Fisher Okkersen film audits is a specialist film audit service provider with an internationally established reputation in royalty and participation auditing, undertaking numerous audits each year across the globe, covering a range of intellectual property rights.
We provide over 28 years of experience in the conduct of specialised audits in the film industry, multi-lingual skillsets, as well as knowledge of local business practices, industry related revenues and expenses, DVD and TV markets.
Fisher Okkersen clients include producers, sales companies and talent in the United States, Canada, Asia and throughout Europe. Fisher Okkersen acts for some of the biggest names in the film industry either working directly for the company or for agents who represent them on a worldwide basis. Through the medium of audit, we represent their interests in the worldwide exploitation/distribution of filmed product. We are committed to delivering a tailored service to meet the individual client needs.
Fisher Okkersen also works with market leaders specialising in global collections of Minimum Guarantees, exploitation revenues and rights management, assisting them as required. Furthermore, we work in conjunction with US based specialists experienced in studio level audits.
We often work with clients from the outset, reviewing proposed exploitation agreements -‘boilerplate’ agreements – and, where necessary, suggesting
improvements to them. Our aim is to ensure a contract contains no ambiguities, and that the terms are not only clear but also enforceable. We are also aware of the various commercial enhancements and added-value clauses that can be included, enabling them to generate more income for our clients.
We realise that the client might require an initial review of some documentation in order to assess the appropriateness of conducting an audit of a particular exploitation partner. Accordingly, we are happy to review the relevant exploitation agreements and royalty/participation reporting as a prelude to providing our opinion on the matter. It also allows us to assess the likely cost of the audit and to provide a quotation to the client.
Types of audit
On behalf of participants in the film industry, we carry out distribution, sales agency, co-production, participation and merchandising audits on a worldwide basis. We have in-depth knowledge of auditing internationally and appreciate the particular business practices within each territory.
Completeness of income
A fundamental part of a royalty or participation audit is to confirm that all revenues have been fully and accurately reported. When we conduct an audit, it is unusual for us not to discover missing/under-reported income, and, whether attributable to human error, revenue recognition policies or contract interpretation, our clients recover additional sums. Such a process often becomes part of good governance.
The agreement should specify the type of expense categories that can be deducted from declared revenues. This is an area within which over-deduction often occurs, and, as part of the audit process, our work is targeted to address this aspect, to identify and quantify the expenditure concerned.
Negotiation and settlement
As can be appreciated, clients may address the issue of negotiation of audit claims and settlement in different ways. On one extreme, a client may wish to be at the forefront of such a process, fully supported by us. However, many clients rely upon us to field the responses that arise from the audited party to our findings report, obtaining any input from them along the way, as required. We conduct such negotiations with tact and diplomacy, always conscious of the existing business relationship between the parties. This process continues right up to settlement, thereby ensuring the earliest possible resolution and completion of the entire audit assignment.
In most cases, the audit clause within the exploitation agreement will allow for our fees to be recovered from the audited party in the event our findings levels cross a modest threshold, a position we reach in the vast majority of audits that we carry out. This means that we often become, to all intents and purposes, a free service to our clients.
Despite the best endeavours of organisations to be reasonable and accommodating, a dispute may end up in the courts. We are experienced in providing evidence for legal proceedings, and in acting as expert witnesses. We understand how to make a case before a judge, and how to present our testimony in the most compelling manner, backed up by admissible and reliable evidence.