Business Performance Comparisons

Industry Surveys

BPC CoverThe Business Performance Comparison service provides a comprehensive survey of key performance indicators in an industry. The financial and non-financial indicators reported enable firms to compare their performance with other firms in their industry, without individual businesses being identified.

The results provide management with essential information for identifying strengths/weaknesses and opportunities, budgeting and goal setting.

This service is typically used by industry groups, associations and franchises as a means of measuring and improving performance within the group.

A Business Performance Comparison Survey (or internal benchmarking) provides firms with the opportunity to compare their performance with similar firms in their industry or group; including the better performing firms. The results generated provide valuable information for business improvement, planning and goal setting. A wide range of financial and non-financial measures can be employed to match the industry and the depth of analysis desired.

Setup/ Implementation

In setting up a Business Performance Comparison (BPC) the New Zealand Institute for Business Research (NZIBR) works in consultation with representatives from the group/industry to identify requirements and the performance indicators to be reported.

Based on the degree of customisation desired there are two options for implementing a BPC. A Standard option, using the NZIBR’s 'NZ Business Benchmarking Survey' template ('Standard' report ratios example), and the Custom option, where the survey and report content is developed for a specific business/industry classification. Examples of 'Custom' financial and non-financial metrics that can be reported include:

  • revenue/net profit ratios
  • gross and net margins
  • breakdown of expenses
  • staff salary and wage rates by staff type
  • sales/expenses/profit per person (FTE)
  • stock-turn and stock levels
  • debt collection period
  • liquidity ratios
  • trading hours
  • business practices/policies/structure

Participant’s Data Inputs: participants provide data from their end of year business accounts, and other in-house sources, to complete the survey questionnaire. Data submitted to the NZIBR is rigorously screened before being included in the final results. Depending on the level of confidentiality agreed to, survey participants may be contacted by the NZIBR during the data validation process if clarifications regarding their questionnaire return is required.

Online Survey: the survey is run online, with participants accessing the survey questionnaire via their computer web browser. The survey incorporates data checks and help guides to assist in the accurate and timely submission of data. Access to the survey can be shared and progress saved until completed. The NZIBR utilises industry standard security measures in all aspects of data transmission and storage.


An individualised comparison report is generated for each participant to facilitate comparisons with the range of results returned. Two levels of reporting are utilised: aggregate reports for the group as a whole, and subgroup breakdown reports (for example by total income bands, net profit per working owner, location or product line). Depending on the sample size additional subgroups can be generated.

Higher level aggregate reports can be generated if required to provide other management interests with the key information they need for assessing/monitoring performance.

The results are typically displayed using percentiles to show the spread of results and to enable firms to see where their results are placed. Averages and the average of the top performing participants’ results for each ratio are also generated.

Survey Administration

The NZIBR can coordinate the entire survey process from contacting firms for registration, assisting participants to complete the survey, to providing participants with their individualised reports and facilitating interpretation of the results. However, the level of the NZIBR’s involvement can be varied depending on the client's requirements.

Fees: the fee for conducting a BPC will depend on a number of factors including whether a standard industry template is used or a custom option is chosen and the number of participants being surveyed. Contact the NZIBR for a more detailed quote for your group.

Confidentiality: all data held by the NZIBR is kept strictly confidential. Participants are assigned a code number and all information is analysed, processed and reported using this identifier. Access to the coding database is restricted. No individual business’ set of results are revealed in the group level reports, nor can they be derived from these reports.

Our Clients

The NZIBR has conducted surveys for a wide range of industry groups and franchises, which have included the Road Transport Forum NZ, Mitre 10 NZ, retail associations, valuers, accounting and legal practices.

Further Information

If you would like further information or wish to discuss setting up a Business Performance Comparison for your industry/group, please contact us on 07 838 4314 or email [email protected].