect" answer but give you some insights into the path that led me to Accounting. Like you, I loved numbers and was great in Math in high school. I "assumed" that was going to make me a great accountant (assuming I'd spend my career dealing with numbers :)). The reality is that although accountants do spend their lives dealing with numbers, a career in public accounting, which is where my college degree and career path has led me, is much more about technical standards, reporting requirements, account assertions, audit risk, fraud risk, internal controls, business best practices, etc. Thankfully, my job has been most rewarding because of the opportunities it has afforded me as an auditor in public accounting to work with a myriad of companies and organizations learning about how the best of the best run their businesses. I am also thankful that public accounting afforded me the ability to progress quickly in my career to partner and gave me an opportunity to forge my own path and bring value to my firm through business development, staff development, and overall firm leadership. At the end of the day, any one of these fields can be rewarding but I think that public accounting provides you with the broadest spectrum of experience of all these fields assuming you start your career in audit where you'll get an opportunity to work with a myriad of clients across a diverse section of industries. This will give you an opportunity to learn about a wide variety of companies, industries, niches, products, service offerings, etc. that will afford you the ability to make decisions later on in your career about where you want your career to go (i.e. public vs. private accounting, what industry/niche you want to specialize in, etc.). Regardless of which field you choose , I wish you the best of luck!!

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Emily’s Answer

Hello!

I was in a similar situation as you when I was deciding what I wanted to major in. I loved math so I chose accounting and finance. With accounting it has allowed me to use the things I loved in math and then finance is a way to build on my accounting knowledge. Accounting will provide you with a great base and allow you to go many different directions in your career path.

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Alnaya’s Answer

Hi! I majored in Accounting (recent college grad!) and like numbers too. Honestly, I think it depends on your preference and what you want to do after college. I was in a similar position in high school. I went back and forth between business, finance, and accounting. I believe either major will be fine. Despite my accounting degree, I decided to not go the traditional accounting route. My role is Finance Systems Analyst, but it is essential to have an accounting background. My suggestion is to talk with professors when you visit colleges. A piece of advice is to network. I connected with multiple individuals to receive insight on their careers.

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Michael’s Answer

I would recommend Finance or Accounting. They are more diverse and can be much more relatable to real life. Math majors study advanced calculus and study very complex mathematics that are not as useful in real life. You can use the knowledge you gain as a Finance or Accounting major in your real life as well as other business opportunities once you graduate.

Good luck in your future!

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Donna’s Answer

Hi Arely, great question. It really depends upon what you prefer, but typically you'll see finance, accounting or economics on resumes. I would say which classes in school do you enjoy the most? Is it finance, accounting, econ, etc? Finance has a lot more business partnering, analysis and decision making from my experience. So if you enjoy numbers, but also want to be involved with the business and decision making you can't go wrong with finance.

Best of luck to you!

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Danielle’s Answer

Hi Arely, I think the answer depends on what your end goals are. If you love working through mathematical calculations and trying to solve unsolvable equations - than a career in math might be for you. Accounting involves numbers, but it isn't all about the math. Accounting is the language of business. It the means of recording the activity of a business. If you like to balance your checkbook and make sure that everything reconciles - then accounting might be for you. This is, of course, a very simplified view of accounting, but hopefully shows a little bit of the distinction between the field of math and accounting. I would recommend taking a basic accounting class to learn more and see if it is a good fit fo you.

Best wishes on your journey!

Danielle recommends the following next steps:

Take a basic accounting class.

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Douglas’s Answer

My vote would be for Finance. I believe in finance, you will be a lot closer to the actual "money" and the closer you are to the "money" the more you will be in a position to make.

Good luck,


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Laurie’s Answer

It really depends on what type of job you want in the future. If you want to be in business I would recommend accounting. Once you achieve basic accounting skills you will have many opportunities in finance and other business areas. My recommendation is to obtain an accounting degree, work in public accounting and then move into the area you are most interested in. Good luck!

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Lucineh’s Answer

Hello Arely! That is a great question. The most important thing when choosing a major is to be true to yourself, and follow your passion. You are good with numbers, and that means any of the majors, Accounting, Finance or Math would be an appropriate choice for you. However, to narrow it down you can think of what career path you would like to follow after graduation. I chose accounting as my major after I researched job opportunities available for accounting graduates, and I compared it with other majors such as finance. Researching the 3 majors online and comparing job opportunities available for each will definitely help you narrow down your options, and choose a major that you both like and that will maximize your chances of building a career path.

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Lola’s Answer

The answer to this question is "It Depends". I believe whatever you choose to do for your career needs to bring happiness since you will spend almost half of your time at work with colleagues. My advise to you would be to apply for internships and experience what it is like to be a math, finance, or accounting professional. Internship opportunities will help you realize if that particular profession aligns with your personal values. I can also share my opinion about accounting since I chose this field. Accounting is a very rewarding and a reputable profession. Accounting brings stability and despite how the economy is doing you can always be able to find a well paying job. There are many paths you can take in Accounting. For example, some of the options you can choose from would be either public accounting (audit, tax, consulting) or you can be in private industry doing internal accounting. The most important question you need to ask yourself is what makes YOU happy at the end of the day. I hope this helps. I wish you all the best in your future endeavors. Good luck!

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Lisa’s Answer

Depends on what your career goals are - if you would like to be in a purely accounting role, accounting is the right answer. If your interests lie more broadly in finance, and you envision a role in something like business development, investing, etc. finance is probably the better option. Math is probably not great for a business role, but better for some kind of engineering or science career, or maybe teaching.

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Timothy’s Answer

Define the word 'better'? It really depends on what your interests are.

If you like investments, investment decision making, the idea of assisting companies in raising capital, math or finance would be more suitable. A math degree could help you end up at a quantitative hedge fund (aka quant fund). These firms make investment decisions based on statistical and mathematical models (very complex). There are other types of hedge funds that like employees with math degrees, but this is the most common type of hedge fund that utilizes math majors. Finance majors can also work at hedge funds, private equity firms, amongst investment banks.

If you like understanding how businesses work from a financial standpoint, following rules and protocols, and figuring out variances accounting may be for you. There is a lot of structure to this type of work, and the industry has a few different professional licenses associated to it. One of the most coveted licenses is the Certified Public Accountant license (aka CPA). Having a CPA license can open many doors for you, and can differentiate yourself from accountants that do not have their CPA license.

I hope this helps!

Timothy recommends the following next steps:

A helpful website to learn more about finance and investments is Investopedia. It is the king of online financial content.
Another helpful website to learn more about different careers that relate to all three of your choices is Corporate Finance Institute.

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Julie’s Answer

Hi Arely,

It depends on your career goals. I did my first degree in Mathematics and loved the coursework. After working in nonprofit financial administration I decided to go back to school and earned a BBA in Financial Accounting. Both career paths allowed me to use analytical and problem solving skills and work with data manipulation. Accounting offers a more defined career path where mathematics will require graduate coursework to advance your career.

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Xiang’s Answer

Hi Arely,

I had the same question when it was time for me to pick a major. I like math since it was fun and I enjoy working with numbers, but at the same time I am well aware that having a business related degree will get you far in your career path.

There is not really a 'better' major as all majors exist for a reason and serve different purposes. There are definitely more popular majors as they provide job security most of the cases. It doesn't mean you cannot have both. For example, there are majors like math business that goes into detail in mathematical applications in a business setting. What my point is to say do not limit your selections and keep your mind open. It is good to have a rough idea of what you want to go into but try each of them out and see how you feel, because people change and these majors develop as time goes too. No matter which one you choose though, I do appreciate the soft skills I learned from my business degrees, such as communicating, working with people, learning your own work style, etc. This will be applicable to every job in the world, and is essential to personal development.

Hope that helps!



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Mariah’s Answer

All 3 majors are great options! If I were you, I would lean more towards accounting or finance as opposed to math. With an accounting or finance degree, you will be in the business school at the college of your choice which will open you up to tons of job opportunities. As a math major, you may not be able to find as many options/options may not be as readily available. As far as accounting and finance is concerned, I would look into what career you believe you would like to go into. Going into college, I did not know what career I wanted and as such, chose accounting. I was able to choose this as I was not enjoying my finance classes as much and knew as an accounting major, I was opening myself up to numerous opportunities and always had my accounting degree to fall back on if ever needed. I would recommend getting into the business school at the college of your choice and decide between accounting or finance after you've taken at least one class in each as I believe you'll have a better idea at that time! I hope this helps!

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Peter’s Answer

None of these subjects are better or worse than the other but they could be more or less valuable to the career you wish to follow and to some degree how you like to learn and how you approach problem solving. Of the three Math is the most theoretical and will likely push your quantitative skills the most. The application of Math to a business situation is less obvious than the others. Accounting is more focused around the manner in which businesses record financial activity. While the focus is on understanding rules and techniques similar to pure math it does introduce real world business situations that need to be considered, understood and accommodated. It provides a very useful foundation in how businesses are run but still remains somewhat separate and independent from the operations of the business itself. Finance is perhaps the least theoretical of the subjects and is the most practical in its application. The interrelationship between Finance and the business is much stronger and requires both a solid understanding of numbers as well as an ability to develop string working relationships and address a broader range of problems. Net, net think about the type of work you see yourself doing and the type of working relationships that are most appealing to you and that may help guide you as to what is the better option for your situation.


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Alex’s Answer

Each of these majors has their pros and cons. I can speak on the side of accounting and finance. I started off as finance major but after a year switched to accounting. The advice I got and most people will tell you is that it is easier to get a finance job with an accounting degree than it is to get an accounting job with a finance degree. Looking back, in a lot of ways I wish I stayed with finance, but I am really happy with accounting and the potential it has. I am currently in audit and the future potential is unbelievable. A lot of the exit opportunities are different finance jobs, which is cool.

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