Accounting Or Human Resources: Which One Should I Study?

Every student has different expectations from a degree or school that can’t be all good or bad. Choosing a subject for pursuing a university/college degree is indeed a very crucial stage in the life of every student. It’s the deciding moment that will define the future orientation of the student and his career.

Personal interest, expertise, capabilities, skills, etc., are undoubtedly very important when choosing a subject as a major for your bachelor’s degree. However, external factors like the scope of the degree, professional competitiveness, market opportunities, etc., also play a very significant role in career selection.

Today, we will talk about a duo of subjects very popular in management sciences and business studies. After a careful, unbiased, and balanced comparison of the short-listed subjects, you should decide which subject to study. Candidates should not be inclined to only one side of the picture: external or internal.

Accounting and human resource management are two subjects that are a hot debate among business students. After comparing both subjects, we will help you decide which one you should go for.

We will be answering the most asked question about the two subjects:

Accounting or human resources: which one should I study?

So let’s get into it without a further ado.

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. However, when you go for accounting at the BS level, every type of accounting is covered to the extent of basics.

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.

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.

What is Human Resources/Human Resources Management?

Human Resources, or more comprehensively, human resource management, is a branch of management science that focuses on the human side of the business. We can define human resource management as,

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“ a practice of recruiting, hiring, deploying, training, and managing an organization’s employees”

Another definition of HRM(Human Resource Management) states,

“HRM is the process of recruiting, selecting, inducting employees, providing orientation, imparting training and development, appraising the performance of employees, deciding compensation, and providing benefits, motivating employees, maintaining proper relations with employees, and their trade unions, ensuring employees safety, welfare and healthy measures in compliance with labor laws of the land.”

When we broadly talk about HRM, it is all about managing the human resources of any business entity. HRM itself is the sub-category of management, and there are further many categories in HRM.

From organizational behavior to culture, employee management to motivation theories, and human behaviors are studied under human resource management.

The most popular sub-categories within the HRM are as follows: Recruitment & retention, talent management, career development, compensation and benefits, labor law compliance, performance management, succession planning, training, and development.

As a human resource management student, the course outline focuses on all of the sub-categories of HRM and organizational behaviors and cultures. A student having a major in HRM can further specialize in any of the categories discussed above.

Accounting Vs. Human Resource Management

If we come to the question of which you should study accounting and human resources, it can’t be answered without comparing the two.

We will compare the subject of accounting and human resources based on degree, professional career, salary, and benefits. After comparison, we will be able to decide which subject you should study or not. 

Degree

Let’s start with a degree or formal education in either of the fields.

The difficulty of an educational degree is determined by how cumbersome a field of study is. It must be understood that each degree is different and unique from all other degrees offered. Science, art, or social science dichotomy is not the differentiating factor in a degree’s difficulty level.

Human resource management and accounting both are degrees related to management sciences or business studies. However, human resource management is more of the theoretical side and human interaction of the organization’s side. Whereas accounting is the financial side of the organization and focuses on the data and transactions.

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Accounting is the subject that focuses on the management, measurement, maintenance, and reporting of financial data and transactions undertaken by an individual or an entity.

Interest and expertise in arithmetic, mathematics, and economics are necessary if you want to pursue the accounting or finance majors in your bachelor’s degree or master’s degree.

The most common subjects studied in the accounting field are financial accounting, international accounting, forensic accounting, auditing, management accounting, cost accounting, financial management, financial reporting, etc.

Human resource management is a subject that focuses on the processes and practices necessary for managing the human side of business entities. From recruiting the employees to training, managing to motivate, and succession planning are covered under the course outline of students having a major in HRM.

Students of the HRM are usually studying all the subjects that entail the HRM process. It includes organizational behavior, labor practices, performance management, motivation and conflict management, benefits and perks, roles and responsibilities of human resource managers, etc. however, most of the course work in human resource management is about theories in practice.

Career

The career of an accounting professional is numbers, numbers, numbers. It’s a common belief that Is not true. Most of the accounting work is based on complicated rules and accounting principles that are pre-determined by regulatory bodies.

An accountant is supposed to manage the company’s accounts, transactions, financial data, etc. Most introverted people tend to pursue an accounting degree and career as there is less human interaction.

The job of an accountant includes the following responsibilities:

  • Examination of the financial data, transactions, and statements to verify that they’re accurate to the best of his knowledge of law and principles.
  • It also includes computation of taxes owed, filing tax returns, and timely payment of taxes.
  • Accountants inspect the account and accounting system books to ensure that there are no mistakes, fraudulent activities, etc.
  • Organizing, analyzing, and maintaining the financial records is also a responsibility of an accountant

Most work done by the accountants and auditors is behind the table, and little or no fieldwork is required to pursue a career as an accountant.

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When we talk about professionals specializing in human resource management, they’re responsible for managing employees’ recruitment, training, pay and benefits, and other related functions. Most typically, the role of an HRM manager has the following responsibilities:

  • Planning and coordinating workforce for talent management
  • Developing and improving the relationship of the organization’s management with the employees
  • Payroll management
  • He also serves as a consultant for managers, employees, and company staff against conflicts, problems, harassment, inclusivity, diversity, etc.
  • Recruitment and selection of new talent for the company are also responsibilities of HR manager.

Most work of the HR employees is inside the company and not in the field. However, very strong interpersonal skills, conflict management skills,  and motivating skills are required in a student to become a successful HR manager.

Which One Pays More?

Accounting and HR are office jobs and come under the management sciences and business administration. However, when it comes to which one is better paying, human resource specialized students win the race.

According to the US Bureau of Statistics data, the median annual wage of a human resource manager is around $141,600 as of 2021. The annual wage of human resource specialists is around $75,530 as per data for 2021.

When we look at the data for accountants and auditors, the median annual wage of accountants and auditors is around $84,430 in 2021.

As a result, the human resource managers are well paid off as compared to accountants and auditors. However, the accountants are on the higher side in comparison to the HR specialists. s

Which One Should I Study: Final Verdict

Accounting requires the students to have a good understanding and command of mathematics and financial data.

In practice, accounting is more focused on following the pre-set procedures and principles of international accounting bodies. On the other hand, human resource management is a subject that focuses on organizational performance through people development.

Any person with a keen interest in accounting and a good base in mathematics and arithmetic can pursue an accounting degree.

The reason to choose HR over accounting can be the compensation, lower difficulty level of the degree, interpersonal skills, extrovert personality, and natural peacemaker should go for Human resource manager.