How To Avoid The Agony Of Admin In Your Agency

Posted by Paul Langridge on April 27, 2015

How to Keep Your Marketing Agency Focused on Creativity

Nobody enjoys administrative tasks. They’re a pain, and stop you from doing what you actually want to do – work on creative projects, deliver for your clients and grow your business.

Unfortunately certain amounts of administrative work is always necessary - whether it means reporting on projects, monitoring budgets and spend, preparing briefs, issuing invoices or recording timesheets. However, these tasks shouldn’t prevent you from focusing on delivering value for your agency so that your agency can continue to grow, win new clients and deliver excellent projects.

In this blog, I want to talk about the types of administrative tasks that cause the most problems for marketing agencies and show you how you can avoid the hassle and keep your focus on creativity and building business value.

Resource Managers: Stop using spreadsheets

Resource managers in creative agencies typically use a raft of spreadsheets and on-line productivity solutions such as Google Calendars to juggle their resources and manage the studio team. Although this may be manageable for smaller agencies, as they grow it quickly becomes an administrative nightmare.

The problem with using spreadsheets and online calendars is that they don’t give you clear visibility of capacity requirements and impending resource clashes.  For instance, everything may seem to add up on your spreadsheet, but suddenly you may find the key players you were depending upon tied up in other projects and unable to deliver what you need, when you need it. As a result, to complete the job on time you’ll have no choice but to incur the expense of costly freelancers or overwork your team. These options will result in either higher project costs or unhappy staff.

It’s difficult to predict future resource needs if you don’t have a clear view into current and future projects or the resources you have available for them. What resource managers need is a single, accurate version of the truth. They need to see all of their jobs and resources in one place so that they can manage them efficiently and free up time to focus on other tasks.    It’s only when the agony of administrative work is removed, that you can really begin to concentrate on the core aspect of agency project delivery - adding creative value.

My advice:Stop using spreadsheets, Google calendars, or similar solutions to manage your resources  even if you have only a handful of staff. Use a creative agency management system that will put all of your projects in one place and streamline your resource management.

Timesheet users: Make it easy for them

Your employees’ billable time and creative talent is your key asset. Therefore, it’s important that timesheets are completed accurately and on time. The challenge is often teams want to focus on delivering creative projects, not trying to remember how many hours they spent working on creative concepts for this client or design work for that client.

In many creative agencies, timesheets are completed late and are often inaccurate. Posting time with miscalculations or to the wrong jobs will impact billing and job profitability and often leads to client dissatisfaction.

Timesheets should be easy to complete. Rather than have to complete a timesheet, your staff should just be able to accept time that has already been allocated to them with a click of the mouse. The easier you make it for your team to complete timesheets, the more likely they will be to do it, the more accurate the information will be, and the happier they will be.

My advice: Think about how your teams are completing timesheets at the moment. Is it easy for them? Is it taking up a disproportionate amount of their time? Are you getting accurate information? To make it simple, use a creative agency management system that combines resource planning with time entry so that your teams can complete timesheets with the click of a button.

Management: Make sure you can get your hands on accurate information quickly

In many creative agencies, the Management team lacks timely and accurate business information. Usually there is no system in place with automated reporting to provide them with real-time information they need for making business decision making and running day to day operations efficiently.   The result is often missed opportunity and poor execution which impacts profitability.

What Agency management teams need is a single source of ‘the truth’ they can rely on for accurate and timely business information. They need to know immediately when accounts are being over-serviced or at risk of on-time delivery so they have time to adjust.

My advice: Stop wasting time stitching together multiple spreadsheets and reports to get the information you need to run your business.  A creative agency management system will enable you to run your business more efficiently by providing a one-stop-shop for information about your projects, your people, your clients and your finances.

Reports can be automated on demand or scheduled at whatever cadence you need - daily, weekly, monthly etc.  This will save you time and allow you to spend more time growing your business and profits.

Watch this video to see how TrafficLIVE can help you to put creativity first