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.