Accounting and Finance are closely related, but different. Accounting tends to focus on the day-to-day management of financial reports and records via financial statements, income statements and balance sheets whereas Finance uses the same information to project future growth, analyse expenditure and to strategise company finances.
Accounting will therefore involve the use of professional principles and processes used to manage numbers whereas Finance involves financial strategy and control which influences the numbers in a business.
Accounting specialisations include auditing, tax, risk assessment, international accounting, and management accounting. Forensic accounting is another possible option, allowing students to immerse themselves in real-life case studies relating to fraud, electronic crime, insurance claims and corporate ethics.
Common specialisations for those who study finance include corporate finance, financial evaluation, derivatives, capital markets, financial modelling, quantitative finance, investment management, financial regulation, and financial reporting.
In the current South African economy, the jobs that are in most demand are for financial reporting accountants, financial managers, analysts, corporate finance specialists and internal auditors. Between 70% and 80% of professionals have indicated a sense of confidence for job opportunities in the sector – depending on the specific industry.
Graduate starting salaries range from R178-R210 000 for auditing (TIPP), R276-R320 000 for TOPP with Finance graduate salaries ranging from R266-R300 000. Starting salaries for Investment and Business Analysts range from R300-R470 000.