Important differences between accounting and finance career paths

Important differences between accounting and finance career paths

While accounting and finance seem to go together and the terms are often used interchangeably, both sectors have a different focus and scope.

It is important to be aware of the industry’s distinguishing features while having a working knowledge of both disciplines to evaluate the financial health of a department or company.

If you enjoy working with numerical and financial figures, then reading this blog will give you a deeper insight into the differences between finance and accounting careers, allowing you to carefully plan your journey!               

Accounting vs finance: definition

What is accounting?

Accounting refers to the process of reporting and communicating financial information by capturing an accurate snapshot of an organisation’s current financial position.

What is finance?

Finance typically deals with the processes involved with leveraging capital that is generated by an individual or an organisation, by implementing money management activities such as borrowing, lending, forecasting, budgeting and investing.

Main differences between finance and accounting




Types of international certifications

  • ACCA (Chartered Certified Accountant – UK)
  • ACA/CA (Chartered Accountant – UK and Commonwealth)
  • CPA (Certified Public Accountant - US)
  • CQF (Certificate in Quantitative Finance)
  • CTP (Certified Treasury Professional)
  • CF(Corporate Finance Qualification)
  • CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst)
  • CPRM (Certified Professional Risk Manager)
  • CVA (Certified Valuation Analyst)

Typical programme syllabus

  • Quantitative analysis
  • Risk management
  • Macro/microeconomics
  • Management accounting
  • Auditing
  • Budget analysis
  • Financial reporting
  • Forensic accounting
  • Business strategy
  • Financial accounting
  • Tax accounting
  • Information systems
  • International accounting
  • Professional standards and ethics
  • Financial accounting
  • Financial reporting
  • Risk management
  • Venture capital
  • Financial planning
  • Financial engineering
  • International finance
  • Private equity
  • Financial management
  • Financial markets
  • Behavioural finance
  • Corporate finance
  • Economics/econometrics
  • Financial mathematics
  • Advanced derivatives
  • Asset markets


Accounting vs finance: educational requirements and skills

Accounting and finance are two distinct disciplines that require aspirants to develop skills related to directing financial transactions for an organisation, financial planning, and financial information management.

These include the ability to communicate effectively, interpersonal skills, and problem-solving skills that are essential for a career in finance, just as important as having the technical knowledge and business acumen related to the field.

Types of qualifications required

To become an accounting or finance professional you are expected to possess an academic qualification that includes one of the FAME subjects - finance, accounting, management, and economics.

Besides acquiring knowledge on the topics that play a vital role in the world of business, you can also top up your degree with an array of specialisations such as banking, management, and administration.

Professional accreditations

When selecting your accountancy and finance study destination, you must make sure that your college is accredited by one of the top accounting and finance international bodies or universities in the world, backed by the QS World University rankings.

Singapore stands among the best countries to study accountancy and finance, which will allow you to develop the necessary skills, in line with your career and professional interests.

Accounting v finance: career options

When choosing your career, it becomes quite crucial to be able to pick either finance or accounting to make sure you're on the right path, especially during the first few years of your professional journey.

1. Accounting

Taking up a job role in the field of accounting will require you to track and report capital transactions, by ensuring compliance with the best industry practices.

2. Finance

Choosing a career path in finance will let you explore a wide range of options from consulting and analysis to investment banking and entrepreneurship.

3. Employer and clients’ summary

Accounting professionals are typically recruited by businesses, wealthy individuals, public accounting firms or in-house corporations.

Financial experts work on behalf of corporations, the government, and individuals primarily focusing on adequate capital or funding requirements based on the current business situation.

4. Careers in accounting

The vital accounting functions include identifying, recording, and communicating the economic results of a company, by implementing financial and cost analysis techniques.

Here is a list of accounting job titles:

  •       Auditor
  •       Bookkeeper
  •       Accounts payable clerk
  •       Treasurer
  •       Tax accountant

5. Careers in finance

Responsibilities within the financial department include evaluating, controlling and governing a company’s investments, assets, and resources and keeping an eye on enhanced profitability.

Some of the top finance positions include:

  •       Financial planner or manager
  •       Financial broker
  •       Financial advisor
  •       Investment banker
  •       Financial analyst

 Accounting vs finance: salary expectations

Both accounting and finance fields have proven to offer candidates with strong growth prospects both in terms of promotions and salaries.

1. What is the expected salary for an accounting career?

The average pay for accounting jobs in Singapore is around S$49,118 annually.

2. What is the expected salary for a finance career?

Average salaries in the finance department within the Singaporean territory can reach up to S$48,000/year.

3. How to combine accounting and finance careers?

Both accounting and finance are highly valuable for assessing a company’s performance and global position.

This makes it vital for you to understand the underlying principles of both disciplines and decide an area that you need to brush up your knowledge on and acquire the relevant skills in.

Frequently asked questions

1. What is the primary difference between finance and accounting?

In short, finance is the management of money whereas accounting is the management of financial information for an organization.

2. What is the right choice for me?

With both fields overlapping, it is common to feel unsure about which degree you should go after. So, focusing on the viewpoint, business purpose, thought process, and clients within each sector are the best way to go about it.

3. Which one is easier? Accounting or finance?

Both the fields are equally competitive when compared based on the learning outcomes. Therefore, asking yourself the right questions and deciding whether you want to make better business decisions or develop greater financial institutions, can help you select the right course.

4. What are the consequences of switching between accounting and finance?

If you have gained experience in one field and are looking to switch over to the other, the experience gained will automatically help you support the work of either an accounting or finance team, as both departments have the potential to offer challenging work opportunities that are well compensated.

Still not sure whether accounting or finance is up to your street? Explore Accounting and Finance diploma, undergraduate, postgraduate programmes offered by the London School of Business and Finance (LSBF) Singapore to help you get started on your accounting and finance career path today!

Suggested Programmes

Diploma in Accounting and Finance

This diploma will prepare you for a successful career in the financial sector. You will also learn about cost accounting, international business management, quantitative methods and much more.

Advanced Diploma in Accounting and Finance

Gain the key skills you need to start your career in finance. Alternatively, this diploma can be your first step towards a higher education qualification.

Higher Diploma in Accounting and Finance

This diploma, designed to help you achieve your academic and professional goals, focuses on complex financial subjects including taxation, auditing and business law.

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