Is Accounting Harder Than Engineering? (Things That Should Be Factored)

Science, art, and business are the three broad categories of the subjects when it comes to the students passing out of high school. Students often choose one subject from the three categories to pursue in further studies and careers.

A lot of students come with clarity of mind about which subject they want to go for. Others get confused about which subject to go for. 

Similarly, one school of thought recommends pursuing a subject that promises a bright financial future and a well-settled lifestyle.

While the second school of thought suggests that personal choice matters and you should go for a subject that entices you, and you have a personal craving to study it.

Both schools of thought exist, and we cannot say that one is right or the other is wrong. Whatever career or field you choose, do it with complete honesty, and you will be able to excel in it.

Although science and business are not directly comparable, we will talk about the most popular and talked-about professions with market value.

Accounting and engineering are two subjects that are largely different from each other but are often compared and discussed together.

We will compare the two subjects to answer if accounting is harder than engineering or vice versa. So let’s get into it.

What Is Accounting?

Accounting or accountancy can be defined as the measurement, processing, and communication of the financial information of an entity. Accountancy can also be defined as maintaining, auditing, and reporting financial transactions.

Accounting, as a whole, is all about the financial recording and reporting of transactions and data of businesses and corporations.

The field can be further divided into different types, each of them being a separate career path for the students looking to pursue accounting.

There are nine types of accounting: Financial accounting, cost accounting, managerial accounting, auditing, accounting information systems, tax accounting, public accounting, forensic accounting, and governmental accounting.

Based on these types, accounting enthusiasts have around 5 different career paths: tax accountant, staff accountant, payroll accountant, auditor, and financial accountant.

Basic accounting can be handled by a bookkeeper of a company. However, for the advanced interpretation of the financial data and transactions, a Certified Public Accountant or Certified Management Accountant is hired in the USA.

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What Is Engineering?

Engineering can be generally described as the application of mathematics and science to solve real-life problems with technical solutions. It can also be defined as,

“the application of science and mathematics by which the properties of matter and the sources of energy in nature are made useful by people.”

Engineering is sub-categorized based on the practical implications and applications in different fields of life. Simply put, engineering deals with science and technology to design, build and use engines, machines, and structures.

A student looking to pursue engineering has to choose a specialization as each engineering category is very broad and encompasses a complete branch of science in itself.

The most common and popular categories of engineering studies are electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, mechatronic engineering, civil engineering, electrical engineering, chemical engineering, software engineering, industrial engineering, aerospace engineering, and firmware engineering.

Accounting Vs. Engineering

Now we will compare accounting and engineering on different parameters to identify which one is harder.

Although, it is a popular perception that engineering is a harder major than accounting as the logical basics behind different mechanisms, applications, and processes is required to be an engineer. However, we will explore if the perception is true or not. So let’s get into it.


Let’s start with education.

It is important to know that accounting and engineering require a completely different background education and qualifications.

Science, art, or social science dichotomy cannot be applied here to differentiate between the difficulty level of each degree. Instead, how cumbersome a field of study is decided which subject is better than the other one.

Accounting is a branch of management sciences and business studies that deals with a business entity’s financial data and transactions. It’s a general degree that focuses on the administration of a business entity.

A bachelor’s degree in accounting means you must be good at numbers, present financial data, and have an interest and expertise in mathematics.

Accounting studies might not be as practically demanding as a nursing degree would be.

Most of the degree requirements have nothing to do with the fieldwork involving a lot of human interactions. However, there are still internships, training, etc., in the line of studies.

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On the other hand, engineering is a degree that is related to advanced science and mathematics. It provides practical solutions for different problems we face in everyday life or industries during their processes.

Since engineering is a technical degree, you have to choose a specific line of study and courses to advance in engineering.

To complete your education, you can choose chemical, electrical, firmware, computer, etc. Math skills, calculation, science, logic, and intuitive thinking are all required to excel in engineering.

According to data from Career Bliss in 2012, both accounting and engineering landed in the top 20 happiest jobs in China.

However, both degrees’ educational paths and requirements are rigorous and demanding, and engineering education is more difficult than that an accounting degree.

Career and Job Roles

It’s important to identify the job roles and tasks given to engineers and accountants to answer which one is harder between engineering and accounting.

Regardless of which accounting career you have chosen, calculation, measurements, and working with lots of numerical data and figures are inherent to the job of an accountant.

One relaxation in the accounting job is that there is no fieldwork involved, and most of the work is done sitting behind the desk.

The job timings of an accountant can be abrupt, and long hours sitting might be there when preparing taxes or other reports.

Accountants are on the higher side as they have an opportunity to work full time and still get enough personal time. However, advanced careers in accounting and finance like C.A., Ph.D., etc., require tight schedules and turnaround times.

When it comes to engineers, the job roles and tasks are also irrespective of the specialization field. After analysis of all types of engineers, a generalized outlook of an engineering job can be given by the following job roles and tasks: research, development, design, construction, operation, and management function.

An engineering job is great, but getting personal time for family and friends is not guaranteed. However, depending on the specialization of the engineer, a good work-life balance can be achieved by engineers as well.

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What Is Required To Be Good Professional

Engineering has one thing in common with accounting: a good command of mathematics. However, each professional should possess some common things or traits to have a better professional positioning.

For accountants, detail orientation, a love of numbers, and understanding laws and regulations about tax, audit, accounting, financial statements, etc., are must-haves.

To have a successful career in the field of accounting requires a good understanding of accounts, finance, business, etc., which is preferred by employers when hiring an accountant.

When we talk about engineers, innovation, developments, and inventions are some ingredients to define a successful engineer.

Upgrading yourself with inventions, knowledge, and trends is very important to success in your engineering career. Whether you’re a computer engineer or a chemical engineer, upgrading yourself to make yourself more valuable for your organization is what makes an engineer successful.

Which One Pays More

Engineers are a winner here when it comes to which job is highly paid among engineers or accountants. However, the benefits and salary are enough to have a decent living in both cases.

Let’s compare the salaries of both careers side by side. The data has been taken from the U.S Bureau of Statistics for the year 2021:

Engineering MajorAccounting Major
Electrical Engineers, $103,180Accountant: $82,430
Mechanical Engineers, $91,500Managerial Accountant: $79,930
Chemical Engineers, $117,260Auditor: $82,430
Civil Engineers $96,700Tax Accountant: $60,960
Computer Hardware Engineers, $112,950Bookkeeper: $49,300
Industrial Engineers, $100,790Financial Analyst: $99,270
Aerospace Engineers, $88,760 
Architectural Engineers, $162,030 

Accounting Harder Than Engineering: Final Verdict

We have compared different aspects of engineering and accounting careers and education. Let’s move to the final verdict.

If we talk about education, it’s true that engineering studies are more challenging and complicated as compared to accounting. Complex mathematics, physics, chemistry, and other relevant sciences are studied during the course work of engineering.

When the career paths are considered, it must be understood that both fields are completely different from each other. As an accountant, understanding business principles, accounting principles, standards, and laws is mandatory.

On the other hand, the in-depth knowledge of science, scientific innovations, and inventions are imperative for engineers.

Finally, it won’t be a rational statement to declare one subject harder than others and suggest pursuing an easier or a harder one.

Choosing the career path and education must be made according to personal interests and expertise. We have presented you with all the ins and outs of both subjects.