Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Agency Bills Under Scrutiny

The Shona Seifert conviction raises to broad consciousness the billing practices of ad agencies which have been notoriously opague for as long as anyone remembers.

Agencies lag behind law firms, accountants and other professional service organizastions in making investments in sophisticated billing technology. And as Shona Seifert said in her testimony filling out timesheets accurately and on time is counter intuitive in most agencies.
Anyone who has ever worked in an agency knows how difficult it is just to get the time sheets filled out and collected, much less assess accuracy and/or forecast revenue yield.

As a result it is not unusual to get a convoluted bill. And it's almost impossible to measure cost versus value received. Perhaps the revelations of the way-less-than best practices at Ogilvy will inspire agencies to improve their billing performance and to make financial issues more transparent to clients. Let's hope so.

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