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Resource Guide:

Agency Finances

The 4A’s Business Intelligence & Insight team specializes in helping member agencies address issues concerning agency finance, compensation, and negotiation via published guidance, financial surveys and benchmarks, anonymous peer exchanges, custom consultations, and more. Make sure to log in to access the information below.

Agency Compensation

The 4A’s has developed a range of agency-client compensation information and tools, plus a number of ways to connect with the larger member community.

For more information about any of the offerings below, please get in touch with [email protected].

4A’s 2019 Labor Billing Rate Survey Report

This report contains benchmark ranges on agency billing rates charged to marketers.
Download an order form here

4A’s Best Practice Guidance | Agency Compensation: Market-Based Labor Rates is a guidance paper to help the marketer and agency communities streamline the process for establishing and evaluating agency labor billing rates

4A’s Finance Committee Webinar: Activating LBRS & Market-Based Labor Guidance

Industry leaders share their perspectives on activating the 4A’s Labor Billing Rate Survey Report information, and the 4A’s Market-Based Labor Rates Guidance. Find out more here.


4A’s Guidance Paper: Project-by-Project Do’s & Dont’s

This guide addresses the shift by some clients from annual retainer relationships with their agencies to Project-by-Project (PxP) relationships. Find it here.

4A’s Agency Performance Incentive Compensation Survey

The survey provides robust information on prevalence and economic impact of performance compensation along with information on performance metrics and agency-client relationship management. Reach out to Helen Miranda for here: [email protected].

4A’s Agency Overhead & Agency Profit Rules of the Road FAQs

A series of whitepapers that provide the rules of the road for agencies and reference predominant industry practices.


4A’s The Myth of the Working/Non-Working Ratio Benchmarking

A 4A’s ​guidance paper​ to help facilitate and inform agency-client discussions related to the composition of effective and efficient marketing investment. Reach out to Helen Miranda for here: [email protected].


Client Compensation Best Practices Dos & Don’ts

The 4A’s Position Paper advocates compensation negotiation best practices suggestions for agency leaders and suggests proactive positive steps that agencies should take when negotiating client compensation


4A’s Surveys

Our surveys provide information on billable expenses, labor utilization rates, revenue per employee, balance sheet ratios, and other assorted issues concerning the management of your agency.

We regularly incorporate member feedback to identify surveys across multiple areas, including new surveys covering Search Consultants, Auditors, CCPA Cost Compliance, Organizational Design, and Project Management Software Tools. We also publish surveys addressing Salaries, Benefits, Financial Management Benchmarks, New Business, and Project Management.

Please email [email protected] for more information about our many surveys.


Other Compensation Information & Resources

The Art of Negotiation

A presentation by Brett Colbert that includes discussion of understanding your “buyer”, selling and negotiating your worth, managing scope, and more.


Deliverable-Based Estimation & Pricing

A presentation by Tracey Shirtcliff, CEO of The Virtu Group discusses why deliverable- based estimation & pricing is Important and how to confidently estimate project scope and pricing.


Pricing Discipline Proposal Writing Marketing Services

A presentation by Rick Brook, SVP, Global Client Operations, WPP, that presents practical approaches to price for marketing services and options to write better proposals


4A’s Management Practitioners Forum (MPF)

4A’s MPF is an annual event that features mission-critical topics, speakers who share practical solutions, and a forum environment that encourages open discussion. MPF participants are entrepreneurs, agency operations management and principals. A smart, vested and action-oriented group of thinkers and doers who will provide guidance, share proven solutions and suggestions on topics that challenge agency leaders in their day – to – day operations. Below are some of the highlights from the last few years.


  • Choice Architecture in Agency Compensation, supports using behavioral economic and value engineering principles as an aid in changing the conversation with clients to a dialog on outputs and deliverables instead of focusing on hourly rates and staffing plans. A discussion between
    Rick Brook, SVP, Global Client Operations, WPP, and Tim Williams, Founder, Ignition Consulting Group
  • The Power of Pricing Options discussion encourages agencies to consider strategic approaches to pricing; from Tim Williams, Founder, Ignition Consulting Group

Custom Consultations

We provide guidance across core business, new business and emerging agency practices, including agency management and finance, media services, data & analytics digital technology, operations and more.

The Interchange

Interchanges are a great resource for any size agency, as they allow members to receive anonymous peer input on an issue, challenge, or question an agency is facing. Any 4A’s member can ask a question to be sent out as an anonymous survey to one or more of our media committees. We allow at least one week for responses to come back and then issue the responses after the agreed-upon end date. A member may anonymously survey any one of our committees (to see the list of committees, please visit our community guide).

If you would like an interchange to be sent out on your behalf, please email [email protected].


Business Intelligence & Insight Team Help

The team will advise members on questions they have and provide consultative advice as appropriate. If you have any questions, please reach out to the Business Intelligence & Insight at [email protected].

4A’s Member Discounts & Exclusive Offers

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This members-only program provides access to exclusive offers and benefits on leading products and services that support your daily business needs.

Whether you need information & resources for a new business pitch, data for a campaign, more office space, or tickets to a hot industry event, you’ll want to check out AAP first.

AAP is a one-stop shop for valuable offers from a broad, carefully selected array of partners, spanning categories like:

  • Market Research
  • Media Research
  • New Business Support
  • Workforce Support
  • Real Estate
  • Industry Events

And the list is growing daily.

Join the Member Community

Finance (multiple committees: Large, Media, and Regional)

The 4A’s Finance Committee mission is to be the preeminent source for information and education about agency finance and business operations. The committee will:

  • Monitor and assess significant financial and operational matters affecting marketing services organizations and their clients.
  • Communicate issues and positions to the 4A’s Board and member agencies.
  • Represent the agency point of view on financial matters with advertisers/ANA and consultants.
  • Address common issues, establish best practices, facilitate training, education, informational exchanges and other activities with the objective of improving the effectiveness, efficiency and economics of Agencies.
  • Suggesting Best Practices and Guidelines for agencies, advertisers and intermediaries.
  • Provide and distributing relevant and up to date content.
  • Foster training and education for 4A’s members.
  • Conduct surveys and gathering information that can help agencies become more proficient.
  • Sponsor thought leadership (and advisory resources) relating to financial strategies and tactics.
  • Facilitate collaboration among members.

                    For more information, contact Mark Piazza

                    Have any questions?

                    Please reach out to the Business Intelligence & Insight team

                    [email protected]