FirmDecisions is the largest independent global marketing compliance specialist. We provide financial transparency in the client-agency relationship to the world’s biggest advertisers.
Alison Sanderson, Audit Partner EMEA at FirmDecisions Ltd
Q. Can you give an overview of FirmDecisions Ltd and its organisational structure?
FirmDecisions Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of FirmDecisions Group Ltd. FD Ltd is the UK operating company. Stephen Broderick is the Group CEO. I am the Audit Partner EMEA. The majority of EMEA audits are managed from London. We are all ex agency finance staff, with our senior team having held top board positions in agencies. All our senior auditors are qualified accountants with a combined experience of over 2000 audits in the media, creative and marketing services arena. We have a very close knit team of experts. We do not use any staff without agency, financial or client experience.
We are a global company with offices in London, New York, Berlin, Paris, Singapore, Hong Kong, Melbourne, and Sao Paolo.
Q. What are the main areas of FirmDecisions Ltd.’s expertise?
We are the leading global auditor in the specialised area of contract and financial compliance of agencies to client contracts in the marketing communication industry. We audit creative, digital, media and all types of below the line agencies.
Q. FirmDecisions Ltd has recently been acquired by Ebiquity plc. How does this fit into your business strategy?
It is an excellent fit for us as we provide complimentary services to major advertisers. There is no overlap in our service provision. Whilst we have offices in 8 countries, they provide more local facilities through their extended network.
Q. Were there any challenges that needed to be overcome?
Not really. Ebiquity have been very hands off and we have congruent goals. We are like minded and so far the signs are very encouraging.
Q. How was the transaction structured?
The transaction is a straight forward earn out with a lump sum up front and balancing payments based on the achievement of certain financial targets.
Q. 2011 saw global economic turmoil; do you think this has impacted on your 2012/2013 strategy?
Our clients have become more cost and effectiveness aware as a result of budget pressures. We identify issues of non- compliance which very often deliver significant cost savings to our clients. In this respect we find our business is bouyant when financial times are tough.
The learnings from our audits deliver annuity savings through implementation of improved controls increased awareness of transparency issues and adaption of best practice.
Q. Is there anything else you would like to mention?
The issue of media transparency is very high on advertisers’ agendas. With the increasing influence of major media buying groups, clients need to ensure they fully understand the commercial implications and that they have unfettered access to all transactional and contractual data relating to their advertising and media spends. By employing specialists who are all ex media and creative agency senior finance personnel the client gains comfort that their contracts work as they expect them to and are being followed.