Accounting vs Business Administration: Which Diploma to Choose?

There are many types of business diploma programs out there. A major hub like Toronto has enough business colleges and business programs to make your head spin. 

Just sorting through all the options can seem like a massive task. And then you’re faced with an even bigger question: which type of business diploma should I choose? 

There are certificates and diplomas in business management, business marketing, human resources, project management, occupational health and safety, and supply chain management (just to name a few!) 

At Herzing College Toronto, we offer four different business-related diploma programs.  

But in this post, we’re focusing on the difference between Business Administration and Accounting and Payroll Administration.

If you’ve landed on this page, you’re probably torn between these two diplomas and need some help to make a decision.  

We’ll break down key differences between these programs, and important points to consider when deciding which path to choose.

By the end of this post, you’ll know what step to take next.

accounting VS
Business administration: what’s the difference? 

To start, let’s nail down a simple definition for these two programs. Students do learn some similar skills in both diplomas, but there are clear differences you should know. 


☑️ Business Administration DiplomaTeaches fundamental skills needed for everyday business operations, managing an office, or starting your own business. 


☑️ Accounting and Payroll Administration Diploma: Teaches the accounting/payroll software and skills needed to assist companies with financial management. 


Business Administration focusses on a wide range of office skills, including basic training in accounting.  

But an Accounting and Payroll Administration program goes much deeper. This program focusses exclusively on bookkeeping, payroll and financial management. You won’t be learning other skills related to running a business. 

At this point, you might already have a good idea of which program suits your needs. But there are still a few more things to consider.


accounting VS Business administration: Math skills

If you don’t really enjoy working with numbers, performing calculations, analyzing spreadsheets, and doing math—accounting and payroll administration is NOT for you. 

Business Administration training makes more sense. This program does include some basic math, but it’s not the main focus. 

On the other hand, Accounting and Payroll programs are all about numbers.  


accounting VS Business administration: teamwork skills

Business administration is all about teamwork. You work in an office, together with a team, to accomplish daily tasks and reach business goals.  

Whether you’re an administrative assistant, marketing assistant, or office manager—everything you do involves teamwork. 

By contrast, accounting and payroll tends to be quieter, more independent work. Fewer group strategy sessions, more number-crunching. 

What's your personality? Which role appeals to you more? 


accounting VS Business administration: Management potential

If you’re interested in leading a team, supervising an office, or starting a business, Business Administration training is the way to go. 

This program teaches management skills, including human resources and how to launch your own venture. 

On the other hand, the Accounting and Payroll Administration program prepares you for entry-level jobs—not accounting leadership positions.  

Most accounting managers have finance degrees and are certified CPAs (Chartered Professional Accountant). 

What are your business career goals?


accounting VS Business administration: job options

Let’s look at the jobs you will qualify for after completing both these diploma programs. Comparing career options will give you a better idea of which diploma suits your goals. 


Business Administration Jobs 

☑️ Administrative Assistant 

☑️ Office Manager 

☑️ Marketing Assistant 

☑️ Account Manager 

☑️ Sales Representative 

☑️ Client Services Representative 


Accounting and Payroll Administration Jobs 

☑️ Accounting Clerk 

☑️ Bookkeeper 

☑️ Accounts Payable Administrator 

☑️ Accounts Payable/Accounts Receivable Clerk 

☑️ Payroll Clerk 

☑️ Accounting Technician 


Notice how a Business Administration diploma leads to a wider range of office jobs? You can move from marketing to sales to client services to office management. 

Accounting and Payroll jobs are narrower in focus. 


accounting VS Business administration: length of training 

The good news is both these diploma programs are the same length. You won’t be stuck deciding between a longer and shorter program. 

☑️ Business Administration: 9 months, including a 5-week internship. 

☑️ Accounting and Payroll Administration: 9 months, including a 5-week internship.


accounting VS Business administration: Study topics

This is where we really see the difference between the two diploma programs. Subjects of study are quite different for Business Administration versus Accounting and Payroll. 

Here’s a look at the main skills you’ll be learning in class. 


Business Administration Diploma

☑️ Microsoft Office applications (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access) 

☑️ Business math and accounting basics 

☑️ Business communications  

☑️ Leadership and conflict management 

☑️ Project Management 

☑️ Marketing and sales techniques 

☑️ Human resources fundamentals 

☑️ Entrepreneurship (steps involved in starting a business) 


See the complete Business Administration course list


Accounting and Payroll Administration Diploma

☑️ Microsoft Office applications (Word, PowerPoint, Access, Excel, Outlook) 

☑️ Canadian accounting software 

☑️ Accounting principles and techniques 

☑️ Payroll processing 

☑️ Payroll compliance 

☑️ Business math 

☑️ Financial reporting 


See the complete Accounting & Payroll course list


As you can see, Business Administration teaches a broad set of skills. Accounting and Payroll is laser-focused on finance. 


Your Next Step: Talk to an Admissions Advisor 

We hope this post helped you decide between Business Administration and Accounting. What should you do now?

We recommend speaking with a qualified Admissions Advisor before you go further. Whether you know which program you want, or still need guidance, and Advisor can offer valuable information. 

They will discuss your previous education, natural skills, career goals and interests. And they will help match you with the business program that best fits your unique profile. 

An Advisor can also answer any question you have about these programs, including job options, application requirements, financial aid, and class schedules. 

Get started today. Click below to explore Business programs at Herzing College Toronto and chat live with an Admissions Advisor. We’re here to help. 

Explore Business Programs at Herzing College Toronto


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