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AE College: Spring

Client asking for financials

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5 posts
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Michael Bielski
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We have a client who has asked for financials that I not comfortable with. Salaries, cost of employee including benefits, profit from employee, services we use, their cost, profit earned on those services.

They are a large client though too.

How have you responded to any requests like this? My gut is we are private - none of your business.

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Vince
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Hi Michael.

You should start with why...

Secondly, what does the contract say...that your client is permitted to peek through your kimono anytime they feel like it?
Thirdly, not to suggest that you push back, but do they ask the same of their other suppliers, like their law firm or the airline they use?

Happy to discuss further if you wish.

Sincerely,

Vince Dong

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lauriekay
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I agree with Vince on all points. Unless your contract specifically states you will share the information, it's a good idea to find out why they are requesting it at this point. You can then decide if and what you want to share. If needed, maybe you can share enough to satisfy them but not reveal everything they are asking for.

I've learned from other member agencies who have large clients that once you share this information clients always want it and may try to use it to control what you can charge them and how much margin you can make on their business. It can turn into a vicious cycle.

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George Foster
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Absolutely not! Vince was spot on. Would they share that same information with their clients? Doubt it. The why question is key because the request is a trust issue. And, if they don't trust you, you're doomed..

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Mary Fisher
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In the 29 years I have been in business, I have never had anyone ask for that. They have asked for Gross income numbers to make sure their work would not be disproportionate in our portfolio. And they were looking at a $500,000 piece of business.

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