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“Besides the fact that fma consists of former media agency CFOs in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany, they have mainly made the difference with their approach to digital media.”

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Financial Assessment

The financial assessment provides answers to all transparency problems that advertisers face. These transparency problems result from outsourcing various tasks to an external agency. Not only will the financial cash flows with their various discounts be fully analysed, but the work processes, the overall performance of the agency, compliance with the current contract as well as a clear profitability analysis (what does the agency earn from me as a customer?) will also be included in the audit.

An fma assessment can be carried out for all marketing communication agencies (e.g. media, advertising, digital, PR agencies, etc.). It is not an assessment of the front cover of the story, but a full and detailed analysis of what is going on behind the scenes—what is known as the back office. In other words, for a creative agency, the fma audit will not make any statements or judgements about the strength of the creation. What we will do is thoroughly review the job cards, timesheets, invoicing, fees, the agency's purchases from third parties, mandates, etc. Everything that is based on facts and figures will be audited. We use a number of documents to carry out this review, such as contracts, budgets, and sales and purchasing invoices, for example, but also simple e-mails between parties. Using this information we can make some clear statements! In the case of a media agency, fma does not assess the quality of the media plan. We will not tell you whether radio was the right choice or not. But we will audit the agreements made, to check whether the media agency complies with the current contract and agreements, underlying contracts, remuneration, invoicing, timesheets, agreed discounts, etc.

The same applies for all other marketing organisations that fma audits: social and other digital agencies, below-the-line agencies, and many others.

Every financial assessment has the same pattern—three chapters that cover everything, namely:

  1. The contract and process audit: This part analyses all processes and there is a detailed analysis of contracts (with agency and operators/publishers).
  2. The invoice audit: In this part, all invoices are verified. In addition, the payment behaviour of the parties is checked.
  3. The remuneration audit: This part involves an analysis and audit of all aspects of the remuneration in terms of correctness and completeness: commission, fee, AVBs, KPIs, assorted commissions and other credits, etc. The remuneration audit also includes a detailed review, audit and control of all costs billed by the agency with a clear answer to the question: am I overpaying my agency? In addition, there is a thorough audit of the hours billed by the agency, using time sheets, including the team composition. Changes in the team are looked at and inefficiencies are revealed.

In short, fma’s financial assessment not only provides clear insight into the performance of a media and/or marketing agency, but also gives clear answers to questions about transparency and compliance coming from controlling, procurement, legal and finance departments!

fma, your critical media and marketing partner!

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Digital Performance Audit

These days, all advertisers have the same thing on their mind: digital! How can we know and measure whether a digital campaign is working well? Should I pour more money into digital or less? Is Search useful, or does Social make the difference? What about Programmatic Buying? It seems that nothing is transparent, right? And does digital work for my business? How do I improve and integrate our digital media activities? These and many other questions have become part and parcel of fma's work nowadays. Therefore, it is an absolute necessity for marketing staff to not only thoroughly analyse various digital elements but also to know their concrete results. As a marketer, you can only get approval for your budgets if you present clear, unambiguous and complete analyses, and clear advantages.

With the DPA (Digital Performance Audit), fma is one of the few players in the market with the knowledge and skill to help advertisers make the right choices. An fma DPA identifies problems and, after a thorough audit that leaves no stone unturned, we help to transform the observations into concrete actions. We are persistent, because while you can shut your eyes or pretend you haven't heard, one thing is overtly clear: marketing and media are going fully digital! So, digital has to be fully integrated into the business operation and not be done separately. Since this digital transformation is not going to take forever, it is good business sense to update your knowledge, skills and control now. To be specific, we carry out a DPA on the basis of 650 criteria (!). Our approach has more than proven its worth for many of our customers.

The digital performance audit focuses on the following cornerstones of the digital marketing strategy:

  1. Reach (organic, owned and paid): what channels are used? How are they monitored and billed separately? What criteria is this based on, and are these criteria still up-to-date? Is the channel mix appropriate? We do an in-depth, individual screening of all channels.
  2. Architecture for strategy, resources (technical) and processes: what tools are used for the digital channels? How is the information presented and consumed? How is the data from the various channels used for other channels? Does the current approach meet the market standard? What marketing tools are competitors using?
  3. Organisation (integrated approach by customer and agency): Are the agreements between the agency and client up to date, and when were they last monitored? Do the teams have the tools and training they need to cope with the challenges of today's market? Does the agency provide transparency, in accordance with the current standards, and is the team on the advertisers' side equipped to optimise the returns on digital investments?
  4. Measuring and reporting (KPIs and performance): what objectives and tools are used to monitor and evaluate the results?
  5. Results: Are the digital channels focused on conversion in terms of brand sales objectives?

Thanks to our experience, we are in an excellent position in the digital market. We closely follow the dynamic developments in digital media so we can keep informing our customers about the most recent developments. fma is the partner for controlling your digital activities!

fma is the ideal partner for controlling your digital activities.

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Consulting

In recent years, fma has become the benchmark for objective, thorough and clear advice regarding media and marketing in Belgium and the Netherlands. Small, medium-sized and large advertisers regularly call on one of fma's specialists to answer fundamental questions and set the wheels of long-term projects in motion.

fma can help with the following:

  1. Support with a media pitch
    From a technical perspective, supporting a pitch is a highly specialised task. Through its years of experience with this sort of work, fma has not only become the benchmark on the market for supporting media pitches, but also provides a 100% guarantee for a correct result! In an objective and confidential manner, with understanding of the business and in accordance with the needs and wishes of the advertiser, fma helps you to choose the best business partner for your media strategy/planning and buying. We organise, analyse and advise, but it is the advertiser who decides! Getting support from fma for a pitch removes all burdens on you, as an advertiser. The focus is on the future, and ensuring that you will make the most suitable choice, with the best match for your business at that point in time and in accordance with your strategy! A strict schedule is followed, starting with an analysis of the current situation of the advertiser and the current agency, followed by a number of interviews and developing a methodology, and finally reporting the results of the analyses.
  1. The fma KPI model
    Everything hinges on clear objectives! Every strategy or project, even the simplest projects, can only be judged as successful or not when clear Key Performance Indicators are defined in advance. This is also essential for assessing a media strategy/planning and buying, and collaborating with a media agency. However, we often come across objectives that are weak, not SMART, or that have simply not been agreed upon. The solution here is the fma KPI model, which we devised ourselves! It delivers a clear, thorough and objective evaluation of the relationship between agency and advertiser. We define qualitative and quantitative criteria, in close collaboration with customer and agency!
  2. Media contract negotiation
    As a result of its years of experience, fma is unsurpassed when it comes to judging the strengths and weaknesses of an agency contract. We support the advertiser in providing the correct structure and formulation. fma is better placed than any other company to inform advertisers about pitfalls, market evolutions, specific clauses regarding service provision, transparency, etc.
  3. Training and coaching
    fma coaches marketing and media staff through various annual sessions at the UBA Academy, but also delivers specific in-house training. Each training session is customised to the customers' needs.

All of fma’s customers, without exception, are references!

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some credentials

History

In the spring of 2009, fma was founded in Belgium by Geert Debruyne. By that time, Geert had already gathered 4 years of auditing experience at Arthur Andersen and 8 years as CFO of a large Belgian media agency. The company that Geert built up in a short time is based on 4 strong principles: objectivity, integrity, confidentiality and professionalism. These values are sacred for everyone who works at fma.

In 2014, fma was rebranded and given the tagline ‘forging alliances’. These two powerful words fully underline the DNA of the company: fma continuously works on forging alliances between business partners. fma wants to build and strengthen bridges, not break or destroy them!

The structure in the Netherlands was embedded at the start of 2015, with the establishment of fma Nederland under the management of Henk Plessius. Henk also has a background in auditing. He gained over 4 years' audit experience at PriceWaterhouseCoopers, and was subsequently CFO of one of the Netherlands' biggest media agencies for almost 15 years.

In January 2018, fma set up shop in Germany! Under the leadership of Frank Kluge, fma Germany is being built up from Düsseldorf. Frank has many years of experience as CFO of different media agencies, and for the last three years, he was CFO for Scandinavia and Central Europe at one of the biggest agencies.

Together, Geert, Henk and Frank are a strong trio! They always put the customer first, focus on content, and have a shared vision and values. This makes fma a strong partner for many customers.

Geert Debruyne

GEERT DEBRUYNE

CEO fma Belgium

geert@fmabelgium.be

Henk Plessius

HENK PLESSIUS

CEO fma Nederland

henk@fmanederland.nl

Frank Kluge

FRANK KLUGE

CEO fma Germany

frank@fmagermany.de

fma's vision is very clear:

"fma strives to strengthen the alliance between advertisers and agencies by delivering solutions and so creating transparency, clarity and mutual trust"

 

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Why choose fma?

  • fma focuses on digital
    At fma, digital takes the centre stage. Our reports do not put the main focus on offline media. Search, social, display, programmatic and now even A.I. and block chain: as a customer you will find all the specialists you need at fma.
  • fma carries out very thorough and detailed assessments
    We will not send you a PowerPoint presentation that only reports the results, but you can expect an extensive report that serves as a reference for the whole marketing team.
  • fma works on solutions, not on making problems bigger
    After an assessment, you as an advertiser will have answers to your questions, and you will know what is necessary to strengthen the ties with your agency.
  • fma has inhouse experience in financial, digital and marcom
    At fma, there are no juniors or inexperienced analysts who are get their on-the-job-training with the advertiser or agency. Only specialists are good enough to help our customers!

Objectivity, Integrity, Confidentiality & Professionalism

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Contact Henk