Financial Control For Creative Agencies
Creative agencies can be brilliant, innovative, talented, vibrant, happening places. They all recognise their clients are businesses but sometimes forget to be a business themselves.
The excitement of pitch night, the whole team working late, the pitch itself and the sheer joy of that phone call announcing they have won is what life is all about.
After the exhilaration of the win, however, it’s easy to run out of energy for the boring stuff like agreeing a contract, agreeing a realistic scope of work, checking iterations contained in the fee, avoiding scope creep and actual work sign-off by the client. All of these, if not done properly, rack up costs for the agency and threaten its future.
Financial control is vital
Correctly running the agency’s financials is vital for two reasons:
- To pay its bills and salaries in a timely fashion
- If the agency is serious about getting to the next level, it will need to demonstrate financial stability for larger clients to trust it with larger creative budgets.
Ideally an agency would appoint an experienced full-time Finance Director, but these are expensive creatures and rarely have creative agency experience.
The solution is Mel Storer at BKPS Ltd – Accountants. Mel has unrivalled experience in helping a small agency hit the big time through strong financial management.
In 2000 Mel joined Cheetham Bell Ltd – Manchester’s then creative hotshop. Cheetham Bell were in talks with JWT London regarding a merger but the agency needed help getting its finances to pass due diligence. In early 2001, Cheetham Bell and JWT merged forming Cheetham Bell JWT (CBJWT Ltd). Because of his excellent work on the finances, Mel was appointed Finance Director of CBJWT Ltd.
The early years involved merging two very different cultures: Cheetham Bell, a young, vibrant, happening agency with the mighty, but quite traditional, global network of JWT.
Mel reported to the JWT EMEA Finance Director and operationally to the local CBJWT board in Manchester. Mel ran monthly commercial meetings with senior account directors and operation meetings with production department heads such as digital and artwork studio.
The merger was very successful with Mel winning the JWT EMEA award for best financially run agency in the EMEA region several times. Mel also won Adline Magazine’s Best Financial agency of the year.
Mel’s work with CBJWT got noticed outside JWT, as in 2006 he was approached by the IPA to sit on the prestigious IPA Financial Policy Group. This group consisted of 20 finance directors of which 18 were from top London agencies and Mel was one of only two finance directors outside London to join the group. The job of the group was to influence government policy and set recommendations as to how an agency should be run financially.
In 2010 Mel set up and chaired the North IPA Finance Policy group, meeting fellow agency Finance Directors, discussing regional agency issues & challenges, taking them back to be discussed at the main IPA finance policy group.
In 2009 Mel set up BKPS Ltd, an accountancy practice with his daughter Nikki. Mel attracted many clients including a significant number of designers and creatives. In 2013 Mel left CBJWT to run his accountancy practice full time.
BKPS Ltd has become very successful with over 250 clients, from small, local businesses to clients in London, Slovakia and even New York.
Virtual Finance Director
Having recently developed video conferencing, Mel is ideally placed to offer your agency a cost-effective, virtual FD product that would give you the business edge. Call Mel today if you want to take your agency to the next level.