Whether it’s the ANA report that came out in 2016 making every client think their agency is essentially stealing from them, or the ever-increasing level of transparency being required by clients today; audits are becoming commonplace and have the potential to throw the entire agency into a tailspin of panic, anxiety and frustration for weeks or even months at a time.
Audits may be designed to ensure agencies are operating properly, have the necessary controls in place to protect client data and details, and are complying with the terms of their agreements, but the effect of an audit on most agencies is exactly the opposite; it throws operations into disarray as employees are pulled off billable work to chase down old correspondance, reconstruct timelines, forage for unsigned documents, etc. that in turn place the agency at risk of missing important client deadlines, stretching employee bandwidth to the breaking point and violating SOW terms.
“We’ve gone through every year, four audits” said Steve Orenstein, a CFO with over 40 years of agency experience speaking of his time at 72andSunny. “Two SOX compliance audits, 2 BDO audits as well as client audits.”
“It’s not a question of whether you’ll have to go through an audit”, says Ellen Coulter, CEO of Advantage Software. “It’s a question of when. Every agency of any significant size will eventually be audited, either at the request (or demand) of a client, or possibly as one of the due diligence steps triggered by an investment or acquisition, or any number of other reasons.”
One thing’s for sure - if you’re not ready, you’re in for a world of hurt.
It doesn’t have to be a painful process though. As Orenstein shares from his experience with Advantage software; “...pulling the data out and getting it for them was a piece of cake.” (See a video of Steve’s thoughts and comments regarding Advantage’s software at https://youtu.be/uuzAswA-HCw).
Accounting has always been at the core of Advantage’s software, so it’s no surprise that measures designed to protect customers from egregious audits are baked into the system. Transactions are date and time stamped including the user who has permission to perform duties in order to provide a complete audit trail.
Documents like purchase orders, estimates and AP invoices can be electronically signed and stored with the related records for easy lookup during an audit, and the workflow communications system ensures that every action and decision is tracked and searchable forever. Comments in a string of events cannot be modified or falsified.
These are just a few of the features that make going through an audit with Advantage software a very different experience than without.
“One of the toughest aspects of an audit is the flow of information across the agency, through different competencies and systems.” says Coulter. “Advantage accounting is fully integrated with project and media work, making research on financial transactions a breeze.”
Let’s face it, going through an audit may never be on your bucket list, but at least with Advantage software, it doesn’t have to keep you up at night either.
One thing is for sure - the audits are coming. If you’re not ready, there’s no better time to reach out to email@example.com and have a conversation about how Advantage can help you make your next audit a breeze.