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News

Accountability Launches Job Cost Central

First-of-its-kind project cost portal set to transform client financial management and billing workflow

NEW YORK, Oct. 27, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Accountability, a leading financial management platform for marketing and advertising agencies, launched Job Cost Central to streamline project financial analysis and the billing approval workflow. This is an extension of the company’s comprehensive job management module which centralizes and structures all the financial data points on any client project. This first-of-its-kind offering enables agencies to configure views and define their financial approval process to ensure alignment across all teams.

Communication agencies rely heavily on their internal talent and network of partners to deliver committed services, so a holistic view of costs and expenses relative to their clients’ approved budget and billings is vital. Job Cost Central gives agency client teams visibility into every project’s financial health and provides an electronic portal to communicate billing instructions to the finance team.

“All of the financial data points — estimated internal and external costs, all client-approved versions, client billing details, and vendor invoice details – were already accessible in real-time,” said Terry McMillan, Accountability CEO and Chief Architect. “We’ve taken what we had a step further and given our customers a way to dynamically create views of the data to support the way agencies need to review and approve financial transactions related to a client job. We didn’t just want to build a custom reporting or a static workflow tool. We wanted to enable our customers to use insight from their single-source-of-truth so everyone with client revenue responsibility can act on that information.”

Accountability’s Job Cost Central At-A-Glance

“It’s incredible to see the deep understanding of the agency business and speed of innovation within Accountability,” says Dan Zaret, COO/CFO of Spectrum Science Communications.  “With Job Cost Central, my team has been able to define focused views, so we can better collaborate with our account teams in keeping our client projects billed correctly and on time. It enforces our desired process without adding work to anyone.  It’s also great to see that the Accountability team has thoughtfully incorporated our feedback in the final version. It’s a true partnership.”

The next phase of Job Cost Central will build on the integration with Accountability’s project accounting module and enable users to take immediate action on billing instructions directly from the tool. 

For more information on Accountability’s Job Cost Central, contact Joanne Miguel at joanne@counta.com

About Accountability
Accountability is a global financial management platform provider for marketing and advertising agencies. Designed by agency CFOs and launched in 2008, the Accountability platform serves as the foundation of an agency’s financial operations and is interoperable with agency workflow management systems, enabling real-time access to the agency’s financial health. Agencies across 30 countries trust the company’s integrated job management and accounting platform to manage their business and gain actionable data to drive growth and transformation. For more on how Accountability is empowering agencies globally, visit counta.com or contact info@counta.com .

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News

Accountability appoints Alci Brea to lead customer success

September  14, 2021 – New York, NY – Accountability, a leading financial management platform for marketing and advertising agencies, today announced the appointment of Alci Brea as Head of Client Services, reporting to the company’s President, Judd Rubin. In this role, Brea will be responsible for scaling Accountability’s customer-centric approach to onboarding and support and will oversee the company’s customer success programs. 

“The industry recognizes the advantage of a modern, agency-specific ERP platform to automate their business and connect with the rest of their tech stack. So we’ve appreciated significant growth, especially in the U.S.  There’s nothing more important to us than our relationship with our agency customers – it’s always been a true partnership. And as we scale, we want to ensure that we have the right team to support the continued success of our clients,” said Judd Rubin. “I’ve known Alci for years and his credentials make him the perfect person to lead this team. We’re thrilled to have him join and  help us support an expanding Accountability footprint.”

Alci Brea has been implementing and supporting enterprise solutions for agencies for over two decades. Brea joins Accountability from Adobe Workfront, where he led relationship & sales efforts for agency holding companies IPG & WPP plus professional services firms PwC & Deloitte.

Prior to Workfront, he was a Strategic Account Director at Mediaocean, responsible for the overall health of agency accounts. He led teams in matching market needs with up-sell opportunities, cross-functional implementations, and customer success for holding companies and independent agencies.

About Accountability
Accountability is a global financial management platform provider for marketing and advertising agencies. Designed by agency CFOs and launched in 2008, the Accountability platform serves as the foundation of an agency’s financial operations and is interoperable with agency workflow management systems, enabling real-time access to the agency’s financial health. Agencies across 30 countries trust the company’s integrated job management and accounting platform to manage their business and gain actionable data to drive growth and transformation. For more on how Accountability is empowering agencies globally, visit counta.com.  

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Blog

Three action items to streamline your month-end close

The first two weeks of the month are eerily quiet. Ask a finance person to meet and the answer is likely “not this week, it’s month-end”.  

Agencies work off a month-end close calendar with key milestones that can start as early as the last week of the current accounting month and last up to 10 days of the following month. While some specifics might vary, “closing the books” involves checking off a list of monotonous tasks. For example: 

  •  Get all client invoices out and record all cash receipts
  •  Clear supplier invoices for payment 
  •  Approve submitted expense claims 
  •  Take up or write-off revenue on a project 
  •  Prepare, approve, and create journal entries
  • Analyze accounts, troubleshoot variances, make adjustments. Repeat.

These tasks could include prerequisite and follow-up sub-tasks turning it into a marathon to get the financial scoreboard right. The agency is an interconnected web of people and processes. This interdependency is demonstrated month after month when the finance team chases after multiple teams to complete their part of the process and manually collates reports to close the books. 

There are three operational efficiencies your agency can adopt today to shorten your close cycle and, more importantly, alleviate the strain and stress on your finance team.

Systematize approvals across teams 

What it is and why it’s important

Systematizing approvals does not mean replacing finance directors with machines. Systematizing this process means that all financial transactions requiring review and sign-off get automatically routed to the right person at the agency. Automated routing and real-time analysis of financial transactions ensure that they’re approved or acted on if follow-ups are needed. Just-in-time adjustments eliminate last-minute corrections that could delay your close or, worse, uncovered after. 

Action item # 1

Activate financial approvals within your ERP to ensure that all transactions – client invoices, vendor invoices, cash receipts, journal entries, and revenue take-ups – are automatically routed for review and sign-off as soon as they occur. 

Learn more about Accountability’s integrated manager approval workflow. 

Instill financial accountability across the agency  

What it is and why it’s important

Agency finance teams have historically been tasked with generating all cost-related reports and sharing them with the account management, production, or media investment teams. While the finance team is still responsible for ensuring the accuracy of an agency’s balance sheet and income statement, high-performing agencies understand that everyone in the organization impacts the bottom line. 

The agency is an interconnected chain of people and processes. A broken link in this accountability chain could delay your month-end close in the short term, but it has a direct impact on your long-term bottom line. 

Action item # 2

Give the “front of the house” access to run their own reports on-demand. What this looks like: 

  • Account managers have the latest revenue data for their clients, can query all open receivables, spot errors in client billing, and quickly analyze variances to budget down to the project level. 
  • Producers can quickly reconcile purchase orders with vendor invoices and have detailed data to direct payment priorities. 
  • The leadership team has an executive dashboard to see the agency’s current financial position, glean trends on profitable projects, and, if they want to, see the underlying financial transactions without waiting a month for reports.

The less time the finance team spends running and packaging reports, the more time they can spend on analysis and strategy.

Learn how Accountability is enabling financial visibility across agencies. 

Let your financial management platform do the heavy lifting

What it is and why it’s important

Month-end activities are arduous to begin with, but agencies face additional complexities, often forcing finance teams to manage the process by cobbling together data from multiple systems. Manual consolidation significantly slows down the process and is prone to error. A best-of-breed financial management platform recognizes the nuances of the agency business and enables efficiencies by integrating with the agency’s tools of choice and automating onerous tasks. 

Action item # 3

Survey your team to assess how much of your month-end and intra-month financial activities are managed within your ERP system. A modern, agency-native financial management platform provides the following and so much more out-of-the box.

  • Automated revenue recognition
  • Dynamically updated work-in-progress summaries to facilitate WIP management by client or project
  • Automated media cost reconciliation 
  • Month-end management ‘reporting packet’ derived directly from the platform because the key dissections required by the agency — office, clients, projects, tasks, departments, employees, vendors — are stored with accounting transactions. 

Incorporating these best practices in your day-to-day process will significantly reduce the backlog of things to do at month-end and give your leadership team real-time visibility into financial data to drive decisioning.

Is your ERP doing the heavy lifting for you? Accountability can help.

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Blog

[Webinar] Timing is everything

The biggest headache for agency CFOs in getting reliable numbers to drive organizational decisions revolves around timing. For any given project or campaign, client and vendor transactions are happening at various times. Even the best accountants can generate inaccurate financial statements without a deep understanding of these timing challenges.

Accountability CEO and Chief Architect Terry McMillan and Inspira Marketing CFO Clay Samaroo discuss why it’s futile for agencies to look at their P&L until they get their balance sheets right. Watch our webinar on-demand to gain a deeper understanding of agency WIP (work-in-progress) management and tools that you can use today to ensure that you have accurate financial data when you need it.

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News

Accountability Launches Agency Finance Master Class Series

March 29, 2021 – New York, NY – Accountability, the leading financial management and ERP platform for marketing and advertising agencies, launched its Agency Finance Master Class series.

Accountability President Judd Rubin explained the driver for this webinar series. “There’s no shortage of webinars and product demos from ERP providers, but we are fortunate to have former agency CFOs and agency workflow experts within Accountability. We are uniquely positioned to address the business and operational challenges that advertising and marketing agencies are focused on. We are excited to partner with agency, ad tech, and mar tech leaders in our network to curate these topics and share best practices that are relevant to the agency.”

Accountability’s Agency Finance Master Class series will cover topics of interest for all agency market segments and feature industry experts. The company launched the series with an educational webinar on agency media finance. Aptly titled Art + Science + Cashflow, the inaugural master class challenges the current media buying equation and highlights the critical role of financial operations in advancing converged media buying. The next set of classes will focus on revenue tools and work-in-progress (WIP) management.  

Accountability will be sharing new classes on its LinkedIn page. Follow the page and save your spot as the company announces new topics.

About Accountability 

Accountability is a global agency management platform provider for marketing and advertising agencies. Designed by agency CFOs and launched in 2008, the Accountability platform serves as the foundation of an agency’s financial operations. It is interoperable with agency workflow management systems, enabling real-time access to the agency’s financial health. Agencies across 30 countries trust the company’s integrated project management and accounting platform to manage their business and gain actionable data to drive growth and transformation. For more information, visit counta.com

Contact: marketing@counta.com

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News

Accountability Launches U.S. Expansion, Introduces Executive Leadership

Judd Rubin and Joanne Miguel Tapped to Lead U.S. Operations

January 11, 2021 – New York, NY via PR Newswire Accountability, a leading financial management platform for marketing and advertising agencies, today announced the company has established its U.S. headquarters in New York. The expansion marks an important milestone for the Melbourne-based company and will help catalyze growth across the U.S. market.  

“We regard the New York office as the most important strategic asset for Accountability’s global growth,” said Terry McMillan, the founder and CEO of Accountability. “And with CFOs requiring optimization and efficiency now more than ever, our financial management platform can play a critical role in helping agencies succeed.”

Accountability’s U.S. expansion will be led by recently appointed President Judd Rubin, a cross-industry expert in advertising, technology, and management consulting. In this role, Rubin is responsible for driving global revenue and strategic direction.

“Accountability has always been a product-driven company,” McMillan said. “And now we’re at a stage where we need to connect the product with the opportunity, and there’s no one in this industry who can optimize growth acceleration better than Judd.” 

Rubin joins Accountability from Hudson MX, where he was responsible for activating partnerships, identifying market opportunities, and leading cross-industry efforts. Prior to working at Hudson MX, he worked at Mediaocean and Comcast’s Freewheel Advertisers. In those roles, he directed business relations with leading media companies, including Google, Facebook, and Microsoft.

“With the best agency financial management platform in the market, Accountability has positioned itself for rapid growth,” Rubin said. “I have no doubt that this product will quickly become indispensable to agencies around the U.S., and I’m excited to lead the expansion.” 

Rubin announced that Joanne Miguel will be joining him in New York as Accountability’s Chief Product Officer. Miguel will oversee global product strategy and marketing for the organization.

“Accountability specializes in understanding the unique needs of an agency and delivering industry-specific solutions,” Rubin said. “I’ve worked with Joanne in the past and she is a true industry visionary at identifying clients’ needs and incorporating them into our products.”

Miguel brings more than two decades of experience building and delivering innovative solutions for agencies. Prior to joining Accountability, she led the global product marketing discipline at Integral Ad Science. Miguel also led the Product teams at Mediaocean and Freewheel Advertisers, working with major holding company brands and independent media agencies.  While at Freewheel Advertisers, Miguel and Rubin collaborated on launching the industry’s first buyer-centric OTT marketplace.

“I’m honored to be joining a global team of accomplished executives who are committed to pioneering new products that help agencies optimize their financial operations,” Miguel said. “Now more than ever, CFOs need the right tools that will save their agencies time and money and yield the best results.”

McMillan, a former agency CFO, equipped Accountability’s platform with the specific tools that meet the unique needs of agency CFOs. 

“The marketing and ad agencies that use our platform report better results and improved performance across the board,” McMillan said. “With Judd and Joanne now driving our revenue and marketing, New York will be the hub for our global growth.”

About Accountability
Accountability is a global financial management platform provider for marketing and advertising agencies. Designed by agency CFOs and launched in 2008, the Accountability platform serves as the foundation of an agency’s financial operations and is interoperable with agency workflow management systems, enabling real-time access to the agency’s financial health. Agencies across 30 countries trust the company’s integrated job management and accounting platform to manage their business and gain actionable data to drive growth and transformation. For more on how Accountability is empowering agencies globally, visit counta.com.  

Contact: press@counta.com

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Customer Stories

A creative company COO describes how an integrated financial management platform fuels its business planning

The Customer

Emotive is an independent creative company making ideas that live within advertising, entertainment and design. Part ad agency, part production company, part content distributor, Emotive is deliberately (un)structured to respond to clients’ business issues or opportunities effectively, rather than default to ‘traditional comms’ as the answer. 

Ben Keep, Chief Operating Officer of Emotive, is responsible for financial management, operations, and legal. In this exclusive “Accountability Customer Spotlight” series, he shares how he evolved his agency into a connected operation. 

The Challenge

Disparate systems, disparate data

We were using three different systems across finance, time, and job costing, some of which were manual-based and labour-intensive.  

  • Our most important requirement is integrating all data points – to have one single source of truth. To get a clear picture of a job’s financial performance was not simply the click of a button – it should be. 
  • With disparate systems, the team could not view the information they wanted on a timely and accurate basis for themselves.
  • Double handling of data 
  • Too much reliance on the finance team to issue Estimates instead of being managed by the broader team

Expectations from a new system

My holy grail was a system that encompassed timesheets, expense claims, job costing and financial management in the one system that was accessible beyond the finance team. Secondly, it needed to be a cloud-based solution to provide remote access and ensure data backup and integrity.  

The Solution

An integrated financial management platform

I searched the market far and wide for what I thought was the best system. We came close to implementing another system, but we halted it just before going live because there were too many compromises to make. We went back to the drawing board – then we found Accountability.

With Accountability, we operate with one single source of truth. Our weekly meeting is driven by the insights we get from the platform. 

Flexible and intuitive 

Accountability is designed specifically for agencies, so the flexibility the system provides is second to none. From WIP management to deferring and accruing revenue, it is by far the most robust system I’ve seen on the market. 

Ease of navigation was a big one for me. Before committing to Accountability, I trialed a demo version and successfully completed all of the basic accounting requirements without any training or introduction to the system. Very intuitive.  

Seamless implementation with expert advice

My two biggest concerns were: 

  1. Ensuring the system was set up as I wanted, i.e., it was important for my implementation partner to understand my needs to configure the platform accordingly.
  2. Buy-in from the broader team.

The significant advantage of Accountability is that both David and Michael have been CFOs in agency land. They understood not only the accounting requirements but the commercial and agency nuances as well. In previous system implementations, I’ve worked with consultants who are not from a finance background.

The Accountability team understood and enhanced business processes with a wealth of knowledge. 

True partnership

The system requires very little support, but on occasions when support is needed, the responses have been timely and ensure no interruption to the business. The most significant benefit is that we have access to the person who managed the implementation and is familiar with our structure and workflow. Our partnership with Accountability started from the moment we kicked-off onboarding and they continue to be an extension of our agency. 

The Outcome

We’ve seen notable improvements in multiple areas: 

  • Management of project budgets – visibility is clear and in the one system. 
  • Timesheet management – it’s an easy system to use and as such, no longer an issue for staff to complete
  • Management of small jobs often can be overlooked, but the system ensures we’re able to estimate and track jobs significantly better than we could with the use of our disparate systems. 

From day to day to more strategic outlooks, our whole business planning is powered by Accountability.

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Customer Stories

Remote work imposed by COVID-19 restrictions improved data entry for a multi-national design agency

The global pandemic has forever changed the way we work. It challenged legacy processes and accelerated automation initiatives across industries. The advertising and marketing vertical was not exempt from the financial and social impact of this unprecedented event. We are witness to agencies adapting to this change.  

Spotlight on Cowan

Cowan is an international brand innovation, strategy and packaging design agency specializing in Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) packaging, with established offices in Melbourne, Sydney, Singapore, Shanghai, Beijing, Vietnam, and London.  

We spoke with Samantha Gill, Cowan’s Finance Manager, who has worked in agency finance for over 25 years. For Samantha, having a financial management platform that serves as the backbone of her agency’s financial operations is fundamental.

Accountability:  You’ve been in agency finance for a long time. What has been your biggest challenge? 

Samantha:  Training and getting the staff on board to maintain accurate and timely information. Enforcing best practices and having a good platform is critical to achieving this. 

Accountability:  What do you expect from a financial management platform? 

Samantha:  We’re a global company with localized needs in each market, so we need our main group platform to be multi-entity and multi-currency. We have always had a distributed team with offices across seven markets, but with all of us working remotely due to COVID, having a cloud-based platform accessible from anywhere is vital. We also need it to be intuitive and reliable. 

Accountability:  What process changes have you implemented that have made a dramatic impact on your agency?

Samantha:  We are all working remotely because of COVID-19 restrictions and we actually improved our data entry. Using the Expense claim and Supplier invoice routines in Accountability converted Cowan into a paperless office that we only dreamt about previously. It’s great for our environment and allows for easy information retrieval and sharing. 

Accountability:  How can we support you during this time? 

Samantha: We receive exceptional support from Accountability, going above and beyond with quick responses, even to low priority queries. We can speak directly to a member of the team or submit low priority requests from within the platform. Accountability has also undertaken bespoke development for Cowan. The team worked closely with us to produce reporting required for daily forecasting, CRM and financial statements directly from the system, allowing our teams across the globe to generate daily reporting instantly. The system is valuable to all members of the staff, not just the finance teams. 

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News

Accountability Launches Executive Dashboard for Real-Time KPI Monitoring

November 10, 2020 – Accountability, a leading financial management platform for marketing and advertising agencies, launched an interactive dashboard for agency financial leaders to assess their company’s financial position. 

The global pandemic brought a new level of scrutiny on the agency and its operations. Anyone at the agency with financial responsibilities demands real-time access to consolidated data to inform decisions on project costing and resourcing.

All ERP systems have reporting capabilities that promise to give agencies visibility into profitability and revenue, but many of these platforms were not built for professional services and more imporantly, the marketing and advertising vertical. This means that onerous tasks specific to running an agency project are still managed in disparate places. “Accountability is specifically for this vertical and serves as the foundation for an agency’s financial operations, ” said Terry McMillan, CEO and Founder of Accountability. ” This is a crucial differentiator for our dashboard because the agency CFO can drill down into specific transactions without leaving our platform. “

This product launch features a redesigned version of Accountability’s dashboard, which gives the agency CFO an on-demand view of its financial position. “Instead of using a third-party visualization package, we built a tile-based dashboard structure that is completely customizable for each user of the platform. We have all of the transactions in our platform to easily show different dissections of data for the agency, including Job WIP Balances and WIP Aging. This launch includes pre-determined charts across different categories — Balance Sheet, Profit and Loss, Revenue, Jobs, Resources, and Time. Agencies can also create custom charts for Balance Sheet data and publish predefined dashboards for different teams within the organization. They’ll be able to create custom charts for the other categories in subsequent releases.”

The Accountability platform was designed by former agency CFOs to address the agency’s nuanced needs.  “We built what we wish we had when we were agency CFOs,” said Terry  McMillan who’s also the platform’s Chief Architect. “It gives the financial leader at the agency a holistic view of the business so that all decisions are data-informed. More importantly, KPIs can be dissected at various levels down to the actual agency job, so it holds the entire agency accountable and more connected.” Ben Keep, Chief Operating Officer of creative agency, Emotive is an early adopter of the redesigned dashboard. “My role requires me to have an accurate and up-to-date view of how my agency is operating.  The insight I can extract from Accountability’s dashboard informs my decision-making and quickly identifies areas of the business that I need to prioritize. “ Terry McMillan adds, “It’s a big time-saver.  Anyone with access can create an ad hoc dashboard for their leadership or board meeting and publish it to attendees beforehand instead of spending hours putting together a deck and taking up valuable time walking through slides. We use the Accountability platform and dashboard ourselves and our board meetings are 50% shorter but 2x more effective. What’s great is that if anyone has a question about the numbers, they can get to the transaction that makes up that number without leaving the platform.”

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Customer Stories

Experiential agency combines human connection and workflow automation to gain competitive advantage

The Customer

Founded in 2003 by Maneesh K. Goyal, MKG is an experiential marketing, social media & branding agency that leverages human connection to impact consumers and influencers in smart, meaningful ways. 

With offices in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, MKG is an independent, award-winning agency comprised of creative trailblazers that partner with some of the world’s premier brands including Delta Air Lines, Audi, Heineken and NBCUniversal. 

MKG’s specialties are Experiential Marketing, Event Planning, Digital Integration + Social Media Marketing, Sponsorship Strategy & Activation 

The Challenge 

Prior to implementing Accountability in early 2013, MKG did not have an integrated solution. The size, duration and complexity of client projects presented large challenges in project financial management and accounting.

One specific challenge was to develop a solution to better manage the large number of corporate credit card transactions MKG has to deal with as a result of project managers booking vendor costs. 

The Solution

MKG considered a number of potential solutions and ultimately chose Accountability.

After a detailed needs assessment to understand MKG’s specific challenges, the decision was taken to commence the implementation of AccountAbility in January 2013

Accountability developed a function to automate and streamline the management of corporate credit card transactions.

The Outcome

Accounting + project management seamlessly tied together:

“As all we need to access Accountability is a web browser, it makes problem solving on the go easy and painless. Accountability provides us with an all-in-one solution that just doesn’t exist in the marketplace.”

Chris Jeffery, MKG Finance Director