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Crossing the Tracks from Agency Finance to Client-side, part 2

Most would agree that changing from working agency-side to auditing on a client’s behalf is unusual; if not a complete role reversal. This was the career path taken by Kiran Jayaraj, one of the newer Audit Directors to join MMC’s UK team. In the second part of the interview series, he explains how different life is on the other side of the tracks, and what he’s learned on his journey so far.

How did you get into the industry?

After qualifying as an Accountant in 2015, I did a Masters in Accounting, then a post-graduate in Management, with Marketing as one of the key disciplines. After gaining experience across different industries, I moved into the agency world and spent several years at a global agency based in London. During this time, I worked across several finance roles supporting the agency across multiple clients. Upon hearing of the role at MMC and having had my first conversation with a couple of the founders, I was determined this was going to be my next venture. Fast forward and here we are today!

Why did you leave agency-side to join a company like MMC?

After my first conversation with the MMC partners, it was clear that they were genuinely passionate about supporting brand owners to gain transparency and financial clarity across media and marketing. MMC is a growing company where the partners are all industry-leading experts but are still down to earth and inclusive. Many of the team had a similar start to me with agency backgrounds and I felt like I too could add value to the company and its clients.

What does a typical day look like at MMC?

Ultimately, everything we do at MMC is towards delivering evidence-based insight to our clients regarding their media and marketing spend. On a typical day I assess the support provided by agencies, review contracts, liaise with agency partners to resolve queries, provide updates, and write MMC’s audit report which will ultimately be sent to the client.

What’s been the greatest surprise of moving from agency finance to the other side of ‘compliance auditing’? On a people level, my greatest surprise was that the agency’s perception of me changed once I wore the auditor hat. However, I am able to build common ground due to my prior agency work experience and this, together with the insights I have gained into agency practices, enables me to work collaboratively with my agency partners.”

What do you see as the biggest positive of being a marketing compliance auditor?

I still use many skills developed from my time agency side such as the interpretation of agency financials, general accounting principles and systems information. Having an experience of agency culture is also really helpful. Being at the forefront of bringing financial transparency to advertisers and their agency partners would not be possible in many other roles. As an MMC auditor I have gained further insight into industry practices and the different offerings of clients and agencies. I have a role working towards finding solutions to the important questions being asked by clients regarding their agency partner’s financial contract compliance and making a significant impact.

What’s the best single piece of advice you’d provide to advertisers now you’ve audited the contracts that you effectively managed on the agency side? Use the resources available to you to understand contract clauses whilst keeping in mind the pros and cons of each clause to you and your agency partner. Please ensure you open up the conversation with your agency partner for transparency across the financials and be sure to discuss changes and improvements at any stage during the contract lifecycle.

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