What is an Account Executive?

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

While the designation of account executive involves different responsibilities in different business settings, just about all incarnations will involve providing an ongoing connection with the clients assigned to the executive. This may involve acting as the advocate for the client with the company, ensuring that the customer is receiving the care promised at the time the business relationship was established.

Account executives discussing securities.
Account executives discussing securities.

There are several characteristics or traits that indicate a competent account executive. One of the most important in providing proper customer care is proper training and credentials. As an example, an executive with an investment firm must have gone through certified training. Typically, high scores on the Series 7 and/or the Series 63 securities exams is a strong indication of professional knowledge. The background information supplied in preparing for these types of exams ensures that a professional of this type will be fully proficient in buying and selling securities that will enhance the financial security of his or her clients.

Of course, the person who deals with securities will also provide other types of support for the customer as well. As part of preparing to buy or sell securities, a truly professional account executive will always be on the lookout for stock and other investment opportunities that are of interest to the client. This will involve maintaining a current profile on each customer that will, ideally, include data about personal interests that may come into play with stock selection, as well as the usual financial data. Since a good financial professional knows how to respect client confidentiality, having this type of information on hand should not be a problem.

An account executive may build a client base through several methods. He or she may first be assigned a core group of customers by the firm, but the base can often be grown by the positive word of mouth that any quality individual receives from current clients. This second alternative is usually actually a relatively easy sell, since the prospective client has already heard good things about the executive. Another means of growing an account base involves using traditional methods of selling to attract attention.

While in some business cultures, this professional is not expected to engage in cold calling or other forms of solicitation, there are a number of those in various businesses who do engage in basic selling techniques and spend part of their work week seeking new customers.

Attributes such as articulation, knowledge, and a sincere desire to provide excellent customer care to each member of the client base are essential in order to be a successful account executive. While the exact position responsibilities will vary from one industry to another, possessing these three basic qualities will help an individual to serve each customer with both competence and professional grace.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

After many years in the teleconferencing industry, Michael decided to embrace his passion for trivia, research, and writing by becoming a full-time freelance writer. Since then, he has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including wiseGEEK, and his work has also appeared in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and several newspapers. Malcolm’s other interests include collecting vinyl records, minor league baseball, and cycling.

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Account Executive seems more like a euphemism for Associate. The reason I looked for this is the commercial i watched had several account executives but didn't describe what they did and mainly referred to customer service.


An account executive in the advertising industry means the person who holds the second highest position in the ad agency and is in contact with the client besides taking care of all the departments in the ad agency, right from the initial negotiation till the airing of the ad.


The exact role of the account executive will depend on the particular fashion house. This is because not all businesses use the title in exactly the same way. Your best bet would be to check with several different companies in the fashion industry, find out how (and if) they use the title, and what responsibilities are involved. The role may involve a great deal of sales effort directed at acquiring new clients, or be geared more toward upselling to established clients. As for degrees, ask the fashion houses what type of educational credentials they prefer for their account executives. The range may be from something broad like a business administration degree to something directly connected with the industry.


What is the pay scale for someone new in the business?


This is a hard one to answer, simply because different companies will use the title of "account executive" to refer to different responsibilities. Depending on the environment, an account executive may be very hands on with establishing new customer accounts, or may be assigned a "bag" of preexisting accounts to service and grow. At times the duties are less focused on initial sales and more on client growth and retention. Your best bet would be to look more closely at several types of companies within the fashion industry and get a feel for what account executives in those companies actually do.


What would an account executive in the fashion industry do? What sort of degree would they need to have? TIA for any information that you can give me as I am trying to decide on a college major.

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