After working for two years at a Big Four accounting firm, my transition to 3Q last year has given me the opportunity to see the differences and similarities between accounting and digital marketing. Yes, you heard right – there are similarities between the two! Here are 5 things I learned coming from an accounting background:

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1.    Environment & Culture Matter

One way Accounting and Marketing operate similarly is through the principles that guide them. I learned that both industries provide a strong foundation through their different mission statement and values, allowing employees to build on these key elements and help clients succeed. However, the environments and cultures in a 150,000-person vs. a 150-person company are very different (no surprise there!). Digital marketing is an exciting, fast-moving and creative sector, whereas these adjectives usually are not the first words that come to mind when someone thinks accounting. The corporate life is slower-paced and not constantly changing. Another fun thing I learned moving to 3Q was the exciting perks at a smaller office – a highlight being free snacks in the kitchen!

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2.    Teamwork Is Paramount

 We’ve all heard the saying “Two heads are better than one” – a very accurate saying for both jobs. In both Accounting and Marketing, I learned the importance of teamwork to complete projects efficiently and quickly. There are challenges each day in any workplace, and a strong, effective team environment can act as a great support system. The tasks I performed in the two industries couldn’t be any more different; however, I learned having a great team can help each member improve productivity and client success.

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3.    Data Is the Foundation

It’s no surprise I dealt with numbers on a daily basis in accounting. Being on the risk-consulting team, we were responsible for performing internal audit work for our clients.  I was mainly reconciling and ensuring that the numbers were accurate. Digital marketing, on the other hand, focuses on analyzing and acting upon those numbers to improve performance. It’s nice to be able to see the actions you make directly affect the numbers positively rather than focus on finding something wrong with the numbers. I learned early on that I needed to change what I knew about numbers and use it in a completely new way to plan strategic initiatives and optimization efforts to hit client goals and targets.

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4.    Day-to-Day Activities Don’t Look the Same

When it comes to the day-to-day activities, accounting tends to be fairly similar from one month to the next.  I usually knew exactly what I needed to work on every day and followed a structured timeline to complete my tasks. Digital marketing, on the other hand, changes daily, and it’s common that we are working on something new each day. Marketing tends to focus more on looking at daily performance and what we need to do to optimize our campaigns. I learned that the digital marketing industry is changing all the time, meaning you will constantly be learning.

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5.    Client Satisfaction Reigns

At the end of the day, both companies allowed me to understand the importance of client relationships. Although the two fields operate differently, I learned that both have the same overall commitment to help their clients succeed and achieve their goals. Relationships are at the foundation of a client services industry, and we go to great lengths to make sure our clients are satisfied with our work.

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Julia Hu
Julia joined 3Q in August 2015 with a background in accounting, finance, and marketing. She graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in 2013 with a B.S in Business Administration. In her free time, Julia enjoys baking, volunteering at animal shelters, and trying new restaurants!