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Accounting vs. Finance: The Basics
The difference between finance and accounting is that accounting focuses on the day-to-day flow of money in and out of a company or institution, whereas finance is a broader term for the management of assets and liabilities and the planning of future growth.

If you want to exercise high-level control over a company’s strategy, finance could be for you. If you want to take a detailed look at a company’s books you’re probably more interested in accounting. It’s often said that accounting looks back to a company’s past financial transactions, whereas finance looks forward to plan future acquisition of assets.

Accounting is more about accurate reporting of what has already happened and compliance with laws and standards. Finance is about looking forward and growing a pot of money or mitigating losses. If you like thinking in terms of a longer time horizon you may be happier in finance than in accounting.

If you want to study accounting you can expect to take classes in accounting practices and accounting ethics, business law, tax law and accounting theory. If you study finance you’ll likely spend some time on macroeconomics and international finance in your classes, as well as on financial engineering and corporate finance.

Making the Choice: Finance vs. Accounting
The Difference Between Accounting and Finance

The difference between finance and accounting may just be a matter of idle curiosity for some of us, but if you’re choosing a college major or a career, it’s an important distinction. Particularly if you’re planning to take on student loans, you probably want to be sure that you’re choosing the right path.

Choose accounting and if you work for a big company you’ll likely report to the company’s Chief Financial Officer. You could have a job title like Controller, Tax Manager, Fund Accountant, Valuation Analyst or Financial Reporting Accountant. Alternatively, you could become a Tax Accountant, a Bookkeeper, Treasurer or Auditor, for yourself, a business, a non-profit or the government.