MBA in Accounting vs. MBA in Finance: What’s the Difference?

What's difference between MBA in Finance and MBA in Accounting
What's difference between MBA in Finance and MBA in Accounting

Accounting and finance experts play different roles in the same realm. Finance-minded professionals look for opportunities to expand client assets, while accountants focus on accurate reports of financial decisions. Choosing a side in the MBA in finance vs. accounting discussion depends on your long-term career goals.

Suffolk University’s Online MBA caters to both sides of this discussion in its curriculum. MBA program candidates select Accounting Principles or Finance concentrations taught by experienced faculty based in Boston. You can focus your advanced business education after learning more about each discipline.

Job Responsibilities

An essential aspect of career planning is aligning a job’s everyday activities with your interests. Professionals with accounting or finance backgrounds are often grouped together because of their interactions with money. MBA students at Suffolk University learn the differences between these paths in immersive courses developed over the past 20 years.


Accounting firms and departments record financial transactions to reflect past and present commitments. They monitor revenues and expenditures in real-time so that every dollar of a client or employer’s money is tracked. Accountants follow the equation of assets = liabilities + equity, zeroing out both sides of the equation in each transaction.

Day-to-day work for accounting-minded professionals allows other stakeholders to complete their work. Corporate leaders need financial statements to comply with tax and financial regulations. Records that reflect a company’s economic realities reassure potential investors and current shareholders.


The MBA in finance vs. accounting discussion centers on the distinction between retrospective and forward-looking work. Accounting professionals are highly-trained archivists of the financial past. Future investments and market inefficiencies are the domains of financial professionals.

Advisors, planners, and managers are committed to funding client operations with long-term growth in mind. They analyze myriad factors before recommending decisions that increase portfolio value. Financial experts keep the following in mind to achieve these goals:

  • Current client portfolios;
  • Global trends in markets, industries, and verticals;
  • Alignment with organizational or corporate strategies;
  • Merger and acquisition opportunities.

Suffolk University’s MBA program has trained students for workplace success from the first day on the job since 1999. Virtual courses go beyond lectures on theory to solve challenges faced by the Boston business community. As a result, graduates in the Accounting Principles and Finance areas are prepared to lead in their respective areas.

measures of success in MBA accounting

Measures of Success

Business professionals in every industry need to know the best ways to measure performance. The full-time MBA faculty at Suffolk University work with Boston-area business experts to model success for students. Understanding the measurements of success for each area is essential when considering the MBA in finance vs. accounting debate.


Accuracy is a recurring theme of an accountant’s work. A missed comma, decimal point, or dollar throws off records and potentially harms a client or employer’s reputation. Accounting professionals follow the highest standards to measure the success of their work.

Publicly traded companies are required to follow Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) in their operations. GAAP establishes the following constraints on accountants that double as measures of success:

  • Objectivity through verifiable and independent data;
  • Materiality through complete and useful reports;
  • Consistency from business year to business year;
  • Prudence in establishing accurate values of assets.

Every entry in a ledger or financial statement is measured against GAAP or similar principles. Successful accounting professionals adhere to GAAP and innovate processes for repeated compliance by others.


The business world is filled with key performance indicators (KPIs) related to financial success. A collection of short-term and long-term KPIs is essential for the full picture. QuickBooks lists KPIs useful for advisors and managers, including:

  • Net profit margin or the percentage of revenue as profit
  • A current ratio of assets to liabilities
  • A quick ratio of ability to cover short-term liabilities
  • Customer acquisition ratio of income from new customers

Financial professionals in the corporate world measure their investment decisions against competitors. Advisors and planners use client expectations and economic trajectory projections to determine success. The bottom line for finance decision-makers is earning enough money to cover liabilities while meeting or exceeding profit expectations.

Suffolk’s experienced faculty members will set you up for success in either field. They are world-class educators who actively work, conduct research, and consult in the business world.

Potential Employers

Business professionals choosing between an MBA in finance vs. accounting find overlap in terms of prospective employers. Finance and accounting graduates may find work at the same corporations. Regional, national, and international businesses need talent in both areas to achieve their goals.

There are distinct career paths in accounting and finance with specialty firms. MBA graduates with accounting concentrations can work for auditing firms and government agencies, for example. Finance-focused graduates may find employment with investment firms and banks that can best use their analytical skills.

Suffolk University trains successful professionals for a variety of industries. Problem-solving exercises encourage collaboration among peers, faculty, and business leaders across operational areas. The curriculum is rooted in a Boston business ecosystem with nationally renowned companies like General Electric and Liberty Mutual.

Prepare for MBA Accounting and MBA finance at Suffolk

Preparing for Accounting and Finance Careers at Suffolk

Your choice in the MBA in finance vs. accounting discussion is made easier at Suffolk University. This entirely virtual program gives equal weight to these concentrations along with Business Intelligence and Health Sector Management. No matter your specialization, you’ll receive an innovative education that anticipates the challenges of tomorrow.

The Accounting Principles concentration trains experts in legal compliance and financial reporting through courses in:

  • Cost and Managerial Accounting
  • Federal Taxation
  • Graduate Financial Accounting

MBA program candidates in the Finance concentration prepare to find value for their clients in classes such as:

  • General Theory in Corporate Finance
  • Investment Analysis
  • Options and Futures

Suffolk University is a regional leader in online business education with more than 20 years of experience. MBA students, dedicated faculty, and Boston business leaders collaborate on real-world challenges instead of textbook assignments. This distinctive approach prepares graduates for immediate success in the job market.

Take your next step into an accounting or finance career with Suffolk University’s MBA Online.

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