Accountant for DDB, Tenin Coulibaly has +12 years experience monitoring billing and expenses with revenue and helping her company comply with accounting rules and regulations.

How does your job fit into the marketing process? I don’t work directly with our clients. I’m more back office administration. I control the funds and profitability of the ad agency. Make sure that DDB respects the Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) accounting rules and regulations. I work with the account managers and financial controllers to look after the time sheets to compare work done on projects and monitor billing and expenses versus revenue.

What’s your favorite ad campaign? Here are three:

What’s a misconception clients commonly have about the industry? I have monthly meetings with my superiors to forecast the upcoming budget for our clients and the overall running of the company and to compare our forecasted budget with the actual budget from the previous month. All reasons for not making budget must be investigated and explained.

This can take a few days and it can be difficult obtaining actual receipts to match the paperwork. Once the advertising campaign is finished, it can take a couple of days getting the client to sign off the estimates, and from the time the ad campaign is finished to the time I receive the client’s payment can take upwards of one month. Clients may change or even cancel the advertising campaign. Sometimes the client has no money to pay for the work we provided for them.

In the advertising industry doing the administrative paperwork such as timesheets isn’t everybody’s favorite. However, it is still an important aspect of the job. It can be frustrating tracking everyone down and constantly sending reminders to get their timesheets accurately filled-out and turned in on time so that I can submit our financial filings on time in accordance with SOX. There are no real sanctions for colleagues who don’t manage their administrative paperwork deadlines; however there can be sanctions for the company if I don’t respect mine.

One trick is to have a deadline #1 and a deadline #2, that way you have plenty of time to do your job correctly. Usually I’ll get approximately 40% of the timesheets turned in by deadline #1, with the remaining 60% turning the timesheets in by deadline #2. There have been times though where I had to actually go into someone’s office and refuse to leave until they fill-out their time sheets. Abiding by the legal accounting rules is important.

What’s an important lesson you’ve learned from your experience? Be very patient and plan ahead because both your colleagues and clients can be late in turning in what needs to be turned in. Learn to use Microsoft Excel for planning and budgeting all your performance and expenditures. The more accurate your accounting, the less chance you have of running into planning and finance difficulties in the future.

What’s a website you often go to for work?

  • Fiducial.com to keep up-to-date with accounting procedures.
  • Societe.com to find info about officially registered companies (in France), mostly for suppliers to see if they are real, reliable, and serious. There is a publically available free version which provides basic information, and there is a paid version which gives you much more information about the company.

I have a small advertising budget, any advice?

  • Learn to keep very good details of your spending
  • Consider using freelance

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