Finance is a general term for things regarding financial management, the preparation, growth, and utilization of funds. It usually refers to the process by which money is made to be spent in different productive activities. In simple terms, it refers to the ability of a person or a company to raise money, make investments, borrow loans, or pay wages.
Like any profession, finance can become quite specialized. In fact, this is one of the few occupations that can offer an education along with a practical experience. If you want to become a financial manager, you will have to master the principles and concepts of accounting, statistics, auditing, risk management, monetary planning, business law, economics, and banking. You must also learn how to effectively communicate and collaborate with other experts. At the same time, you need to understand the different approaches to financial management.
Most accounting professionals who seek finance degrees opt to specialize in accounting. A number of finance-related positions are available, such as public finance, forensic accounting, corporate finance, or government finance. A number of private sector finance careers, such as investment banking, real estate, venture capital, and asset management are also available. Depending on your interests and the specific areas that you would like to focus your career in, you can pursue a number of accounting careers.
In terms of the general principles of accounting, there are two main branches of accounting: the investment banking and the private financing sector. The former mainly deals with short term financing while the latter extends over long and short terms. Finance graduates interested in the banking sector should therefore complete a banking degree, preferably a bachelor’s degree. There are numerous banking programs at American colleges and universities, so you can choose the finance program that best suits your educational goals and interests.
On the other hand, if you prefer accounting vs finance then you would be interested in the specialization that focuses on analyzing and providing advice on financial products such as products, bonds, equities, derivatives, mutual funds, etc. in the financial arena. In this aspect, finance graduates can expect to have a wide range of specializations to choose from. Some of the popular finance specializations include risk management, international finance, municipal finance, alternative investment banking, and financial accounting.
Finance graduates looking for an accounting or finance degrees can also opt to pursue an undergraduate degree in business, which has become a popular choice for finance professionals. Accounting graduates can look forward to having many specialties to choose from, such as public accountants, insurance sales representatives, managers, auditors, internal auditors, or forensic accountants. Getting an accounting degree also allows you to have more advanced financial skills and knowledge, which you can put to use when working in a number of finance-related fields, depending on your individual preferences. An example of a graduate program in accounting is the MS Financial Accounting and Reporting Program, offered by Michigan State University. The undergraduate level is usually suited for those who already have bachelor’s degrees in business or almost any other field, but for those considering furthering their education in business, the Bachelor of Science in Accounting can be a great option.
There are three main concentrations available in the field of finance, including asset and liability management, personal finance, and capital budgeting. The most popular area of focus for personal finance majors is finance planning, with an emphasis on budgeting and saving for retirement, as well as other long term goals. Finance specialists can also choose to specialize in other areas, such as real estate financing, investments, entrepreneurship, or even public finance. Corporal finance is the area of finance where corporate assets are invested, such as through mergers and acquisitions, capital budgeting, short and long term investing, and the overall management of company finances.
Public finance is another area of focus for students looking to get into the world of finance. With a focus on governmental organizations and other non-profit organizations, public finance is about how these organizations make money and spend it, as well as managing their debt. The courses offered in the degree program for public finance are quite varied, covering a wide range of topics from tax laws, to labor laws, to lobbying, to development finance. All finance graduates will be prepared to enter the highly competitive field of corporate finance.