accounting or finance

Accounting or Finance: Which Degree Works For You?

When making the decision to go back to school, choosing a major can be a difficult decision. If you’ve narrowed down your options to accounting or finance, you may be wondering: what’s the difference? Although both career paths rely heavily on numbers and the understanding of their role in a company or person’s life, there are major differences when it comes to coursework, career availability, and unique challenges that may arise. This article will help determine which undergraduate path works for you.

The Similarities and Differences in Coursework

Gordon College offers robust 100% online academic programs for both accounting and finance undergraduate degrees. Similar coursework you’ll find in both undergraduate degrees include:
  • Business Law
  • Statistics in Business and Economics
  • Financial Management
  • Senior Seminar: Management, Strategy and Ethics
Accounting coursework at Gordon College includes topics such as cost accounting, federal income taxation, and auditing. In addition, this degree fully prepares you to take the Certified Public Accounting (CPA) exams for licensure. Finance coursework at Gordon College includes topics such as financial markets and institutions, risk management and insurance, and personal financial planning. Moreover, this degree fully prepares you to take the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) and Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Level 1 exams for licensure. Whichever program you choose, you’ll ultimately be able to complete classes that will help you move up at your current company or pursue a different career altogether.

Career Opportunities in Accounting vs Finance

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there is continued growth in the job market for those who earn a Bachelor of Arts in Accounting or Finance. Most careers are projected to grow as fast as the average rate, 4%, from 2019-2029 and some are projected to grow faster than average.

Career Opportunities for Accounting:

  • CPA
  • Internal Auditor
  • Budget Analyst
  • Financial Examiner

Career Opportunities for Finance:

  • Financial Analyst
  • Financial Advisor
  • Personal Financial Advisor
  • Credit Analyst
Salary depends highly on a combination of years of experience, education, networking, and overall capabilities of the applicant. However, statistics show the difference in earning potential for those who hold either a BA degree in accounting or finance. For example, the average salary for a CPA is $68,187 and somewhat common career paths that can lead to increase in pay include: Chief Financial Officer, Financial Controller, Chief Executive Officer, and Vice President of Finance. Comparatively, the average salary for a Financial Analyst is $61,652 and common career paths that may lead to increase in pay include: Senior Financial Analyst and Finance Manager. Despite the differences between the two, both are considered high paying careers. Both your career and earning opportunities are bound to be promising when you earn a BA in accounting or finance.

Challenges Found in Accounting vs Finance

Although you find your accounting or finance work enjoyable, no career is without its challenges. It’s helpful to be aware of these possible challenges before fully committing down a path. In an Accounting Today survey, thought leaders reported their concerns of challenges facing accountants such as:
  • Advancements in technology
  • Ability to adapt to rapid change
  • Cyber security
According to Investopedia, financial advisors work through many challenges on a regular basis such as:
  • Managing client expectations
  • Remaining in touch with all clients
  • Managing the ever-increasing availability of information
  • Honing in on soft skills such as emotional awareness
Overcoming challenges can help mold you into a better worker and a better person overall. At Gordon College, experienced faculty and staff help students face challenges head on by preparing them with essential knowledge and skill sets.

Earn an Accounting or Finance Degree from Gordon College

With the opportunity to finish your accounting or finance degree online at Gordon College, there’s no better time to start than today. Gordon College offers six convenient starting points throughout the year, and courses are seven-to-eight weeks long. Whether you choose to pursue your BA in Accounting or Finance, you’ll feel confident moving forward within an in-demand industry.

Contact Information

Gordon College is one of the nation's premier Christian colleges and located just north of Boston. We offer students extraordinary access to leading-edge opportunities for intellectual, professional, and leadership development to address the increasingly complex challenges of a global society. Gordon stands apart from other outstanding institutions in New England by combining an exceptional education with an informed Christian faith.


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