A creative company COO describes how an integrated financial management platform fuels its business planning
December 14, 2020
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.
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.
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.
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:
- 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.
- 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 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.
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.