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Choosing between Financial Analyst and Accontant

I am currently working towards a business degree in leadership management and development. I'm taking electives now and am interested in exploring a career in Finance or Accounting. I was wondering what is the biggest difference between the two? #business #career


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Brianne’s Answer

Hi Daniel, the key difference between these two careers is that they manage different aspects of a company's finances and have different areas of focus.

Financial Analysts evaluate financial records/statements, whereas, Accountants manage and work directly on a company's financial records. They focus on the daily financial operations, look at ways to reduce costs, ensure that documents comply with financial regulations, and ensure the funds are allocated to/from the correct budgets internally. Financial Analysts focus more on evaluation of the financial situation, review trends and financial history, and this includes analytics regarding the company's performance and creating forecasts.

Hope this helps, good luck!
Brianne

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Nikki’s Answer

Hi Daniel! Finance and Accounting are career paths that are very much related and I agree with the recommendation that having a good and solid foundation in accounting will be highly beneficial for either career.

I am a financial analyst so I can speak more about a finance career but I have worked with accountants as well and have some understanding of what they do. As others have mentioned, accounting is more focused on preparing the financial statements of the company and ensuring the accuracy of the reported information.

Finance is usually involved in supporting decision making which requires understanding the financial statements and the operational drivers that impact financial performance such as sales performance, competition, cost of labor, to name a few. Financial analysts are tasked with determining what the future performance of the company will look like based on an analysis of historical data, strategies the company plans to take and possible risks and opportunities facing the company.

It is not uncommon for someone to transition from accounting to finance, and former accountants have the benefit of easily understanding the nuances of the financial statements.

Hope this helps and good luck on your career journey!





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Tyler’s Answer

Hi Daniel, I totally agree with Erika and Brianne! In a typical day a financial analyst will analyze financial statements and make assumptions based off of management projections, historical trends, industry analysis, etc. to better understand how a company will perform in the future. A typical accountant will work to accurately report on the performance of a company for its shareholders, and clients. An accountant could also work with individuals to help manage taxes, cash flow, etc. From my experience, it is much more feasible to enter the accounting industry and move to the financial industry than the other way around. A strong understanding of financial statements is critical in both roles.

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Sendil’s Answer

A financial analyst looks to past and current trends to help achieve a future reality, while an accountant may review a company's financial data on a day-to-day basis. Many financial analysts use reports generated by accountants to make recommendations about how best to use company resources.

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Erika’s Answer

Hi Daniel! Brianne's advice is great. To add onto it, I have known a lot of people who go straight into finance, and a lot of people who start out as accountants to learn how the different financial reports are recorded and work together, and then they go on to become very successful financial analysts because they have a very solid understanding of the accounting in the reports they evaluate. If you do decide to go the finance route, I would recommend that you take every accounting elective possible, and if you decide on accounting, do try to take as much finance as possible. The two fields are like two sides of a coin- they work on and look at the same reports and numbers, but from different perspectives. Good luck!

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