Adrian Jenkins is the founder of an independent company called Financial Progression which conducts contract compliance audits of agencies on behalf of advertisers.
Also: Common Sense Marketers Ignore
We asked him about the most common misconceptions that brand marketers and agency executives have about his profession, role, impact and scope of work. We also wanted to know what it is about his line of work that once known, will put all stakeholders at ease.
According to Adrian Jenkins, when thinking about a contract compliance audit, “the biggest concerns that both brand marketers and agency executives have been is whether the auditor has the knowledge and experience to understand the complexities of the relationship and the independence of mind to be objective and evenhanded when drawing conclusions and making recommendations.”
Adrian Jenkins has spent over nine years providing audit services to brand marketers at large organisations that seek greater transparency and governance over their marketing spend.
“Brand marketers have concerns that the auditor might unduly favor the agency. Similarly, agency executives have concerns that the auditor might unduly favor the client (particularly as it’s the client that is paying for the audit).”
“There’s also the common stereotype of what an auditor or Chartered Accountant does and is capable of. Many think that we’re just about data and fact, can’t see past the numbers and are likely to be tactless when dealing with real people, meaning that long-standing and productive working relationships could be damaged in some way.”
“A solid professional qualification in audit, along with a number of years working in real businesses (whether at brands or agencies) gives you a really good grounding for this type of work. It means that you can understand that both parties are simply just trying to do their best and, if mistakes are made, it’s very rare that they are intentional. So making sure that you are respectful and supportive of the brand, agency and their relationship is very important.”
“The thing that most readily puts everyone at ease is the knowledge that an experienced, independent professional is going to treat them fairly. A contract compliance audit is just that – an audit of the contract, not the companies or personalities that work in them. As long as you explain the work that you are doing, the reasons for doing particular things and make it a collaborative and engaging process without a specific agenda, all will be well. It’s one of the reasons that we always send a draft of the audit report to the agency first, so that it’s not surprised by anything in it and has an opportunity to put its perspective forward in the final report before it goes to the client. At the end the day, a balanced, objective, independent perspective is what both parties are looking for. Done well, it will actually enhance the relationship between brand and agency, rather than detract from it.”