Following qualification as a Chartered Accountant with Coopers & Lybrand (now PwC), Adrian, our Founder and lead auditor, has worked in food manufacturing, food retail and investment banking. He has performed roles in Sales and Procurement (Marketing, of course) as well as holding senior positions in Finance focused on Procurement and Supply Chain, Marketing and Business Process Transformation.
In 2008, Adrian founded Financial Progression and has developed it into the only firm of Chartered Accountants specialising solely in contract compliance audits of marketing and advertising agencies.
Adrian is responsible for managing client relationships, leading audit engagements and ensuring the quality of the firm’s work.
Beyond the office, Adrian enjoys skiing, going to the gym (yes, really!), fly fishing and wine tasting. He is a closet petrolhead and, unusually for a Brit, never turns down the opportunity to watch baseball when in the US.
To connect with me on social media:
Adrian’s background and approach
Here’s a recent interview with me to give you a little more background on who I am and what makes me tick.
What prompted you to start contract compliance auditing advertising and media agencies?
I was setting up a Finance function to support the Procurement team at a major FMCG, when one day the Marketing Procurement Manager came up to me and said “Adrian, I think one of our agencies is ripping us off. Would you have a look?” Having reviewed the high-level facts, I concluded that something was not quite right and suggested that an audit of the agency was carried out. After about six months, having failed to find a suitable provider, the client came back to me and asked if I would do it. The rest, as they say, is history!
How have your previous experiences in business helped you at Financial Progression?
I know this sounds a bit trite, but I genuinely feel that all of my previous business experiences have led me to this point. Whether it was learning how to audit at Coopers & Lybrand, supporting the Marketing team in a Finance role or as part of the Impulse salesforce at Mars, setting up a Marketing Procurement Function at Deutsche Bank in New York and London, being the ‘finance guy’ on the Procurement Leadership Team at RHM or as supply chain FD at SSP, all of the experiences have helped to shape what I’m doing now. I draw on the lessons learned daily.
In your corporate life, which function did you enjoy working in the most: Finance, Procurement or Sales?
In terms of pure enjoyment, it has to be the year I spent in the salesforce at Mars as part of its management training scheme. I was actively encouraged to try new things and work outside my comfort zone. At the same time I didn’t have any stretching targets to hit, although I did deliver a national retailer incentive program from scratch which was great fun.
Which part of your work gives you the greatest sense of achievement?
I derive most satisfaction from a happy client at the end of the audit process. It’s a great feeling when you have been asked to help someone to solve a problem and you not only do that, but also add a lot of extra things into the mix which perhaps they hadn’t realised was going to be a benefit of working with you. If you can subsequently deliver all that effectively for free, because you have found money due back from the agency, you get to go home feeling extremely satisfied.
How would people describe you?
Passionate, committed, a stickler for detail, tenacious, trustworthy, high integrity, personable and surprisingly normal for a Finance person!
What motivates you to do what you do?
When my father died of cancer 18 months before he was due to retire, it made me determined to lead a different life to the one he had. At the time, I was on a similar ‘large corporate ladder’ and decided that I wanted to see if I could create and run my own business successfully. I figured that doing so would help me to be more accessible to my two children and more likely to be successful in a way that was congruent with my core values and beliefs.
What can you be found doing when you’re not at work?
Given the amount of travel I do, my ideal weekend is spending time with the family and friends either at home or at events/locations nearby. Somehow even doing a school pick-up or mowing the lawn seems more useful and satisfying than it once did (or maybe that’s a sign of getting older!). I like to keep fit (gym and cycling), ski at least once each winter and go fly fishing for trout in the spring and summer.