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Please help me decide as I don't know what to major in of Accounting and Finance.

A photo of studentofcommerce studentofcommerce
I plan to do either CFA or CA. Can someone please tell me how's Finance? Does it have a lot of math?
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A photo of Lumos Lumos
Hi studentofcommerce,

That's a tough question. How far are you into your studies?

Many people try and pick one of the four main streams (accounting, consulting, finance, marketing) because they think that's what they want to do, but really have no idea what the field entails (how many times have you heard "I'm going to be an investment banker and make tons of money"?).

If possible, I'd suggest taking a wide variety of classes that give you good exposure to your fields of interest.

To answer your question... From what little exposure I have to the fields, here's my perception of Accounting and Finance:

Accounting divides into Financial Accounting and Managerial Accounting.

Financial accounting deals with things like preparing financial statements, tracing the flow of cash within a business/organization. This will require you to follow formatting rules and structure. If you think in a very structured manner and enjoy regularity, financial accounting might be right for you. Financial accounting deals with carefully documenting and analyzing the past to help understand how a business/organization functions financially. You'd be dealing with numbers a lot.

Managerial accounting deals with the information provided by financial statements and, as a field, tends to be focused on the future (we have the information - now we have to decipher it and act on it). As a friend of mine put it, managerial accounting is about analyzing statistics and using the information you have to help you make educated decisions.

Accounting is a good place to start if you'd like to progress further to managerial positions. A firm grasp of a how a company functions financially can be a highly valuable asset.

-----

I have little exposure to finance other than personal anecdotes. That being said... Here's my take:

Finance (not to be mistaken for financial accounting) encompasses things like investing, banking, stocks... My uncle manages a mutual fund, and when I ask him about his job, he said that his job was interesting because at the core of his business, his goal is to understand how the world works. What do I mean by that? Well, during a recession, people don't really buy new cars. That doesn't mean that people do not need to buy cars, though. They rely on alternatives - used cars. So, during a recession, used car companies tend to do well in general. It's obviously more complicated than that, but it's interesting to think of the world holistically. He also spends time analyzing and visiting specific companies that he may be interested in investing in. You would likely be thinking in both a quantitative (numbers) and qualitative manner.

I hope that helps a little bit. The best way to really understand what these fields encompass is to take classes in both of them. I think it unwise to pick a degree or career path this early without understanding what you're committing to.

Good luck.


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A photo of QCman QCman
Just from what i know, financial modeling can get a bit mathematical, i dont know how mathematical, and i dont know about the level of difficulty.

A CA is a bit more in-depth and long term process to achieve, there is a lot of speculation these days that CA's are going to be the next big thing. Ther website is called guidetorulingtheworld, for god sakes. you should check it out and learn a bit more http://www.guidetorulingtheworld.ca/

My goal is to pursue Management consulting, my dad is a consultant and he really wants me to get a CA because it helps you get experience in the core parts of the business and builds great core competencies. More importantly, getting the CA gives you a professional designation, without it you will just be a grad with a degree from some university with no standardized designation unlike doctors, lawyers, and engineers. But getting a CA and i believe CFA as well, gives you a solid backing and an ethical code of conduct to follow which companies are caring more and more about in recent times.
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A photo of g93 g93
I think these two ^^ have you covered.
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A photo of Haru Haru
Can someone also give a brief overview of like work environment, salary, and the # of years to reach CA vs. CFA designation? I did some research myself, but further info would be helpful. A general discussion would be nice.
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A photo of Haru Haru
Another thing is would Waterloo's Math/CA and Math/FARM programs be a good undergrad to do in preparation for CA and CFA designations respectively. Or are general commerce and BA programs better?
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A photo of QCman QCman
i know one of the waterloo CA programs is great for accounting i dont really know which one.

CA has more years. At queens you will have to take the required ca credit classes you can see each uni's classes here http://www.icao.on.ca/Admissions/QualificationProcess/ScheduleofUniversityCoursesforInstituteCredit/1014page1184.aspx

for queens it you will need to take a summer accounting program.

after the credits are satisfied you need to work at a recognized CA training firm, you can find them on that same website. after 3 years of that you write your exam and you're done and on average making $74,400 as a first year CA.Just so you know, the average compensation of a CA in Ontario is $193,000.

i dont know about work experience because i have never worked as either...
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A photo of QCman QCman
this might be a bit of help to you, i dont know how accurate and trust worthy these posters are but its a good read http://www.canada-city.ca/canadian-universities/posting.php?messageid=1861
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A photo of Haru Haru
LOL! What a coincidence! I just finished reading that site a second ago. Thanks for the help! =)
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A photo of g93 g93

@QCman wrote
i know one of the waterloo CA programs is great for accounting i dont really know which one.

CA has more years. At queens you will have to take the required ca credit classes you can see each uni's classes here http://www.icao.on.ca/Admissions/QualificationProcess/ScheduleofUniversityCoursesforInstituteCredit/1014page1184.aspx

for queens it you will need to take a summer accounting program.

after the credits are satisfied you need to work at a recognized CA training firm, you can find them on that same website. after 3 years of that you write your exam and you're done and on average making $74,400 as a first year CA.Just so you know, the average compensation of a CA in Ontario is $193,000.

i dont know about work experience because i have never worked as either...


30 months, not 3 years (and if you do a co-op at a CATO this will also count)

Work Environment/Hours/etc.: It will depend on where you work (industry, public practice). Overall the hours aren't that long (public anyways), winter/spring will be busy with tax season obviously with some long hours, but the summer months will be easy... Fridays off, can leave early many days, lots of golfing, etc. a nice break. Everyone I know who is a CA (or even CMA/CGA) loves their job and it is also financially rewarding.

I don't know if that helps Haru, but if you have any specific questions about work experience I may be able to give a better answer or ask one of the accountants I know (I know a few personally plus I have interviewed and talked to others for school projects, etc.)
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A photo of g93 g93

@Haru wrote
Another thing is would Waterloo's Math/CA and Math/FARM programs be a good undergrad to do in preparation for CA and CFA designations respectively. Or are general commerce and BA programs better?


Math/CA would be good for a CA, but I think you would need to do the MAcc at Waterloo in order to get the 51 credit hours. I don't think the Math/FARM would allow you to do the same- maybe you could contact Waterloo about this. The ICAO site has the MAcc program fully accredited (most come from the AFM). I don't know about CFA.
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A photo of Haru Haru

@g93 wrote

@Haru wrote
Another thing is would Waterloo's Math/CA and Math/FARM programs be a good undergrad to do in preparation for CA and CFA designations respectively. Or are general commerce and BA programs better?


Math/CA would be good for a CA, but I think you would need to do the MAcc at Waterloo in order to get the 51 credit hours. I don't think the Math/FARM would allow you to do the same- maybe you could contact Waterloo about this. The ICAO site has the MAcc program fully accredited (most come from the AFM). I don't know about CFA.



I know Math/FARM doesn't allow for a CA designation, but I'm wondering if it's good for CFA designation. I've checked out waterloo's website already: http://www.mathbus.uwaterloo.ca/programs/financial.html
and according to that, they do...I'm wondering how well this program is designed for CFA and whether i should go for this program as opposed to a regular commerce/ba program.
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A photo of Haru Haru
I heard there's a huge difference in gender ratio in career of CFA. Most of them are male. Is this true?
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A photo of IanSharer IanSharer

@g93 wrote
30 months, not 3 years (and if you do a co-op at a CATO this will also count)

Work Environment/Hours/etc.: It will depend on where you work (industry, public practice). Overall the hours aren't that long (public anyways), winter/spring will be busy with tax season obviously with some long hours, but the summer months will be easy... Fridays off, can leave early many days, lots of golfing, etc. a nice break. Everyone I know who is a CA (or even CMA/CGA) loves their job and it is also financially rewarding.

I don't know if that helps Haru, but if you have any specific questions about work experience I may be able to give a better answer or ask one of the accountants I know (I know a few personally plus I have interviewed and talked to others for school projects, etc.)



Very delusional post...

Accountants, especially those starting out (which will be us until we're in our late twenties, at the very least), have very long hours, a crappy pay, very little breaks, and it is usually hell. My cousin's girlfriend was originally going to go for her CA, but when she started off she was working almost 80 hours a week for a big 4 with a starting salary of 45k (this is the same for all the big 4), hated the environment (very hostile and competitive, had a lot of employees kissing ass to get promotions) and she utterly hated it. She decided after one year to switch to a smaller company and is going to be applying for grad school next year. This isn't just a rare occasion either. Go search up various blogs (I can't remember where I found it, but it was several accountants posting about how much they hated their lives).

The "193k average pay" isn't for accountants. It's for those with a CA designation. This includes several people in high positions (CEO's, CFO's, etc...). Of course, if you're using this as a jumping stone for other career aspirations, the opportunities are endless and I would highly recommend it. But to think you're going to be breaking the six digit salary mark, working low hours, and even go golfing at an accounting firm is extremely delusional.
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A photo of g93 g93

@IanSharer wrote

@g93 wrote
30 months, not 3 years (and if you do a co-op at a CATO this will also count)

Work Environment/Hours/etc.: It will depend on where you work (industry, public practice). Overall the hours aren't that long (public anyways), winter/spring will be busy with tax season obviously with some long hours, but the summer months will be easy... Fridays off, can leave early many days, lots of golfing, etc. a nice break. Everyone I know who is a CA (or even CMA/CGA) loves their job and it is also financially rewarding.

I don't know if that helps Haru, but if you have any specific questions about work experience I may be able to give a better answer or ask one of the accountants I know (I know a few personally plus I have interviewed and talked to others for school projects, etc.)



Very delusional post...

Accountants, especially those starting out (which will be us until we're in our late twenties, at the very least), have very long hours, a crappy pay, very little breaks, and it is usually hell. My cousin's girlfriend was originally going to go for her CA, but when she started off she was working almost 80 hours a week for a big 4 with a starting salary of 45k (this is the same for all the big 4), hated the environment (very hostile and competitive, had a lot of employees kissing ass to get promotions) and she utterly hated it. She decided after one year to switch to a smaller company and is going to be applying for grad school next year. This isn't just a rare occasion either. Go search up various blogs (I can't remember where I found it, but it was several accountants posting about how much they hated their lives).

The "193k average pay" isn't for accountants. It's for those with a CA designation. This includes several people in high positions (CEO's, CFO's, etc...). Of course, if you're using this as a jumping stone for other career aspirations, the opportunities are endless and I would highly recommend it. But to think you're going to be breaking the six digit salary mark, working low hours, and even go golfing at an accounting firm is extremely delusional.


I am well aware that the 193k salary is for all CAs in Canada.

I personally know a few accountants, and they all really love their jobs. I have been in contact with other accountants. One in particular I did an interview with (twice actually, plus I have been in contact with at other times) has his own firm in a smallish city, and he absolutely loves his job. He has worked 50 hours a week (average) from when he started it to now, obviously more during tax season but less in the summer. He has found it very financially rewarding (trust me on this).

Of course accounting isn't for everyone. But that is the same for every job. And of course there will be some people who will put in long hours- it will dpend on firm, poisition and time of the year.

I have done my reserach on this topic. I am confident that this is the right career path for me. I have big career aspirations, but I am confident that if I do not acheive these big goals that I will be fine settling with a good accounting job in a small city working decent hours and enjoying good pay (not great, but pretty :bounce: good).
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