Today we chat with Jenni, one of Groupon’s first Accounting employees.
Title: Senior Director Accounting, Americas
Start date: November 2009
You were one of Groupon’s first Accounting employees. How have things changed since 2009?
It’s so hard to compare then and now, especially in the Accounting and Finance organizations. Back then, I knew most of the sales reps, we used to walk checks over to the CEO to sign…it was really more of a startup. Now, we’re such a big company. Expectations are still the same, but it’s a more scheduled and controlled (albeit constantly moving and chaotic) environment like the early days.
What brought you here?
I started my career in public accounting and got my CPA. I then went into fund accounting and worked for a large bank and hedge fund for a few years. Eventually, I decided that I wanted to go back to traditional accounting, so I went to work for a restaurant group in Chicago. In 2009, people were starting to talk about Groupon and I saw a job posting for Controller. I applied and ended up getting the job, and the rest is history.
Did you know what you were getting into when you joined Groupon?
To a degree, yes. Accounting in the restaurant industry or at a small company requires wearing a lot of hats. You really do everything, as often times companies don’t have HR or Finance departments. Accounting tends to be some of the first roles you hire for, and those roles take on a lot of back-office responsibilities. Once I started at Groupon, I didn’t know how much we were going to expand. I kind of miss the days where we were wearing tons of hats and figuring out new challenges everyday. Scaling during our high-growth years was especially challenging. We quickly went from 5 cities with 1 deal per day to 100 cities with both a feature deal and side deal. At the time, we didn’t have the robust technology we do now, so everything in Accounting was very manual.
What makes Accounting at Groupon unique?
We’re different than other Accounting teams at other companies because we’re very engrained with the business. I’ve been here for 5.5 years for a reason. Accounting has a lot of routine to it, but when you work for a company like this you have constant challenges and opportunities. At the end of the day, we have a fairly small team and we share a lot of ideas. Just being a tech company in Chicago, we have so many bright people working here and we’re constantly being challenged by the next person who joins the organization. Having the international experience is huge and collaborating with the business is something that doesn’t happen in Accounting at most companies.
I have a family with 2 kids and I’ve found Groupon to be a great place to work as a mother. I was able to work from home once a week for the first couple years, which was really helpful. From a career perspective, the one thing I like about Groupon is they reward hard workers. I get asked in interviews all the time why I’ve stayed here for so long. When my boss saw that things were starting to get routine for me, he encouraged me to take on the challenge of an additional region, so now I oversee the Latin America accounting teams as well. I was hesitant at first, but he believed in me and it’s been so great for my career and professional development. Your managers trust you and reward hard work, and I try to do the same for my team.
Thanks for reading the People Blog—a blog about people at Groupon. We’re hiring in Accounting! Click here to check out a current opening we have on Jenni’s team.