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The Accountability of the Marketing Accounting Department

The accounting department: the unsung hero of the marketing and communications agency.

The Accountability of the Marketing Accounting Department

Posted Friday September 09th, 2016 by in Analysis + Strategy.

When people think about a marketing and communications agency, they usually think about the creative side — the art department, the social media department, the public relations department, the digital development department, the video production department — but they don’t often give much thought to the accounting department. However, most people also don’t realize that a successful marketing accounting department has to have its finger on the pulse of everything that is going on in all of the departments in addition to running its own.

How is that?

Well, the accounting department is responsible for all the money coming in and going out of the business. defines the role as:

The accounting department is responsible for the preparation of financial statements, closing the books at the end of the month and preparing any necessary paperwork. The accounting department is also responsible for paying employees and vendors.

In a marketing agency, these tasks are further directed by the agency being project-based. Therefore, in addition to general company finances, the accounting department is responsible for tracking all of the finances associated with each specific project, including earned revenue and expenses incurred.

For example, rather than just being responsible to track individual employee hours for payroll purposes, the accounting department has to compare hours each employee will spend on each project to the payroll cost of that employee and with the estimated cost of billable hours. Once the project is complete, the department then must track how many of those hours each employee spent on each project (billable hours), compare that to the estimated amount prior to starting the project and reconcile the difference. The same goes for each department in relation to each specific project.

Then, of course, the reconciliation between other expenses for the project and its budget is an additional task. Overall, that is three levels of finances that need to be tracked for every single project the agency takes on: estimated, budgeted, actual.

As you can see, the accounting department in a marketing agency must be painstakingly organized, always on top of things, detail-oriented, and pretty much omniscient. And then, of course, it also needs a complete understanding of all thing financial.

So, the question is: Are you comfortable making your accounting department accountable? After all, their time is money.

If you are looking for an experienced agency to take on all of the responsibilities that accompany a successful marketing campaign, contact GEM to find out what our award-winning team can do for your company.


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