14 ARMA Group
Andrew Smith (38), Shane Ashton (39)
- Head Office
Sydney, New South Wales
Banking and financial services
Despite sounding like a defence contractor, ARMA’s goal is to be a holistic provider of debt recovery services for businesses and individuals in Australia, and was started in 2015 by founders Andrew Smith and Shane Aston.
The two saw an opportunity to take a different approach to the often poorly-viewed debt collection sector, starting ARMA with the intention of being quick, flexible, and kind towards both clients and debtors, unlike competitors who had a propensity for negative collection strategies.
In doing so, the two say they’ve found the business has benefited from higher recovery rates and faster recovery speeds. It’s also reaped the rewards for its bottom line, growing 194% over the past three years with revenue upwards of $6.6 million.
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However, the business found it hard breaking into a space which was so firmly dominated by bigger players, with the founders listing landing new clients and breaking down barriers with established providers as some of the hardest parts of ARMA’s early days.
This was solved in part by the company forming strong relationships with providers such as MYOB and Xero, which has landed them additional business. The two also acknowledge their industry being disrupted through the advent of AI and automation.
“Technology and automation will be the biggest disruptors to our sector over the coming years. AI will play a major role in replacing human operators with most tasks being automated,” they say.
“Agencies that remain thought leaders and innovators in this space will succeed where other will fall to the wayside.”