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B.S. Finance vs. B.S. Accounting

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Get started on a Bachelors in Finance or Accounting from WGU.

Bachelor of Science in Finance vs. Bachelor of Science in Accounting 

If you have a knack for numbers, an accounting or finance degree can be the key to your career success. But which degree should you pursue? That depends on your career goals. An accounting degree focuses on tracking money, while a finance degree focuses on the shifting and handling of money. 

For example, if you’d like to become an auditor or CPA, you will want to consider pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Accounting. If you’re interested in working as a financial manager in banking or with the stock market, then a B.S. in Finance curriculum may be a better fit. While both degree programs focus on money and budgets, your ultimate career aspirations will determine which degree program you choose.

What is a B.S. in Finance?

A Bachelor of Science in Finance degree helps candidates prepare for a career in financial planning, management consulting, wealth management, investment banking, and other finance-related careers. The curriculum of this program focuses on the application of skills and knowledge in traditional finance practice as well as on emerging trends and technologies. 

Students will take courses in finance, accounting, math and statistics, business, human resources, leadership, communications, and more. Designed with input from industry experts, WGU’s fully online B.S. in Finance degree program sets you up with a solid foundation in high-demand skills such as:

  • Financial modeling and data visualization 
  • Fintech
  • Blockchain/cryptocurrency
  • Financial planning
  • Portfolio management

Graduates will be prepared to work for a wide range of employers, from wealth management firms to commercial banking and more.  

What is a B.S. in Accounting?

WGU’s B.S. in Accounting prepares you for a rewarding career as an accountant, auditor, bookkeeper, and can help you prepare for becoming a Certified Professional Accountant. Learn to evaluate and manage business performance through auditing, payroll, financial planning, taxes, and other essential accounting principles while preparing for the CPA or other licensing exams. 

You’ll gain the industry-relevant knowledge and skills today’s employers look for through courses such as:

  • Financial accounting
  • Taxation
  • Business Law
  • Auditing
  • Intro to Spreadsheets

Businesses need professionals who can help manage their budgets and finances to keep everything running smoothly. This online degree from WGU prepares you for a successful career as an accountant in a variety of specialty fields.

Who Should Pursue a B.S. in Finance?

A B.S. in Finance prepares you for a career in financial planning, management consulting, wealth management, investment banking, and more. Students with an interest in business, personal finance, budgeting, and investing—rather than the regulatory areas required of accounting—will find a finance major to be an excellent option.

Coursework is designed to help you understand how businesses perform financially and can teach you how to use your skills and knowledge to predict how they will perform in the future. Designed with input from industry leaders, WGU’s ACBSP-accredited online finance degree is a technology-forward program designed to give a strong foundation for becoming a finance professional. Individuals who are organized, detail-oriented, and have strong analytical and statistical skills will succeed in this in-demand field. 

Earning your bachelor’s in finance ensures that your skills will be highly sought-after because every organization—from healthcare to technology—needs people to track its revenue and expenses.

Who Should Pursue an B.S. in Accounting?

A B.S. in Accounting degree is the ideal path for you if you plan to become a CPA, accountant, auditor, or bookkeeper, or go into a specialty area such as payroll or forensic accounting. This online bachelor's degree program is ACBSP accredited, a designation that’s widely respected by employers.

WGU’s B.S. in Accounting is an ideal fit for those who are interested in regulatory policies, GAAP, journey entries, and more. Students will learn to develop financial expertise in areas of auditing, payroll, financial planning, taxes, and other essential accounting principles while preparing for the CPA or other licensing exams. 

If you have a way with numbers and want to make a living out of it, a degree in accounting can put you on the path to a lucrative career.

Program Similarities

WGU’s finance and accounting bachelor's degree programs are industry-aligned around professional certifications to ensure that you gain the knowledge and skills today’s employers look for. Both degree programs prepare you with core business, human resources, and general education classes including:

  • Principles of Management
  • Fundamentals for Success in Business
  • Information Technology Management Essentials
  • Finance Skills for Managers
  • Business Environment Applications I: Business Structures and Legal Environment
  • Business Environment Applications II: Process, Logistics, and Operations
  • Innovative and Strategic Thinking

Working toward a degree in accounting or finance will equip you with the essential business knowledge, financial expertise, and technology skills today’s employers demand.

Program Differences

WGU’s accounting and finance degrees involve different areas of study. Our B.S. in Accounting primarily focuses on tracking money within an organization, while our finance bachelor’s degree centers on general management of funds specialized to the financial sector.  

Students in WGU’s online Bachelor of Science in Finance program will gain proficiency in reading and analyzing market trends, financial management, venture capital, investing, and other strategic financial skills. WGU’s B.S. in Accounting will prepare students with essential skills in auditing, financial recording, taxes, payroll, financial planning, and accounting principles. 

What Courses are in the Finance Program?

The curriculum in WGU’s fully online B.S. in Finance program is industry-aligned around professional certifications, including the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) and Financial Planning and Analysis Professional (awarded by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs) to ensure that you gain the knowledge and skills today’s employers look for. Courses in this degree program include:

  • Personal Finance
  • Financial Statement Analysis
  • Corporate Finance
  • Financial Management II
  • Enterprise Risk Management
  • Innovation in Finance
  • Finance Capstone
  • Financial Management I

What Courses are in the Accounting Program?

WGU’s Bachelor of Science in Business Administration–Accounting degree is the first step toward your career in accounting and a CPA certification. You will learn auditing, financial recording, taxes, payroll, financial planning, and other essential accounting principles while preparing for the CPA or other licensing exams. Courses in the B.S. in Accounting program include:

  • Financial Accounting
  • Taxation I
  • Cost and Managerial Accounting
  • Business Law for Accountants
  • Intermediate Accounting I
  • Intermediate Accounting II
  • Accounting Information Systems
  • Intermediate Accounting III
  • Auditing 

Finance Career Options

Financial professionals are employed by businesses such as universities, government agencies, nonprofits, healthcare providers, retail stores, and many more. Finance careers include: 

  • Financial manager
  • Financial advisor
  • Financial lawyer
  • Actuary
  • Cost estimator
  • Financial analyst

Accounting Career Options

Accounting is a great major for those that seek many job options post-graduation. Accountants are generally in high demand and these positions offer room for professional growth, such as becoming a CPA. Careers in accounting include:

  • Staff Accountant
  • Internal Auditor
  • Financial Analyst
  • Tax Manager
  • Financial Controller
  • Managerial and Forensic Accountant

Programs at a Glance

Finance – B.S.

This online finance program is career-focused so you will gain relevant...

This online finance program is career-focused so you will gain relevant industry skills.

  • Time: 70% of graduates finish similar programs within 42 months.
  • Tuition: $3,575 per 6-month term.
  • Courses: 41 courses in this program.

Some careers and jobs this business degree will prepare you for:

  • Financial analyst
  • Finance director 
  • Investment banker
  • Insurance agent
  • Accountant

The competency-based model at WGU allows you to move as quickly as you can master the material, and do your coursework on your schedule. Flexibility is key with the B.S. in finance at WGU.

Accounting – B.S. Business Administration

Have a knack for numbers or fine-tuning finances?...

Have a knack for numbers or fine-tuning finances?

  • Time: 70% of graduates finish within 42 months.
  • Tuition: $3,755 per 6-month term.
  • Courses: 41 courses in this program.

Some careers and jobs this business degree will prepare you for:

  • Accounting manager
  • Financial director
  • Vice president of finance and operations
  • Chief financial officer
  • Forensic accountant

Take your first step toward CPA certification and learn how to use GAAP, ledgers, and journals.

Successful businesses rely on both strategic accounting and finance decisions. If you have a passion for financial performance, an accounting or finance degree can lead you to a thriving career with high salary potential and job growth. Which path you pursue lies within your personal and professional interests. 

A finance degree teaches the most current best practices in automated trading, financial planning, portfolio management, fintech, blockchain cryptocurrency, venture capital, data visualization, and other strategic financial skills and technologies. 

An accounting degree incorporates business law, principles of financial and managerial accounting, economics, business structures and legalities, as well as innovative and strategic thinking that will benefit individuals, businesses, and communities. 

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in finance and accounting are in higher demand than ever—which makes an accounting or finance degree a great asset to pursue. 

Why WGU?

Be Career Ready

Designed with input from healthcare leaders, our accredited programs give you the skills and credentials today’s employers need. That’s why 95% of employers said they’d hire another WGU grad.1

1: 2022 Harris Poll of 300 employers of WGU grads.

Get and Keep the Job You Want to Have

87% of WGU graduates are employed in their degree fields—and 88% are employed full time.2

2: 2022 Harris Poll of 1,542 WGU grads.

Save Money

With flat-rate tuition that is 48% lower than the national average3 and generous need-based scholarships, our degrees are an excellent investment that you can afford.

3: National rates reported by the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data Systems in 2022. WGU average rate does not include rates for WGU Bachelor of Science, Nursing Prelicensure program.

Work as You Need While Going to School

At WGU, you can complete courses, take tests, and graduate on your schedule. In fact, many of our healthcare students work full-time while earning their life-changing bachelor’s or master’s degrees. 

"Take the time to invest in yourself and develop new skills and knowledge. Going back to school to get my accounting degree was one of the best decisions I made. I have no regrets over my decision to invest in myself and further my education. Plus, I did not have any student debt after graduation with WGU keeping tuition so affordable."

—Sandra Barber
B.S. Accounting

COST & TIME

An Affordable Bachelor's Degree

By charging per term rather than per credit—and empowering students to accelerate through material they know well or learn quickly—WGU helps students control the ultimate cost of their degrees. The faster you complete your program, the less you pay for your degree.

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WGU allowed me to continue doing the things I love, spending time with my family, and traveling for my job. Another major plus was that the competency-based system enabled me to focus my time in the areas I needed to learn to further my career.”

—Shonna Wessels
B.S. Finance

Prepared for Success on the Job

*From a 2022 Harris Poll of 300 employers of WGU graduates.

97% of employers said that WGU graduates were prepared for their jobs.*

95% of employers said that they would hire another WGU grad.*

99% of employers said WGU graduates met or exceeded expectations.*