Accounting or Finance : Which One Should I Pursue?

What Is the Difference Between Accounting and Finance?

The difference between accounting and finance is that accounting places its focal point on the daily cash flow of a company, corporation or institution. Accounting involves the documentation, reporting, and maintenance of an organisation’s finances. Finance, however, focuses more on the management aspect. This could be for individuals, corporations or governments managing liabilities and assets as well as strategising plans for future growth. Accounting is responsible for producing financial statements, while finance is responsible for analysing them. To put it in simpler terms, accounting focuses on the organisation’s previous finances, while finance focuses on the future goals. Nevertheless, there are exceptions to practising accounting in Malaysia. 

The Difference Between Chartered and Certified Accountants

Chartered accountants (CA) handle financial records. Based on these records, accountants give professional advice and audit accounts. CAs generally provide an in-depth explanation on taxation affairs. Certified Public Accountants (CPA) make sure that financial statements are in alignment with local laws and regulations. CPAs are in charge of analysing tax returns, conducting audits for their clients and tabulating budget reports. Nevertheless, there are exceptions to practising accounting in Malaysia. Not everyone who has an accounting or finance degree can be called an accountant, unless he or she becomes a member of the Malaysian Institute of Accountants (MIA). In the Malaysian constitution, the word ‘accountant’ is protected under the Accountants Act of 1967. Meaning, anyone with an accounting or finance degree can not be called an accountant until they are a registered member of the MIA. 

How Does Finance and Accounting Impact Your Career Respectively?

Finance

Studying finance opens doors to various industries for students. To put it into perspective, every industry that deals with cash flow needs financial management. It’s more of a challenge to think of an industry that does not need someone to handle their financial records and such. Another perk of having a finance degree is that, if you are interested in obtaining a managerial position, a finance degree can certainly help you get there. This is because managers need to have a thorough understanding of the company and the skills set that comes with a finance degree that fit the criteria of management. You will inherently know the ins and outs of a company’s finances through years of analysing their financial documents.

Accounting

There is a clear path to follow after graduating for accounting students, whereby they will have some idea of where their career will take them and what to expect once employed in comparison to other majors. Much like finance, accounting is needed in every business; even average people need help with taxes from time to time, so there are always work opportunities. Entry level accountants make approximately RM3,000 a month. After 3 to 5 years of experience, you could make an estimate of RM5,000 monthly. Salary rates can potentially increase to 5 figures after passing the 5 year mark. 1

Both finance and accounting degrees require basic and advanced mathematical skills, which is a given since you will be dealing with numbers and calculations on a daily basis. If you are interested in pursuing a degree in finance, UNITAR’s Bachelor of Finance (Islamic Finance) programme is tailored for students who have a passion for specialising in Islamic finance. Students can expect to learn about taxation, Shariah audit, Zakat and other areas of Islamic financing through our bachelors in Islamic finance programme. Classes will be made available online and on campus. UNITAR also offers a Bachelors of Accounting programme that is available online as well. In addition, our affordable accounting degree allows students to take advantage of prior learning experiences to gain admission. In return, study duration and costs could be reduced. Aside from being an affordable accounting degree, students will have the option to apply for a 100% PTPTN loan and other student financial aid (terms and conditions apply).

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