How do you ensure that your advertising agency is charging you correctly? How often do you check whether your agency complies with the terms of your contract?
Would your agency management process pass an internal audit? How do you avoid nasty financial surprises? How do you avoid paying fees for no work?
Once clients have contracted with agencies, Yardstick will provide them with peace of mind by performing a full range of contract management services to ensure that the retainer agreements for agencies are adhered to, and that good corporate governance is maintained. Depending on the nature of the contract, these may include formal quarterly reconciliations of budgets, remuneration, third party costs, scope of work, as well as annual budgeting, and planning and remuneration negotiations.
What are the benefits?
- Regular reconciliations provide all stakeholders with an update on the state of play of budgets, scope of work, and remuneration.
- Adjustments can be made to fees to avoid over-payment.
- Credit notes that are due are identified and can then be processed.
- Unexpected invoices for amounts not budgeted for are avoided.
- It promotes contract compliance and adherence to procurement and internal audit requirements.
All communication agency agreements should require the quarterly reconciliation of third party costs, which most do. However, with the time constraints experienced by many clients and agencies, reconciliations may not be done and when they are, may not be reviewed and followed up by clients. To ensure full contract compliance, a large public sector client outsourced all contract management responsibilities to Yardstick. In addition to ensuring that all reconciliations were adequately prepared and reviewed, Yardstick would follow up to ensure that the necessary credit notes were issued by the agencies. Of even greater importance however was ensuring that the client actually processed the credit notes, having found that credit notes to the value of several millions of Rands had not been taken into account by the client.
Pricing and Dispute Resolution
When price negotiations between a major research company and media industry research body reached a deadlock, Yardstick was requested to assist with a process of dispute resolution and the conclusion of negotiations. Working closely with both parties, cost drivers were unpacked in sufficient detail to provide transparent pricing with which the parties could engage. A rather lengthy negotiation process resulted in significant price savings for the client and fair pricing for the research company. The commercial relationship between the parties has been repaired and adequate mechanisms have been put in place to ensure the smooth conclusion of annual price negotiations.