Majoring in accounting or finance provides an education that prepares students to work in a variety of business positions. Some business administration degree programs offer students the option to select an area of specialization, such as accounting and finance. Undergraduate and graduate degree programs are available in both finance and accounting.
The median annual salary for financial managers in 2011 was $107,160, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Financial managers work for businesses to monitor and manage the company’s financial health. Managers prepare reports, analyze data and provide advice to upper management on the business’s finances and methods to improve profits. Types of financial manager positions include controllers, treasurers, risk managers, cash managers and credit managers. The BLS reports the minimum education for financial managers is a bachelor’s degree, but many employers prefer job candidates with a master’s degree in economics or finance. In addition, financial managers typically have a minimum of five years of experience in a financial or business position.
Loan officers meet with individuals or businesses to discuss loan options, answer questions, obtain personal and financial information and explain the terms of loans. The loan officer uses the information from applications to analyze and evaluate the client’s finances and determine if they meet the qualifications for a loan. Loan officers may specialize in business loans while others work with individuals for personal, car and mortgage loans. According to the BLS, commercial loan officers must have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in economics, finance or business. Mortgage loan officers must have a license to qualify for a position in the field. The annual median salary for loan officers in 2011 was $58,030, according to the BLS.
Personal financial planners in 2011 earned an annual median salary of $66,580, according to the BLS. Financial planners work with individuals to provide advice on investments, insurance and taxes. Personal financial planners typically meet with clients to discuss their goals and investment options. For example, clients may require investments and financial information to fund their children’s college education. The BLS reports that the minimum education for personal financial planners is a bachelor’s degree, but graduate degrees in finance, accounting, economics or business can enhance employment opportunities.
The annual median salary for accountants and auditors in 2011 was $62,850, according to the BLS. Accountants evaluate financial records for businesses and individuals to ensure accuracy and compliance with laws. Some professional accountants specialize in taxes for individuals and businesses. According to the BLS, accountants can work as public, managerial or government accountants. To work as a certified public accountant, individuals must meet state requirements for education and experience and pass a national examination. Many states require public accountants to complete an accounting degree program that consists of a minimum of 150 credit hours.