Do quants need to know Accounting?
In my school's undergrad Quant program, we had Financial Accounting and Managerial Accounting, which were listed as prerequisites for our undergrad Finance subjects.
I am taking grad Quant now in the same school, and I have not seen Accounting ever turn up again except in Financial Statements. In fact, our first grad Finance course, Derivatives Pricing 1 (Chapters 1-11 of Hull's Options, Futures and Other Derivatives), has been added to the new curriculum of the undergrad Quant program, and I know someone who took it at the same time as Financial Accounting. This person did not even yet take Managerial Accounting.
Even though Derivatives Pricing 1 can apparently be taken without Financial Accounting, I guess it's possible that Accounting may show up in future courses or in the real world.
If so, in what scenarios for example?
It is completely useless for research/software (i.e., the technical side) in a short-term quantitative trading firm/fund. In fact it is detrimental because of the opportunity cost associated with not learning computer science/math/stats while you were spending time learning accounting. – user2763361 Jun 21 '14 at 8:36
@user2763361 Please post that as an answer so that I can downvote it. – user508 Jun 21 '14 at 16:10
@user508 Could you explain here in comments? That would be more useful to the community than a downvote. My point was specifically regarding research/software in short-term quantitative trading (e.g holding period 30 seconds). I don't see how this could be controversial. The opportunity cost of not learning more about hardware or machine learning is quite huge when the field is so competitive to get entry into. My firm gets over 100 PhD level applicants for each position. You can bet that we do not care in the slightest what they know about accounting. – user2763361 Jun 21 '14 at 22:20
... and for good reason. They could have instead learned more about GPU programming, or digital signal processing... Opportunity costs actually exist because the candidates had finite time to study. – user2763361 Jun 21 '14 at 22:32