Is Economics Degree Harder Than Accounting?

The choice of your university degree is probably the most significant and critical decision related to your future and professional life. Many students believe that a master’s with a major in science is what they need to have an ideal professional life.

While many others believe that skills over degrees matter to make you a successful professional in your career. Then comes the entrepreneurs who believe in creating their own world and business. To cut short, different people in the world have different perspectives about subjects, career paths, skills, and success. 

If we talk about the group of people who believe education is mandatory to get on the path to success, the subject selection is very critical for them.

For instance, economics, finance, and accounting are very similar subjects as they all fall under the broader umbrella of management sciences. Economics also comes under the social sciences.

The students find it hard to choose a subject and pursue it in the future. Many people ask

Is an economics degree harder than accounting? While there are others, who get confused between accounting and finance.

Therefore, the right guidance and analysis are necessary to help students choose a degree that ensures a successful career and matches their skills and interests of the students.

What Is Economics?

Economics is the study of topics and areas related to production, consumption, and transfer of wealth. We can define Economics as,

it’s a social science directed at the satisfaction of needs and wants through the allocation of scarce resources which have alternative uses.”

It wouldn’t be wrong to say that economics has combined the study of needs/choice/wants and scarcity.

Economics is a subject that aims to solve the problem of limited resources(scarcity), which implies that every good and service in the world runs out when more people demand it. Therefore, trade-offs are the most critical aspect of markets.

Economics deals with studying how humans in a society make decisions when they face scarcity. More practically, economics focuses on the problem of scarcity and its implication in a wider perspective of societies, countries, and the world.

The students of economics must expect exposure to critical thinking, theoretical concepts, and practical implications in the subcategories of economics like econometrics, macroeconomics, monetary economics, money and interest rates, business cycle, experimental economics, microeconomics, etc.

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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.

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.

Economics Vs. Accounting

Economics is a theoretical subject that focuses on studying societies, governments, and economies. Whereas accounting is purely a numerical subject that focuses on businesses and individuals. Therefore, giving a straight verdict about the diverse subjects isn’t possible.

We have analyzed different perspectives like degree, career, salary, etc. It will help us understand the scope of the subject and decide if pursuing a harder degree is worth it.


The actual debate is about the difficulty of an economics degree over an accounting degree. So let’s get started with the degrees and what is studied in each subject.

When we talk about economics, it is about studying production, consumption, and wealth from a broader perspective than finance. It’s more than management of the money.

The subject of economics covers how societies in national, local, or international perspectives distribute the resources, fulfill needs, and how markets work.

The most common subjects studied in economics are:

  • Business Foundations
  • Principles of Economics
  • Business Analysis, Methods, and Techniques
  • Microeconomics and Macroeconomics
  • Political Economy
  • Forecasting

On the other hand, 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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The students of accounting can expect to cover the subjects like:

  • Financial accounting
  • International accounting
  • Forensic accounting
  • Corporate accounting
  • Auditing
  • Management accounting
  • Accounting information systems
  • Professional standards and ethics
  • Financial reporting
  • Macro and microeconomics
  • Risk management
  • Quantitative analysis
  • Tax accounting

Both degrees are distinct and have different focuses. The theoretical approach in economics along with critical thinking, is harder for many students.

The students who are good in mathematics and numbers but not so good in critical thinking and analysis prefer accounting over economics. Similarly, individuals with a critical thinking approach and theoretical clarity will always consider economics an easier subject than accounting.


Although our article was more focused on finding which subject is harder to study. However, defining the career orientation and opportunities after completing each degree is also important to discuss so students can make an informed decision about their educational career.

Let’s start with economics.

Students who graduate with an economics major in their master’s degree have a lot of opportunities in different private and public sector departments. The subjects in economics cover labor markets, production and consumption principles, resources, and wealth distribution in local, national, and international markets.

Economics is broadly a theoretical subject. However, numerical illustrations and complex mathematics are also applied in several places. Therefore, it opens up different careers and jobs like data analysts, economists, researchers, actuaries, public sector roles, financial risk analysts, teachers, etc.

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.

The typical career paths are tax accountant, bookkeeper, credit controller, budget analyst, financial examiner, staff accountant, payroll accountant, auditor, and financial accountant.

An accounting graduate assuming a role in any of the relevant career positions is expected to possess the knowledge of GAAP, financial reporting procedures, financial analysis, business analysis, reconciliation, and bookkeeping.

The similarity between the accounting and economics jobs is that there is no fieldwork involved, and most of the work is done sitting behind the desk.

However, the accountants have the advantage that they can set up their private practice or register themselves on different freelancing platforms to make a side hustle besides their full-time job.

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Which Job Pays More?

When choosing the subject, most people consider the salary and benefits associated with a job in a certain field. Therefore, the analysis of the salary paid to people assuming roles in the discussed fields is also important.

According to the U.S Bureau of Statistics, the annual median wage of economists is around $114,190. The professionals serving in the education sector make around $120,000 in economics.

On the other hand, the annual median wage of accountants and auditors for the year 2021 was around $82,430. It means that economists and professionals in economics are better off than accountants. However, the accountants can make up the difference by adopting a side hustle or establishing their independent practice.

Economics Degree Vs. Accounting Degree: Which One Is Harder?

Economics, as mentioned earlier, is a theoretical subject. The individuals who are not comfortable with the theory, analytical and critical thinking consider economics a harder subject than others.

Besides, the focus of an economics degree is extensive, encompassing the dynamics of local, national, and international markets and societies. Besides, the subject is not only about the theory.

Most of the concepts and theories are backed by statistical approaches and complex mathematics, making it a very dynamic degree to pursue.

On the other hand, accounting also includes complex mathematics, arithmetic, and statistical techniques, but there is no or very less involvement in critical thinking. Therefore, the subject is hard for individuals having no interest in numbers and mathematics.

As a whole, economics is harder than an accounting degree as it has a broader scope.

Final Verdict: Which Subject Should You Study

The decision about which degree to pursue and which subject to study is a matter of interest and analysis. After having a thorough research and analysis, you should give the edge to the degree that entices your interest.

For instance, we mentioned that people with no interest in theoretical and critical thinking will not enjoy an economics degree despite being a high-paying job. Therefore, combine the data with your interest and go for a degree that satisfies you in all aspects.