Financial Progression has been working with the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) on a key piece of peer research: a survey of perceptions and business practices of some of the world’s largest advertisers around the hot topic of trust and financial transparency between brand and agency. The report is out now and makes fascinating reading.

Representing over 100 of the world’s biggest brand owners, 60 national advertiser associations across six continents, and 90% of the world’s marketing communications spend, the WFA’s seminal role in championing marketers’ interests and setting standards for responsible marketing communications needs little introduction. At Financial Progression we were delighted to engage with the WFA on topics very close to our hearts: the evolution of the use of contract compliance audits and an assessment — both quantitative and qualitative — of the latest thinking and business practice in the context of client-agency trust and transparency.

The 32-page report presents the results of an online survey conducted in Q1 2019. All respondents were senior marketing procurement experts, 55% of whom have a global strategic role, with the remainder having regional responsibilities with a weighting towards APAC and Europe. 37 different companies took part into this study, representing over 15 different sectors.

As Financial Progression founder and director Adrian Jenkins writes in the foreword of Achieving greater financial transparency with your agencies:

“… the most prominent concerns of clients over the past three to four years have been expressed in two words: ‘trust’ and ‘transparency’. How can we know that we can trust our agencies if they are not transparent? If our agencies are not transparent, are we wise to trust them?”

From that keynote, the report structure covers:

  • Current perceptions
  • Defining transparency
  • Why audit?
  • Compliance audit solutions
  • Case study: Barclays
  • Budgeting for audits
  • Future needs
  • WFA members’ watchouts
  • Audit providers & alternative options
  • Key recommendations

Some key findings

The report is full of often surprising revelations. The briefest glimpse…

  • Most respondents define ‘transparency’ as the accurate reporting of rebates and discounts, reconciliations, third-party costs and hours, and 95% want to audit to ensure financial transparency.
  • For 77%, audits have been instrumental in increasing accountability and extracting greater value from their agencies.
  • When asked “Why audit, anyway?”, 63% had concerns over financial transparency and 59% believed auditing their agencies leads to more care being taken with their money.

This is a must-read for any marketing, media governance or procurement professional and is available in full for clients of Financial Progression or members of the WFA. Just use our enquiry form to request your copy.