Accounting vs. Actuary
I have been looking into accounting and actuary as career choices but am having a hard time determining the difference between the two, other than actuary is more math-based. Any insight is helpful!
#accounting #actuary #math
Kellie (Kinsella)’s Answer
*How much money did the company make last year?;
*How much money did the company spend?
*What assets does the company currently own?
*What debts does the company need to pay?
In addition to understanding the financial position, accounting deals with making sure the financial information , transactions, and data flowing in and out of a company are recorded accurately, completely, and timely. Math skills are important to be good at accounting, however, advanced math skills are not always necessary. Good skills to have include being detail oriented, good with large sums of data and Excel, and understanding how a business works.
There are also accounting positions in most private companies (someone has to keep track of the money, "the books") and in the government. Working within a company as an accountant would be different from working as an auditor or tax practitioner in public accounting.
To be a successful consulting actuary, you need to attain at least the ASA credential but an FSA definitely makes you more marketable. Most consulting firms have actuarial study programs to help you achieve your designations, although to get hired at the entry level, the bigger firms will typically expect you to have already passed one or two exams. Having good Excel spreadsheet skills are essential, and knowing other computer packages to analyze large data sets (such as SAS, R, or Python) are a definite plus.
The rest of my comments will focus on the actuarial profession. Most actuaries work for insurance companies, accounting or consulting firms in the insurance industry. Some work for universities (as professors) or for government. Some work outside of the insurance industry, such as in the energy sector. As an actuary, you will use your knowledge of mathematics and statistics to solve business needs and problems.
In the insurance industry, many actuaries work with insurance accountants, especially financial reporting actuaries. These actuaries make important estimations for the balance sheet as to the amount of benefits that will be paid. Other actuaries in insurance companies design features and set the premiums that the insurance companies offer to consumers, (for example, auto insurance or life insurance). There are other focus areas for actuaries, as well. Most insurance companies have actuarial student rotation programs, where the 'actuarial student' will typically spend 18-24 months in one actuarial function and then rotate to another department. This provides the opportunity to learn the various sub-disciplines. Usually, as the student becomes credentialized through the exam process, they begin to focus in one area. However, it is not uncommon to switch from one area, later in their careers.
Whether you pursue accounting or actuarial science, reach out to local chapters of these professional bodies and ask if they have any programs to help those interested in understanding the profession. For the actuarial profession, you can also visit this website. beanactuary.org, for more information.
beanactuary, actuary, accountant