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Pro Tip: How to ensure you are getting what you're entitled to

Auditors excavate data

Q. What can potential clients do to catch miscalculations?

A. Outside of hiring a professional, there are always things that can help ensure that a client is getting what he or she deserves. First, having a good team is helpful—having a good attorney, for example. If the client is a person that can afford these representatives, having a good business manager and good agent is a big help. If you yourself are not going to look at the payments or statements that come in quarterly, semi-annually, or yearly, you want somebody reliable looking at them.

Sometimes, just looking at the face of a statement and saying, "Well, let's see what distribution percentage are they charging me for free TV" and just simply comparing what shows up on the statement to what is in the agreement sometimes shows the disparity and the problem. Even without an audit, if somebody were to call the studio and say, "Hey, motion picture studio, I was looking at my statement and I found that you're charging the wrong distribution, and here is support," sometimes, that's enough to get the problem fixed and generate that additional monies that then goes into that client's pocket.

So, reviewing the statements, reviewing the agreements and having good people on your team—even if you're not doing an audit—are going to be helpful.

But really, you want to have a good auditor on your team so that you can ask once every couple of years, "Hey, can you tell me if an audit makes sense?" And most auditors will do that for free.

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