President’s Blog: What I Learned at the 2017 NACM Credit Congress

CMA President and CEO Mike Mitchell

Since my recent return from Credit Congress, NACM’s annual gathering of credit professionals from all over the country, I have been reflecting on how CMA, a proud NACM Affiliate, can best support the credit function and profession. I spent most of my time at the conference talking with our members at the trade show and at special networking events, meeting with my NACM counterparts representing the two dozen other affiliates throughout the U.S., and meeting with many of our strategic industry partners. Unfortunately, that left little time to attend the educational sessions, so I will leave it to the members who attended to shed light on the value of the breakout sessions.

Expo exhibitors reported that NACM members demonstrated a healthy interest in learning about the tools and resources currently available to help them better manage risk and accounts receivable, and become more efficient through automation. As a credit professional, you should be interested in learning about what’s available because these are the tools that are already transforming the way that credit is practiced. If you are at the beginning or middle of your career, a good understanding of the latest and greatest credit tools and resources will give you a competitive advantage when advancing at your current company or in the event you want or need to change jobs. If you are nearing the twilight of your career, this is your opportunity to set up your succession team for success.

NACM’s long-standing partner UTA announced a new surcharging solution for credit card services developed for NACM members, which will allow companies to surcharge their customers to cover credit card fees where allowable. This is a tool that will help our members who accept credit cards payments to save money on many, if not all, of their credit card transactions. CMA will be helping UTA representatives connect with our members that could benefit from this service.

I attended partner meetings hosted by Dun & Bradstreet and Experian. Both global bureaus reaffirmed their commitment to the NACM channel, and we got another preview of D&B’s new product, D&B Credit. Training programs have already been set up so that we can help our members better understand these new tools that are available to them.

At the trade show, I saw a growing list of technology tools that can significantly improve the effectiveness, while lowering the cost, of customer risk assessment and accounts receivable management, which is reason enough to check out these tools. Another reason that credit professionals should be aware of what tools are available: the knowledge increases your personal value. At CMA, we have seen an awful lot turnover and consolidation in credit jobs, and the more you know about what tools are available and how they work will give you a competitive advantage in the job market. Staying on top of new developments in the field reminds me of something NACM Board Chair Jay Snyder of Tech Data said at the General Session — he believes that all credit professionals will have to handle at least one global transaction with in the next five years. What are you going to do to prepare for that?

Sometimes it seems overwhelming to me how many tools and resources are out there today to support the credit function and profession. With the growing demands on the credit department, I can only imagine how overwhelming it must be for our members to keep up with all of it. That’s why CMA should play the important role of staying on top of everything that the credit service industry has to offer. We hope that you will look to your association for help in navigating the ever more crowded landscape of tools and resources available to help you manage cash flow and risk. I invite you to use your Industry Credit Group, or CMA contact person, to discuss some strategies to implement, and through the collective knowledge base of your peers and staff, we’ll try to help you find that solution.

Let me end my Credit Congress reflection on a congratulatory note. CMA members who attended the conference had the pleasure of seeing one of their own receive recognition on the national stage – Melissa Kobus, CCE, Assistant Director of Credit at Walters Wholesale Electric in Signal Hill, CA received the NACM CCE Designation of Excellence Award. Congratulations Melissa on a well-deserved award, and thanks for giving all of us a very proud moment.

What did you take away from Credit Congress? I welcome your comments in the text box below.

Thanks for reading!

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