Comparisons between one firm within a particular industry or market with that of another firm operating in the same industry or market. Together with a comparison over time, this enables a more effective assessment to be made of a business’s performance / potential performance. For example, a business’s net profit margin and return on capital may be increasing every year but, when compared to other firms operating within the same industry, it may still be much lower. This suggests that there is room for improvement and encourages further investigation to identify possible reasons for the lower performance and ways performance can be improved.