LEADER: Agencies still hiding behind Sarbox Act

As PRWeek again embarks on its annual Top 150 PR Consultancies report, one has to echo the frustration expressed by our American sister title.

Danny Rogers, Editor, <em>PRWeek</em>
Danny Rogers, Editor, PRWeek

In its own leader this week, PRWeek US bemoans the perpetuation of the myth that marcoms groups affected by the Sarbanes-Oxley legislation are unable to disclose basic financial information. And, further, that this decision - by WPP, Omnicom and so on - flies in the face of the spirit of increased and accurate disclosure the act was meant to foster.

It is only seven years since such full and transparent disclosure was standard practice, enabling PRWeek to produce an extremely accurate picture of the PR industry on both sides of the Atlantic.

But, for many reasons, we refuse to give up our struggle.

First, we know the Top 150 sits, well thumbed, on the desks of senior client marketers, comms directors and agency workers throughout the year.

Second, it is the best indication of the overall size and success of the PR industry as a whole. We can show the average growth of fees and workforce from year to year.

Indeed, it is ironic that many large agencies will feel unable to state their revenues for 2007 in the forthcoming report, as it was probably the UK PR industry's best ever year.

But more worryingly, there is a fundamental disconnect here. As the best PR consultants advise clients that openness is the best policy for their reputational health, their own agencies refuse to do the same.

PRWeek UK will once again challenge this obfuscation by estimating the fees of all those top agencies that decline to enter. We do so in the hope that one day they will all walk the walk, rather than just talk the talk.


Email: danny.rogers@haymarket.com  

- PRWeek's Top 150 report will appear in the 25 April issue. The deadline for submitting forms, which can be downloaded from prweek.com/uk, is 1 March. Any questions email Alex.Black@haymarket.com .

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