Finance is a scientific discipline in which an individual attempts to analyze the way that an entity uses its financial resources for the purpose of helping that individual or organization to use those resources more effectively. (It is important to note that finance is not actually an accounting specialty, but is instead a separate field that is closely related to what is taught in accounting schools.) Finance professionals who work in the field of accounting analyze financial documents; analyze an individual’s or an organization’s investment portfolio; determine whether the return on a specific investment is worth the risk; examine an individual’s or an organization’s financial goals to determine the best way for that individual or organization to achieve those goals; identify areas in which the individual or organization is wasting money; identify methods that an individual or organization can use to legally lower the individual or organization’s taxes; suggest techniques that an individual or organization can use to save money; and perform other similar tasks .
Individuals in finance may be required to perform a number of different tasks that vary from position to position, and an individual may be given any of a number of different job titles depending on the specific responsibilities of a position. Some of the more common job titles for an individual who is working in both finance and accounting include accountant, budget analyst, credit analyst, financial analyst, financial examiner, financial manager, financial planner, financial specialist, and staff accountant.
The specific degree that an individual must have in order to obtain a finance position in accounting can vary greatly from position to position. However, many employers require an individual to have a bachelor’s degree in accounting with a series of courses in finance, a bachelor’s degree in business with a series of accounting and finance courses, a bachelor’s degree in finance with an accounting certificate or a series of accounting courses, a master’s degree in finance, a Master’s Degree in Business Administration (MBA), or another similar degree from an accredited accounting school. Some employers may also require an individual to obtain a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) certificate, a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) certificate, a Personal Financial Specialist (PFS) certificate, or another similar certificate in order to obtain a position. A Certified Public Accountant (CPA) License, a license from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) that is appropriate for the position that the individual is pursuing, and/or another similar license may be required for some positions.