Operating Cost Analysis FAQs

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Q: How long does it take ACRE to conduct an Operating Cost Analysis?

A: While various factors can affect the timeline, the time between ACRE receiving financial information and delivering a final report should not exceed three weeks.


Q: What kind of financial information does ACRE need to conduct an analysis?

A: ACRE is essentially looking for financial reports or other data sources that show as much detail as possible about spending over the past year. We can work with whatever records you have on hand, so we don’t ask clients to generate new reports.  Examples of reports we can use are one or more of an accounts payable report, income/P&L statement, chart of accounts, or a general ledger.  For users of QuickBooks, standard reports that would be helpful are the P&L, statement of cash flows, transaction detail report, transaction list by vendor, and vendor contact list.  Lastly, a copy of the current year budget and any policies or written procedures related to spending would be helpful.


Q: How does ACRE set its fee for the operating cost analysis and report?

A: ACRE’s performance-based fee is 50% of projected year-one cost savings, up to a maximum cap that is based on the size and complexity of the organization and the analysis.  Projected cost savings are estimates and clients have the opportunity to have actual savings measured after one year and an adjustment is made up or down to reflect actual results. A flat fee option is also available and is based on the scope of the work required.


Q: Will ACRE do other cost consulting work for associations to help with cost management or cost-reduction opportunities?  

A: Absolutely! ACRE will contract on an hourly basis or for a flat fee for a cost analysis on any programs, functions, or processes, or for any other cost-reduction or cost management consulting work within an association or association management company.


Q: Does ACRE need to be onsite to conduct an operating cost analysis?

A: No. To save costs (which is what we do!) the analysis is conducted virtually.


Q: How much interaction with association staff does ACRE need to conduct an operating cost analysis?

A: As little or as much interaction as the association desires.  The operating cost analysis is 99% less intrusive on your operations than a standard financial audit. ACRE doesn’t require granular details on every expense. After receiving the initial financial reports, ACRE will zero in on specific areas where the most promising cost-saving opportunities appear to exist.  We will likely require additional information about those specific areas of expenditure to fully understand and quantify the opportunities. That is the only interaction with staff that is essential to the process.

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