February 21, 2024 | CRA Advice

The Accuracy Advantage: Build a Competitive Edge with Quality Data

Note: This is part of a blog series about the critical role a background screening data provider plays in the success of your organization and the importance of thoroughly evaluating key areas of your potential partners. In this blog, Vince Brodt, InformData’s Executive Vice President of Sales and Strategic Accounts, shares his insights on the importance of your data provider having in-depth quality and compliance controls in place.

One mistake on a criminal background screening report can quickly snowball into a legal nightmare, costing your company greatly, both financially and in terms of reputation, putting your business at risk. Why? Because in the world of background screening, data quality is the absolute foundation. It’s what separates reliable data partners from the rest and ultimately impacts the safety of communities and the future of your business.

Because Consumer Reporting Agencies (CRAs) trust a portion of their work to their background screening data providers, choosing the right partner who prioritizes quality is mission-critical. Their accuracy becomes your accuracy – which means that not only does it impact the quality of the information you deliver to your clients, but it also affects your reputation, compliance, and ability to compete in a dynamic marketplace.

But how can CRAs effectively evaluate a data provider's commitment to quality?

The Stakes are High

Quality accuracy TAT price

What it all boils down to is that quality is the cornerstone of our industry. Your customers count on you to deliver accurate data, and in turn, their customers rely on this data to assist in their hiring decisions. Data providers with poor quality standards and no compliance controls or auditing procedures are more likely to send you flawed results that may end up in your clients’ hands or create quality catastrophes. Here are a couple of examples:

  • Over the years, I’ve seen instances where certain data sources (NatCrim, automated jurisdictions, etc.) have gone down instead of erroring out, leading to false “clear” reports. This highlights the importance of robust system audits, proactive error handling, and redundancy measures.
  • There have also been scenarios where a vendor silently changes their search methods, resulting in missing crucial records that would have otherwise been found. This is why transparent communication and vendor audits are crucial.

Bad data has a domino effect – poor data quality erodes trust, leading to lost clients and damaged reputation; inaccurate data increases the risk of making bad hiring decisions, and erroneous background check results can put lives at risk in certain industries.

Given CRAs’ reliance on background screening data providers, assessing a provider’s dedication to accuracy is imperative before forming a partnership. But accuracy isn’t the only factor to consider. While it’s important, it cannot exist in a vacuum. Turnaround time (TAT) should be considered, as delays can frustrate clients and hamper your competitiveness. Price also plays a significant role, as you need a solution that delivers value without compromising accuracy or TAT. Accuracy, turnaround time and price – the trifecta that makes up quality background screening services. Striking the right balance among these elements is crucial.

Evaluate Your Provider

So, how do you find a data provider that ticks all the boxes? Here are some key qualities to look for:



  • Seek providers with formally documented quality programs. These programs should encompass comprehensive procedures and ongoing audits. Check for high levels of accuracy, ideally operating around 5 Sigma.
  • Look for providers with dedicated quality and compliance teams who actively monitor data integrity and ensure adherence to industry standards.
  • Explore their quality assurance processes, such as vendor seed testing, jurisdictional testing, and thorough investigations of any potential discrepancies.

Turnaround Time


  • Understand your clients' needs and expectations regarding report delivery speed.
  • Evaluate the provider's ability to meet those expectations consistently.
  • Look for providers with efficient processes and the human and IT infrastructure that enables rapid turnaround times without sacrificing quality.



  • Remember, cheap isn't always best. While cost is a factor, prioritizing the lowest price could compromise key attributes such as accuracy and turnaround time, among others.
  • Seek providers who offer fair and transparent pricing models that reflect the value they deliver in terms of accuracy, speed, and additional features.
  • Consider the total cost of ownership, including potential costs associated with errors or delays.

Fast turnaround times and low prices are tempting, but without accuracy, they're ultimately worthless. Strive for the trifecta: speed, affordability, and, above all, accuracy. That's the recipe for true quality.

The InformData Advantage

At InformData, we understand the immense responsibility we hold to deliver impeccably accurate and timely background screening data to our CRA customers. That's why we're committed to providing the highest quality data, delivered with impressive turnaround times at a value-driven price. Here’s how:

The Foundation:

  • Quality Department: We have an entire department dedicated solely to implementing and upholding our stringent, in-depth quality controls. Led by Matt Hodges (Six Sigma Black Belt!), our robust quality team is made up of over 25 experts, each with daily responsibilities relating to quality assurance and continuous improvement. This quality-focused team ensures our accuracy surpasses expectations, meticulously investigating any issues that arise and overseeing all auditing and testing procedures with precision.

  • Culture of Quality: Our commitment permeates every team, individual, and process. Each InformData employee lives and breathes data accuracy and ensures adherence to industry standards.

  • Direct-Source Data®: Each transfer through the data supply chain introduces the potential for inaccuracies and undesired modifications. Our Direct-Source Data approach eliminates unnecessary layers, connecting CRAs directly to courts and primary sources. This minimizes errors and provides unmatched transparency, speed, and customization.

  • Six Sigma (6σ) Methodology: This proven framework of techniques and tools provides a systematic process improvement and quality management approach to ensure exceptional accuracy in all our data offerings. We typically operate just above 5 Sigma. (Meet some of InformData’s Six Sigma Black Belt and Green Belts here)

Maintaining Excellence:

  • Constant Vigilance: Our Quality Auditing Program employs rigorous audits and assessments to continuously monitor data quality. Our quality team conducts regular quality testing of our researchers to ensure they consistently meet our sky-high accuracy and turnaround time standards. Our comprehensive approach also includes jurisdiction testing and random sampling to further enhance the reliability of our data.

  • Proactive Problem-Solving: Our proprietary tool, DART (Data Anomaly Reporting Tool), identifies potential issues before they impact your reports – proactively safeguarding your data's reliability and mitigating risk.

  • Strict Data Handling: Stringent procedures and thorough discrepancy investigations uphold data integrity.

And that’s just a brief glimpse into the world of accuracy at InformData. We invite you to compare our commitment to top-notch quality with other data providers. You'll see why CRAs across the nation trust us to deliver the critical information they need with speed and accuracy. Feel free to reach out if you'd like to learn more.

Choose Wisely

Whether you are evaluating InformData or another provider as a potential partner (only a few hard feelings if that’s the case), choosing a data provider is a long-term partnership. We’ve all heard the horror stories of our industry friends who were burned by empty promises. Instead of falling victim to shiny sales tactics and an appealing price, look for a provider who demonstrates their commitment to accuracy through concrete measures and a proven track record. By prioritizing this crucial factor, you can navigate the data provider maze with confidence, ensure the quality of your background screening reports, build trust with your clients, and thrive in the competitive CRA landscape.


Up Next: In the next part of this weekly blog series, Bill Wilder, InformData’s Chief Operating Officer, will explore the importance of your data provider's ability to scale with your growth.

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