As all businesses grapple with the financial and practical implications of this unprecedented situation, the ACA says that it has identified three key areas in which its member agencies may require assistance. 

These include:
  • pitch guidelines
  • ACA membership fees, and
  • financial and cash flow management guidance.
"With the massive economic and emotional impact that the COVID-19 crisis is having on our members, it would be remiss of us as an industry body not to consider ways to assist them, with the goal of easing the effects of the fallout," says ACA CEO Mathe Okaba. "These are just the first few immediate measures that we are putting in place."

Updated pitch guidelines

The existing Tenders and Pitches Code of Conduct ensures fair competition and protection for agencies against unreasonable and unfair procurement practices.

The Code details a fair process to be implemented when procuring services from the profession, whether or not those who are procuring services themselves subscribe to the Code.

Whilst the ACA appeals to the industry (including clients and consultants) to continue to support the code, it is specifically requesting that everyone adhere to the updated pitch guidelines, where Tenders and Pitches must be conducted purely on credentials and case studies.

"Creative pitches are a cost-intensive process for agencies and COVID-19 has presented the industry with massive financial challenges. This update, therefore, aims to assist agencies in their ability to participate in the pitch process and mitigate any possible financial loss as a result," says ACA chairperson Wayne Naidoo.

ACA membership fees holiday

To assist agencies that may be facing financial or cash flow difficulties, the ACA will be providing a membership fee holiday for all member agencies through to the end of May 2020, for fees that are currently due and payable.

Member agencies that may be facing enhanced financial difficulties are invited to contact the ACA directly in order to arrange for a more specific and extended payment arrangement.

If required by any member agency, the following payment terms are offered:
  • Option 1: Full fees to be paid by Sunday, 31 May, which will not attract any penalties
  • Option 2: Members can negotiate for payment terms in writing by signing an Acknowledgment of Debt by Sunday, 31 May.
The extended payment terms will be over three months: June to August. This will not attract any penalties. Should agencies require longer payment terms, it should be communicated to the ACA for approval by Sunday, 31 May in order to prevent any penalty charges.

Interest will be charged on all amounts outstanding beyond Monday, 31 August. For further details on the payment terms offered, individuals are encouraged to contact [email protected].

Online cash flow modelling class

The ACA will also be facilitating an online cash flow modelling class to assist agencies that may be facing financial or cash flow difficulties. This advanced class is open to all agencies and will be hosted via Microsoft Teams by Justin Blackbeard, group financial director at Joe Public United.

Two sessions will be held in order to provide an opportunity for as many agencies as possible to participate. The dates and times include:
  • Session 1: Monday, 11 May between 14:00 and 15:00
  • Session 2: Tuesday, 12 May between 14:00 and 15:00
Agencies wishing to participate are invited to RSVP via e-mail to [email protected]. A meeting request containing the meeting link will then be forwarded to all attendees.

The ACA says that it believes this is an 'invaluable opportunity to gain beneficial tips and guidance on how to navigate and mitigate cash flow constraints during this time', as well as an opportunity to engage directly for specific insights and advice.

For further financial assistance, the ACA encourages small businesses to take advantage of the Debt Relief Fund. The fund is aimed at providing relief on existing debts and repayments, to assist SMMEs during the period of the Covid-19 State of Disaster.

Businesses can register online and further information and documents can also be found at and

"We hope that these initiatives will provide some relief to our members and assist them to weather the storm brought about by this unforseen situation," says Naidoo.

"The ACA is committed to improving and strengthening the advertising and communications professions and, to that end, we will do everything in our power provide any assistance and guidance that might be required during this critical period," concludes Naidoo.

For specific questions related to the Code of Conduct, agency fee assistance or the cashflow modelling class, individuals can contact [email protected]

For more information, visit You can also follow the ACA on Facebook or on Twitter.