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Energizing Fall Forum Concludes with Advocacy and Compliance Action Plans for the Year Ahead

Katie Borchers, president and CEO of Beyond Green Solutions, and Dennis Barton, owner and managing attorney at The Barton Law Group, present an advocacy session at ACA’s Fall Forum.

ACA’s Fall Forum education conference in Chicago set attendees up for success in 2023 and beyond.

11/04/2022 3:15 P.M.

4.5 minute read

ACA International Fall Forum attendees left Chicago energized with insights on how to get involved in advocacy, finalize preparation for the Safeguards Rule compliance deadline and implement new strategies related to health care, training and legal trends.

Advocacy

Katie Borchers, president and CEO of Beyond Green Solutions, and Dennis Barton, owner and managing attorney at The Barton Law Group, brought together attendees interested in advocacy as well as seasoned advocates for a morning session to provide resources to follow through on meeting with legislators and regulators.

Barton and Borchers encouraged the group to start with what they know—their business and their employees.

You can find contact information for your representatives by entering your address on openstates.org. ACA has examples of how to organize a meeting with your member of Congress and sample text for a meeting request.

Personalize the meeting request message by adding a few details about your business and yourself.

Keep in mind that by operating your agency every day or working with consumers to resolve their debt accounts, you have the stories to tell that your representatives want to hear.

“ACA gives you the roadmap,” said Jeff DiMatteo, president of American Profit Recovery and an active advocate with the New England Collectors Association. “We are the experts. We just need to tell our story.”

Borchers also challenged attendees to send one email a month to their representatives and build from there by setting up a meeting. Effective advocacy doesn’t have to mean visiting a representative’s office in your local state capital or Washington, D.C. You can start by inviting them to your office.

Visit ACA’s online advocacy resources center for talking points on prevalent issues in the accounts receivable management (ARM) industry and find an overview of letters sent to Congress and regulators on ACA’s Policymakers website. Look for advocacy resource updates before the end of the year and subscribe to member alerts and ACA Daily through your My ACA page to stay in the know.

FTC Safeguards Rule Preparation

With just over a month until the Federal Trade Commission’s Safeguard Rule compliance deadline, Porter Morgan, partner with Martin Lyons Watts Morgan PLLC, covered the top measures you should ensure your agency has in place.

Morgan discussed how to build on the data security practices your agency or law firm already has in place and what vendors can do to help you jump-start compliance steps.

For example, designate a qualified individual on your team to manage your compliance progress and conduct a risk assessment focused on policies and procedures and physical safeguards. Interview your key compliance personnel and conduct documentation reviews, which technical testing does not cover.

The Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency has sample policies and procedures to use.

The main takeaway here is you want to create an environment where all stakeholders are trained to spot risks,” Morgan said.

Training can and should include vendors, who can provide software that comes with programs to quiz your staff on compliance requirements and keep that top of mind when working with data.

Agencies should also create a written incident response plan by Dec. 9, Morgan said.

ACA’s online Safeguards Rule Resource Center can help you prepare for Dec. 9. It also gives you access to purchase the ACA How: Safeguards Rule Implementation webinar series recordings, which are free for Training Zone subscribers.

Do You Know Your Better Business Bureau?

Chicago’s Better Business Bureau (BBB) President and CEO Steve Bernas joined a session closing out Fall Forum to help attendees learn the benefits of being a part of their local BBB, how it tracks consumer complaints and reviews, and how it can help companies in the ARM industry manage and improve their brand and reputation.

Some ARM industry professionals see the BBB as an adversary. However, in many cases, there is more that unites the organization and industry businesses.

Bernas discussed resources offered by the BBB with Tim Haag, president of State Collection Service, and George Buck, an ARM industry consultant.

There have been more than 8 million consumer inquiries about the ARM industry through the BBB—meaning consumers were searching for information about the industry or a specific company and landed on the BBB website—in the last several years, and consumers’ complaints through the BBB are used in the FTC’s Consumer Sentinel Network reports.

Bernas encouraged attendees to respond to consumer complaints, which helps to manage an agency’s online reputation, and ask consumers to submit a BBB review based on their experience, especially when they have positive feedback.

If you don’t have a sense of your agency’s online reputation, simply search for your agency’s name online and start there. You can also set up a meeting with your BBB chapter to learn more about how to get involved and properly respond to complaints.

ACA thanks its Fall Forum attendees and sponsors for making it a great event and speakers for bringing their knowledge to share.

Missed Fall Forum? Check out ACA’s events calendar online to see what’s coming up and subscribe to ACA Daily for more updates.

Thank you to ACA Visionaries sponsors CCMR3 and Brownstein, Hyatt, Farber Schreck and Fall Forum sponsors: ProvanaMaurice WutscherInterProseBeam SoftwarePayscoutProdigalSkit.aiTEC Services GroupVoApps DirectDrop VoicemailSolutions by TextCompuMail, CWA Merchant Services, Nuvei, and RNN Group.

Related Content from ACA International:

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ACA Visionaries and Fall Forum Conferences Build Connections in Chicago

Midterm Elections Outlook Debated on Fall Forum Main Stage

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