‘How much do we want to get screwed?’: Confessions of an agency exec on lack of payment due to coronavirus

Digiday 24 Sep 2020 04:01
September 24, 2020 by Kristina Monllos

Extended payment terms isn’t a new problem for agencies but it’s been exacerbated by the pandemic as brands are taking longer and longer to pay their bills. For smaller, boutique agencies delayed payment from multiple clients can have devastating ripple effects on the business. In the latest edition of our Confessions series, in which we trade anonymity for candor, we hear from one agency exec who says that the “times are tough” excuse isn’t cutting it anymore. 

The interview below has been condensed and edited for clarity. 

How has the pandemic affected the agency? 

A bunch of companies just stopped paying us even though we had done all the work. That happened to everybody; every agency I’ve talked to has been dealing with this. Early on, brands realized that cash was crucial to their business and that they might have to layoff employees, which is sad and terrible. But the ripple effect is that if we don’t get paid then we have to layoff our employees. That’s why you saw cuts or furloughs at brands first and then agencies after that. 

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