Photo of Erika Blomerus

Erika Blomerus

Head of Audit, Learning & Development

An erstwhile high school Maths and Science teacher, a qualified Chartered Accountant and an experienced auditor with extensive experience in media, creative, production, PR and digital agencies, Erika brings formidable experience and analytical skills to the table. Before joining Financial Progression she worked in the EMEA internal audit team at WPP.

Interview: Background and Approach

Who I am and what makes me tick.

… Contracts are there to manage real-life relationships between agencies and clients and contract non-compliance has real-life business and operational consequences for these relationships.

What prompted you to start contract compliance auditing advertising and media agencies?

At the start of my auditing career the majority of my clients were highly regulated financial institutions. Although I enjoyed the technical complexity that came with working on such clients, I found that they were usually so large and well-controlled that there was little opportunity to add value. So, when I was given the opportunity to join the EMEA internal audit team at WPP, I jumped at the chance to travel the world while working in vibrant advertising and media agencies. While at WPP I particularly enjoyed the contract compliance aspect of my work and was fascinated by the ways in which agencies and clients approached their contracts, so it felt like a natural step to specialise in this area by joining Financial Progression.

How have your previous experiences in business helped you at Financial Progression?

My previous experience has helped me immensely at Financial Progression. The range of agencies I audited while at WPP was extensive, covering media, creative, production, PR and digital agencies and this allowed me to develop a deep understanding of the environments in which these agencies operate. Some of these agencies were very large, while others were very small; some were traditional and well-established, while others were at forefront of new media; some were well-managed, while others were less so. In order to make realistic recommendations that these agencies would actually be willing and able to implement, I had to understand their existing processes and business models and to persuade them of the need for (and benefits of) change. This is a skill that has served me well in my role at Financial Progression.

Which part of your work gives you the greatest sense of achievement?

People often forget that contracts are there to manage real-life relationships between agencies and clients and that contract non-compliance has real-life business and operational consequences for these relationships. Non-compliance often reflects underlying problems in the relationship and I find great satisfaction in collaborating with agencies and clients to identify the root causes of such problems. For me, the greatest achievement is when, following an audit, they fully engage with one another to tackle the problems we’ve identified by finding mutually beneficial solutions.

How would people describe you?

I don’t think that people would describe me a ‘typical’ auditor. I have a very varied background, having studied history at university and taught high school maths and science for a number of years before retraining as a Chartered Accountant. I’ve also lectured auditing to university students and see teaching and coaching as somewhat of a vocation. I’m very people-orientated and enjoy helping people to achieve their potential, so I’m always there to listen and to offer advice when its sought. Having said that, I do have some ‘typical’ auditor traits, like being highly analytical and detail orientated, and approaching business dealings with integrity and professionalism.

What motivates you to do what you do?

I’m an optimist at heart and genuinely believe that people and organisations are capable of great things if they put their minds to it. This inspires me to find ways to assist them in reaching their full potential.

What can you be found doing when you’re not at work?

You can often find me exploring National Trust properties, camera in hand, or hiking in search of beautiful landscapes. Prior to COVID-19 I also enjoyed live music and going to festivals, but I suspect it will be a while before I can indulge in concerts again!

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