20 Dec

Turning Fear Into Trust – Can Rights Software Become Your Company’s Best Friend?


So you’ve come to the realization that managing rights and royalties using spreadsheets and patched-together customizations to your financial platform has become unworkable. You know that what you are doing is not scalable, but still, there is a fear of change. Let’s address these common fears and shift them into trust that the right software implementation will make the roles of business users easier.

Why Rights Automation? Because You’re Doing the Work Anyway—Just Not Efficiently.

Without rights management software, it is safe to assume that your contracts are being kept on shared file drives and payments are being processed manually. Although software programs such as Excel and Access allow for large volumes of data and multiple types of calculations, manual entry is still required, and complex terms must still be navigated. Perhaps the same employees have been processing payments for years and they know the contractual terms by heart. But are you prepared for employee transition? Delaying change due to the knowledge base of specific employees can be dangerous. What’s more, as rights terms become increasingly complex, how can you be sure that data is being entered and calculated correctly? Or if you are still making payments against an expired contract? At the end of the day, a few-month learning curve is preferable to the repercussions of erroneous reporting, especially in the case of an audit. Showing the manual process by which an amount was determined is extremely time-consuming, and if the numbers don’t add up it can be damaging. Rights management software can protect both your employees and your organization from the repercussions of errors.

What to Look for in a Rights Management Tool

You may worry that the latest software could quickly become outdated. With digital and media moving so fast, change is a guarantee. Some of your existing products might add in afterthought enhancements to work around the need for a solution. Or perhaps the software solution you are looking at seems too structured to fit in with your processes or accommodate exceptions. While best practices dictate using standard contracts against rights and payment terms, there is always that one special sales negotiation that becomes an exception. Will the system be too regimented to adjust for that? Do you have something that is focused, flexible and ready to support your future needs? There are two basic questions that can shed some light as to whether you are on the right path: 1. How configurable is the system? and 2. Does the vendor have a track record of staying involved over the longer term?

A Side Benefit—Rest Well Knowing Your Numbers Are Accurate

A solid rights and royalty management system provides a centralized location for all contract details and financials, along with automated calculations. But what if there were errors in previous calculations? Software may now catch errors such as SKUs or product identifiers that were previously processed incorrectly. How do you reconcile or explain? The truth is, if you are doing business with a larger company, they probably have a dedicated staff tasked with finding revenue miscalculations. They may have even noticed overpayments, but not mentioned them. While a general historical reconciliation may be necessary, this is a one-time thing, and moving forward you can rest assured that your calculations are spot-on, and that your at-a-click reporting is solid.

Bring Your Rights Management Up to Speed

Addressing concerns with benefits will help allay the fear of change. Rights software can be an incremental part of your business. Think of it more as hiring another employee to do the grunt work for rights and royalties management!

Read a case study about how Tervis is using FADEL IPM Suite to save time and money.

Categories associated with this post: Rights Management, Royalty Management
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Donna Marr
Donna supports ARC implementations and IPM Suite client services for FADEL. She brings over 15 years of experience in the entertainment industry and a strong background working with financial system implementations and enhancements. Her expertise includes project management, business analysis, data analysis and, most importantly, building partnerships with clients. Prior to joining FADEL, Donna worked for Hollywood Software, which manages movie theater bookings, box office grosses and accounts payable transactions. Before that she worked with Universal Music Group Distribution and EMI Music Marketing / Capitol Records, where she managed digital music sales and royalty transactions within their finance departments.

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