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Is Finance a Hard Major?

Finance, which is the study of money and managing it, is a lucrative career field. If you are thinking about getting into Finance, you should take it as a major. It is worth considering whether it will be a challenging major for you. 

Finance is a moderately hard major as it requires students to have and use a variety of skills and study different subjects. You may find finance hard if you don’t enjoy economics, research, and math, or if you don’t have analytical, research, and digital skills. 

This article will help you consider whether finance will be hard for you as an individual. It also can help you decide whether you should study this course. 

Finance Degree Difficulty

Finance Uses a Lot Of Math and Economics

How hard you find finance depends on your strengths and weaknesses in different skills and subject areas. Finance includes the study of a vast range of subjects, including policies, evaluations, and economics. 

It also involves skills like critical thinking and research. 

This section will explore all the skills and subjects you will study under finance. As you explore this section, consider how easy or hard each skill is for you. 

See Is an Economics Degree Worth It?

Subjects You Study in Finance 

Finance is an interdisciplinary subject that delves into various topics, including: 

  • Math
  • Policy 
  • Economics 

How hard you find Finance will depend on how hard you find subjects like mathematics and economics. 

Is Finance a Lot of Math?

Finance is a lot of math. For instance, you may use math when evaluating investments and calculating how beneficial they are. You may also need mathematics skills in budgeting and cash flow valuation, which are standard parts of most finance syllabuses

The most common math topics in finance include: 

  • Arithmetic: At its core, arithmetic involves addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. These are essential functions to use when calculating budgets and evaluating the performance and growth of investments. 
  • Algebra: Algebra is the use of equations and can be used to predict economic trends and behaviors. 
  • Graphing: To predict and study trends, it is likely that you will have to understand and use graphing functions. 

In the digital age, it is essential to note that computer programs like Microsoft Excel can carry out various mathematical functions. So, even if your math skills aren’t the best, you will still be able to navigate finance, provided that you are tech-savvy. 

Does Finance Involve Economic Analysis?

Finance is closely tied with Economics, which is the study of resources, resource distribution, and how approaches to resources can shape policies and laws. Economics is closely tied to finance because it is essential to know a country’s policy towards money and resources.

Knowing this can help you predict economic trends and make financial decisions accordingly. You may find finance easier if you can quickly grasp economic concepts and tools. 

Skills You Need in Finance

You will find the study of finance easier if you have a command of specific academic skills like research and analyzing data. You may also do better in this major if you have a good command of language and the ability to present strong arguments. 

This section explores the specific skill areas that will help make your Finance degree easier. 

Research Skills

To understand the theories you learn in finance and understand the different factors impacting Economics, you will need to continuously conduct research. 

Research in the field of finance may include reading papers on finance theory and developments in theoretical models. It will also include researching the financial policies of different organizations, states, and countries. 

The study of Finance will be easier if you can read and process research papers and data (source).

Analytical Skills

To review the performance of particular investments or understand financial modeling, you will need to know how to interpret data. This may include looking at and interpreting statistics or reviewing data from financial institutes. 

You will find finance easier if you have strong analytical skills. 

Argumentative Skills 

Once you draw conclusions from your analyses, you will need to present an argument on your findings and recommendations. These recommendations may include suggestions on what to invest in or how to allocate funds. 

To make these suggestions, you must have strong verbal and written argumentative skills. 

Digital Skills 

While digital skills are not a prerequisite for finance, computer literacy will help you process and present information faster. In studying this major, you may need to access and use online databases and mathematical and accounting programs. 

Is Finance Harder Than Accounting?

If you are interested in studying money, you may wonder how to choose between finance and accounting. 

Finance is considered easier than accounting. While finance deals with strategic decisions to make money, accounting is more hands-on and requires you to have a good command of math and pay close attention to detail. 

Here are the reasons that accounting is considered harder than finance: 

  • Accounting is more technical. Accountants learn how to keep and record financial records. A qualified accountant typically works with an individual or company, files tax returns, ensure financial compliance, and forecasts earnings and budgets. Accounting requires you to know the ins and outs of the financial laws and precedents in a specific industry and country. 
  • Accounting requires more mathematical skills. When studying accounting, you will need a much better command of math as compared to finance. You will need to be exceptionally proficient in arithmetic. 

If you choose between accounting and finance, you may find that finance is more accessible. However, don’t just choose finance because it seems like the easier subject. There are various ways you can think about whether this major is right for you.

How Do I Know if Finance Is Right for Me? 

Choosing a major is an important exercise. 

To know if finance is right for you, carefully consider whether your skills align with the skills you need for finance. You also might want to consider whether a degree in Finance would suit your career preferences. Taking some introductory finance courses and talking to your teachers will help. 

Consider What Subjects and Skills Are Your Strengths

The first part of this article considers what subject knowledge and skills you’ll need to study finance. If you enjoy math, Economics, and policy research and are comfortable using digital, argumentative, and research skills, finance may be right for you. 

If these skills and subjects aren’t your strength, you should consider another major. 

Consider What Career Fields You Want To Pursue 

It’s essential to make sure your choice of major aligns with the career pathway you want to pursue. Once you complete your finance degree, you can become a financial advisor, banker, or financial analyst. As you get more experienced, you may be able to become a Chief Financial Officer. 

These career pathways are explored in further detail below. 

Financial Advisor

Financial Advisors work with individuals and companies to provide guidelines on managing money. This may include creating investment strategies and long-term financial plans. Financial advisors help clients with wealth maintenance and creation (source).

Banker

Bankers can occupy a variety of roles within public and private banks. When client-facing, bankers can help with mortgages, loans, and opening checking and savings accounts. Bankers can also work to manage the bank’s finances and investments. 

A degree in Finance will provide an excellent foundation to become a banker (source). 

Financial Analyst

Financial analysts typically work with companies and large corporations. They gather and analyze financial data to create budgets, projections, and forecasts. There are several types of financial analysts, including a corporate development analyst and an equity analyst (source).

Chief Financial Officer

Once you have a significant amount of experience working in the field of Finance, you may then consider becoming a Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of a company. A CFO oversees all the financial operations within a company. 

This includes experiences, transactions, and wealth management (source).

Try To Study Some Introductory Finance Courses

Another way to gauge whether finance is right for you is to study a little bit of this subject before choosing it as your major. You can do this by enrolling in an introductory course or reviewing basic finance textbooks. 

Some digital introductory courses include: 

  • Introduction to Finance and Accounting Specialization hosted by the University of Pennsylvania on Coursera. This course focuses on concepts like cash flow, investments, and rate of return. 
  • Financial Markets from Yale University on Coursera. This is a highly rated course that focuses on concepts like securities, insurance, and analyses. It also focuses on leadership skills and needs within the field of Finance. 
  • Foundations of Finance through the University of Cambridge on edX. This online course explores topics like financial reporting, financial risk, forecasting, and cash flow. If you opt for the paid version, you will be able to test your knowledge with assignments and tests and receive a course completion certificate once you’ve finished. 

Meanwhile, some beginner-level Finance textbooks (links to Amazon) that will give you an overview of the subject include: 

  • Foundations of Finance: As its name suggests, this textbook focuses on the core principles of Finance. These include the valuation of financial assets, capital structure, and investments. As well as an explanation of core concepts, it has real-world examples of the concepts and has problems to solve. 
  • Introduction to Finance: Markets, Investments, and Financial Management: This textbook delves into institutions, markets, and investments. It has been designed to provide students with a foundational overview of finance principles and help them decide whether they enjoy the subject. 
  • The Finance Book: This is not primarily a textbook but rather, it presents a practical overview of financial concepts easy for beginners to grasp. It’s written in narrative and conversational style and focuses on how finance principles can be applied in a business context. 

Look for an Internship or Work Experience in Finance

Reading about or studying finance is not the same as hands-on, practical experience with it. Look for internships within the field of finance, which may include interning at a bank or for financial executives within corporate companies. 

During your work experience, be sure to observe the finance executives around you engage in tasks. You also might want to talk with your internship supervisors about the challenges and benefits of working within the finance field. 

Work experience can go a long way in helping you decide whether finance is right for you. 

Consult With Your Teachers

Your high school teachers or college professors will be able to help you understand whether you should take finance as a major, and will know your particular strengths and weaknesses. Most will also be familiar with the course structures of finance majors in universities. 

They will give you advice about whether you can handle the course work or course load (source).

Conclusion 

Finance can be a challenging major, depending on what your skills and strengths are. If you don’t enjoy subjects like math and Economics, finance may be a challenging major for you. 

In addition, if you are not good at data and policy analysis, you may find it hard to carry out some of the tasks within the field of finance. 

However, to decide whether to take finance as a major, try to understand what subjects you’ll study and engage in hands-on experience within the field of finance. Doing this will help you decide whether to take it as a major. 

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