Which is Better–a Master’s in Accounting or a Masters in Finance?

When you get a Master’s degree in a financial or business related field, many new doors open for you to get higher-paid positions in a company that you never had before. If your Master’s is in either Accounting or Finance, they will overlap in some areas, but there are other areas that Finance will have some edges over Accounting and vice versa. To see which field is better for you, we’ll examine what courses you will learn in both Accounting and Finance, which courses are unique to accounting, and which courses are unique to Finance.

Subjects Covered in Both Accounting and Finance

For some examples in comparing what the programs in Accounting and Finance will look like, we’ll look at a Master’s degree in Professional Accounting from the University of Washington as well as the University of Connecticut, and a Master’s degree in Finance from Vanderbilt University and Penn State University. With both accounting and finance you will learn about tax laws and how they relate to businesses, as well as risk management in a corporate world and financial securities. They’ll also both usually cover business ethics and laws surrounding them. So both Accounting and Finance programs will cover subjects that will be crucial in planning for the future of a business or financial institution.

Subjects Covered More Specifically by Accounting

The Accounting field will dive more specifically into internal auditing and tax codes for a business than Finance will. Some schools like the University of Washington will have specific tracks that specialize in either auditing or taxes for the degree. Most of these courses will deal with specialized financial reporting on business transactions, a more in-depth look at control in internal auditing and risk management, tax laws and consequences when partnerships and entities are formed, and procedures in dealings with the IRS. Basically, a Master’s in Accounting will prepare you better for overseeing the funds of a company in regards to management, control and taxation.

Subjects Covered More Specifically by Finance

The Finance field deals a little more specifically with external affairs when it comes to company decisions and where a company might invest its assets. What you will learn with this degree is how to predict where the markets in the economic spectrum as a whole are headed, and whether or not a capital investment has a great chance of succeeding in the market, or whether or not it is too much of a risk to invest. You will learn about many different models of businesses, what different strategies are for financial management, and specific points on mergers and acquisitions, the cornerstones for succeeding in the international markets. Basically a Master’s in Finance will prepare you better for understanding how the markets work and how you can predict the outcomes of investments.

In conclusion, if you’re more interested in examining, implementing controls, or keeping a business in line with the current tax laws, then a Master’s in Accounting is probably best suited for you. If you’re more interested in speculating where a business should place its funds or resources, then you’ll probably want to pursue a Master’s in Finance. So while the responsibilities in the careers available for both degrees can overlap, both specialize in subjects specifically geared for their own respective fields.

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