Last modified August 22, 2011 by Adrian

Marketing agency contract reviews

When you’ve audited the number of agency contracts we have, you get to know the wording agencies use to avoid giving you transparency over how they’re spending your money.

Our clients are turning to us increasingly often to review their agency contracts before they sign them. Why is that? After all, what can a bunch of accountants add that marketing procurement specialists, media auditors and lawyers can’t?

The answer: we see the world through a different lens, specially coated to pinpoint gaps in the contract related to financial transparency (or the lack of it). The agency can see them, in fact their revisions to your standard agency contract have probably created them, without you realising it, hoping that you will not appreciate the implications until after the ink has dried. After all, when you’ve been through a robust pitch process and found the right agency, you just want to get the contract signed as quickly as possible so you can start working with your new partners…

We know from practical experience the wording agencies use in contracts to deny you access to information you should have and that you only find out you can’t when the compliance auditors go in (which is too late!). We’ve been there arguing interpretations of contractual clauses with agency FD’s to get you the information you want, but can’t have, because of seemingly innocuous words in the contract.

So what is an advertising or media agency contract review? At Financial Progression, it is a thorough review by one of our auditors to establish whether all the key clauses are there (and yes, making sure your agency has safeguards in place to protect your data or digital assets is key) and whether you are going to have, in practice, the financial transparency from your agency that you desire.

We understand how agency’s work at a granular level. We know their systems and processes well, which means we know what information should be available.  An agency contract review involves doing the holistic sense checks to ensure that wording in one clause is not going to prevent you from accessing information it says you can have in another, because that first clause overrides the second one (which happens often).

The benefits of such a review are that you can be confident you will not have the wool pulled over your eyes at the last minute (when your energy is low and the pressure is on to get the contract signed – yes, that is a common tactic) and your agency contract will deliver the financial transparency and operational rigour your organisation requires.

→ Click to see more about the agency contract review process in action and to understand typical outcomes.