Why a Financial Media Audit is Key to Ensuring Full Media Accountability

Media Auditing

Jan 31, 2024 | Philippe Dominois

Why a Financial Media Audit is Key to Ensuring Full Media Accountability

In today’s fast-paced and competitive environment, advertising spend is one of the most significant budget items for the world’s most ambitious brands.

But how do you know if your budget is being spent wisely? Trust in the advertising industry is arguably lower than ever. Many feel uncomfortable relying on the reports of their media agency partners, concerned that data is presented in a less than transparent fashion.

However, being able to accurately interrogate a media budget requires significant internal expertise. As just one example, do you have the in-house knowledge to verify whether your business is being charged the correct amounts by your media agency? Or are you forced to operate on trust and blind faith?

If you are worried that you might be operating on feelings rather than facts, a Financial Media Audit can help to give you the confidence and certainty you need.

 

What is a Financial Media Audit?

Financial Media Audit is an exhaustive scrutiny of all financial transactions connected to your media activities. This includes but is not limited to invoices, contracts, purchase orders, and any other financial documents that pertain to media buying and planning.

It aims to ensure complete financial transparency, identify any discrepancies or irregularities, and confirm that you are getting the value you've been promised.

By diving deep into the financial aspects of your media investments, this audit can uncover hidden costs, over-billings, providing you with a clear financial picture of your media activities.

 

Challenges Addressed:

  • Inconsistent or inaccurate invoicing: A significant challenge faced by advertisers involves dealing with irregularities in media agency invoices. By meticulously auditing these financial documents, advertisers can safeguard against overcharges and financial discrepancies, maintaining financial integrity.
  • Inadequate Media Agency Financial Reporting: Advertisers frequently confront issues stemming from deficient financial reporting by media agencies. This often includes vague or incomplete breakdowns of expenditures, leading to a lack of transparency. By rigorously examining these financial reports, advertisers can ensure accurate allocation and utilisation of budgets, thereby upholding financial prudence and transparency.
  • Unverified or  Invalidated Media Charges: A prevalent issue for advertisers is contending with unsubstantiated or erroneous charges from media agencies. Through rigorous examination of these charges, advertisers can protect against unwarranted costs and preserve the accuracy of their financial dealings, ensuring financial responsibility.

 

What This Audit Covers:

  • 12 Months Audit of All Media Agency Invoices (Calendar or Fiscal Year)
  • Agency Invoices vs. Post-Campaign Reports Analysis
  • Agency Invoices vs. Purchase Orders Analysis
  • Agency Invoices Quality Assessment
  • Working Media and Non-Working Media Invoices
  • Additional Comments
  • Our Recommendations for Improvement

 

The Process & Timeline:

  • ONBOARDING (Week 1): Discuss the project and explain the scope of work to both the local client and the local media agency.
  • DATA COLLECTION (Week 2-4): Collect all required existing media documents and detailed media data for all media investments, for both digital and traditional media channels, using our secured cloud content management platform.
  • MEDIA AGENCY INVOICES ANALYSIS (Week 5-8): Analyse the media agency invoices against actual delivery, post-campaign reports, purchase orders, and best practices.
  • INTERVIEWS (Week 9-10): Conduct set of 'context seeking' interviews with the key stakeholders (agency and advertiser separately) and process additional information received following the run of interviews.
  • REPORTING (Week 11-12): Prepare audit report, collect feedback and comments from both the local advertiser and the local media agency + delivery of the final report + presentation of the final report.

 

Benefits:

  • Identification and Rectification of Billings Errors (Credit Notes): A Financial Media Audit plays a pivotal role in pinpointing and correcting billing inaccuracies, often resulting in the issuance of credit notes. This process ensures financial accuracy, safeguarding advertisers against erroneous agency charges.
  • Improved Financial Reporting and Documentation: This audit significantly enhances the quality of financial reporting and documentation from media agencies. It provides detailed insights and clarity on financial media transactions, enabling advertisers to maintain meticulous and accurate financial records.
  • Increased Accountability from Media Agencies: By rigorously evaluating agency invoices and reconciliation reports, this audit fosters greater accountability among media agencies. This scrutiny leads to higher standards of service and a more judicious use of advertising budgets, ultimately driving better value for the advertiser.

 

Why is a financial media audit key to ensure full media accountability?

Without a thorough financial media audit, it is impossible to ever achieve full media accountability.

A well-executed financial media audit covers every aspect of the financial relationship between your business and your media agency. That level of scrutiny is the single most effective factor that can help to increase the performance of your media campaigns. There is simply no hiding place. Wasteful spends and poor ROIs are identified and eradicated at speed.

By maximising the benefits of every penny you spend on media, you are also able to enjoy greater market competitiveness.

From that basis of complete transparency, you and your media agency are able to move forward on a platform of trust. You share the foundations on which you are able to build a long-term and fruitful relationship.

 

Is a financial media audit right for my business?

If your organisation employs the services of a media agency and has any kind of significant media spend, then a financial media audit is both a prudent and potentially very profitable exercise.

It helps to instantly eradicate any nagging concerns you have about the effectiveness of your spend or the accuracy of the data you receive from your agency.

It supplies you with the intelligence and insight you need to maximise the effectiveness of your media spend – without having to make expensive internal hires.

 

How much does a financial media audit cost?

At this point, you may be wondering - how much does a financial media audit cost?

The price varies based on your specific scope, markets, and period covered. Rather than general estimates, at Abintus Consulting, we provide custom quotes tailored to your needs and goals.

To get an instant, obligation-free quote for your financial audit, visit our Media Auditing Services page. Simply fill out the form and our team will provide precise pricing and recommendations based on your unique requirements within hours.

Please bear in mind that our financial media audits tend to be self-financing, with savings delivered to clients exceeding our audit fees. This becomes a smart investment for any advertiser seeking to audit their media investments.

For more information, book a free consultation today to speak directly to one of our specialists.

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Author Expertise and Experience:

Philippe Dominois is co-founder and CEO of Abintus Consulting, and Head Coach at the Abintus Academy. He has over 25 years of international media experience, having worked on the media agency side, client side, and media auditing side throughout his career. Philippe has authored hundreds of articles over the years that focus on media management best practices.

Media Auditing Guide: Click Here

Media Agency Pitch Management Guide: Click Here

Free Media Agency Contract Assessment: Click Here

Free Media Management Training for Advertisers: Click Here

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