Proof-reading and signing off work - who is responsible? 

April 15, 2018

In the ‘old days’ when proofing was done via hardcopy, clients would often sign on the hard copy to show that they had checked the work and approved for it to go to print (or another promotion channel). There was a clear understanding that they were taking full responsibility for the approval to proceed (because the sign-off form said as much). These days the line of responsibility is not so clear. 

The majority of modern proofing is done via PDFs and email. You can bet there is no formal declaration stating “here is my signature to prove I take full responsibility for signing off this work and be it on my head if anything is wrong”. You’ll be lucky if you receive a return email which just says “yep, please proceed”. 

Any ‘sign-off’ that you may receive will implicitly mean that your client takes responsibility for their decision. Be careful though, because if any issue is found (that is not obviously the result of client error), then your client will likely be on the phone demanding an urgent reprint or fix at your agency’s expense. 

The best way to prevent this situation is to make sure your client receives work that is 100% correct, 100% of the time; which comes down to exercising superior attention to detail skills, and not letting any error slip through – and that responsibility falls squarely on you.

 

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This article is an excerpt from Sarah Ritchie's book 'How to Wrestle an Octopus: an agency account manager's guide to pretty much everything'.

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