Agency Audit: Expectations vs. Reality

What is an Agency Audit and what should you expect?

Aa audit/review of an agency is like any other business review; only more targeted at the specifics of a digital agency. The focus should always be on the business and how it is operating.

Financial; a review of the project and delivery financials (not your report and accounts) is one of the areas that should be top of the list. The review should highlight if the projects are profitable or not, where the losses are (is it the same type of work that makes/looses money), are the hidden costs being charged properly, does the team understand the importance of recording the work they are doing (the timesheet issue)?

Operations; the review should go into detail of how you deliver work; is there a set of defined processes, does it work, does everyone on the team follow the same process? Have you grown but your delivery process has not grown with it?

Sales; the review will look at who is responsible for sales, are they also at the coal face delivering work, how are new clients identified, what is the process taken for each new sale? How successful are you at winning new clients, how long does it take to prepare proposals, do you pitch for work offering “free” creative? Sales can be very disrupting for little return once you break down the time and effort put into finding new clients.

After care; once you deliver the project how is the client treated, if there is no interest from the client are they put on the back burner to focus on new clients and work? Do you work to put a retainer in place, is it clear to the client what is included, was it discussed through the project delivery?

Team; each team member should be interviewed as part of teh review, in confidence, allowing them to highlight issues that may not be obvious. It should address how the team performing, are gaps in knowledge, any natural leaders?

Get-Gain-Grow uses a set of tasks to understand the digital agency and identify areas that could be improved.

  • It could be that you are great at winning new clients but after the first project work dries up so you are constantly chasing new win work – which is time consuming and costly.
  • It could be that projects overrun causing a loss of profit, is this down to underestimating the project up front or not setting client expectations for delivery at the out set? This will also have a knock on with the customer willing to spend anymore with you.

An agency review should not paint a totally rosy picture, there will always be an area, or areas, that can be addressed. There will not be one big item to fix there will be lots of small issues that when combined will make a big difference.

The review should highlight priorities to address that will have the biggest impact – don’t expect all issues to be fixable in a short time frame, this is not a magic wand.

Want to know more? Find out how an agency review can help you.