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Accounting or Finance Major

I am confused on which major to select from the two. Both seem interesting but I don't know how to decide which to go for. #business #college-major #finance #accounting


Both are great options. From personal standpoint, accounting I think would satisfy someone who enjoys numbers and dealing with taxes. Finance from my experience has been more service oriented. You have to still be good with numbers, but risk management analysis and managing your time and good customer service skills are needed. If you enjoy working with people financial advising might be something you would enjoy as its helping someone choose an investment portfolio that will enable them to save for retirement. Another choice in finance is an underwriter. You analyze risk and determine if someone can qualify for a loan. Brian Downey

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Ivan Alberto’s Answer

Hi Nimt, well I think the first thing you need to ask yourself is, what you really like?, which is what you really want to do?, both majors are very related because to be in accounting in some cases you will need some finance fundamentals for example to analyze financial statements, to make projections, to valuate investments, etc. and to be in finance you need to understand the origin of the information you will use to calculate financial indicators, to create financial strategies, etc , and the origin of the information is the accounting.
Even when both majors are very related, the activities you can do in each one can be very different depending in which bouquet you want to specialize for example in accounting you can specialize in finance, taxes, cost, inventory, traditional accounting, etc. and in finance you can be in trade markets, corporate finance, pricing, etc.
So may be if you're interested in both you can study accounting and the specialize in finance or vice versa study finance and then an accounting specialization, and a clear example is me I'm an Accountant with specialization in finance, but what you need to define is what of both really comply with your expectations and what you are really passionate about because that's what will make you successful in your professional life.
Good luck!!


Hi Ivan. Thank you for your reply! Since, I am from Rutgers, I am yet to decide which major to choose but your reply has given me some insight on both the majors. I am a little confused but your advice has helped me out. Since you are in the same field, I would love to know more about it. Thanks again, and I look forward in keeping in touch! Nimit J.

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Rose’s Answer

Begin with the courses common to both majors and work with an advisor to determine which path interests you more.


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Kevin’s Answer

Hi Nimit,


I echo both Ivan and Rose, but I wanted to add that you should read up on major developments in each field.


In addition, you can start following your local CFA (finance)/CPA (account) group and maybe even go to free events in your area.


Definitely do an internship in the summer after your sophomore year - if you want to understand both worlds, definitely consider something in the Controller's group at a company.


Finally, understand there's many subareas in each field - there's tax accounting, securities accounting, cost accounting, etc. for accounting, and there's corporate finance, investment finance, and investor relations, etc. for finance.


Edit: if you want to become a Controller/CFO of a company someday, you may need all of the skills above, just a thought.


Hi Kevin, Thank you for your reply! Your advice is very helpful and I believe you are a Senior Financial Analyst so you know more about both the fields respectively. Since you are in the same industry, I would love to know more about it. I would like to keep in touch with you and if there is any possibility of any mentorship with you? Thanks again, and I look forward to keeping in touch! Best,Nimit Nimit J.

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Julia’s Answer

Hi Nimit,


This is a great question, and one I can relate to personally! I started college as an accounting major, and then switched to finance. You've gotten some great advice, so I'll just add some thoughts based on my own personal experience.


Whether you choose to do accounting or finance, you will need knowledge of both. As a finance and tech professional, I am constantly having conversations about financial statements, revenue,costs- needless to say I hear accounting terms on a daily basis. By the same token, accounting professionals often need finance knowledge as well. From a coursework perspective, both can look similar. Real-world experience is the easiest way to tease out the differences.


All considered, internship experience can really help with this decision. It wasn't until I completed an accounting internship that I realized accounting wasn't for me. I decided to do informational interviews with the finance professionals at my company, which ultimately helped me decide what I wanted to do with my career. Informational interviews are valuable because they show you what your day to day could look like, and allow you to ask yourself "do i want to do that?"


Lastly, talk to your academic advisors. The "finance vs. accounting" decision is quite common, and they are likely to have great advice for you. If they know you well, they may be able to guide you a certain direction based on your personality or interests. At a minimum, they'll be able to show you courses, professors, networking events, and other on campus resources that may apply to each option.


I hope this helps. Don't be afraid to take your time figuring it all out!


Julia recommends the following next steps:

Schedule time with an academic advisor to discuss both options.
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If you have a LinkedIn, or even if you just know a handful of professionals, reach out to those in accounting and finance positions for informational interviews. If you are unfamiliar with informational interviews, there are tons of helpful articles online! Start here: https://career.berkeley.edu/Info/InfoInterview
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Look for internship opportunities in one or both of the options (again- use that network).
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