Missing royalties? Trust our super-sleuths to track them down.

Royalty Auditing

HW Fisher Forensic is the forensic accounting division of HW Fisher. Our impressive client list includes global brands, bestselling authors, premier football clubs, international fashion houses and luxury car brands. The depth of experience and expertise we have accumulated during our extensive work have made us a world leader in royalty auditing.

We combine expert investigative skills with astute commercial awareness and have a strong track record of maximising our clients’ royalty revenues. We approach audits with forensic detail, ensuring that every possible breach or under-reporting is identified. We have the IT skills to deal with millions of lines of data as part of our detailed audit process. That’s why we consistently recover significant amounts for our clients. We always conduct audits with tact and discretion as we understand that preserving the commercial relationships involved is vital.

If you’re a rights owner, we can advise on how to draft the most effective key clauses in your licence agreements. We also advise on building in nuanced requirements to cater for the commercial realities of trading relationships. This is why a royalty audit not only generates revenues, but also shows you how your intellectual property is being exploited on your behalf.

Our team

The team we’ve built at HW Fisher Forensic combines high-level technical forensic accounting skills with an in-depth knowledge of the IP sector that comes only through specialisation.

Our team takes pride in the validity of our findings, ensuring clients receive maximum commercial and financial benefits from an audit.

We understand that relationships are key to your business. Through detailed reporting and meticulous research we focus on achieving a favourable conclusion for both licensor and licensee.

Our team undertakes audits across the globe, including Europe, America, Asia, Australasia and Africa, and our staff have a range of international language and cultural skills. Languages currently covered by our team include Japanese, Mandarin, Cantonese, Taiwanese, Indonesian, Malaysian, Italian, Spanish, French, German, Portuguese and Hebrew. This means that when we undertake an audit we are able to interact fully with licensees and their employees.

Benefits of a royalty audit

As a rights owner, licensing means allowing your most valuable asset – your intellectual property – to be handled by a licensee. So it’s important to have a clear understanding of how your licensee is operating and your intellectual property is being used.

Interpretation of a contract can be tricky, and sometimes there is no correct answer. The more precise the wording, the less room there is for multiple interpretations. An audit provides an opportunity for professional transparency and minimises the potential grey areas.

Applying commercial expertise from the start

Some deals or agreements can appear comprehensive in theory, but you may find them inadequate in practice. So it’s essential that any licensing programme is backed up by highly specific clauses and terms in your agreement which will avoid any future substantial financial losses. We can advise on how to strengthen key clauses to ensure that both parties are aware of their responsibilities.

Brand extension

We have a wide and varied client base, including car manufacturers, construction companies, magazines and tyre brands. If you’re allowing licensees to use the power of your brand to develop consumer products, it’s essential to be clear on the full details and implications of your licensing agreement. This is where our expert team, with many years’ exposure to licensing across a broad range of brands, can help. Our royalty audits ensure any errors or grey areas are clarified so that you can maximise the value of your brand.

Character merchandising

The power of character merchandising has spawned a billion dollar industry across the globe. The sheer diversity of consumer products, such as toys, electronic and interactive games, content downloads etc., means that, more than ever, rights owners and licensors need to exercise control over their particular intellectual property. Our specialist team can ensure you avoid common mistakes and that your licence agreement is clear and unequivocal to avoid misunderstandings, while accommodating the nuances and different trading environments in which your licensees operate.

When a huge range of products are involved, under-reporting of royalties by error can be widespread. With multi-lingual, multi-cultural staff, we remove the natural barriers that would otherwise impede the audit process, and recover significant royalties for our clients.

Fashion

Our team acts for many prestigious names in fashion, from high street labels to luxury brands. We have a wealth of experience in auditing the various strands of fashion licensing, from clothing accessories (shoes, sunglasses etc) and non-clothing accessories (perfumes, umbrellas, garden furniture etc) to territorial licensing, where licensees tailor, produce and distribute entire collections in their territory (particularly Japan and China).

We are aware of the paramount importance of the long and established relationships between brand owner and licensee. While our approach is always extremely professional, during fashion audits we are particularly careful to work closely with the licensee and include them in the audit process, helping to ensure the relationship is maintained.

Franchising

Audits are carried out on a global basis and, through our multi-lingual, multi-cultural team, we can provide international reach across diverse territories, producing results that quickly lead to significant additional bottom-line revenues for the franchisor. We can also assist with the drafting of key clauses, making them robust and enforceable. As with other areas of intellectual property rights exploitation, the financial benefits of a structured franchisee audit programme are considerable.

We are fully aware of the key business relationships that exist between a franchisor and its franchisees, and focus on managing the audit process in a positive way that supports these relationships.

Pharmaceutical

By licensing out the manufacture and distribution of branded drugs globally, pharma companies enter a number of standalone and interlocking agreements with third parties. This is a complex area where errors are common, so it’s important that you audit your trading partners as standard practice.

We are well-placed to carry out the audits for you on a global basis, providing one line of communication to manage the process seamlessly and focus on areas likely to lead to quantified findings. Our reports are concise and clearly set out the basis of claims, together with supporting spreadsheets and calculations.

Our experience is that an audit gives you an essential opportunity to “true-up” the royalty reporting and maximise the revenue available.

Publishing and literary rights

With many different formats (print, electronic and audio), editions and foreign rights to keep track of, keeping tabs on all the royalties you are owed for your books can be trickier than it first appears. This is where a royalty audit can be invaluable.

Forensic royalty auditing is a highly specialist area that can bring major financial benefits to an author. Our forensic accountants use advanced IT techniques and apply a detailed approach to ensure that all sales have been reported by the publisher and that the terms of your contract have been followed. Any unpaid royalties recovered are returned to you, via a routine, non-adversarial process that maintains relationships with the publishers.

Sport

Many sports professionals, clubs and brands have increasing numbers of licensees with sometimes complex participation models and it can be hard to keep track of every sale. Our expert team has a thorough knowledge of the industry and we can provide reassurance to you regarding income accountability through our audits, by undertaking an in-depth analysis at the transactional level against the backdrop of contract compliance.

Technology

Our technology royalty audits regularly identify significant under-reporting of royalties, usually due to clerical error or misinterpretation, such as the value attributed to embedded intellectual property. We can help ensure you receive financial rewards of the exploitation of your IP in the marketplace by your licensees.

Key contacts

Rafi Saville HW Fisher

Rafi Saville
Partner - Forensic

020 7874 7967
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Stuart Burns HW Fisher

Stuart Burns
Forensic Partner

020 7380 4964
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Contact us

We’d love to hear from you. To book an appointment or to find out more about our services: