With a strengthening economy and increasing employment, people have found it easier to repay their bills, but that hasn’t slowed growth at Account Control Technology Holdings Inc., a debt collection and business process services company in Woodland Hills. In fact, the company is a regular on the Business Journal’s annual Fastest Growing Private Companies list. The 27-year-old company has appeared on the list four straight years – a difficult accomplishment since getting on the list once is hard enough. Actually, several other companies also have appeared four consecutive years, but Account Control had the fastest growth of all of them – 282 percent over that span. For that reason, the Business Journal has given Account Control its Star Performer award. Account Control has also been on Inc. magazine’s 5000 fastest-growing private company list for 11 years. This year it ranked 1,471. Account Control provides business process services to a wide range of companies, utilities and the U.S. government as well as to some state governments. Services can range from primarily debt collection, to taking power outage calls from utility customers and to helping health care provider patients pay their portions of their bills. From 2014 through 2016, the company’s revenue has grown more than 43 percent to reach $300-plus million last year. That puts it at No. 32 on this year’s list of fast growers. Chief Executive Tracey Carpentier took the reins of the diverse company a year ago in September after joining the board of directors in 2015. She attributes the company’s rapid expansion to being able to gain more business from existing customers while also securing new ones. An example, Carpentier said, is by offering existing customers Spanish speaking staff so they could pursue that demographic. This allows customers to gain more business, she explained, while increasing the services that Account Control provides. “In our business, you typically do not have all of a (customer’s) business,” she said. “You’re competing for how much you get with each client. Our clients, like the Department of Education and the state of Alaska, are consolidating vendors, so they are choosing the top three or four where they used to have six or seven. We are typically the top performer, so we get more business.” Diversity Account Control was founded in 1990 by owner Dale Van Dellen, and has swelled to employ 5,000 people across 19 worldwide offices, most of which are in the United States. Because it offers business process services and staffs call centers needed by companies regardless of industry, the company organizes itself by industry, because Carpentier said, each one has unique attributes. The ACT Inc. division works for the federal government to find ways student borrowers can repay their loans, and also handles debt collection for the state of Alaska and other states. Convergent Outsourcing Inc. is the company’s commercial unit, with customers including Sprint Corp. in Overland Park, Kan., retailers, such as Harley-Davidson Inc. in Milwaukee, utilities and banks. Convergent also operates call centers that take customer calls about power outages for its cable customers. Its third division, Convergent Healthcare Inc., helps patients of health provider clients, such as the vast Trinity Health hospital network out of Livonia, Mich. with co-pay, or self-pay, arrangements. Health care is where some of the most significant changes in debt collection are taking place now, Carpentier said. Caused primarily by the expansion of health care coverage under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, all services to manage, pay for and collect on health insurance have increased significantly. “As more people have insurance, we have businesses that are focusing on insurance reimbursement, and on patient self-pay, or co-pay,” she explained. “We have a call center that works with patients to do that (co-pay.)” People Debt collection was an $11 billion industry in 2016, according to Los Angeles market research firm IbisWorld. Because the industry is so labor intensive, the market research firm said there’s a critical connection between the quality and quantity of employees in debt collection and performance. “More employees mean that an industry participant can be more thorough in collection procedures, which directly increases revenue,” IbisWorld wrote. Carpentier said employee quality is also a key contributor to Account Control’s rapid and significant growth. It’s relevant, she explained, because of increasing scrutiny from oversight agencies on compliance and regulation in debt collection. “We’re very, very well-trained in compliance and in doing things the right way; and we take things seriously,” she explained. Looking to the future, Carpentier is considering expanding globally beyond the two locations in the Philippines and Guatemala.