Transparency is a proven driver of value and effectiveness in business settings. From organizational management and financial reporting to leadership training and customer relationship management, transparency is a core principle applied again and again for business agility and performance.


  • Lack of hidden agendas and conditions, accompanied by the availability of full information required for collaboration, cooperation, and collective decision-making.
  • Essential condition for a free and open exchange whereby the rules and reasons behind regulatory measures are fair and clear to all participants.


For the accounts receivable management (ARM) industry, business transparency comes into play most powerfully as a tool for compliance and risk reduction, whether it be with internal call centers or third-party collections agencies. In an environment shaped by government regulation, transparency streamlines operations and safeguards compliance for outsourcing partnerships involving the nation’s 5,900 debt collection agencies. Transparency is also a reliable compass for maintaining productive relationships with those who owe.

Research shows that transparency fosters trust, respect, and a host of other dynamics that, in the ARM industry, lead to better interactions and more successful collection efforts with customers. Businesses need to take proactive steps to show that they’re trustworthy.


A key relationship strategy with the consumer

For the consumer, it can be destabilizing to be contacted by third parties that market to them based on detailed purchasing and lifestyle information. Now imagine when that third party is a collection agency, in possession of the consumer’s financial information, and seeking to collect on a debt. Furthermore, when delinquency involves medical, utility, credit card, or any other kind of debt, the collections industry faces a core dilemma when interacting with customers:  Accounts receivable management is a realm where transparency is — at once — especially important and difficult to achieve.

In an environment shaped by government regulation, transparency streamlines operations and safeguards compliance.

This can include, as an article in the Harvard Business Review puts it, “not just keeping up your end of a bargain but ensuring that the bargain is the best one from the customers’ point of view — and even saving customers from their own mistakes.”

As a result, companies strive for full transparency in both their own debt collection practices and those of third-party partners. From work strategies and communications protocols to account review capabilities and CRM policies, transparency is key to making the company-vendor relationship as seamless, aligned, and compliant as possible.

There’s no single way to navigate this dilemma, but strategies based on transparency and collaborative problem-solving with consumers can help preserve what could otherwise be a troubled relationship.

For more on building transparency, check out Harvard Business Review .

— Greg Dickinson, Senior Counsel (@wrg_gdickenson)