Operating Expenses Benchmarking Tool - Civil + Structural Engineer magazine


By Tyler Thompson

Zweig Group recently released the all new Operating Expenses Benchmarking Tool. This dynamic tool combines data from four of Zweig Group’s flagship surveys on AEC firm financial performance, information technology, marketing, and policies, procedures, and benefits.  Four years of historical data are included so users can evaluate overhead staffing and spending based on industry norms and firm attributes.

AEC firm leaders are often interested in the balance of technical and administrative employees. This compilation of data provides benchmarks and metrics that allow firms to see how their own staffing ratios stack up against industry norms based on the four key overhead departments: finance/accounting, human resources (HR), information technology (IT), and marketing.

Firm mergers and acquisitions further the need to analyze overall staffing –this tool allows users to enter various scenarios and benchmark these against specific demographics for both overall department levels as well as specific job roles and department structures.

The benchmarking tool also analyzes spending habits of AEC firms relative to net service revenue (NSR) in each overhead department. Not only does it show industry norms, but it presents the data based on the selection of firm attributes including staff size, office count, firm type, growth rate, and profitability.

Just as with staff breakdowns, the tool also breaks down spending based on different categories. For example, if a firm wants to benchmark marketing spending, spending in categories like staff labor, market research, advertising, etc. can be compared before summing the amounts to achieve a total marketing spending.

This dynamic benchmarking tool is the go-to product for firms looking to benchmark organizational structure and spending distribution among overhead departments. With a stable plan in place for its overhead departments, firms can be confident in the capacity and productivity of nontechnical staff and ultimately improve profitability in the present and future.


Tyler Thompson is the Research Manager at Zweig Group. He can be reached at research@zweiggroup.com.



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