We’ve built a vehicle to help your company stay profitable—all you need to do is drive it. Plus, our checklist can help you get started with the platform and stay on track to ensure you get the final data report.
11/10/2023 12:15 P.M.
5.5 minute read
As you prepare for 2024, what further changes could you make to attain greater profitability? ACA’s Benchmarking Intelligence can help you get the answers to that question. These insights are obtained by participating in ACA International’s Benchmarking Intelligence platform. You can sign up to participate any time, but to receive the next quarterly comparison report, you will need to enter your Q3 2023 data into the platform between Dec. 1-30.
Each quarter, ACA company members who sign up for our Benchmarking Intelligence platform and enter their data by the deadline will receive the free benchmark report with anonymous, aggregated industry information, allowing them to see how their operations stack up against those of their peers (it’s not available any other way).
When you get the quarterly report, you’ll find answers to key questions like:
- Am I paying too much for postage?
- Are my average gross collections lower than those of my peers?
- How do my settlement costs compare to other ACA member companies of the same size?
- And so many more!
“In a market that is ever-changing, tools like Benchmarking Intelligence are absolutely critical to compare your operations to those of your peers in a truly confidential, compliant and aggregated basis,” said Michael Lamm, managing partner at Corporate Advisory Solutions. “If you are not providing your data, you are missing access to key data sets to help you better grow/scale and drive a higher profit margin in your business.”
Note: If you have signed up to participate in the platform but have not entered your data, you will not be able to see the comparison report when it is released. So take the next step and input your data today!
Get Started with This Handy Checklist
While the next data collection period doesn’t open until Dec. 1, there are a lot of things you can do right now to prepare.
First, reach out to ACA’s Member Services team here and let them know that you want to participate in the Benchmarking Intelligence program. (You must be a Company Division member of ACA to participate.) You’ll need to sign and return an agreement before you are granted access to the secure platform.
Once you have access to the platform, you can download a full exportable list of the entire question set and begin reviewing the metrics and compiling the relevant data.
Identify the people in your company who can help with the data collection and data entry. Compiling and entering the data can take a bit of time, especially if it’s your first time in the platform. You may want to create custom reports for this process—a task you’ll only have to do once that will make things much easier in the following quarters.
Tip: It will likely be most efficient to work through the survey questions by areas of focus. While some areas may seem smaller or larger based on the original number of metrics, if your company serves multiple verticals, you will have to multiply that number of metrics by the number of verticals.
There are four weeks in December, so use the sample schedule below to help you get to the data submission finish line.
Week 1: Input Data for Sales, General, and Administrative
This category focuses on the number of FTEs per department and the associated departmental costs. This section is intended to be a very short and to the point “count,” as these numbers can directly impact the actual profitability of an agency in each timeframe. Collection agents and their payroll will be addressed in the further breakdown of costs by collections type in other categories.
Week 2: Input Data for Third-Party Collections (substitute for another type of collections if your company doesn’t do this, such as First-Party or Debt Buying)
In an effort to get the best return on your invested time entering data, it’s important to review the best practice guidelines located on the first tab where verticals are selected. There is a short list of metrics (data and revenues) that repeat for each vertical an agency has active collections in. Meanwhile, costs and a few other statistics are expected to be compiled as a whole for third-party collections. At a minimum, you will need to enter data in each of the required metrics throughout these tabs in order to achieve the participation threshold and review results when released later.
Week 3: Input Data for First-Party Commissions Collections (substitute for another type of collections if your company doesn’t do this)
As noted above, it’s important to review the best practice guidelines located on the first tab where verticals are selected. Meanwhile, costs and other statistics are expected to be compiled for each type of first-party collections (commissions/non-commissions). At a minimum, you will need to enter data in each of the required metrics throughout these tabs in order to achieve the participation threshold and review results when released later.
Week 4: Complete Your Data Entry
Be sure to review all focus categories and provide a response for every metric that is required (these are marked with a red asterisk). Missing even one required metric will keep you from seeing results later!
The system is designed to automatically alert the user when they have reached/surpassed the required progress threshold. It’s also easy to review where your account currently stands by locating the progress bar at the bottom of your homepage. The comments below the bar will identify what specifically remains to be done. And when you have met the requirements, the bar turns green.
Use the icons within each category and section to identify any missing metrics. You need to eliminate any red warning symbols. The more green check marks, the better!
Have Questions About the Process? Attend our Office Hours
Participants have access to the regular “office hours” hosted by Dynamic Benchmarking, the company that facilitates the platform. They can give you personalized answers to your questions and help you navigate the database. The upcoming office hours are:
- Dec. 12 at 2 p.m. EST
- Dec. 21 at noon EST
If you haven’t signed up to participate yet and want more basic information about what this platform is and how it works, visit the Benchmarking Intelligence page on our website. ACA members can also watch an explanatory webinar hosted by ACA CEO Scott Purcell, ACA President David Williams, President-Elect Tim Haag and Past President Courtney Reynaud.
To watch it, go to the Benchmarking Intelligence page on ACA’s website, make sure you are logged in (only logged-in members can watch the video), and scroll down to the Webinar Recording box.
Finally, if you’re looking for an easy-to-read document, check out this FAQ, which explains who is eligible to participate, how to get started and how this can benefit you.