7 Things People Get Wrong About Accounting and Finance Degrees

By Albert Howard

Declaring a major is perhaps the most challenging task for most college students. Since there are abundant options, students must carefully consider and evaluate their choices. Among the few renowned choices is choosing a business-related accounting and finance degree. However, you will find that many students are reluctant to enter the finance field. It’s primarily because of their vague understanding of accounting and finance and its sky-rocketing scope. 

Firstly, it’s crucial to differentiate between accounting and finance. While the two subjects go together, they’re immensely different from each other. In simple words, finance relates to managing huge cash flows, and accounting focuses on analyzing financial records.

Accounting and finance deserve much more credit than they receive. Besides, these degrees teach crucial skills to individuals and prepare them for the real world more analytically. However, like every other field, accounting and finance also carry several misconceptions—many of which we will address in this article. 

1. Few jobs

The most common misconception regarding accounting and finance is the unclarity in future job prospects. However, you’d be astonished to discover how recently in-demand accountants and financial analysts have become. Almost every other company requires efficient employees in their finance and accounting departments. 

Hence, the rumor of fewer jobs in these fields is entirely untrue. Instead, suppose you pursue an intensive accounting degree such as CPA or ACCA. In that case, your demand in the job market will rise if you’re inclining toward completing a CPA, especially if you’re considering Wiley CPA prep material to complete it. 

2. Men dominate the industry

Another common misconception is that men primarily dominate the accounting industry. It was the case till a few decades ago, but it is no longer valid. Diversity and inclusion have become pivotal practices in the accounting and finance industry. A recent study confirms that in 2020, 59.7% of US accounting services employees were women. Another study claims that the number was significantly boosted from a decade ago when around 30% of women contributed to accounting services in the US. 

It is natural to feel that men are always given a superior hand, especially in the corporate world. However, the stats are reassuring and confirm how the industry is evolving, recognizing talent, and becoming more inclusive. 

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3. You must be a math genius 

Most people associate accounting and finance with numbers and tricky formulas. Nonetheless, becoming an accountant requires much more than problem-solving. Being a good decision-maker, a well-equipped employee, an analytical individual, and a well-sought-out communicator are essential traits. 

You need not be a number genius to enter accounting or finance. The job requires basic, entry-level math skills and nothing further. There are specific formulas, but there’s no need to memorize them because everything works through automation now. There are customized systems that do all the tricky mathematical calculations for you. 

4. You only get to work in an accounting firm

Many believe you can only work in an accounting firm after pursuing accounting or finance. But that’s not true. As mentioned above, small to big companies require accountants and finance experts. 

Working at an accounting firm might be the most common finance job, but that is not the only role or position one can enter. You can work in the public or private sector such as the NHS, Ministry of Defense, film industry, police, sports industry, or run your own business. In short, you have a diverse range of categories to choose from, so don’t divert away from pursuing a finance role because you do not wish to work in an accounting firm for the rest of your life. 

5. Your role will be crunching numbers and sitting at your desk 

Accounting and finance are varied fields, and we cannot emphasize this enough. You will not have to work with numbers like a finance expert. Your role will be much more meaningful than that. 

Technological advancements are constantly changing accountants’ roles. Now, they’re doing less bookkeeping and more advising. As an accountant, you will find yourself taking meetings daily, producing financial reports, working on different projects, and partaking in discussions regarding improvements and evolvement. Hence, accountants do not sit idle and do nothing. Instead, they play a critical role in business development and are an integral asset to most companies. 

6. Accountants are dull 

Referring to the previous point, accountants have a much more meaningful role than most people realize. But they are not appreciated enough for their contribution.

An accountant’s role is anything but dull. These days accountants play detective. They follow money trails, investigate fraud, uncover inconsistencies, identify problems, and present solutions. Accountants also play a primary role in forensics by analyzing and evaluating financial information to help lawyers prosecute criminals. It could include identifying illegal money laundering trails or misrepresenting insurance claims. Similarly, many businesses require auditors and bookkeepers for various tasks and roles.

Accounting is not a mundane role. You’d be amazed to see the demand for accountants, finance experts, auditors, and bookkeepers.

7. Incredibly challenging 

Accounting and finance aren’t ordinary business degrees. They’re a specific kind of major that primarily focuses on two domains. However, that doesn’t mean they’re challenging to pursue. Accounting and finance degrees are not as tough as people make them seem. Students face challenges in every subject, and the case is no different with accounting and finance. However, that doesn’t make it impossible. These challenges are normal and easy to counter. 

You must work hard, remain consistent, and be positive. Suppose you begin your degree with the mindset that it is impossible to do. In that case, you might face several difficulties along the way. But if you step in with the right attitude, you can accomplish more than you imagined. 

Final thoughts 

Accounting and finance are rising in popularity because of their increased demand. However, few misconceptions force students to steer clear of entering the industry. What’s essential is for everyone to do thorough research before making a decision. The best way to learn about a major is to talk to industry professionals and your seniors. They can tell you the true value and scope any degree carries. It will also make it simpler for you to understand your interest and choose your major proficiently.

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