Not Simple Math - Agency Life vs. Accounting Life


Throughout high school and college, I thought of the many different career paths I could take – from forensic psychology to social work, and to my final decision, accounting. Now some of you may be thinking: Out of those three options, you chose the most boring?


Three months ago I would have been thinking the same thing. I was working on the tax side of accounting, which mostly consisted of preparing various types of tax returns year-round with some bookkeeping and software training thrown in to keep things “exciting.” Now I am not saying that this type of work is boring to everyone -- it certainly has its perks. Everything I know now I owe to my previous employer, including the guidance and training I received. I just realized after four years that it was not for me.

Transitioning from staff accountant at a CPA firm to a business manager at an integrated marketing agency has been quite the adjustment. Though the core of both jobs is relatively the same, there are some key differences that make the fields very diverse.  

The tax life is/has:

  • More structured due to the laws and regulations set by the government.
  • A similar approach to each job at the front end, then branches off to different standards as it relates to each type of company/individual.
  • A very straightforward field where you generally know what to expect daily.
  • The perk of working insane hours about four months of the year, then having the remaining months to hopefully take some time off and recoup for the next tax season.

The agency life is/has:

  • A new world for a tax-focused accountant like myself.
  • A job core essentially the same and, of course, still has to follow the same tax laws with a structure that’s completely different. By that, I mean I delve not only into the day to day financials but also all various projects/accounts to keep track of budgets and progress.
  • Changes that can happen instantly depending on our clients’ wants and needs, which keeps the job interesting from a billing and reporting standpoint.
  • Ever-changing budgets, projects and reporting needs for our clients.
  • An environment flowing with opportunities to learn more about design, advertising, sales, etc. that you would not get from a tax firm.

Case in point: no day is the same within agency life. And for so long I yearned for that, new opportunities, to break away from the mundane, continue accounting and at the same time make it enjoyable. It took courage and was a huge leap of faith, to leave the comfort of my previous job because it led to a career change and moving away from my hometown, but it has been well worth it. In just four months, I’ve learned a great deal already, and look forward to what’s ahead for me at MCCI.

If there is one thing I have learned from this decision, it is that sometimes the scariest or most unknown choices can lead to the greatest results. My advice to anyone that does not enjoy the career (or job position) they chose is that it is never too late to make a change. We spend most of our lives working, so we might as well spend it doing something we love!