Save the Date: Credit Management Association Announces CreditScape Spring Summit and Annual Meeting

— Education Summit will focus on Change Management April 4-5, 2018 in Anaheim, CA–

 

Glendale, CA (June 27, 2017) – Credit Management Association (CMA) has announced plans for a Spring CreditScape Summit and Annual Meeting, a two-day event which will feature educational content that addresses how your company and credit operations can manage change in these turbulent business times. The event follows up several successful and highly-rated CreditScapes in Southern California, Las Vegas and Sonoma.

The CreditScape Spring Summit and Annual Meeting, taking place April 4-5, 2018 at the Hyatt Regency hotel in Anaheim, CA, will feature workshop exercises, peer panel discussions, expert practical advice, and networking with other credit professionals.

“CreditScape was born out of feedback from members who asked us for help with making their business processes more efficient. Survey results showed us that members learned a lot from subject matter experts and seasoned credit professionals sharing their experiences through discussions and interactive workshops. We plan to take that feedback and build a strong, expanded program for next Spring,” said CMA President and CEO Mike Mitchell.

“We’ve been listening to feedback from the past event surveys, from conversations with members, and in our Group meetings recently. In these turbulent business times of consolidation, automation and reorganization, the theme we heard most often is that companies are always looking for ways to deal with change. We are currently developing content around that overall theme,” Mitchell added. “We will continue to strive for a unique learning and networking experience that incorporates the latest techniques in content delivery for adult learners. Our goal is to create a thought-provoking and practical meeting experience that produces valuable take-aways and sustained value for participants and their finance and credit departments.”

Senior-level credit executives will be invited to attend the Credit Executives Symposium on April 3, the day before CreditScape begins, at the Hyatt Regency Anaheim. The one-day event offers a roundtable discussion of high-level business issues and trends, best-practices and tips on valuable resources, facilitated by veteran credit executives.

CreditScape Summits are offered in the Spring, focusing on different aspects of the Credit Management landscape. It is one in a series of in-person educational opportunities offered by Credit Management Association. To learn more about the other sessions and topics, visit www.creditmanagementassociation.org/events or call 800-541-2622.

About Credit Management Association

Credit Management Association (CMA), which was founded in 1883, is a Glendale, Calif.-headquartered trade association with approximately 1,100 member companies representing over 250 different business categories selling regionally, nationally and internationally. CMA focuses on providing products and services that allow companies to make informed business decisions based on trade credit. CMA is one of the largest affiliates of the National Association of Credit Management (NACM), whose 33 affiliates serve all of North America. For more information, call 800-541-2622, or visit www.creditmanagementassociation.org.

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Media Information:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 27, 2017

Contact: Alan Dicker
323-573-0840
adicker@emailcma.org

Agendas Set for International Best Practices Forums for Second Half of 2017

CMA has hosted several international credit best practices forums, which take place on the third Tuesday every month. As the feedback we’ve received has been overwhelmingly positive, CMA announces the topics and agenda for the rest of 2017, which are listed below. Each meeting will addresses a different international topic, with a 20-to-30 minute discussion led by a thought leader, a question-and-answer session and open forum.

 

The dates (and links to register) are as follows:

These meetings, which are delivered in online webinar format, are subject to special pricing of $20 per meeting for members, while non CMA members will pay $30.

 

For more information about how you can get involved, contact Alan Dicker at adicker@emailcma.org or 323-573-0840.

New Webinar Series Helps Credit Professionals Understand Bankruptcy

As a risk manager, you know that bankruptcy by your customers is one of the biggest threats to try to avoid. But what happens when your good customer files bankruptcy? CMA has put together a series of webinars addressing bankruptcy and what you can do to understand the process in order to help your company get paid.

These sessions will guide you to:

  • Understand the difference between the major types of corporate bankruptcy, and what happens to outstanding debts when your customers file.
  • How anti-trust laws can affect a bankruptcy.
  • Learn about your company’s rights when your customer files bankruptcy.

Webinars are:

Sign up for these and other events at http://www.anscers.com/upcomingevents.aspx or contact CMA Member Relations, at 800-541-2622.

Welcome From the New CMA Board of Directors Chair, by Gent Culver, ICCE

Hello fellow credit professionals. As my tenure as CMA Chairman of the Board started on May 1, I would like to say that I am honored to serve you as Chairperson and look forward to this coming year that is going to be filled with challenges and opportunities for all of us. Just so you know a little about me, I have been in the Credit field for more than 40 years. I spent 20 years in commercial banking and the last 25 years as Senior Credit Manager, Global Credit and Collections for International Game Technology (IGT). I am located at our manufacturing facility in Reno, Nevada, and I have been involved with CMA for more than 20 years.

The commercial credit and collection industry has gone through some major changes over the past decade and they continue today. Advancement in technology, consolidations, down-sizing (doing more with less), a new generational workforce, and global expansion within our various industries have created challenges to all of us in being able to perform our job efficiently and effectively and to meet the everyday demands of our employer.

Our primary goal at CMA is to provide to you the resources, tools and training to meet these challenges. The various services/products we provide such as anscers, credit reporting solutions, lien filings, third-party collection services, industry group meetings, webinars, seminars such as CreditScape, and membership in NACM all play a vital role in helping you and your staff to become more proficient in your job. Proficiency will translate into a positive economic return to your employer.

As this year progresses, I encourage each of you to participate in your respective industry group to gain knowledge and to develop contacts that will provide valuable information that will benefit you and your company. Even if you’re in a group but don’t regularly attend meetings, I feel that the three-hour time investment provides me with real-time vital credit information that I can’t get anyplace else, from my peers in companies who share common customers with me. I also appreciate the “best practices” information I get out of the credit groups that have given me the tools to change several processes that my company uses for the better. Don’t stop there, continue to develop your knowledge of the profession by participating in the webinars and seminars offered by CMA and NACM. Knowledge is POWER.

If any of you have questions or ideas that you feel would be beneficial to CMA, please let me know. CMA is about you, our members. I can be reached at 775-448-0130 or via email at gent.culver@igt.com.

Thank you for reading this and I am looking forward to leading CMA’s Board of Directors over the next year and helping create programs that matter to our members.

Best Regards,

Gent Culver

My Take on Spring CreditScape (And a Big Thank You!!), by Tracy Rosenbach, CCE

I attended CMA’s Spring CreditScape at the Hyatt Regency in Garden Grove on April 12. Wow, what a great conference, which featured some amazing sessions and speakers. The day started off with the incomparable Wanda Borges, Esq., who led a discussion in hot legal topics in business credit. Ms. Borges answered questions from attendees covering such topics as bankruptcy, preference and credit card surcharges, all topics that clearly hit home with the attendees. Keynote speaker Dan Goldes showed us how to use influence to increase efficiency with influence skills. His interactive session really encouraged all of us to take a step back and practice different styles of influencing people on our fellow attendees before we bring them back to our offices to use them on both our coworkers and customers. The session was educational as well as fun. Next, Kim Howard, Director of Credit Western Region for Cemex, and Wanda Borges, discussed how to automate credit applications and customer onboarding, and the legal implications of doing so. During lunch, CMA had its Annual Meeting and Installation of Officers (which was my last “official” duty as chair of CMA to preside over).

In the afternoon attendees had the opportunity to meet with the vendors to help them learn how to improve efficiencies and reduce internal costs, by using services such as credit card transaction processing, UCCs, credit reporting, customer onboarding, cash application and more. The last session for the conference was a panel discussion (Alvin Moreno, Harold Fraizer, Brian Gausman, Claudia Lozano and Rohit Patel) on implementing efficiencies in the Cash-to-Cash cycle. I personally took several pages of notes that I plan to revisit and consider implementing some of the processes in my own credit department. The event was well worth my day out of the office to learn from the experiences of other credit professionals.

As I wind up my last blog as CMA Chairperson, I have to say that I can’t believe that a year has passed since I was introducing myself to you as chair in this blog last year. Time has just zipped by. I would like to take a moment to thank the very special people on the CMA staff including Diana Escobar, Alan Dicker, Terry Campos and Juliet Churchill for all of your assistance. These people have helped me tremendously through the past three years as Treasurer, Vice-Chair and Chairperson. Also, thank you to my great Executive Committee team (Melissa Kobus, Gent Culver and Pam Craik) for being engaged, interested and available, sometimes at a moment’s notice. And last but not least a big thank you to my boss, Brett Garnett, who has supported me through this journey.

I encourage all of you to get involved in CMA at whatever level you can do, whether it’s participating in an industry credit group, attending a webinar or seminar in person, or volunteering on the CMA Board of Directors. Your participation will only make the association stronger and benefit you (and your company) at the same time.

Best wishes to you all, and thanks again for everything,

Tracy Rosenbach
CMA Chairperson 2016/2017

CreditScape Spring Summit Helps Identify Ways to Create Efficiency in Credit

The CreditScape Spring Summit, Powered by United TranzActions, an interactive learning seminar and workshop took place April 12 at the Hyatt Regency Orange County. The event helped uncover areas in a company’s credit operations where they could improve efficiency, providing attendees with dozens of ideas to bring back to the office, according to preliminary survey results that were tabulated after the event.

With the common theme of “creating efficiency and reducing costs in the credit department,” attendees commented that the sessions gave them insights on the latest in legal issues affecting the credit department, improving efficiency in new customer onboarding, efficiency in the cash-to-cash cycle, plus services that could help companies realize these efficiencies. Also a hit were the panel discussions where attendees heard from their peers how they have successfully implemented these processes.

Additionally, for the attendees overwhelmingly said they’d recommend CreditScape to a colleague.

Here are some photos from the event:

Plans are forthcoming for CMA’s next CreditScape, which will take place next Spring at the same venue in Garden Grove, CA, April 4-5, 2018. More details will be announced as soon as possible.

Thanks again to our event sponsors United TranzActions, HighRadius, CreditPoint Software, Bectran, Credit 2 B, IAB, Ansonia Credit Data, AG Adjustments, NCS, Dun & Bradstreet, Skyminder and Esker, and to all who attended the event!

Thanks to CreditScape Spring Sponsors!

 

CMA wishes to recognize our event sponsors for CreditScape. Without their help, this event would not have been possible.

Thanks to these leading companies in the credit community.

 

AGA Adjustments
Contact: Sam Fensterstock
www.agaltd.com
888-496-1600
Services: Commercial Collections

Ansonia Credit Data
Contact: Bill Weiss, Kathleen Dasal
www.AnsoniaCreditData.com
855-ANSONIA (267-6642)
Services: Portfolio Monitoring, Credit Reports

Bectran
Contact: Eric Lee
www.bectran.com
888-791-6620
Services: Online Credit Applications, Document Management

Credit2B
Contact: Joe Chin
www.credit2b.com
212-279-3300
Services: Customer Onboarding, Risk Protection, Analytics, Benchmarks

CreditPoint Software
Contact: Charlie Pilkington
https://creditpointsoftware.com
918-376-9440
Services: Credit Risk Analysis Software, Online Credit Applications, Commercial Collections Software

Dade Systems
Contact: Bill Zayas
www.dadesystems.com
855-418-2786
Services: Virtual Payment Processing Solutions

Dun & Bradstreet
Contact: Bob O’Brien
www.dnb.com
973-921-6370
Services: Credit Reports

Esker
Contact: Dan Caple
www.esker.com
800-368-5283
Services: Accounts Receivable Software

HighRadius
Contact: Sally Huynh
www.highradius.com
281-968-4473
Services: Accounts Receivable Software

IAB
Contact: Diana Crowe
www.iabllc.com
630-537-0840
Services: Deduction Management Services

NCS
Contact: Jerry Bailey
www.ncscredit.com
800-826-5256
Services: UCC Filing Services

Skyminder
Contact: Mike Lindenmuth
www.skyminder.com
813-636-0981
Services: International Credit Reports

United TranzActions
Contact: Michael Williams, Dean Middleton
www.UnitedTranzActions.com
800-858-5256
Services: Payment Processing, Credit Card
Processing, Virtual Lockbox

Vantiv
Contact: Matt Fluegge
www.vantiv.com
608-834-2539
Services: Payment Services

Spring CreditScape Panelists Announced

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Panelists from leading companies such as Nestle USA, Consolidated Electrical Distributors (CED), Velocity Vehicles, Reliance Steel, Cemex and ResMed will take part in the discussion at CreditScape about how to create efficiency and reduce costs in the credit department.

A complete schedule of sessions and workshops for the CreditScape Spring Summit has also been posted. Keynote speaker Dan Goldes will present “The Influence Edge: Increasing Efficiency with Influence Skills” in an interactive keynote workshop at CreditScape, April 12, 2017 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Garden Grove, CA.

Bankruptcy expert Wanda Borges, esq., will talk about electronic credit applications during the panel discussions, while Alvin Moreno of Nestle will discuss the elements of a lean office that he’s brought into his company to help make his credit operations run more efficiently. Other panels and the return of CMA’s popular “Speed Networking” event will also take place at CreditScape.

The CreditScape Spring Summit, powered by United TranzActions, features one packed day of workshop training, expert practical and legal advice, and networking with other credit professionals, designed to give you insight on areas where you can make improvements in your company’s credit operations.

To view the complete schedule, click here.

Why You Shouldn’t Leave Managing Credit Risk to the “Luck of the Irish,” by Tracy Rosenbach, CCE

Being a good credit professional has nothing to do with luck. A solid credit professional is one who has invested in him or herself by taking classes and/or receiving an NACM certification; attending industry credit groups; and networking. The key in all of the above activities is getting as much information as possible. An effective credit manager should always strive to learn everything they can about one’s industry and profession, networking with as many credit professionals as possible to understand industry best practices, trends and tactics they can use to make their department run more smoothly (this is another under-rated and often overlooked benefit I get out of attending Group meetings as well).

On April 12, credit professionals will have the opportunity to attend CMA’s Spring CreditScape in Garden Grove, California. The goal of CreditScape is to provide an opportunity for credit practitioners with all levels of experience and expertise to come together to determine ways to reduce costs and create efficiencies in their credit departments. Some of the topics for the conference include:

  • The Influence Edge: Increasing Efficiency with Influence Skills
  • Where can you Increase Efficiencies in the Cash-to-Cash Cycle?
  • Creating efficiencies and cost-savings in the customer onboarding process; credit applications; credit information and portfolio management

Credit practitioners from companies such as Nestle, CED, Reliance Steel and Cemex, among others, will be talking about how they’ve seen process improvements in their businesses, and how they realized those improvements. In addition to the sessions, there will be Speed Networking: Tools to help Create Efficiency and Reduce Costs with CMA’s sponsors and a networking event so you can get to know other credit professionals, along with workshop opportunities to keep you participating in the event as a participant, not just a bystander.

I strongly encourage you to attend this CMA event as a way to increase your knowledge base so that your methods of credit management aren’t as random as trying to find a four-leaf clover in a large field. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Best regards,

Tracy Rosenbach
CMA Chairperson 2016/2017

How Accepting Credit Cards Can Make Your Credit Department More Efficient, by Michael Williams

For personal finance, credit cards are clearly the preferred payment method for most every qualified consumer. However, in the B2B marketplace, many companies have either limited acceptance or even shied completely away from accepting credit cards due to high service fees and integration costs. Even with the relatively high cost of processing, credit cards do offer some advantages to your company that will help bring efficiency and shift risk to the credit card company. How can your company gain efficiency by accepting credit cards and what’s in it for you?

  • LOWER YOUR CREDIT CARD OVERALL COSTS: Credit and treasury managers must understand all the options available for price reduction and how to make sure that you are both minimizing risk and taking advantage of every available option.
  • RECOUP YOUR CREDIT CARD FEES THROUGH SURCHARGE AND CONVENIENCE FEES: The Network Surcharge Rules are loaded with twists and variables, so it is imperative to have qualified individuals to guide you through that minefield.
  • ELIMINATE CREDIT CARD FEES WITH A CREDIT CARD ALTERNATIVE: There is a viable alternative to credit cards which has proven its value time and again over the years. This alternative is one third the cost of a credit card and a much more secure transaction with no chargebacks.

As an exclusive NACM partner for over 20 years, United TranzActions has been successful in advising members on how to process credit cards more efficiently, how to save dollars, and how to maximize the value of their use of their credit card usage. UTA will be one of the featured companies attending the upcoming CreditScape Summit, powered by UTA, in Garden Grove, California on April 12, 2017. More information on the conference is available at www.CreditScapeConference.com. I’d love to speak with you at CreditScape and see how we might help you in the credit card arena. And if you are unable to make it, feel free to reach out to me anytime for any advice on your payment processing needs.

Michael Williams is VP NACM Relations at United TranzActions. He can be reached at 305-606-6703, or mwilliams@unitedtranzactions.com

How to Use Influence Skills to Increase Efficiency and Gets Results, by Dan Goldes

How do you move people to action in order to increase efficiency? How do you get results from others without destroying relationships? These are burning questions in most organizations.

One thing is clear: the ability to influence people is not something you must be born with, but something you can learn.

Think about the best influencers in your life: clients, or people you’ve worked for, worked with, or even supervised. What made them great influencers? Was it their ability to ask questions and really listen to your answers? Did they paint a picture of the future that you found appealing and wanted to be part of? Were they able to convey their thoughts on a topic efficiently and directly and then invite your input as well?

Effectively using influence skills means learning some new behaviors – or, in some cases, refocusing behaviors your already use in order to be more efficient. Influence behaviors fall into three categories: push behaviors, pull behaviors, and push/pull behaviors.

Many people are well-versed in push behaviors, which have to do with stating your needs directly. Others are more comfortable with pull behaviors, with which you draw information out of the other party. Far fewer effectively use push/pull behaviors, which both increase commitment and move people toward action.

Most people have a default: a set of behaviors they use over and over because they work (or, often, because that’s all they know). The most effective influencer, though, is one who can pick and choose the best behavior for that moment, much as an artist decides which brush to use for each section of a painting. Using influence skills well, then, means being able to assess a situation in advance, think about the appropriate behaviors, try them, and pivot as necessary.

Planning for influence can’t be overlooked. While spur-of-the-moment opportunities to use influence skills do come up, far more often we know we’re heading into a meeting or making a phone call during which we want to influence the outcome. The investment in spending a few minutes thinking about what you want to get out of the situation, what you think the other party wants, and which of the influence behaviors you’ll use is well worth the effort. Does it take a little more time? Yes. Does it require you to change how you approach these situations? Probably. But the confidence that comes from having a plan – even if it changes mid-stream – can’t be overstated. Confident influencers are effective influencers.

Learning new behaviors often makes people anxious. But the payoff in developing influence skills is increased efficiency and better relationships, which will serve you now and in the future.

I will go into much greater detail about this during my interactive keynote presentation at the upcoming CreditScape Summit, April 12 in Garden Grove, CA.

Dan Goldes is a facilitator, trainer, and speaker based in San Francisco. He will speak on Influence Skills at CMA’s Spring CreditScape Summit on April 12. For more information about the event, visit www.CreditScapeConference.com

Coming Soon: How to Create a More Efficient Credit Department (and Ultimately Cut Costs)

Stop us if you’ve heard this one before. Your boss comes to you and tells you that you need to cut costs in the credit department, or that one of your resources (i.e., employees) now needs to split their time between credit and something else not related to credit. You’re already short-handed in your department. What’s a credit professional to do?

We work in a “do more with less” world. Practitioners in the credit department are impacted more than most. Dedication to process improvement is the only way to achieve high-performance results in the face of diminishing resources.

At CMA, late last year we conducted a research study where we spoke with more than a quarter of CMA’s members who told us that their biggest concern in 2017 is related to doing more with less. Whether it’s cutting costs or maximizing their efficiency, or a combination of both, CMA members are always looking for ways to streamline their credit operations. As a response to those conversations, CMA has tailored its CreditScape event to help credit managers with all levels of experience and expertise to leverage the knowledge and experiences of practitioners who have implemented new efficiency-maximizing processes in their credit departments.

The 2017 CreditScape Spring Summit, powered by United TranzActions, will feature a full day workshop that includes a keynote address on persuading internal and external customers, training sessions, expert practical and legal advice, and networking with other credit professionals. The goal of CreditScape is to provide an opportunity for credit practitioners at all levels of experience and expertise to come together to solve problems and provide solutions for their real-world issues they face at work.

Over the next few days, several participants in the event will be guest blogging about the power of persuasion and areas in your credit operations where you could be more efficient.

We invite you to join our guest bloggers at the Spring CreditScape Summit, powered by UTA, April 12, 2017 at the Hyatt Regency Orange County (or view the website at www.creditscapeconference.com), and to read their blogs, as the information you’ll receive can help you save time and resources in the long run.

What areas of your credit department do you think you could use efficiency to cut costs that you the most interested in learning about? We welcome your feedback.

Opportunity For Senior Level Credit Execs to Learn From Other Credit Execs

CMA has created an opportunity for top credit executives among different vertical markets to get together to learn from the successes (and failures) of other top credit executives at the CMA Credit Executive Symposium.  This unique event allows senior-level credit executives to gather for a full day roundtable facilitated by 30-year credit veteran Robert Shultz. At the event, you’ll discuss high-level business issues and trends with your peers in many industries, compare best practices, and get tips on valuable resources to help you improve your credit operations.

The agenda for the Credit Executive Symposium is highly personalized and built from input from all participants so the issues are timely and relevant to all attending. Attendees of the event will engage in round-table discussions, thought-provoking breakout sessions, and guest presenters.

Past discussions have included collections, supply chain risk, shared services centers, international risk mitigation, performance metrics, hiring & retaining staff, fraud, and cyber security.

The event takes place on April 11, in Garden Grove, CA, the day before the 2017 Spring CreditScape Summit.

Our facilitator, Bob Shultz, is managing partner at Cutting Edge Business Resources & Solutions (CEBRS). Bob will incorporate trending issues with topic requests from attendees to challenge the group in an intimate, dynamic think-tank environment that is heavy on interaction, low on PowerPoints. You will explore questions that matter most in your career and to your organization in roundtable discussions with seasoned credit peers from many industries. For more information about the event, contact Mike Mitchell at mmitchell@emailcma.org or download the event flyer here.

Why it’s Important to Participate in CMA (and How You Should Participate), by Larry Convoy

Larry Convoy, lead group facilitator

If your Industry Credit Group is anything like some of our other groups, your participation has never been more vital to your company.

We are seeing the super stores (Costco, Home Depot, Walmart, etc.) taking a very substantial market share from the small- to medium-sized businesses. Amazon and other internet-based sites are making it easy for anyone to order any product regardless of where they are located. The days of neighborhood stores and reliable customer service are being replaced by free shipping and easy return policies.

The best way to stay ahead of this trend to protect your company is by participating daily in your industry credit group.

By posting alerts, you not only send out a warning, but it might trigger another member to look at their aging and see the same customer slowing and now a pattern develops. This is exactly the scenario that saved members of the Underwater Sports group from large losses when two major sporting goods companies filed BK in 2016. Post your alert at the first sign of slowness.

By requesting and responding to RFIs, you get a complete picture of the customer you are dealing with. Can the customer handle the total outstanding balance on the report? How is he paying his other suppliers?

The third advantage you have is the monthly meeting/ conference call. There is no other profession where companies share trade and Best Practices with their competitors for their mutual well-being. The meeting is about 90 minutes including lunch, the calls are usually half that time. There is no task that can be performed in that time span that could have a greater financial effect on your company.

There are some extraordinary people in CMA’s groups that know that if they pick up one piece of information at a meeting, on the call or through an alert/RFI, it is time well spent.

The date or call in number is located on your group home page on www.anscers.com. Plan on participating at your next meeting and throughout the year.

Chairman’s Blog: Sharing is Caring, by Tracy Rosenbach, CCE

With Valentine’s Day coming up, I can’t help but think of how we teach our children the concept that “sharing is caring” as they are growing up. We hope over time this lesson fosters acts of generosity and kindness, and it turns our kids into quality adults. In our profession, sharing information is crucial to our success. Attending industry credit group meetings gives us that bit of real-time information that often we cannot get from a credit reporting service or the internet.

There is nothing like being able to speak with another credit professional in your industry to find out about a mutual customer. Of course, there are guidelines which we need to follow when discussing customers (past activity only).

The group my company belongs to has an attorney present during all discussions and social activities as a precaution. In addition to obtaining customer information, Industry Credit Groups encourage networking, which is an important aspect of growing in a profession. By talking to others, we find out more about our particular industry, educational opportunities and ways in which we can expand our own knowledge base and ultimately better help our companies make sound credit decisions.

If you are not already a member of a Credit Group, I strongly encourage you to contact CMA to find out about an industry credit group that would be appropriate for your company. If you are a member of an Industry Credit Group, fully participate and help it to grow. Look out for other companies that would benefit from being a member of your group. There is a real strength to an industry group that has high participation, plenty of members and solid leadership.

And while we’re in the giving spirit, I encourage you to nominate individuals who you believe are moving the credit function forward with one of the honors and awards categories that CMA will be recognizing at its Annual Meeting in April. It’s really easy to nominate someone, and it’s a great way to show your appreciation for a fellow credit professional who constantly leads positive discussions at your Group meetings or consistently helps other credit managers. CMA is an association made up of an amazing group of people like you who are dedicated to helping the other credit professionals in our areas.

Thanks for reading!

Best regards,

Tracy Rosenbach
CMA Chairperson 2016/2017

CMA Announces New Collections Webinar Series

CMA is proud to announce a new series of three webinars that will focus on tips and tricks you can use in your business to improve your collections results. The webinars, which are sponsored by CMA’s collections partner AG Adjustments will feature practical advice from a few of CMA’s most popular speakers: Bart Frankel, Dave Osburn and Greg Powelson.

Dates (and session descriptions) can be accessed under the links below:

The webinars are highly interactive, and are geared towards credit professionals with all levels of skills. We hope you’ll participate.

For more information about CMA’s education program, and a complete schedule of events, click here.

Dan Goldes to Deliver Keynote Address at Spring CreditScape

Keynote speaker Dan Goldes will present “The Influence Edge: Increasing Efficiency with Influence Skills” in an interactive keynote workshop at the upcoming CreditScape Spring Summit, April 12, 2017 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Garden Grove, CA. The keynote discussion will fit in well with the event’s theme of how to create efficiency and reduce costs in the credit department.

 

The CreditScape Spring Summit, powered by United TranzActions, features one packed day of workshop training, expert practical and legal advice, and networking with other credit professionals, designed to give you insight on areas where you can make improvements in your company’s credit operations.

 

More information about the event, including a complete schedule, will be available soon.

 

To register, click here.

CMA January Member of the Month: Regina Howe, State Restaurant Equipment

The January CMA Member of the Month is a good reminder of how a Group dynamic (and the information exchanged in a Group) can be so different from month to month, and why it is important to try to attend as many Group meetings as you can.

Regina Howe of State Restaurant Equipment is a 27-year Credit industry veteran who has participated in several industry credit groups throughout her career. She’s used CMA’s collection services (when she worked in the construction industry) and has recommended CMA’s services to other companies because of the success that she had with collections, information, prelims and liens.

A new member of the Food Group in Nevada, she came to a Group meeting in October (which provided some good conversation but not a lot of actionable items she could bring back to her company), and then again in December. “In December, I was very impressed with the increased number of members in attendance, the information shared, and the conversations that we shared besides past due info. I do realize that membership, attendance and participation are very important to the success of the group, and I am very interested in participating regularly, seeing what I can bring to the group as well take away from the meetings,” she said.

We appreciate her positive attitude and enthusiasm towards making her company better, the Group better, and  using her membership to its fullest capabilities by participating in CMA.

Thanks again for being part of CMA!

D&B’s Ken Bonitz to be Special Guest Speaker at CMA Supplier Risk Group Meeting

If one of your responsibilities is to vet your company’s vendors, CMA recommends that you participate in the upcoming Supplier Risk Credit Group on January 25.

The January meeting of this group will feature special guest speaker Ken Bonitz. Bonitz is the Supply Management Solutions Advisor with Dun & Bradstreet, and over the past 15 years his primary focus has been with Fortune 500 companies; he’s had great success in all industry verticals.

Ken Bonitz is a 35-year supply-chain professional who has more than 20 years’ experience in high tech, developing supply chain solutions that focus on operational efficiencies, cost savings, profitability, risk and product support. He also has 15 years supply chain consulting experience, helping customers identify supply chain financial risk, operational risk, country risk, leverage opportunities and ERP/MDM improvements.

The meeting will take place at the CMA Glendale offices, or you may participate via teleconference.

Among the items on the agenda: D&B Overview; D&B Segment Overview; D&B Supply Management Overview; Supplier Predictive Scores; Supplier Predictive Risk Tools; and a Questions-and-Answers session.

For more information about how you can get involved, contact Larry Convoy at lconvoy@emailcma.org or 818-972-5323. We look forward to your participation in what is sure to be a lively discussion.

Nomination Forms Now Available for CMA Board of Directors

The CMA Nominating Committee is now accepting nominations and applications for service on the 2017-2018 Board of Directors. If you would like to nominate a candidate for service, or you are interested in applying for a Director position directly, please complete a Candidate Nomination or Application form and return it to CMA by February 1, 2017.

Click here to download the forms and for more information.

A Time to Reflect at New Year, by Tracy Rosenbach

Happy New Year’s everyone!

January is a natural time for reflection and goal setting. Professionally, this is the time when I like to take a look back at the previous year to see how I can improve on what we accomplished last year. From there, I begin to develop goals for myself and the department. I am always looking for ways in which to make the flow of work go more smoothly, payments especially at year end to be made on time, etc… I find that communication and organization are two of the most important keys to success.

Nothing can replace the personal touch when it comes to working with high-risk and key customers, one of my goals each year involves developing a list of customers to visit. Normally the list has no more than 10 – 15 names on it to keep the focus on those customers which can materially impact my company. Some of these customers are within driving distance, which minimizes the expense. Some I will have to fly to, but I try to combine it with a conference/seminar/meeting in order to get the most out of the trip. Making that personal contact with the customer can open up the lines of communication in many ways. When I am visiting a customer, I try to meet as many key personnel as possible from the CFO and/or controller to the Purchasing Manager. I always represent myself as yet another point of contact/resource for our customers. Years ago, I had a customer call to ask me a freight question involving a delivery. Normally I don’t handle this type of question, but I took down the information and rather than transfer the customer around the company I found out who could answer the question and put the two parties in touch. The personal touch is invaluable.

I also look for ways to better streamline our credit operations, making sure that our processes are as efficient as possible with the technology that’s available, and that we’re using the correct reporting resources to meet our needs and provide data to make effective credit decisions. When’s the last time you evaluated your credit reporting solutions? If it’s been more than a year, I suggest you do it again soon.

As you head into the New Year take a moment to reflect about 2016 – the successes and the failures – and how you and your department can improve. You are not alone by any means. CMA provides the means for networking (industry groups, the annual meeting, etc.), information exchange (the type of credit reports you need and the information exchanged through RFIs, alerts and credit groups), collection of tough accounts (collection services), etc… Please reach out to the CMA staff for any assistance you may need to ensure that your company’s credit operations run as smoothly as possible in 2017 and going forward. Remember, CMA exists as a partner to help your credit department accomplish its goals. Don’t forget to include CMA in your success plans for 2017 and beyond.

Have a happy and healthy 2017! I’ll touch base in February.

Tracy Rosenbach

CMA Chairperson 2016/2017

Does Your Company Sell Software as a Service Solutions & Products ? We Have a Group for That!

CMA is currently recruiting companies for its new Software as a Service (SaaS) Industry Credit Group. The group will be comprised of interconnected companies that provide cloud computing models in which a third-party provider hosts applications and make them available to customers via the internet, and have a common customer base.

The initial meeting will be a networking event on Feb. 2, 2017 in Livermore, CA. If you’re interested in attending the networking event, please RSVP by January 17, 2017 with Amber Jackson ((702) 636-4323, ajackson@emailcma.org) or Ann Westpy ((702) 903-2643, awestpy@emailcma.org ).

We look forward to a great turnout, and hope to see you there!

How to Survive Year-End, by Tracy Rosenbach, CCE

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Happy Holidays!

It’s calendar year end and for many of us it is fiscal year end. It is the time of year when we take one last look at 2016 before the year ends. The last-minute dash begins. Calling customers to ensure large/crucial payments arrive on time. Working with the sales team to finalize or confirm any new customer arrangements or existing customer deals that might impact the bottom line. Speaking with management to confirm what the year-end expectations are. Sending accounts who aren’t communicating anymore to a third-party collections agency for their assistance.

Here’s a friendly reminder to please reach out to the folks at CMA if you need assistance. If you need an extra credit report, a last-minute clearance from your industry credit group, help filing preliminary notices or liens, etc., CMA is there to help you get through this last-minute crunch.

As we reflect back on 2016, though there is a lot to do during this time of year, don’t forget to recognize those people around you who help you make it happen. CMA will soon be asking for nominations for several awards including the CBA, CBF and CCE Designation of Excellence, Member of the Year, Member Company of the Year, Mentor of the Year, Instructor of the Year and so on. When the call for nominations comes out, please consider nominating someone you work with, an associate you network with, or one of your personal credit mentors for a CMA award. These awards will be handed out at the CMA Annual Meeting this Spring. If you have any questions about the awards, how to nominate, etc., please reach out to me or the CMA staff.

Lastly, but most importantly, I wanted to thank you for your continued support of CMA through your membership, industry group participation, volunteering, and use of CMA’s services. Your contributions make a difference.

Best wishes to you and your family for a very Happy Holiday season! I’ll touch base in January.

Tracy Rosenbach, CCE

CMA Chairperson 2016/2017

Two Billion Reasons Why You Need to Know the anscersX Multibureau Trade Credit Report, by Bob Shultz

anscersX Report

Do you have to make tough credit decisions quickly? How would you like to have the power of over two billion trade credit experiences available to you from the three most reliable sources on the planet? What about having credit scores and valuable facts on a company’s history at your fingertips immediately when the credit request lands on your desk?

In today’s competitive environment, informed credit decisions must be made quickly to get product out the door. Your company expects credit to support Sales and drive revenue. At the same time, credit decisions must be within your company’s risk tolerance with a likelihood of prompt payment.

This was the thought behind CMA’s anscersX Multi-Bureau Trade Credit Report. anscersX provides all the above and more from Dun and Bradstreet, Experian and Equifax. You choose which bureaus you want to see. You pay only for what you get. The report is online and delivered to your workstation within seconds of ordering it.

anscersX provides all of the information you need to make most credit decisions. A Paydex Score from Dun and Bradstreet, Intelliscore from Experian and a Business Risk Score from Equifax, along with over two billion current trade lines, trends, details about the company and public records of suits, liens or judgments.

There is a side benefit to those of us in credit who must defend our decisions. Using powerful information such as the anscersX report will help justify any decision you make. If there are questions or push-back, you are locked and loaded to illustrate why you came to the conclusions you did.

Consider the anscersX report if any of the following are true:

  • Your monthly requirements do not justify a costly contract with one or more of the bureaus.
  • You are looking for a more efficient and cost effective way to order reports from multiple bureaus.
  • You have a contract with one of the major bureaus but want reports from additional sources.
  • You have a limit on the number of reports you can order from a bureau, anscersX can conserve usage.
  • A multi-bureau report will give additional insight into a higher risk prospect or customer.

The best thing you can do for yourself today is to go to anscers.com and check out anscersX. It is brought to you by Credit Management Association for the benefit of the credit management community.

Robert S. Shultz is a Partner at Quote to Cash Solutions (Q2C) LLC, and a frequent speaker at CMA-sponsored and other credit events.

Giving Thanks, by Tracy Rosenbach, CCE

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Happy November everyone! I am still trying to get used to the concept that it is Fall here in Southern California. Many days I feel like it is still just summer, extending out a few more weeks. Regardless, it’s at this time of year that I take time to think about life professionally and personally.

To do this task right, I often list out why I am thankful. I include on my list the educational opportunities that I did throughout the year which help me to do my job (this year, it was attending Credit Congress and Fall Creditscape), the personal and professional friendships I’ve been fortunate enough to have, the customers I enjoy working with, the great boss I work for and my family. I think it is extremely important to take a look at the positive.

In addition to taking a retrospective look, I try to thank those who help me. In my communications with our customers, I make sure to thank them for the opportunity to do business together. Internally, I thank those who provide me guidance, information, etc…

I am also thankful that we have CMA to help us in our professional lives. CMA is an amazing organization in all the services they offer credit professionals to help manage risk, such as getting advice on the best credit report for your organization and circumstance, filing your construction lien forms, safely facilitating the industry credit group you participate in, etc…

I encourage you to contact CMA for any questions you have regarding their services, or to try them out for the first time. They are great listeners too!

Best wishes to you for a very Happy Thanksgiving! Have a wonderful holiday, and thanks for reading.

Tracy Rosenbach
CMA Chairperson 2016/2017

CMA Hosts Joint Construction Meeting in Los Angeles

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On October 13, CMA held its first ever joint construction credit meeting, allowing CMA member companies from different vertical industries who sell to the construction industry to get together to talk about common job accounts. In addition, Chris Ng, Esq., spoke to the group on a series of construction law related topics, including the legalities related to job accounts. Amongst the activities at the event included a discussion of best and worst practices, which really hit home with many of the companies who participated. Thanks to all who attended.

CMA Member of the Month, October 2016: Dave Boudreau, Pacific Seafood

Dave Boudreau of Pacific Seafood
Dave Boudreau of Pacific Seafood

There’s an old proverb that there’s no substitute for experience. When dealing with an Industry Credit Group, as you may know, just because someone has experience doesn’t mean that they’re willing to share it for the overall good of the Group. However, if you’ve been to a Las Vegas Commercial Credit Group meeting over the past 8 years, you may know our October CMA Member of the Month, Dave Boudreau of Pacific Seafood of Las Vegas, an active participant in the group who is always willing to share his knowledge and best practices with them.

In addition to simply attending CMA Credit Group meetings for more than 50 years across several industries, Dave provides excellent contributions to the Group, especially on the topics of how to get paid, navigating internal customer channels and payment portals. He has always been one of the first members to show up for CMA meetings, he is always prepared with his reports and he always adds valuable comments to the Group discussions. He’s also a proud veteran of the U.S. Army.

An active CMA member since March 2008 with Pacific Seafood (and he’s been active with CMA with other companies before that), we commend Dave for participating, and we look forward to his continued support.

Members of the Month are nominated by CMA members, Group members, volunteers and CMA staff to highlight those members (or member companies) whose engagement with CMA has helped improve the overall credit profession for others.

For more information on how you can participate in any of the areas mentioned within this article, or to nominate any members for this honor, contact Diana Escobar at descobar@emailcma.org or 818-972-5300.

Extending Your Credit Information Reach, by Larry Convoy

One of the benefits of group membership is being able to access the anscers databank anytime and not only receive information from members of your group, but information from members outside of your group. Many groups share common customers, and being able to pull up an anscers.com report and see a trade line or alert from someone in another group could be the difference in opening the account or not. After all, the information in anscers comes from past-due reports, meeting review reports, RFI’s, alerts and companies contributing their aging each month. More current information does not exist.

Now, expand the anscers databank to include 40 other NACM affiliates and their 10 million lines of information and you have the NACM National Trade Credit Report, NACM’s own report exclusively from industry credit groups and data contributors. The report is available at a reasonable price, and can act as the perfect companion to the major bureau reports. Get this with the pricing: each report costs $14.99, but if you contribute your company’s A/R to the databank, the price goes down to $9.99, and you get your first 25 reports for free. And this report IS ONLY AVAILABLE to members of NACM.

If you sell nationally or your customer has vendors outside of California, there could be multiple suppliers at other affiliates that have trade information on this account. If you sell strictly in California or Nevada, there could be suppliers in the other 48 states with trade experience with your customer. The information pipeline does not have to stop at the border anymore: for example, if a member of a Group in Dallas or Tampa reports them, you will be able to draw a report and make a more informed credit decision.

CMA recently unveiled this report to all members. Compare with your current provider and decide if the National Trade Credit Report has a place in your organization.

We hope you like what you see.

 

My Take on CMA’s Fall CreditScape Conference, by Tracy Rosenbach, CCE

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Happy Fall Everyone! I just got back from attending CMA’s Fall CreditScape in Sonoma, California. What a great experience in a beautiful setting. At the Conference, we heard from subject matter experts and practitioners. Here were some of my observations from the event.

CMA President Mike Mitchell started off the conference with a session on maximizing your CMA membership; it is so important that we all know how to get the most for the money our companies pay for us to be members. Even though Mike presents this topic as a webinar (and if you haven’t heard it, you can register for the next one here, which will take place in November), it’s always better to see things like this in person, and to hear the questions that other credit managers have about some of CMA’s products and services, prompting some to consider the approach they take towards their jobs.

The Cash-to-Cash talk led by Bob Shultz gave attendees the big picture impact we as credit managers have on our organizations and the importance in understanding the cash cycle and how we need to get involved. Following the session, Shultz moderated a panel of CFOs who explained what they were looking for from their Credit Departments, including some of the metrics and discussions they wanted to have with their own teams. After lunch, there were a couple of valuable panelist discussions of how parts of the cash cycle can be improved and “how you get to ‘yes’,” which was a discussion of how to mitigate the risky transactions that do not necessarily qualify for the credit through the usual analysis. Options discussed by the panel included using Letters of Credit, filing a UCC, taking out credit insurance, and the software and service providers whose software helps improve their credit processes.

The second day started out with a lively discussion of the collection process by Bart Frankel. Bart went through a detailed six-step process for the attendees which included many good suggestions members could take back to the office. Attendees even practiced collection calls with each other with Bart moderating (and post-event survey responses proved that nearly everyone who attended was going to implement at least one thing Bart spoke about during this session when they got back to the office).

The conference also provided a high-level of networking opportunities. During the conference, members were able to talk to third-party vendors about their respective situations and what services were available so that members could improve their internal processes. Other networking opportunities included a couple of planned activities, a speed networking event and a vendor demo marketplace. In addition, Thursday evening at the hotel was a networking event for attendees, where members were able to get to know each other during a blind wine tasting event, in addition to the great new contacts I met during the event. I felt the event was incredibly useful to me and my business, and I had a great time as well.

I strongly encourage you take advantage of educational opportunities offered by CMA and NACM. By attending conferences, participating in a webinar, attending the CMA Annual Meeting, etc… you have put yourself in a category above your competition. Stay tuned for other upcoming offerings from CMA.

Have a great October. I’ll touch base next month.

Tracy Rosenbach
CMA Chairperson 2016/2017

How CMA Supports Collaborative Learning and Leads Change in Credit Operations, by Mike Mitchell, CAE

CMA President and CEO Mike Mitchell
CMA President and CEO Mike Mitchell

Thanks to all the credit practitioners, industry experts, and industry partners who participated in the many valuable conversations at CMA’s recent CreditScape Summit. Our goal was to create an interactive, collaborative learning environment, and I was so pleased with the high level of sharing among all participants throughout the two-day event.

 

I was equally pleased with the audience response to facilitator Bob Shultz’s approach to process improvements within what he calls the Cash-to-Cash cycle. Also known as the cash conversion cycle, Shultz emphasized that the role of credit management extends beyond basic credit and collections processes. There is the opportunity to impact the company’s liquidity through good inventory and accounts payable management, in addition to traditional accounts receivable management. Collections trainer Bart Frankel recommended that credit people take responsibility for helping to resolve issues that arise out of these “other” departments, as they ultimately impact the credit department’s effectiveness in granting credit and collecting receivables.

 

Experienced credit practitioners and other credit industry experts shared specific examples of how they successfully influenced and improved processes across the Cash-to-Cash cycle and created more cash flow from operations.

 

Another example of how CMA is advocating for the expansion of the traditional role of credit within the enterprise is the suggestion that credit can support procurement in evaluating the risk of critical suppliers. Recently, I had the unique opportunity to participate as a panelist in the fourth annual Global Supply Chain Management Conference at USC’s Marshall School of Business. As panel moderator, CMA Member Alvin Moreno, Director of Global Supply Chain Credit Risk with Nestle USA, made the case that the credit department is best positioned to help the procurement department assess the financial stability of a company’s suppliers. In the wake of shipper Hanjin’s bankruptcy, supply chain disruption has continued to grow as a concern for companies that rely on critical suppliers, which gives credit the opportunity to add new value to the business.

 

As a panelist, I told the audience of supply chain professionals about how CMA has worked with Alvin, his team at Nestle USA, and other CMA Members to create a special credit group in which credit managers collaborate on processes and best practices in supplier risk evaluations. More information about that collaboration is here.

 

Clearly, we at CMA are big fans of process improvement through collaborative learning. But as I mentioned in my opening remarks at CreditScape last week, credit managers need to step up and become credit leaders if they are to be successful in driving the organizational changes necessary to make those process improvements a reality.

 

How are you leading change in your organization? I welcome your feedback.

CreditScape Fall Summit Delivers the Elements of a High-Performing Credit Department

The CreditScape Fall Summit, Powered by United TranzActions, an interactive learning seminar and workshop took place September 22-23 at the Doubletree by Hilton Sonoma. The event delivered the elements of a high-performing credit department, providing attendees with dozens of ideas to bring back to the office, according to preliminary survey results that were tabulated after the event.

 

With the common theme of “the elements of high performing credit departments,” attendees commented that the sessions gave them insights on understanding the entire cash-to-cash process, understanding credit from the standpoint of the CFO, getting to “yes” with the sales department, and especially the 6 steps to improving the collections process. Also a hit were the panel discussions where attendees heard from their peers how they have successfully implemented these processes.

 

Additionally, for the second event in a row, every person who submitted a preliminary survey said they’d likely recommend CreditScape to a colleague.

Here are some photos from the event:

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Plans are forthcoming for CMA’s Spring event and will be announced as soon as possible.

 

Thanks again to our event sponsors United TranzActions, Dade Systems, Vantiv, CreditPoint Software, Bectran, IAB, Emagia / TheCreditApplication.com, Ansonia Credit Data, AG Adjustments, NCS and Dun & Bradstreet, and to all who attended the event!

To Place or Not to Place, by Tracy Rosenbach, CCE

IMG_7974efHello everyone! I was thinking about an issue recently that affects all Credit and Collections professionals, when is the right time to place an account with a collection agency. Though I won’t be talking about Shakespeare (as the title of my blog suggests), I used the reference because I find myself pondering this question very frequently, and it is at times a tough decision.

Let’s face it: the profession we work in is in many ways a grey area. Our decisions can quickly change depending on the information we receive, even one bit of information can alter our course. What can we do about it? If you haven’t already, I believe that every company should develop a procedure for placing accounts for collection. Your policy should address such issues as timing (how long does your company generally allow an account to be past due), dollar amount (does your company treat an account differently depending on the dollar amount outstanding), account status (does your company view the customer as a key account) and customer cooperation (is the customer willing, but unable or are you getting the silent treatment). If your company already has a policy regarding placing an account in collections I suggest that you review it periodically so that it accurately reflects your company’s culture. Once you have a procedure in place you have a guideline to follow.

Next we look at what information we have. We as credit managers are amazing at gathering, processing and summarizing information. Information in this situation would include: customer payment history, customer financial information (if shared), a third party report (Dun & Bradstreet, Experian, Equifax, etc…), your own experience in handling the customer, your CMA industry credit group experience and perhaps information from sales. We process this information and summarize it. We compare the information we have on hand to our company’s policy and then make our recommendation.

How do you decide when to put an account in collections? How long should you wait? What are things I look for before I submit to collections? We weigh the information in a department discussion, review our guidelines and then make our decision.

CMA’s collection partner AG Adjustments suggests you wait until you have exhausted your internal efforts, the customer is 60-90 days past due, they are not communicating and there are no new orders and the customer is unresponsive before placing for collections. What do you think? I’m interested in your thoughts and methodology. Please leave your comments at the bottom of this blog.

Hope you have a good September. I’ll touch base in next month.

Tracy Rosenbach
CMA Chairperson 2016/2017

Southern California Joint Construction Group Meeting Planned for October

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Attention Southern California construction-related companies: if you sell on job accounts, CMA has created an opportunity to meet with credit managers from other construction industry credit groups to discuss current jobs and common accounts.

The meeting will take place Thursday, October 13 at 9:00am. Members of the Aluminum Suppliers, Electric, Glass and Metal, Wholesale Roofing, HVAC SoCal, SoCal Building Materials, Building Materials Manufacturers, Steel Warehouse, are invited, but other companies who have common accounts with those industries are also welcome to join. As a bonus, guest speaker Christopher Ng, Esq. of Gibbs Giden will speak on a construction-related topic. The meeting will take the place of the regularly scheduled October group meeting for those groups.

For more information, contact Diana Escobar at 818-972-5300.

How Collections Fits in the “Order-to-Cash” Cycle, by Bart Frankel

Following is an excerpt from my workshop at the upcoming CreditScape Summit and Workshops in Sonoma, CA, Sept. 22-23. I sincerely look forward to meeting many of you at the event to discuss this in much more detail.
First let’s define the Order-to-Cash Cycle (O2CC). It can be defined in an 11-step process as follows:

  • The sales call
  • The credit check
  • Contract payment terms and conditions
  • Order entry
  • Shipping
  • Billing
  • COLLECTIONS
  • Legal action
  • Cash Application
  • Customer Statements
  • Customer payment history

“Collections” is in capital letters because, without it, the majority part of the cash flow process would not be as successful as it should be. The “Sixth Step of the Collection Process” in Phone Power Collections is the nucleus of the other 10 functions of O2CC. If any of these functions go wrong, it would be the responsibility of the Collection Process, not only to fix itself, but to also fix the other 10 steps to make the O2CC process more efficient. No process is perfect, but we all have the responsibility to strive for perfection through best business practices of the O2CC process.
For example:

If the sales department is quoting 45-day payment terms, when in fact your organization’s payment terms are 30 days, then the collections department needs to meet with the sales department to ensure the correct payment terms are quoted to the customer. If the sales department makes a “special deal” with a particular customer for a 60-day payment, then the sales department needs to get prior approval from the finance department and then notify the legal department about the special payment terms for contract purposes.

If order entry is not putting the Purchase Order number on the order sheet for the billing department to put it on the customer invoice, this would be a good excuse for the customer not to pay if this is a customer requirement.

Similarly, if shipping continues to short or over ship items to the customer, this will cause lost revenue or delayed collection. In this case, procedures need to be tightened up in shipping to minimize over and short shipping.

In cash application, if there is a big backlog in unapplied cash, the customer would not receive an accurate customer statement and not pay timely until all unapplied cash to their account is posted. Likewise, all customer statements must be mailed out two days after the month-end closing to ensure timely review, by the customer, for accuracy on their statements.

I look forward to sharing the rest of this presentation with you at the upcoming CreditScape conference in Sonoma this September.

Each of these points and more will be discussed in-depth at the upcoming CreditScape Summit and Workshops in Sonoma, CA on September 22-23, 2016. Come to CreditScape, learn from experts and peers who have done this, share you own experiences with others. For more information, visit www.CreditScapeConference.com.

Bart Frankel is a professional speaker who was responsible for a $7 billion Order-to-Cash process when he was the Manager of Financial Services for the Pratt & Whitney Division of United Technologies for more than 20 years.

Other related articles:

How to Get to “Yes” by Paul Beretz, CICE

As credit managers in the journey to bring revenue to our organizations while monitoring the accounts receivable investment, we have many “detours” along the way. However, like any trip, there are opportunities that we can either recognize, ignore or perhaps not even realize when they come our way.

Certainly the risk elements that so many of us know – the “C’s” of credit – are critical to getting to “yes.” You probably know the “C’s” of Credit – Character, Capacity, Capital, Conditions and Collateral. These risk characteristics, in some form, will lead us to mitigation tools which can minimize risk. In addition, if you deal in global credit (maybe not today, but perhaps your organization buys/expands into international markets tomorrow), you will also encounter the additional “C’s” of global risk, Country, Culture and Currency.

I have realized in my own treasury and accounts receivable experience an area often under-emphasized: the “soft skills” that are critical components in reaching “yes.” These techniques involve understanding how effectively we communicate, listen, react and reflect before taking action. Do we successfully consider the needs of the “other” person in the path to get us to our goal – not just the customer – but in our organization?

We all know the “Golden Rule:” “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” This rule assumes others want to be treated like you. Dr. Tony Alessandra developed the “Platinum Rule:” “Treat others the way they want to be treated.” It’s not so much what I want, but accommodating the feelings and needs of others (and not just customers), but those in our own organization that are in the line of getting to “yes:” sales, marketing, IT, HR, manufacturing, purchasing, to name a few.

At the upcoming CreditScape conference in Sonoma this September, I look forward to your sharing input regarding this approach to “Yes.”

This is just a surface view of the idea of “how to get to yes in your credit decisioning process.. Each of these points and more will be discussed in-depth at the upcoming CreditScape Summit and Workshops in Sonoma, CA on September 22-23, 2016. Come to CreditScape, learn from experts and peers who have done this, share you own experiences with others. For more information, visit www.CreditScapeConference.com.

Paul Beretz, CICE (Certified International Credit Executive), is Managing Director of Pacific Business Solutions, a company he created in 1999. In addition, he is a founding partner of Q2C (Quote to Cash) Solutions. He brings over 30 years of global, corporate experience in finance and management with industries such as telecommunications, semi-conductors, forest products, chemicals, plastics and consumer products among others. His expertise includes analyzing opportunities and providing resolutions in the order-through-collect cycle for manufacturers, distributors and service companies located worldwide.

Other related links:

Do You Understand the Credit Department’s Role in the Cash to Cash Cycle?, by Robert Shultz

A company’s cash flow is dependent on a lot more than just credit policies and collections.  Every credit professional plays a larger role than just managing these areas.  If you want to add real value to the total operation, you must understand the “Cash-to-Cash Cycle.”  How is the cash conversion cycle measured?  What are the components that drive performance?  What departments or stakeholders are affected by your department’s decisions or delays?  How does your department impact overall company results?

To start, you have to see liquidity management through the eyes of a Treasurer, Chief Financial Officer, CEO or Owner.  They are concerned with how departments work together to meet company strategies and goals.  To them it is critical to balance inflows and outflows, to meet forecasts, and minimize the need for borrowing.  They want to get products out the door to meet or beat competition with excellent service and speed.  To manage effectively, performance tracking and transparency are a must.

At the upcoming CreditScape Summit and Workshops, powered by UTA, we will be exploring how a credit professional impacts each component of the “Cash to Cash Cycle”; Days Inventory Outstanding (DIO), Days Payables Outstanding (DPO) and of course Days Sales Outstanding (DSO).  We will dive into the causes of delays in “cash days” and what you can do about them.

You will be able to share your challenges and ideas with a panel of Chief Financial Officers and your peers.  We will discuss actions you can take to improve performance and demonstrate your value.  Come to CreditScape and better understand cash to cash management.  You will leave with an action plan for improvements you can start immediately.

 

This is just a surface view of the cash-to-cash cycle. Each of these points and more will be discussed in-depth at the upcoming CreditScape Summit and Workshops in Sonoma, CA on September 22-23, 2016. Come to CreditScape, learn from experts and peers who have done this, share you own experiences with others. For more information, visit www.CreditScapeConference.com.

Robert S. Shultz is a Partner at Quote to Cash Solutions (Q2C) LLC. He will also be moderating several of the panel discussions and workshops at CreditScape.

Introducing the Redesigned NACM NTCR Report

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CMA is proud to make available the newly redesigned NACM National Trade Credit Report (NTCR) to its members.

The report, which acts as the perfect complement to the major bureau reports, includes information from the majority of NACM affiliate members. The NTCR is especially excellent in industries such as: Construction, Steel, Metal and Aluminum, and covers companies throughout the entire United States.

New features include:

  • An advanced search function with more than 12 million trade lines.
  • Alerts, Collection Claims, international information, financial institution and banking data, bankruptcy and UCC filings, and corporate information (firmographics), where applicable.
  • A summary of the Top Industries Reporting data on the subject.
  • Charts and interactive graphs– for a comparison of Past due percentages, and DBT figures.
  • Redesigned report data to make it easier to read.
  • An option to request Public Record Data (at an additional charge).

We invite you to download a free sample report to see if this report will work for your company.

Additionally, the reports are available to CMA and NACM at a very low price, while data contributors get to enjoy 25 reports for free.

To start using the NACM NTCR Report, or to download a sample report, log in to anscers.com. Contact CMA at 800-541-2622 with any questions.

We look forward to hearing your feedback on the newly redesigned reports!

CMA Announces CreditScape 2016 Fall Summit and Workshops Schedule

For those credit professionals who are interested in implementing process improvements in their credit departments, striving for a high-performing credit operation, you won’t want to miss the CreditScape Fall Summit, powered by UTA, September 22-23, 2016 in Sonoma, CA.

We work in a “do more with less” world. Practitioners in the CreditScape are impacted more than most. Dedication to process improvement is one of the only ways to achieve high-performance results in the face of ever-shrinking budgets. The CreditScape Fall Summit provides a powerful opportunity to hear from highly successful credit experts and share decidedly effective best-practices with credit colleagues from a wide range of companies and industries.

Experience CMA’s unique, highly-rated event that balances a mixture of subject-matter expertise, peer-to-peer experience, and credit industry solution providers in a safe, facilitated workshop setting. CreditScape gives attendees an opportunity to identify problems and formulate solutions that can be taken back to the office. There is no substitute for the value of sharing real-world experiences with peers outside your company and outside your industry.

Following is the schedule of events, speakers and sessions for CreditScape:

Thursday, September 22

8:00 – 9:30 AM Bonus pre-conference Maximize Your Membership session

Instructor: CMA Staff

Learn from CMA staff how you can be sure that you’re maximizing your CMA membership investment by using all of the applicable services that can help your credit department.

10:00 – 10:30 AM: Intro – Cash-to-Cash: What is it and why does it matter?
Facilitator: Bob Shultz

Whether they realize it or not, credit and collection managers have an impact on the entire cash-to-cash cycle. 30-year credit veteran, consultant, and UCLA Extension instructor Bob Shultz will kick off the Fall Summit with an explanation of the cash to cash cycle, then lead attendees through workshop exercises designed to help benchmark their own processes.

10:30 AM-NOON – The Role of the Credit Department from the Viewpoint of a CFO
Facilitator: Bob Shultz
Panelists: CFOs, VP of Finance, Treasurer (TBD)

CFOs will discuss how they see the role of the Credit Manager in the cash-to-cash cycle, the greatest challenges they face, and their expectations of Credit Managers to address those challenges.

NOON-1:00 PM – Lunch

1:00-2:30 PM – What parts of the Cash-to-Cash process can you improve?
Facilitator: Bob Shultz
Panelists: Tim Cratty, CGCE, Director of Customer Financial Services, Jackson Family Wines; Tom Sacher, CCE, Director of Corporate Credit and Collections, Watsco; Kim Howard, West Coast Director of Credit, Cemex

Bob Shultz will lead a panel discussion with credit practitioners about what processes they have successfully improved, how, and report the winning results:
• Pre-checks for the Sales Department
• Automating new customer onboarding
• Metrics and reporting across department lines
• Quote: Pricing and Terms
• Sales Forecast
• Inventory to ship
• Accounts Payable
• Order Management
• Credit and AR management
• Invoice Admin
• Collection and Disputes
• Cash Admin
• Scoring model
• Portfolio analysis

2:45-4:15 PM – How do you get to “Yes”
Facilitator: Paul Beretz, CICE
Panelists: 2 Credit Professionals (TBD); Walter Trask, EVP, Comerica Bank

The Credit Manager’s job is to find a way to say “yes” to every credit sale. Bringing over 30 years of global experience in credit, finance, and management, Paul Beretz, CICE, will lead a panel of practitioners and other experts to discuss how they get to “yes” while protecting the company’s ability to get paid. Discussions will include:
• Payment processing/check guarantee
• UCCs
• Credit insurance
• Letters of Credit
• Spot factoring
• Alternative financing options
• Legal Enhancements/guarantees/escrow agreements

4:30-5:15 PM – Workshop Exercises

5:15-6:00 PM – Demo Marketplace

6:00-7:00 PM – Networking Reception

Friday, September 23

8:00-11:00 AM – Phone Power: 6 Steps to Collection Success
Facilitator: Bart Frankel

Bart Frankel was the highest-rated trainer at last year’s Fall Summit, and now he’s back in an expanded training program that will focus even more time on role-playing the toughest collection calls. As the Manager of Financial Services for the Pratt & Whitney Division of United Technologies for over 20 years, Bart was responsible for a $7 billion Order-to-Cash process. Participants will work with Bart and with each other to learn his highly successful 6-step process for getting paid. Bart’s advice is: improve processes early in the Order-to-Cash cycle to mitigate or even avoid collection efforts on the back end. This presentation is a must attend workshop for credit and collection teams!

11:00-12:30 PM – Using Third-Party Vendors to Create Efficiencies (Speed Networking event)

Meet in small groups with service providers whose offerings could allow your credit department to realize efficiencies in areas such as accounts receivable management, collections, payment processing, workflow management, cash application, and more. Service providers will lead the discussions in their areas of expertise. You choose the meetings and discussion topics around solutions that would help you and your company.

12:30-2:00 PM – Lunch and wrap-up session; share your takeaways!

NOTE: All speakers and contents of this program are subject to change. This schedule last updated August 1, 2016

To learn more about the conference and to register, visit CreditScapeConference.com.  We hope to see you in Sonoma!

Chairman’s Blog: Building Relationships with Customers through Customer Visits, by Tracy Rosenbach, CCE

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Greetings CMA members! I can’t believe that we are in the middle of summer. Time sure flies. For this month’s blog I wanted to talk about our customers and techniques I use to build a relationship with them. Some of our customers drive us mad, some of our customers are fabulous and some are somewhere in between. One valuable tool I use as a credit manager is the customer visit. Understanding that each of us works with a budget (both fiscal and time) that determines who we can visit, I strongly encourage you to attempt to visit as many of your customers as possible.

Depending on factors such as your industry, dollar purchase volume, your company’s risk tolerance, etc., I suggest that you make a checklist of those key customers you would like to see and why. The “why” provides the justification to management for you to be out of the office, and it also proves that you’re taking a proactive (instead of reactive) stance towards your job.

The next step is to approach your boss with the list and be prepared to discuss the “why.” I have found over the years that having that initiating a personal connection with a customer pays off in terms of obtaining financial information, and it provides a far better understanding of the customer’s business including its challenges and a relationship with a company that can directly impact your company’s performance. For example, I had a key customer contact me directly with all the pertinent information regarding the removal of a key member of its management team before it went public just so I would know what had really happened. This is the type of relationship I strive for with all our key customers. Is it practical? Perhaps not, but it is important to try. If your budget is tight and an actual visit is not possible, then I suggest that you give your contact a call to see how he/she is doing and how the company is doing. Be sure to get their e-mail address so that you can touch base periodically. Communication is truly the key to success in any business relationship.

What methods do you use to build relationships with your customers? I’d love to hear about them. Please respond to the blog below.

Have a great rest of your summer. I’ll touch base in the Fall.

Tracy Rosenbach
CMA Chairperson 2016/2017

CMA Member of the Month, July 2016: Lorie Mohs, American International Supply

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One of the greatest benefits of joining an association is the offering of professional educational opportunities to advance its members’ knowledge. The July CMA Member of the Month is someone who has taken advantage of that knowledge, and in turn received her professional designation.

In this past testing period, Lorie Mohs of American International Supply, was the only CMA member who passed the certification to receive her Credit Business Associate (CBA) designation. In addition, she regularly attends CMA and NACM events, including the recent NACM National Credit Congress in Las Vegas, along with other seminars and webinars offered throughout the year.

She is also a regular and active contributing member of the HVAC and Plumbing Suppliers industry credit group.

“The NACM certification program is a way for credit professionals to demonstrate their skill levels across many different industries,” said CMA President and CEO Mike Mitchell. “After speaking with several hiring managers from prominent companies, they acknowledged that having obtained a professional designation puts a credit professional at an advantage over others who have not done so. We applaud Lorie for her commitment and hope she continues to advance through the entire designation program.”

On behalf of the Credit Management community, congratulations Lorie for this honor, and thanks for being an active member of CMA.

Members of the Month are nominated by CMA members, Group members, volunteers and CMA staff to highlight those members (or member companies) whose engagement with CMA has helped improve the overall credit profession for others.

For more information on how you can participate in any of the areas mentioned within this article, or to nominate any members for this honor, contact Diana Escobar at descobar@emailcma.org or 818-972-5300.

My Greatest Takeaways from NACM Credit Congress, by Tracy Rosenbach, CCE

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Greetings everyone! As you probably know by now, I am a huge proponent of education. I feel that every little nugget that I take away helps me to be a better credit professional and add to my skill set. I’ve achieved the CCE designation, and I try to attend every CMA or NACM event that I can, schedule permitting, as all of them have offered something that I can bring back to the office and implement.

I just got back from the NACM National Credit Congress in Las Vegas and had a great experience. The conference offered a great selection of session topics such as how a credit manager can protect him or herself when selling into Latin America to cloud based solutions for the credit department. Aside from the amazing educational offerings, Credit Congress offers its members the opportunity for networking with other credit professionals from all over the country which can be invaluable. In addition to the education and networking, attendees can talk to various service providers including NACM in the conference’s Expo center to find out about services that are available to credit professionals to make our jobs better and more efficient. I truly believe that information is the key to our success and it is what sets us apart from everyone else.

From the information gained from the packed rooms of the sessions I attended, to the different service providers whom I spoke with, to the cocktail receptions I reconnected with old friends and met new ones, to the client dinners I went to, I felt that my attendance at this event helped reassure that my company’s credit operations are going in the right direction. If you haven’t attended an event like this one, CreditScape or Western Region Credit Conference, I can’t express how valuable it is to experience firsthand what other credit departments are doing to maximize efficiency.

For those who attended the event (and more than 100 CMA members did!), what were your biggest takeaways? I’d love to get your feedback.

Have a great month!

Tracy

CMA Las Vegas Office Hosts Open House

The CMA Las Vegas Office recently hosted an open house and networking event for nearly 50 Las Vegas-area credit managers, CMA Members and Board of Directors members, on May 20. The open house is an annual event with the sole purpose of allowing members to meet and network in an informal setting. Below are some pictures from the event. Thanks to everyone who came out, and we look forward to creating more networking opportunities for Las Vegas-area credit managers in the near future.

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Here’s to the Unsung Credit Heroes, by Tracy Rosenbach, CCE

Greetings! I hope everyone is having a good month. I was at an Industry Credit group meeting recently where I was thinking, nowadays everyone is concerned with saving money, minimizing expenses, etc…, so I decided to write this month’s blog on “How you can be a hero to your company.” As credit managers, we have the responsibility of reviewing our credit reporting services periodically for better pricing and enhancements to the products, similar to you obtaining car insurance quotes in your personal life when your insurance comes up for renewal. Whether you decide to change services or not, it’s always a good idea to be aware of what’s available in the marketplace today.

Here are some questions to ask: Do the reports you currently use include the best information you need to make informed credit decisions? Is there additional data that you’d like to see on the reports you’re using?

CMA is here to help. I encourage you to contact Terry Campos at CMA to help guide you through the process. She is a brand-neutral resource, with 44 years of experience working with NACM and the three major commercial credit reporting bureaus. If you are not happy with the service you are currently using, she will work with you to find another solution so that you don’t have to do this on your own.

I also recommend you participate in CMA’s free webinar series on credit reporting, which begins June 9th. You’ll be able to hear from Terry and reps from the credit bureaus as they talk about what’s new and provide an overview of their products. Sign up at www.creditmanagementassociation.org/events, I believe it will be well worth your time.

You can be a hero by saving your company money and making your job easier by being able to access quality credit information that helps you make sound credit decisions.

I look forward to seeing you at Credit Congress in June!

Tracy Rosenbach

Tracy Rosenbach, CCE, is the Financial Services Manager at Silgan Containers LLC and Chairperson of the CMA Board of Directors. She can be reached at 818-710-3729.

CMA Promotes Credit Management to the Next Generation at UCLA Career Fair

In an effort to explain credit management to the next generation, CMA’s partner Quote 2 Cash Solutions LLC, represented by Robert Shultz (Partner) took part in a panel discussion and career fair at the UCLA Extension campus on May 14. Titled “Career Success in Accounting and Finance,” Shultz, one of three Panelists, emphasized the importance of the credit function, fielded questions and later spoke privately to students interested in learning more about opportunities in this field.

“CMA believes it is imperative to attract young talent to the credit management profession. In talking to some of these students at the event, I am encouraged about the future generations of credit managers,” CMA President and CEO Mike Mitchell, who addressed questions at the CMA booth, said. “Our goal is to help ensure that there are plenty of great new credit management candidates for CMA members to hire.”

Shultz commented, “my most interesting take away was the one hand raised, out of the eighty or so attendees, when I asked how many understood the functions of a corporate credit department. This sort of outreach is an invaluable step to increasing interest and awareness of the credit profession.”

Here are a few photos from the event.

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CMA President’s Blog: The Survey Results Are In, by Mike Mitchell

Here is a follow up from my column last month, when I mentioned a survey to determine which core skills members feel are the most important to credit managers. First, I want to thank all of the 133 members who took the time to respond to the survey. Second, I wanted to share the results and let you know how we will use the information to guide our development of skills training programs this year.

As a reminder, we asked members to rate 15 functional areas of the credit and collections cycle as “Very Important,” “Somewhat Important,” or “Not Important.” From the nearly 13% of CMA members who responded, “Communications Skills (verbal/written)” was rated most important (119 very important), followed by “Credit Basics” (116 very important), “Collection Techniques” (112 very important), “Customer Service Skills” (107 very important), and “Negotiation Skills” (105 very important). All other areas received ratings under 80 for very important (the complete list of results appears below).

survey skillset aggregate

To keep things interesting, the dozen in-depth interviews with CMA’s Board of Directors reflected some of the results above, also placing high value on Communications Skills, Collection Techniques, and Negotiation Skills. However, the group of CMA leaders rated Financial Skills (analysis and forecasting) much higher than the larger member sample, and appear to place a higher value on Leadership and Management Skills. Interestingly, Legal and Compliance issues received average ratings of importance, but we live in a nation of laws and operate in a business environment that is prone to legal risk and liability, so we’re going prescribe legal and compliance training anyway for the overall health of our members.

So what does this tell us about the training needs of our members’ credit operations? We believe that an online credit training program that initially addresses six core disciplines will benefit the vast majority of members who are charged with creating and conducting credit training programs without having the often significant time, resources, and expertise that are required to take on that responsibility. The CMA Credit Training Program will offer skills training in 1) written and verbal communications, 2) credit fundamentals (customer investigations, credit decisionmaking, setting credit lines), 3) collection techniques, 4) negotiations, 5) financial analysis, and 6) legal and compliance.

Look for more details later this summer, but in the meantime, I have a request. Part of the success of our recent CreditScape events was the contributions that experienced credit practitioners made to the workshop discussions. Sharing success stories and career-long best practices have added significant and unique value to our in person education sessions, and I would like to bring that same dynamic to our online credit training courses. If anyone reading this message feels that they have valuable experiences related to one of the core disciplines listed below, and you would be willing to work with me and other members to share those experiences and best practices with CMA members through this new program, please reach out to me so we can discuss a possible contribution.

I want to thank you again for your participation, as I look forward to helping evolve our education program into one that provides members with the topics they value most.

CMA Partners to Show Off anscersX Multibureau Trade Credit Report at Credit Congress

If you’re planning to attend the 2016 NACM Credit Congress in Las Vegas, June 12-15, one common product you’ll see at top vendor booths is CMA’s anscersX multibureau trade credit report, a single report that contains all the key elements about your customers’ paying habits needed to make most credit decisions.

Some of the credit industry’s top software companies soon will offer or have launched the anscersX report on their platforms , including TermSync, CreditPoint Software, Bectran, Credit & Management Systems Inc. (CMS), and eMagia/TheCreditApplication.com. Many will be demonstrating how anscersX can be accessed directly through their software at Credit Congress.

These leading software vendors will help their clients join the hundreds of companies who have already benefited from having instant access to this single report that contains all the key elements about your customers’ paying habits needed to make most credit decisions.

The anscersX multi-bureau trade credit report combines key factors from the three largest trade credit reporting agencies (Dun & Bradstreet, Experian and Equifax), giving credit managers the most complete payment story available. “The anscersX report offers some real advantages to anyone making a credit evaluation,” said CMA president Mike Mitchell. “Single-source Business Credit Reports are made up of accounts receivable data that has been contributed by companies, public record data and payment scores generated from the combination of this data. Since most companies that contribute accounts receivable data only send it to one provider (D&B, Experian or Equifax), using one report may provide only a piece of the payment habit story. I am thrilled that leading-edge software providers feel as strongly as we do that there is a real need for bringing this unique resource to the credit community, and I’m grateful that they are helping us introduce their clients to the power that the three largest credit bureaus can bring to credit decision-makers with limited time and budgets.”

The report, which is also available at www.anscers.com, ranges in price from $32.35 to $69.95, depending on the number of reporting agencies the user requests. Users control which reporting agencies are accessed for the report.

To learn more about the program, visit www.anscers.com or call 800-541-2622.

About Credit Management Association
Credit Management Association (CMA), which was founded in 1883, is a Glendale, Calif.-headquartered trade association with approximately 1,300 member companies representing over 250 different business categories selling regionally, nationally and internationally. CMA focuses on providing products and services that allow companies to make informed business decisions based on trade credit. CMA is one of the largest affiliates of the National Association of Credit Management (NACM), whose 45 affiliates serve all of North America. For more information, call 800-541-2622, or visit www.creditmanagementassociation.org.

CMA Introduces Board of Directors for 2016-2017

On May 1, 2016, CMA announced its new Board of Directors for the 2016-2017 fiscal year. The Board is comprised of the following CMA members: Tracy Rosenbach, CCE (Chair), Silgan Containers LLC; Gent Culver, ICCE (Chair-Elect), IGT; Pamela Craik, CCE (Treasurer), McKesson; TJ (Tom) Nance, Walters Wholesale Electric; Joe Lucas, SRS; Hector Benitez, Equinix Inc.; Nannette Bringard, Breakthru Beverage Nevada; Matt Johnston; Tim Cratty, Jackson Enterprises; Jim Bradley, Reliance Steel Company; Sherry Raposo, VSS International Inc.; Alvin Moreno, Nestle USA Inc.; Melissa Kobus, CCE (Advisor), Anixter Inc.; Darrell Horton, CICP (Advisor), Aristocrat Technologies, Inc.; Bob Shultz (Special Advisor), Q 2 C Inc.; Chuck Schultz (Special Advisor), Interface Financial Group; and Michael Fenner, CBA (Counselor), Beacon Sales Acquisition, Inc.

 

2016 CMA Board of Directors

We wish to congratulate these super volunteers and thank them for their service to the CMA members and the credit management industry.

How to Explore Different Credit Reporting Services

Credit Reporting can be the lifeblood of a credit manager’s decisioning process, but not all credit reports are created equally. Different reports have different strengths, and it’s to your company’s advantage to use the right information to protect your company’s receivables.

To educate you on these strengths, CMA is offering several webinars to help members learn about the basics features of major credit reports.

The sessions are:

We hope that these sessions will guide you to understand which reports are best for managing risk for small and large businesses; explain new features and upgrades you may not have been aware of; and help you assess whether you’re using the right credit reporting solutions for your needs.

Best of all, these sessions are free to CMA Members.

To sign up for these and other events, visit http://www.anscers.com/upcomingevents.aspx or contact CMA Member Relations, at 800-541-2622.

Chairman’s Newsletter: Greetings from the New Chairperson!, by Tracy Rosenbach

Greetings! I am excited and honored to serve as your new CMA Chairperson. For those of you who don’t know me I’ve been a credit manager for 20+ years and a CMA member since December 1995. The challenges I face at work are likely the same ones you do: trying to manage credit risk; doing more with less; and trying to stay current with the latest trends in credit management in a changing industry.

Speaking of change our Credit Management Association (CMA) has begun a new chapter in its history with the move to the new office in Glendale. The association is working hard toward positioning itself for the future. We as credit managers need to be a part of that transition. We are fortunate to have CMA as a professional resource in turn we have the responsibility to give back to the association through volunteering. By volunteering we help to strengthen the association and shape it to the current needs of local credit managers. I encourage you to reach out in your local industry groups as well as call CMA to see how you can be a part of a much storied institution. Volunteer opportunities can include, but are not limited to, being an industry group leader, serving on a CMA committee or serving on the CMA board. We encourage your participation and need your input.

What’s Coming Up

To stay current in the credit management profession, there are a couple of wonderful opportunities for education coming up. In June we have the NACM Credit Congress in Las Vegas at Caesar’s Palace and in September CMA will be hosting Fall CreditScape in Sonoma. I have always felt that education is an important component to progressing in our profession which is why I worked toward and obtained my CCE designation several years ago. I encourage you to take a look at these offerings and support your association by participating and becoming engaged in its activities.

I look forward to serving you this year. Best regards,

Tracy Rosenbach
CMA Chairperson 2016 – 2017

Tracy Rosenbach, CCE, is the Financial Services Manager at Silgan Containers LLC and Chairperson of the CMA Board of Directors. She can be reached at 818-710-3729.

I Am CMA, by Sherry Raposo

As a veteran credit manager of 30 years, Credit Management Association is an indispensable tool that I use for my career. As a Credit Manager, I believe you must always keep yourself and your staff educated in a constantly changing environment. I personally attend the CreditScape events, as well as other seminars and webinars throughout the year, as investing time in education is very valuable to my company and team.

When I get a new credit application, I immediately go to CMA’s Anscers.com website to obtain RFIs from other CMA members, which in my opinion is the best trade reference you can get. I participate in my industry credit group by reporting past-due accounts, NSF checks or bankruptcies, which is very helpful to all Credit Managers, and I read the reports to see if I recognize any of the late-payers company names from accounts my company may have sold. I submit my full aging data automatically through anscers.com as well so that I don’t have to upload them manually for the Group discussions. The hour a month that I spend attending Group meetings is possibly the best use of my time all month.

Through CMA I also run credit reports designed for my company and volume, and get better rates than I would have if I’d have gone direct.

Finally, as a company whose primary business is in the construction industry, CMA’s construction forms filing service has helped my short-staffed team to verify the information provided as well as produce the preliminary notice, and mail them out, allowing me to spend more time collecting.
CMA allows you to have the most valuable networking a credit professional could ask for, which is why I chose to serve on the Board of Directors, as well as other volunteer opportunities within the association. CMA and its staff are always there for me and have contributed to me being the credit professional that I am today. For that, I AM CMA.

Sherry Raposo
Credit Manager
VSS International & VSS Emultech

CMA President’s Blog: Core skills that drive high-performance credit departments, by Mike Mitchell

CMA’s Mission: Make a difference in credit department performance by helping credit professionals maximize cash flow and manage credit risk.

I am always playing around with CMA’s mission statement. While it is seems impossible to fully capture everything that CMA does to support credit professionals and their teams, the above mission statement is true if not fully comprehensive. One of the ways that CMA can make difference and help credit professionals perform at a higher level is through education and training. For years we have offered credit education on the entire range of credit-related topics in a variety of different formats (seminars, webinars, in-person and online classes, summits, and conferences). In an effort to keep up with the changing (and increasing) demands of the credit function, we surveyed our Board of Directors to find out what core knowledge and skills are required for hiring, performance evaluation, and advancement within the credit department.

What we found was pain.

A dozen in-depth interviews uncovered a dozen core skills that are valued by most of their credit departments. CMA has traditionally focused on providing “education,” meaning general knowledge, on credit topics. The Association has not focused on “training,” which is the practical application of that knowledge to daily credit operations. Training has been left up to the member company to offer. A few Directors we talked with have in-house training resources (often referred to as the Company University), and a few others have support from their human resources departments, but the vast majority of member companies make all credit-specific training the sole responsibility of the credit department management. The pain comes from the often significant time, resources, and expertise that is required to take on that responsibility. Time, resources, and expertise that an already overburdened credit department does not have.

At CMA, we are in the process of trying to ease that pain by developing convenient, cost-effective, standardized training programs that can be used to train credit department personnel at all levels of experience and responsibility. Your volunteer leaders on the Board have given us a really good start, but we want to hear from all of our members about what core skills your company and your credit department values and believes will drive high performance and great results. Please take a few minutes to answer our brief one-page survey so that we can include your input in our program design.

Click here to access the survey.

Thanks in advance for your help.

CMA Chairman’s Blog: My Outgoing Message, by Michael Fenner, CBA

 

What a year it has been and I can’t believe how fast the time went by…

I was so happy to see the turnout to CMA’s Spring CreditScape this past week. Thank you to those people who were able to attend. If you weren’t able to make it in March, please make sure you attend the Fall CreditScape as I believe it will be worth your time.

I have been truly honored and humbled to serve as the Chairman of the Board of Directors this last year for CMA. I would like to personally say “thank you” to the following people…Mike Mitchell, Kim Lamberty of CMA for their trust and guidance. To Tracy Rosenbach, Jim Morrow, Melissa Kobus the Executive Team, thank you for your leadership and support this last year…it was really appreciated. And to the rest of the Board Members, I would like to show my sincere gratitude for your endless efforts, your committee service, and your ideas presented last year. Thank you!

And last but not least…all of the CMA employees for their support to the Board throughout our service.

I would like to take a minute and point out some of CMA’s accomplishments over the past year:

  1. CMA launched the Fall and Spring CreditScapes – Which focused on a 360-degree look at one particular topic to give it a much more interactive and more focused educational program.
  2. CMA launched the Supplier Risk Group – Which looks at how to evaluate your suppliers to help you manage a different type of risk, one that could be more important that if any one customer doesn’t pay.
  3. The Construction Credit Report was launched as a partnership with Ansonia Credit Data. The report provides information needed to make decisions based on a construction project.
  4. CMA Adjustments (formerly CMA Adjustment Bureau) – received new branding and a new logo to better portray its 133 years in business.
  5. CMA recently moved its offices from Burbank to Glendale, modernizing its workspace.
  6. New Designees earned over last year: 5 CBAs, 1 CBF, and 2 CCEs.

It’s been really exciting to help move our Credit Association forward in a positive direction this year. Please continue to support CMA and our incoming Chair Tracy Rosenbach to increase our membership, improve existing services, add new services, and help CMA continue to be the best Association we all deserve. Let me know your thoughts. I’d love to hear your feedback.

Michael W. Fenner, CBA, is the Credit Management Association Chairman and Manager of Corporate Credit Operations for Beacon Roofing Supply, Inc. He can be reached at 714-321-8187, or mfenner@becn.com.

Attendees and Vendors Agree: CreditScape Spring Summit and Annual Meeting Was a Success

The CreditScape Spring Summit and Annual Meeting, Powered by United TranzActions, an interactive learning seminar and workshop which took place March 24-25 at the Island Hotel Newport Beach, was a huge success, according to preliminary survey results that were tabulated after the event.

With the common theme of “the elements of an efficient digital credit department,” attendees commented that the sessions gave them insights on how to approach their superiors to update their credit departments, help with evaluating vendors, and how to take their credit applications digital. They also overwhelmingly liked the panel discussions led by their peers who have implemented the technology, and their success (and failure) stories in implementing it.

Said one sponsor: “The audience at CreditScape was the most intelligent one we’ve seen at an event. Lots of great questions were asked, and we feel the attendees got a lot out of it. I can’t wait to participate in the next one.”

Mike Puccinelli of Equinix addresses the crowd at the opening session of the Spring 2016 CreditScape.
Mike Puccinelli of Equinix addresses the crowd at the opening session of the Spring 2016 CreditScape.

Additionally, every person who submitted a survey said they’d recommend CreditScape to a colleague.

Plans are already underway for a 2016 Fall CreditScape, September 22-23, 2016 in Sonoma, Calif. Details about the event are forthcoming.

Thanks again to our event sponsors United TranzActions, Dade Systems, Vantiv, Bectran, Skyminder, eMagia / TheCreditApplication.com, Ansonia Credit Data, TermSync, AG Adjustments and Dun & Bradstreet, and to all who attended the event!

CMA Member of the Month, March 2016: EMJ Metals

The March CMA Member of the Month is a company which benefits by simply utilizing the services that CMA offers.

EMJ Metals has been an active A/R information contributor, and its staff are genuinely great to work and speak with. EMJ also uses CMA’s reports and other CMA services.

EMJ Metals is one of CMA’s longest standing members, and we appreciate the relationship that CMA has with David Schulten and his team. On behalf of CMA, we thank EMJ for its participation, and we look forward to their continued support.

Companies like EMJ who submit their full aging get 25 free B2B NACM National Trade Credit Reports (and discounts on additional reports), the ability to support their good customers (and report their bad ones), time and money savings by not having to respond online to RFIs or Group worksheets – their trade data is automatically added by anscers, assistance in strengthening the CMA & NACM Databases, and more. The members who tell us that they get the most out of CMA are the ones who actively participate and contribute.

Members of the Month are nominated by CMA members, Group members, volunteers and CMA staff to highlight those members (or member companies) whose engagement with CMA has helped improve the overall credit profession for others.

For more information on how you can participate in any of the areas mentioned within this article, or to nominate any members for this honor, contact Diana Escobar at descobar@emailcma.org or 818-972-5300.

You Make the Call, by Larry Convoy

We are just barely into the year 2016 and already I am hearing excuses as to why the credit manager cannot attend the industry credit group meetings to which they belong. They range from the receptionist is out to my controller wants me to stay and call customers.

Attending credit meetings provide your best Return on Investment by reducing bad debt loss, identifying slow paying accounts, and lowering your financial dependence on credit reports I contend that blindly calling a number in your system is more time consuming and less efficient.

Calling for dollars requires preparation

  1. Are you calling a specific person or a/p?
  2. Who is the person who controls the checkbook?
  3. Is there a gatekeeper blocking you?
  4. Have you previously left voicemails?
  5. Who does that person report to?
  6. How often do they cut checks?
  7. Are there orders in house or on hold?

A good group can identify numbers 1, 2 and 5 & 6. And supply a direct extension to avoid # 3. Number 4 tells you how important you are to them and you know #7.

I say it every month. Group Meetings are not social events for the credit manager, they are an attempt to maximize your company’s revenue. If you bring the names of past-due accounts that you will be calling for money to a meeting, I guarantee you that the information you receive will increase your percentage of recovery significantly.

You are now ready to call for dollars. You have all the facts you need and this should be resolved in one call. Feel free to contact me at lconvoy@emailcma.org if you’re not in a group and I’ll help you identify one that might be a good fit for you.

CMA Moves its Headquarters to Glendale, CA

Dear CMA Member,

I’d like to share some exciting news with you: CMA is moving its headquarters to Glendale! Our new address will be 111 North Maryland Ave., Ste. 300, Glendale, CA 91206, effective March 16. Our P.O. Box address (P.O. Box 7740, Burbank CA 91510-7740) and phone number (818-972-5300) will remain the same. Our Las Vegas office remains at 3110 West Cheyenne Ave Suite 100, North Las Vegas, NV 89032, phone: 702-259-2622. Please update your address book accordingly.

We look forward to bringing you the same high standards of customer service and handling of all your risk management needs from our new location later this month.
If you have any questions, please let us know.

Sincerely,

Mike Mitchell
CMA President and CEO

CMA Chairman’s Blog: Advancing your Career through CMA by Michael W. Fenner, CBA

Year after year, as we go through our careers, we are always looking for ways to improve ourselves and advance in our professions. I know for me, I got complacent with my job and quite frankly I didn’t know where to go and or who to turn to. My luck changed when I ran into Mike Mitchell, CAE President of CMA at the Las Vegas airport in 2008 after attending a Western Region Credit Conference. I mentioned to him that I was looking for more in my career and he said to me, “You are already being considered.” I wasn’t entirely sure what he meant by that at that moment, but shortly thereafter I received a phone call to join CMA’s Board of Directors. I thought it was a great opportunity to be able to volunteer and help our association, understand more about how a business works, as well as work with my peers from all different companies and credit backgrounds. The rest is history…

Let’s take a look at some of the platforms that have assisted me through my career:

  • Professional Credit Certification – It’s never too late to get your designation or move to the next level. Here are the available designations.
    • Certified Credit and Risk Analyst (CCRA) – For analysis and interpretation of financial statements.
    • Credit Business Associate (CBA) – This includes three credit courses basic financial accounting, business credit principles and introduction to financial statement analysis.
    • Credit Business Fellow (CBF) – The lessons include business law and credit law.
    • Certified Credit Executive (CCE) – You must be proficient at accounting, finance, domestic and international credit concepts, management and law.
    • Professional Development Programs – CMA offers a variety of courses in person and online. The anscers.com website (on the education tab) is constantly being updated with the latest information for all of us. As an example some of our options today include (but not limited to) the Spring and Fall CreditScape Summits, NACM’s annual Credit Congress, numerous lien law seminars in many states, a course on alternative for financing the sale of goods, and credit risk and risk mitigation techniques. Please go check them out and see which one can assist you in your career.
  • Board and Committee Service – By volunteering my time on the CMA Board of Directors and serving on board committees it has allowed me to grow as a person and become a more of a diverse credit manager and move up in my career. I have been able to make lifelong friends as well as expand my credit knowledge to move forward in my field just by participating in discussions and working with my associates.
  • Industry Credit Groups (ICG’s) – My ICG helped assist me in my credit decision process to run a more thorough credit department. Currently we have 60 diverse groups. They network with each other, share factual information timely, and you get responses promptly from your group members so you can make educated decisions with your new accounts and or your current A/R. Feel free to contact Diana Escobar directly at (818) 972-5342 for more information about groups that pertain to your industry.

We all know how important it is to stay up-to-date with our education. And finding the time to go to events or take classes can be a challenge. Things won’t change unless we change them. Invest in yourself and your teams, and challenge them to improve and grow.

Make sure you encourage your teams to support CMA which is your association. It is important to always network with your colleagues and make some new friends as you go through this process. Make sure you always bring back your experiences to incorporate them into your jobs.

Let me know your thoughts. I’d love to hear your feedback.

Michael W. Fenner, CBA, is the Credit Management Association Chairman and Manager of Corporate Credit Operations for Beacon Roofing Supply, Inc. He can be reached at 714-321-8187, or mfenner@becn.com.

How CMA Can Help Members Navigate the Global Credit Landscape, by Mike Mitchell

Companies cannot ignore the fact that there is a whole world out there to sell to, and despite thct that current global economic conditions do not favor U.S. exports, there are tremendous opportunities for companies that can and have figured out how to sell to foreign markets on favorable terms. Global commerce is more than a trend – it is a certainty, and because export sales require the support of the credit operation, CMA will continue to include international credit in all education and training programs.

In an effort to determine how far CMA should go to support international credit sales, I have recently attended events that focused on the broader topic of exporting and events that addressed specific credit issues related to international sales. Here are a few things I’ve learned so far.

Most emerging markets are outside the U.S. Middle class growth and urbanization is taking place in China, India, and throughout Asia, not in the U.S. It is estimated that the global middle class will triple in size to 4.9 billion people by 2050, and they will spend an estimated $56 trillion by 2030. Two-thirds of that spending will come from emerging markets. This will create not only a huge opportunity for growth, but may put a demand on U.S. companies to sell into emerging markets just to stay competitive and not get left behind.

A surprising number of exporters are small and medium-sized enterprises (just like most of our members), and new free-trade agreements, like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TTP), are giving SMEs greater access to emerging markets.

There are a surprising number of Federal and State agencies that provide free and low-cost assistance for exporters. U.S. Department of Commerce Commercial Services, Small Business Administration, Small Business Development Centers, Export Assistance Centers, the newly reauthorized EXIM Bank, and a vast network of partner programs are there to help your company export. The challenge is that there is overlap among these agencies and the overwhelming number of resources can be difficult to navigate. CMA has established strategic partnerships with the International Trade Administration (U.S. DOC), the SBA in Glendale, CA, and the EXIM Bank to better understand how to bring these resources to our members that currently export or plan to in the near future.

Due to the cost of Letters of Credit to foreign buyers, more international sales are shifting to open credit terms, which decreases barriers to sales but increases the risk. At CMA’s upcoming CreditScape Spring Summit and Annual Meeting, a panel of seasoned international credit managers will discuss why overseas customers are demanding more credit in 2016, tools for evaluating the creditworthiness of foreign companies, when to (or not to) extend higher credit limits or longer terms, what are the real risks today of giving payment terms abroad, and companywide credit strategies for growing international sales.

If your company already sells outside the U.S. and your credit department already has a solid process in place for managing trade risk, then much if not all of what I’ve said is not news to you. However, my guess is that many of you have little to no experience exporting, and chances are that if your company produces a product that is marketable to other countries, you will be asked to provide support for international sales. The question is, how can CMA help you find the knowledge, information, services, and professional training to ensure you are ready to take on the challenges of global commerce? As we continue to explore trends in international sales, let us know how CMA can offer assistance to your company to help you win in the global marketplace.

Rich Swanson, USFCS Pacific South Region, and Mike Mitchell, CAE, President & CEO, CMA (Credit Management Association) sign the MOA at the CreditScape Conference at the Palms Hotel, Las Vegas on Thursday, October 16, 2014.
Rich Swanson, USFCS Pacific South Region, and Mike Mitchell, CAE, President & CEO, CMA (Credit Management Association) sign the MOA at the CreditScape Conference at the Palms Hotel, Las Vegas on Thursday, October 16, 2014.

CMA Member of the Month, February 2016: Alexis Scott, CBF, Maltby Electric

Alexis Scott, Maltby Electric
Alexis Scott, Maltby Electric

An active participant in an Industry Credit Group is someone who attends meetings, shares best practices for the good of those in the group, submits their reports and gets useful information out of the meetings that they can take back to the office and make informed business decisions based on that information. Active participation is contagious, and the folks who tell us that they get the most out of the meetings are the ones who actively participate.

The February CMA Member of the Month is someone who personifies the term “ACTIVE PARTICIPANT,” whose involvement inspires others to continue to contribute to the Groups as well as the other educational offerings from CMA.

An active member of the Northern California Electric Group, Alexis Scott, CBF, of Maltby Electric has been active in the Group for more than six years.

She takes it upon herself to mentor others in the group, commonly sharing best practices with the Group whenever appropriate. In fact, several from that group approached CMA staff privately to commend her for doing that.

Alexis uses CMA’s construction forms filing services and other CMA services, and is a strong advocate for CMA’s educational programs and services, as she is a huge supporter of CMA.

On behalf of CMA, we thank Alexis for her participation, and we look forward to her continued support.

Members of the Month are nominated by CMA members, Group members, volunteers and CMA staff to highlight those members (or member companies) whose engagement with CMA has helped improve the overall credit profession for others.

For more information on how you can participate in any of the areas mentioned within this article, or to nominate any members for this honor, contact Diana Escobar at descobar@emailcma.org or 818-972-5300.

Easy-to-Implement Technology That Can Make a Credit Manager’s Job Easier, by Michelle Herman

Yesterday I mentioned that I’d be listing several technologies I use that make my job easier. These are all things that I don’t have to call the I.T. department to install for me. These tech tools are easy to learn, easy to use, super helpful in the credit and collection department, make you look good, and best of all, are FREE!

Free Conference Call/Webinar/Video Chat tool
Free Conference Call.com
www.freeconferencecall.com
Yes – it really is free! You get assigned a phone number and code that is static and is yours to use whenever you need to have a conference call. You can even do free webinars (and record them) with all the standard tools that pricey tools like WebEx offer. Now they even offer video chat!

Free Online Large File Management Tool
Dropbox
www.dropbox.com
Large files are often rejected, or never make it out of your own server. Dropbox solves this issue by allowing you to convert any document into a link that is easily shared and can be password protected. You can store or send pictures, PowerPoint’s, excel files, etc. This product comes with a basic level of storage than can be incrementally increased through a variety of actions.

TheCreditApplication.com
eMagia Software
www.thecreditapplication.com
Another great new product from our friends at Emagia that provides you with an online credit application that you customize – for FREE! You re-create your credit app online, no tech support from your company necessary. You can export data into excel or your ERP, it is integrated with credit sources like the NACM National Trade Credit Report and even Yahoo financials.

Low-to-No-Cost Productivity Tools
Your Nerdy Best Friend
www.yournerdybestfriend.com
If you missed seeing Beth Ziesenis, known as “Your Nerdy Best Friend,” at last year’s Western Region conference in Portland, you don’t want to miss seeing her at Credit Congress. Visit her site to get comprehensive reviews on super productivity tools that touch virtually every area of your department. You are sure to find something that will change your life – personally and professionally.

Multi-Bureau anscersX Commercial Credit Report
CMA
www.anscers.com
Ok, this one isn’t really free, but it is one of the easiest and most cost effective ways to get data from the leading commercial credit bureaus all in one place. The AnscersX report provided by CMA, gives you the greatest hits from D&B, Experian and Equifax all in one easy to read report. No contracts, no minimums, no hassle.

Use anyone of these tools and you’ve got some instant sizzle. You instantly up your professionalism and your image. All of these tools have impressive graphical reporting features to help you share the results with your boss, making you and your team, look great. The key is to take one step at a time, start with simple low- or no-cost options for some of the most basic productivity tools, and generate some good looking reports that tell a story. Just pick one and sign up. Didn’t see one that floats your boat? There are hundreds of these types of tools, and just starting with one and seeing immediate real success – the sizzle- is what you need to keep going. Track me down at CreditScape and I’ll give you a live demo of how easy these tools are and how they may your life easier and make you look sharp.

Ok, we get it. You’re busy, overworked, underpaid. And probably under-valued. If that is your reality, and your perception, it’s time to take action to change it. We know it is hard to get out of the office, but if you’re not viewed by management as you’d really like to be, take the time, learn a few new tricks. Generate some sizzle. See you at CreditScape!

CreditScape
This is just a surface view of one of the topics that will be discussed in detail at the upcoming CreditScape Summit and Annual Meeting in Newport Beach, CA on March 24-25, 2016. Come to CreditScape, learn from experts and peers who have done this, share you own experiences with others. For more information, visit www.CreditScapeConference.com.

Michelle Herman is a business development manager at NACM. She will also be moderating several of the panel discussions and workshops at CreditScape.

Read the other posts in this series here:

Why is it So Difficult to Implement New Technology Solutions in the Credit Department, by Michelle Herman

Why is it that credit, especially commercial credit, always seems to get the short end of the stick when it comes to resources? Why does it seem just the opposite for sales and marketing? Why do they always get the newest equipment, the coolest gadgets, the fancy business cards, even the latest version of Microsoft office before you? Why? It’s because those folks are externally facing representatives of your company and your company already knows the value of their efforts. Huge marketing campaigns cost huge dollars and are visible inside and outside of the company. Huge sales get noticed and celebrated – and commissioned. These teams may annoy the heck out of you, but they have a few things figured out: get noticed = be valued. They are constantly throwing out the sizzle – and people notice sizzle, all the time.

So why can’t credit sizzle? Why are we always in the back room? Why are our requests and projects always “on the list”? Why doesn’t anyone else get excited that your 90+ bucket just dropped below x percent? At this point, my only conclusion is this: Perception really is reality. If you have everything you need in your department, you can save ten minutes and stop reading this now. If you are still struggling to get basic tools and funding for training and attending conferences, read on.

For every person in your company who has nothing to do with (or knows nothing about) credit or collections, their PERCEPTION about what you and your team do or don’t do, their stereotypes, biases, and assumptions, really is their REALITY. How you and your team are perceived, almost more than how you actually perform, is how you are valued, whether you like it or not. And they will support you only to the extent that they think you are valuable.

We all know, none of us ever planned to get here, it just happened. Many never even heard of commercial credit until we were suddenly knee deep in it. Clearly, as an industry and a profession, we’ve got some work to do, but we’ll save that for another day. The point is, no one really knows what you do, and it is your job to educate them, to prove your value – but take some notes from those flashy sales folks, sometimes you need a little sizzle to do it!

So how do you sizzle? How do you prove your value? How do you get a seat at the table? How do you get to be seen as a strategic player, not just an administrative cost center? How do you really change their perception? You must start by changing your reality, and you can do it starting today, through technology, without spending a dime.

If you are still reading, I’m going to assume that you’d like to improve a few things. Many in our industry have been around a long time, and have heard “no” so often, that they just stop asking, and they stop learning. I’m still amazed at what isn’t being implemented in our member’s offices and even in our own NACM offices, because we haven’t taken time to find out what’s out there. We did a short survey at one of the regional conferences about why technology isn’t adopted more often.
Reason Number 1: No Time. No one takes the time to investigate the technology, because they have no time. They have no time, because they have no technology. It is a vicious and evil cycle. Result: no sizzle, no value, no tools.

Reason Number 2: No Budget. This really shouldn’t be an excuse anymore as so many services are offering their basic tool for free, only charging if you want to upgrade. It is a great business model that lets folks like us actually explore things, test it out, kick the tires – before we commit, or spend a dime. And they are all web-based – nothing to install, no tech involvement needed, just go to a website and register.

Tomorrow, I’ll list a few of my favorite tech tools that are easy to learn, easy to use, super helpful in the credit and collection department, make you look good, and best of all, are FREE!

CreditScape
This is just a surface view of one of the topics that will be discussed in detail at the upcoming CreditScape Summit and Annual Meeting in Newport Beach, CA on March 24-25, 2016. Come to CreditScape, learn from experts and peers who have done this, share you own experiences with others. For more information, visit www.CreditScapeConference.com.

Michelle Herman is a business development manager at NACM. She will also be moderating several of the panel discussions and workshops at CreditScape.

Read the other posts in this series here:

Justifying Credit and Collections Automation to Your Management, by Robert S. Shultz

Today’s Business Reality:

In today’s rough and tumble business environment the need for expense management, working capital and liquidity are key CEO and CFO concerns. Gone are the days of ready access to financing and smooth collection of accounts receivables. Timely management information must be available showing how the business is doing and where the opportunities for improvement are. More than ever companies must increase the productivity of limited order to cash management and staff. All this must be delivered with maximum customer service and satisfaction.

Companies must be able to extend credit intelligently, generate accurate and timely invoices, and quickly identify and correct customer disputes. Management needs to track performance metrics, trends and customer issues. Companies that do these things well are in a position to shorten their overall cash conversion cycle, reduce the need for borrowing and bring a company the liquidity it needs to survive and thrive.

There are many cost effective automation solutions in the marketplace focused on these issues. Many of these are cloud based. This simplifies implementation and few internal IT resources are needed. Even though the costs are relatively low, the functionality is amazing. Credit and other financial managers will find that the first hurdle is to convince management the suggested solution meets the acid test. They have to answer the question, “Show me the Return on Investment” (ROI).

Where to Start
The first step for a credit manager is to determine when volumes and performance challenges justify automation and the expense of a solution. The solution could be developed internally or acquired from a third party provider. The cost and likelihood of success with an internal option really depends on the resources available in the company.

Following are ten things to consider that fit any automation initiative. The following is not intended to be a complete list. It covers the key points you may include in a recommendation to senior management.

How would you answer the following question: What are the Compelling Needs for Automation?

In order to convince management to invest in any automation you must demonstrate the need in clear, real world and understandable terms. Here are ten things to consider:

  1. Is excessive overtime a routine in the department? Are you using temps to supplement permanent staff?
  2. If you benchmark Full Time Equivalents (FTEs) transaction volume is yours is low by comparison?
  3. Is your company growing, merging or acquiring but you are not able to hire additional staff for your department?
  4. Is Sales continually upset that credit reviews take too long? Is business lost as a result?
  5. Are collection results below expectations?
  6. Is your department stuck in a morass of unworked deductions?
  7. Are invoices often inaccurate or go out late?
  8. Are Sales and Customers impacted by order hold and release delays?
  9. Is management unsatisfied with performance measurements, reporting and the ability to status Customer balances?
  10. Is it impossible to accurately forecast cash flow?

As you can see if any or all of these factors are in play you will get the attention of your management with opportunities for significant improvements.

Where is the Money!
Soft savings such as process efficiency or improved customer service can help justify expenditures for automation. Actual hard cost savings will enable you to calculate the “ROI” and how long it will take to get there.

You should consider such things as:

  1. An increase in transactions per FTE will reduce the need for overtime, temps or permanent staff.
  2. Based on forecasted company and transaction growth automation will reduce the need to add staff.
  3. Automation of the credit approval and review process will speed decisions, avoid lost business and could reduce past dues and write-offs.
  4. Increased collection efficiency will bring in cash earlier, reducing borrowing costs, enabling the company to take all Accounts Payable discounts, provide working capital to invest in profitable opportunities.
  5. Timely or self-service invoicing will reduce invoicing delays, identify errors earlier and optimize the payment cycle.
  6. Cash administration/application improvements will identify customer payments earlier, avoiding unnecessary collection expense and speeding up the order hold release process, improving revenue and profits.

 

This is just a surface view of what it takes to convince management an automation initiative should be approved. Each of these points and more will be discussed in-depth at the upcoming CreditScape Summit and Annual meeting in Newport Beach, CA on March 24-25 2016. Come to CreditScape, learn from experts and peers who have done this, share you own experiences with others. For more information, visit www.CreditScapeConference.com.

Robert S. Shultz is a Partner at Quote to Cash Solutions (Q2C) LLC. He will also be moderating several of the panel discussions and workshops at CreditScape.

Read the other posts in this series here:

Coming Soon: How to Know That Your Credit Department Processes Are Efficient

These are interesting and challenging times. With the digital revolution, many process improvements have completely changed the way business is done. There is so much more information available now than ever before in assigning business credit that it is difficult to stay up on the latest trends and best practices to make sure that your department (and you!) are doing things as efficiently as possible with the available tools.

At CMA, we’ve had numerous conversations and phone calls from members who tell us that they are trying to do more with less, or that their departments have been downsized. As a response to those conversations, CMA has created an event that is designed to help credit managers with all levels of experience and expertise to leverage the knowledge and experiences of practitioners who have implemented elements of an efficient digital credit department, with a complete 360-degree overview of why, when and how to implement those elements to make your department run more efficiently.

The 2016 CreditScape Spring Summit and Annual Meeting, powered by United TranzActions, will feature two days of workshop training, expert practical and legal advice, and networking with other credit professionals. The goal of CreditScape is to provide an opportunity for credit practitioners at all levels of experience and expertise to come together to solve problems and provide solutions for their real-world issues they face at work.

Next week, two of our panel moderators for the event, Robert Shultz and Michelle Herman, will be guest blogging about the reasons why you need to at least consider implementing the elements of the digital credit department, but specifically the WHY, WHEN and HOW to implement, including how to justify the need to your management, select a third-party vendor, the types of problems that digital applications can solve, and more.

We invite you to join Robert and Michelle at the Spring CreditScape Summit and Annual Meeting, March 24-25, 2016 at the Island Hotel in Newport Beach (or view the website at www.creditscapeconference.com) , and to read their blogs, as the information you’ll receive can help you save time and resources in the long run.

What elements of the digital credit department are you the most interested in learning about? We welcome your feedback.

Read the other posts in this series here:

Why You Need to Attend the CreditScape Spring Summit, by Michael W. Fenner, CBA

Now that we have all made our “New Years resolutions,” make sure you don’t drop the ball on your professional goals. Maybe you would like to improve your own personal skill set in your organization. Or perhaps you want your team to get up-to-date with the latest credit training / information in the market place. For me, as I move through this New Year, I look at budget planning and ideas on how to improve our credit department. I urge you to please take some time to review the latest CMA CreditScape Spring Summit information. By attending the two days of workshop training, I believe that it will propel you and your department to the next level.

What will be covered this spring…“The Efficient Digital Credit Department”.

Let’s take a look at some of the items that stood out to me:

  • All Levels of Expertise Welcome – Good for beginners to experts in your departments.
  • The discussions are led by practitioners, not marketing people – Get a 360-degree look into the elements of an efficient digital credit department, focusing on best practices and real-world case studies with the best and brightest practitioners in credit and collections, including top credit executives from companies such as Sony Entertainment, Sysco Foods, Ganahl Lumber, Kendall-Jackson, Walters Wholesale, UTA/United TranzActions, the U.S. Department of Commerce and Watsco.
  • Focusing on your Departments Efficiencies – Such as why should your department go digital…You’ve decided to “Go Digital” Now What?…Automating your customer onboarding process…Vetting your customers…Automating your A/R management processes…International resources and government automation tools……Using third-party vendors to create efficiencies…and emerging technologies impacting the credit department to name a few.
  • Convenient Location – This will be in Southern California this spring at The Island Hotel Newport Beach saving costs for those of us who live locally.

The event information is as follows:

Date: March 24-25, 2016
Location: The Island Hotel Newport Beach 690 Newport Center Drive Newport Beach, CA 92660 ($189 a night)
Cost: $495 for CMA members and $595 for non-members
Registration: To register go to www.creditscapeconference.com

We all know how it is important to stay up-to-date with our education. And finding the time to go to these events can be hard too. Invest in your team, and challenge them to improve and grow. This program will be packed with information and has many excellent speakers too. I would highly recommend it.

Additionally, CMA has a prewritten “letter to your boss” to help you show the value of the event. To get a copy, go to http://creditmanagementassociation.org/events/creditscape/cma-annual-meeting-letter-to-your-boss/

Please take a few minutes to read through the program highlights to answer all of your questions on the CreditScape Spring Summit 2016 brochure located at http://creditmanagementassociation.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/creditscape-brochure-spring-2016.pdf

Make sure you encourage your teams, support CMA…your association, and network with old friends and make some new ones too. Team up with your colleagues and learn together. Then bring back your experiences to incorporate into your jobs. Let me know your thoughts. I’d love to hear your feedback.

Michael W. Fenner, CBA, is the Credit Management Association Chairman and Manager of Corporate Credit Operations for Beacon Roofing Supply. He can be reached at 714-321-8187, or mfenner@becn.com.

Credit Management Association® Announces Details for CreditScape Spring Summit and Annual Meeting, Powered by UTA

 

CMA Event to Offer 360-Degree Overview of the Elements of an Efficient Digital Credit Department, March 24-25, 2016.

BURBANK, CA (January 21, 2016)–Credit Management Association (CMA) is collaborating with payment processing solutions partner United TranzActions (UTA) to educate credit professionals with a complete overview of the elements that make up an efficient digital credit department. The CreditScape Spring Summit and Annual Meeting, powered by UTA, takes place March 24-25, 2016 at the Island Hotel in Newport Beach, and features two days of workshop training, expert practical and legal advice, and networking with other credit professionals over the common theme of implementing automation tools and third-party services to increase the overall efficiency and performance of the credit operation.

“We received overwhelmingly positive feedback from participants at our inaugural CreditScape event last fall. Members and other participants told us that they really benefitted from the real-world case studies and practitioners who shared their experiences through panel discussions and workshops. Attendees also appreciated having vendors and sponsors included in problem-solving discussions. Sustainable learning is about shared knowledge and experiences, and this is one way that CreditScape Summits will keep participants ahead of the curve in an ever-changing credit landscape. This will also be much more interactive than the typical teacher-and-classroom experience our audience is used to. For those who are used to staring at their phones and checking email during these types of events, then CreditScape is not for you,” said CMA President and CEO Mike Mitchell.

“In conversations I’ve personally had with members, we believe that it’s not just about finding the right solution provider, but instead determining the diagnosis and solution to efficiency problems. With the help of some of our technology partners, including payment processing solution provider UTA, we’ve developed a program geared towards all sizes of credit departments. Our expert panels will take attendees through the entire life-cycle of process improvement, from identifying credit functions that can be improved through automation and/or outsourcing, to determining and implementing the right solution, to measuring results to determine success. Stay current on best practices and hear from practitioners who have successfully implemented electronic credit applications, A/R automations, business intelligence and other elements of the digital credit department,” Mitchell added.

“Preliminary discussions with CMA members and industry partners have uncovered various capabilities and core competencies that affect credit department efficiency, including automation tools, the quality of customer investigations and evaluations, building relationships with customers and sales, and differentiated collection approaches for large and small debtors.”

“Among the topics to be addressed at the Summit are automating the customer onboarding process, vetting your customers, automating your A/R management process, international resources and government automation tools, emerging technologies that may impact the credit department, and more. The program has a strong group of discussion-leader practitioners from leading companies such as Sony Entertainment, Equinix, Sysco Foods, Ganahl Lumber, Kendall-Jackson, Walters Wholesale, Watsco, SRS Distribution, UTA/United TranzActions, and the U.S. Department of Commerce. These are some of the subjects and practitioners that will drive content and discussion at CreditScape,” Mitchell said.

In addition to the educational program, CMA will also hold its Annual Meeting, which will include the installation of the 2016-2017 CMA Board of Directors, plus the presentation of awards for Credit Executive of the Year, Mentor of the Year and Student of the Year. The Annual Meeting will take place during lunch on March 25.

The event will be preceded by the Credit Executives Symposium on March 23 at the Island Hotel. The one-day event for CFOs and Credit Directors, offers high-level interactive discussions and workshops on the hottest topics in credit management. CreditScape Summits are offered in the Fall and in the Spring, focusing on different aspects of the Credit Management landscape. It is one in a series of in-person educational opportunities offered by Credit Management Association. To learn more about the other sessions and topics, visit www.creditmanagementassociation.org/events or call 800-541-2622.
About Credit Management Association

Credit Management Association (CMA), which was founded in 1883, is a Burbank, Calif.-headquartered trade association with approximately 1,100 member companies representing over 200 different business categories selling regionally, nationally and internationally. CMA focuses on providing products and services that allow companies to make informed business decisions based on trade credit. CMA is one of the largest affiliates of the National Association of Credit Management (NACM), whose 33 affiliates serve all of North America. For more information, call 800-541-2622, or visit www.creditmanagementassociation.org.

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Thanks for a Career in Credit Management, Jim Morrow

CMA, along with the members of the Southern California Electric Group, would like to extend warmest wishes to longtime group member Jim Morrow who will be retiring at the end of January. Jim has been a valued group member for 25 years and in the Construction Industry for over 30 years. He served numerous terms as a group officer and has served the rest of the association on the CMA Board of Directors since 2010.

We will miss his loyalty to the group, his professionalism to the job and mostly the kindness and friendship he has extended to all for over a quarter of a century.

Congratulations and enjoy your well-deserved retirement!Jim Morrow - I AM CMA

CMA’s Supplier Risk Credit Group to Establish Procedures for Vetting Vendors

Last year, under the leadership of Alvin Moreno of Nestle Inc., CMA launched the Supplier Risk Credit Group, a Best Practices industry exchange group for those who have been assigned the task of vetting their vendors or for those credit managers who wished to enhance their position at their company by learning this job. Who better than a credit manager to evaluate RISK from the vendor side of the chain?

The Group has had four informative discussions and has attracted members such as PepsiCo to the meetings.

On Wednesday, January 27, we are taking the information gathered at these meetings and beginning to build the platform establishing policies and procedures for those assigned this task.

If you have an interest in this or would like to pass it on to the appropriate person at your company, we would be delighted to have them join us in person in Burbank or through web conferencing.

Here is a partial agenda for the meeting:

REVIEW OF LAST MEETING
1. Members describe any enhancements they have made to their vetting process or roadblocks encountered
2. Groundwork and Decisions Required Prior to Establishing Process (including 80/20 Rule-Which vendors will you include in your process?, Has a budget been discussed and approved?, Has Staffing been arranged?, Identify critical vendors, single, sole source vendors outside of 80/20 rule, Has an acceptable chain of command been established?, Has a workable timeline to roll out, review and assess been established?)

VENDOR ONBOARDING PROCESS BEGINS
1. Receive request for NEW vendor investigation
2. Vendor fills out company questionnaire (Provide quality, safety and financial information)
3. Initiate Vendor Qualification process
4. Vendor Financial Information uploaded
5. Evaluation Process Begins (Credit investigation; Relationship: Critical, single, sole; Demographic, government, industry)
6. Vendor Approval, review schedule set
7. Q & A

Please let us know if you would like to be a guest at this meeting by contacting Larry Convoy at lconvoy@emailcma.org.

Welcome Back, by Larry Convoy

To some, January 1st is like the first day of school. Everything starts out fresh and clean (even though I know many of your fiscal years start at different times of the year). For those group members who attend and contribute regularly, the beginning of the year is just a continuation of what you have done in the past.

However, some of you have not attended your Industry Credit Group meetings in months (and for others years) and you may feel a bit embarrassed showing up. Others may not be in an Industry Credit Group at all.

As someone who has facilitated meetings longer than many of you have been alive, let me inform you that nothing could be further from the truth. Your contributions and attendance will be welcomed by all, whether it is at a meeting or joining a conference call. By including your trade data and credit knowledge, the other members have more information to make informed credit decisions. The real embarrassment would be you opening an account that the other group members have previously discussed and determined individually to be risky.

There are two ways to increase the value of an Industry Credit Group; bring in new members and bring back current members who have for whatever reason, have gone astray. Either way, EVERYONE WINS.

As we begin a new year, we ask you on behalf of the other members of your group, to commit to attending each meeting/call, to contribute daily through alerts, RFIs and monthly if your group has a report. Take your calendar and mark off the meeting days for the entire year so nothing else can be scheduled during that time period. Prepare the accounts you wish to discuss prior to the meeting and any topic you would like to bring up. Let’s make 2016 the Year of the Group.

Happy New Year!

CMA Member of the Month, January 2016: Ross Cirrincione, Ganahl Lumber

Ross Cirrincione, Ganahl Lumber
Ross Cirrincione, Ganahl Lumber

The dictionary definition of a mentor is someone who teaches or gives help and advice to a less experienced and often younger person, someone who is a trusted counselor or guide in developing a career path. The January CMA Member of the Month is someone who defines the word “MENTOR,” whose personal leadership and knowledge of the credit profession has led others to take the next step in their careers.

Ross Cirrincione has had the opportunity to mentor many over the years. An active Credit Management Association volunteer, he is really a person who is willing to share his knowledge with others to help them as individuals grow into careers. Two of his mentees rose to be corporate credit managers.

If that wasn’t enough, he volunteered to work with an individual to help her learn to manage her time better. He drove from San Diego to Irvine every Monday for a month to help her become more organized, helping her immensely.

Among his volunteer work, he spent time as a member of a panel on construction law last year at the Western Region Credit Conference and will participate as a panelist at the upcoming CreditScape Summit in March and the Credit Executive Symposium.

Despite all of this, he is one of the most humble and approachable credit professionals in the industry (as long as you don’t owe his company any money!)

For those who attend any of the Industry Credit Group meetings that he’s involved with, Ross is not shy about speaking up to give his opinion and frequently stays after meetings to clarify points and give advice to credit managers on the techniques he uses.

On behalf of the Credit Management profession, thanks for all you do Ross!
Members of the Month are nominated by CMA members, Group members, volunteers and CMA staff to highlight those members (or member companies) whose engagement with CMA has helped improve the overall credit profession for others.

For more information on how you can participate in any of the areas mentioned within this article, or to nominate any members for this honor, contact Diana Escobar at descobar@emailcma.org or 818-972-5300.

Chairman’s Blog: Credit New Year’s Resolutions, by Michael W. Fenner, CBA

Yes, it’s that time of year again and it’s hard to believe another year has passed us by. I hope everyone enjoyed spending time with their families and relatives over the holiday season. As we start 2016, everyone always asks “Have you made your New Year’s resolutions yet?” Or “What are your New Year’s resolutions this year?” As I write this blog, I am thinking about what my personal and professional resolutions will be this year. Let me take a minute or two and suggest a few resolutions you could include with yours.

If each one of us could include a resolution or two about CMA we could make this association stronger for all of us. As you read through the suggestions, hopefully you will find some to help you get started. It’s important to have the backing and support of Credit Management Association for your credit department as well as your company and I appreciate you taking the time to read though the following. Enjoy and “Happy New Year!”

  • CMA / AGA Collections – Maybe your current collection agency isn’t producing the results you are expecting…give CMA / AGA an opportunity they offer nationwide service, reasonable rates, excellent communication and they collect the money too.
  • Construction Forms Filing Services (CFFS) – Have you outgrown your current provider and need to try something new? You can always try CFFS…CMA has accurate, personal, and cost-effective construction forms filing in all 50 states, and has access to a network of attorneys and resources to help fulfill all of your construction needs.
  • Professional Development – Are you looking to update your skills? CMA has quite a few options from the CreditScape Spring and Fall Summits, to online courses, live and recorded webinars, and the courses available to get your Professional Credit Certification all in one place.
  • Industry Credit Groups (ICG) – Please take some time and experience the ICG’s CMA has to offer. We participate and always come away with some useful information. CMA’s 60 current groups network and share factual information, and provide you with responses promptly from other group members so you can then make more educated decisions with your new accounts and or your current A/R for companies within your own vertical industry who share the same customers as your company does.
  • Business Credit Reports – Maybe you already have contracts with a provider or two…sometimes you are looking for supplementary information to help you with your business decisions. Or maybe you are unsure if your current data provider is giving you as much information as there is available. CMA offers the anscersX multi-bureau commercial credit report, NACM National Trade Credit Report, as well as DNBi, Equifax and Experian. Additionally, they offer consumer reports and international reports as well. It gives you the opportunity to purchase on a report by report basis.

Maybe it’s as simple as just wanting to learn more about what CMA has to offer. If you go to www.anscers.com click on the education tab and you can join a “free” webinar called “Maximize your Membership” scheduled on February 17th from 9:00 am to 10:00 am hosted by Michael Mitchell, President and CEO of Credit Management Association. Check it out!

Please remember we need you to support “your” credit association when you can and as always “thank you” for your support. I encourage you to send in any ideas to improve your credit association. Let me know your thoughts. I’d love to hear your feedback.

Michael W. Fenner, CBA, is the Credit Management Association Chairman and Regional Credit Manager for Beacon Roofing Supply. He can be reached at 714-321-8187, or mfenner@becn.com.

CMA Holiday Hours

In an effort to allow for our staff to spend time with their families during the holiday season, the CMA offices will be closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and we’ll be open until noon on New Year’s Eve and closed New Year’s day. The office will be open during normal hours Monday through Friday on all days except for those.

From everyone at Credit Management Association, we wish you and yours a very happy and healthy holiday season, and look forward to serving you in 2016.

Lien Laws and Construction-Related Webinar/Seminar Series Coming in 2016

For construction-related businesses, filing preliminary notices, intent to liens and mechanics liens, and more, can be a necessary, but tedious and time-intensive process. CMA’s Construction Forms Filing Service offers assistance with helping companies ensure future mechanics liens rights. In order to showcase some of these services and inform our customers, we invite you to join CMA’s Amber Jackson, who has 10+ years of expertise in construction forms filing, as she reviews a myriad of tools available through CMA’s Construction Forms Filing Service, and the many tools that CMA offers for companies in the construction industry in a free webinar on January 26.

Additionally, there will be a number of additional webinars and seminars, hosted by licensed attorneys, which will cover state-specific lien law provisions and procedures that will help as well, beginning with California basic lien law on February 4. More states will be added to our education program soon.

To sign up for these sessions, click here.

CMA Announces Member of the Month Recognitions

At CMA, we love our members, and want to recognize our engaged members, those who utilize our services, actively participate in Industry Credit Group meetings and answer RFIs, submit their data to the NACM database, inspire other credit managers by mentoring or even providing ideas about best practices their companies use, or furthering their own career potential through continuing education offerings. In an effort to tell some of their stories, CMA’s membership committee has created an opportunity to showcase these exemplary members through a series of monthly blog posts recognizing the CMA Member of the Month.

Members of the Month will be nominated by CMA members, Group members, volunteers and CMA staff to highlight those members (or member companies) whose engagement with CMA has helped improve the overall credit profession for others.

Among the criteria that will be used will be:

  • Mentor who has helped in your professional development
  • Exemplary Industry Credit Group Service
  • Exemplary use of CMA’s services
  • Professional development leader who attends and actively participates in courses, seminars and webinars
  • Outstanding community volunteer outside of the credit profession
  • CMA volunteer who give countless hours of their time to promote CMA
  • Outstanding credit industry leader
  •  …and more.

In January, we’d like to honor a special mentor that has helped in your professional development. Submit your entry either by email to your group facilitator or send an email to Diana Escobar (descobar@emailcma.org) with one or more reasons why the person deserves to be recognized.

Though CMA has many valuable tools and services for the credit professional, they’re only as good as the input that our members put into them. For more information on how you can become more engaged in CMA, including a tour of the products and services we offer, or ideas on where you can volunteer, contact Diana Escobar at descobar@emailcma.org or 818-972-5300.

“I Am CMA,” by Tracy Rosenbach, CCE

I am CMA, by Tracy Rosenbach of Silgan Containers
I am CMA, by Tracy Rosenbach of Silgan Containers

“Being a member of CMA has been a great experience for me. I look to the Association for education and networking opportunities. The webinars offered are such a wonderful example of efficiency. There is minimal outlay of resources for maximum benefit. I also attended a one-day session on international credit lead by Eddy Sumar which was fantastic. Attending the Western Region Credit Conference for years has been yet another wonderful education and networking opportunity. I firmly believe that knowledge is the key and it is what keeps us ahead in our profession.

In addition to CMA, our national credit organization (NACM) supports our quest for education in many ways including through the professional designation program. I am a big believer in education as one can tell so that is why I worked toward each professional designation (CBA, CBF & CCE) and finally achieved the CCE designation after several years. Earning the CCE designation was a valuable and useful experience that I reference in my career every day.

Networking is also very important for us as credit managers. CMA provides many opportunities for us to connect and reconnect with one another. Sharing our experiences at venues such as the CMA Annual Meeting or an Industry Credit Group meeting is truly invaluable as a credit professional. CMA provides other services for the credit manager as well. One of the most important things that CMA provides is a staff that cares and supports the credit professionals in our area.”

Tracy Rosenbach, CCE
Silgan Containers LLC
CMA member since 1995

 

“I Am CMA” is a Membership Committee driven initiative to allow members to share the most valuable aspects of their membership with CMA members. The monthly series explores CMA’s different programs and services and how they have helped members. With a full range of business credit services from Industry Credit Groups to credit reporting to construction forms filing services to collections to business insolvency, we hope the series will inspire you to utilize CMA more to help provide information to reduce your company’s overall risk.

For more information on the blogs, or to be featured, contact CMA Communications Manager Alan Dicker at 323-573-0840 or adicker@emailcma.org.

CMA Congratulates Recent NACM-Certified Professionals

The NACM professional certification program, sponsored by the National Association of Credit Management, has helped define and establish professional standards in this demanding and rapidly changing field, and fosters recognition of those individuals who possess special expertise. Among credit management professionals, the professional certification program is respected and appreciated. Not only is participation in the program a mark of distinction throughout the profession, but it offers expanded knowledge of the credit profession, better career opportunities, heightened professional recognition, and demonstration of standards of professional excellence.

Congratulations to the following Designees who passed their NACM-Certified Professional Certification exam in November.

• Diane Lukens, Village Nurseries (CBA)
• Trevor Kuramata, Reliance Steel and Aluminum Co. (CBA)
• Jonathan Chandler, Western Oilfields Supply Co. (CBA)
• Paul Wikoff, Wilbur-Ellis (CCE)

For those who are interested in obtaining their certifications, a free informational webinar explaining the benefits of the designation program is available on demand under the education tab at www.CreditManagementAssociation.org. CMA has scheduled its Winter courses for the Credit Business Associate (CBA) program, which can also be accessed via the education tab.

For more information on how to achieve your Designations, please contact Lisa Wong, Member Representative Associate at (951) 672-0581, or lwong@emailcma.org.

Again, congratulations to these members for their achievements!

CMA Chairman’s Blog: ‘Tis the Season for Giving Back: Why You Should Volunteer With CMA, by Michael W. Fenner, CBA

Michael Fenner, CMA Chairman of the Board of Directors
Michael Fenner, CMA Chairman of the Board of Directors

I hope everyone enjoyed their time away from the daily grind and that you were able to be with your family this Thanksgiving season. As I write this blog, I was thinking that we all like to give around the holidays, to our families, friends, the community etc. In 2007, Credit Management Association awarded me with a scholarship to attend the Western Region Credit Conference. I was very grateful for the opportunity as it really helped my career. And for that very reason I wanted to give back to CMA. Ironically, I ran into Michael Mitchell, CMA President and CEO at the airport after that conference and told him I wanted to “give back” to the association and the rest is history. I was nominated to the Board of Directors and I have served on the committees listed below to help make our association better for you.

I wanted to share a few bullet points today so you too can consider ways that you can give back and make your association a stronger, better organization for all of us. Please take a few minutes to read below and if you are interested in helping out just let me know. I would be happy to point you in the right direction. I appreciate your time and consideration.

  • CMA Board of Directors – The board meets five times a year and determines the policies and direction of the Association. The Board is responsible for monitoring progress towards the achievement of the strategic and operating objectives of the Association. This has been a very educational experience as you work with credit managers from different types of companies. It’s both challenging and rewarding as you go through the process.
  • Membership Committee – This team focuses on membership issues such as member benefits, acquisition and retention, as well as member engagement, and member categories. This group is interesting and stimulating, they help members understand the “value” of their memberships.
  • Professional Development – This is the committee that sets the direction of the educational courses, seminars and webinars that CMA offers. As an example, they work on the Spring and Fall CreditScape sessions that feature roundtable experiences taught by veteran credit professionals. These meetings are taught at an advanced and high level. Discussions include business issues, best practices and tips on valuable resources.
  • Honors and Awards Committee – This committee focuses on member recognition, with a primary responsibility of selecting members for CMA’s annual awards as well as nominating members for NACM’s National awards. There is nothing more gratifying than nominating your peers who have worked so hard in the industry.
  • Nominating Committee – This group selects nominees for the Treasurer and other Director positions available for election for the year. This committee assists in the review of candidates, through systems and checklists. Another opportunity to select outstanding peers in the credit community.

What can you do to help your credit association? Please reach out as we are always looking for talented people to be nominated and share their experiences through their leadership and volunteer work.

Please remember we need you to support “your” credit association when you can and as always “thank you” for your support. I encourage you to send in any ideas to improve your credit association. Let me know your thoughts. I’d love to hear your feedback. Thank you for taking time to read my blog.

Michael W. Fenner, CBA, is the Credit Management Association Chairman and Regional Credit Manager for Beacon Roofing Supply. He can be reached at 714-321-8187, or mfenner@becn.com.

President’s Blog: What We’re Thankful for This Year, by Mike Mitchell, President & CEO

MMitchell2The holidays are a time to reflect on the past year, and an opportunity to evaluate how successful CMA has been in accomplishing our goals this year. With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, your CMA staff has listed a number of things we can be thankful for.

First and foremost, we’re thankful for you, our members, who support the efforts of the credit management profession by actively participating. Whether it’s done through submitting your RFIs, submitting your full aging data, or even just attending Industry Credit Group meetings or events such as CreditScape, your contributions make the entire credit management profession better, and we’re grateful. Over the past year, we’ve taken steps to make it easier for members to participate by expanding the number of free educational events, anscers training sessions and opportunities for members (both new and returning) to learn how to maximize their membership with CMA. For those who have participated in any of these sessions, thank you!

We’re thankful for our partners in the credit information industry who have made it possible to provide our members with valuable, one-of-a-kind products. Thanks to our partners Bob Shultz, Keith Doyle, Dun & Bradstreet, Equifax, and Experian for helping us provide members with the “big picture” on any account with the anscersX multi-bureau trade credit report. Thanks also to our partners Ansonia and Southwest Business Credit for helping us solve the problem of gathering real-time title information with the most innovative credit report for the construction industry, The Construction Credit Report.

We’re thankful to our exclusive partner in third-party collections, AG Adjustments, which has recovered hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid debts for CMA members. We are thankful for all of our many other vendor member service providers for their assistance with international credit sales, UCCs, payment processing, and deductions management.

We’re thankful for Paul Beretz, CICE; David Osburn, MBA; Jim Menard, CCE; and a host of other dedicated instructors who have supported the professional development of so many of our credit professionals.

We’re thankful for our volunteers, those who have served on the CMA Board of Directors and on committees like Membership and Professional Development. Additionally, we thank those members who have provided CMA staff with lots of great feedback on topics of interest which have been used to create more relevant education and training programs.

2015 has been a really great year at CMA, and we have a lot to be thankful for. We’re looking forward to an even better 2016. Thanks again for your support, and Happy Thanksgiving to you and your families.

The Price is Right for Industry Credit Group Membership, by Larry Convoy

There’s a lot that’s bundled in the $99 a month Industry Credit Group dues that group members pay. But, for sake of argument, let’s pretend for a moment that CMA unbundled those items and that you had to pay for each of those benefits separately.

Many service providers, including CMA, have weighed the advantages of an unbundled price structure versus a bundled one; to charge for each item or service as opposed to a monthly fee. I have devised the following pricelist and an approximate cost for a typical month in most groups to see what that $99 a month really gets you.

INDUSTRY GROUP STATEMENT FOR COMPANY XYZ FOR OCTOBER, 2015

  • Received 10 RFIs in month @ $22.50(cost of average Experian or Dun & Bradstreet, most groups use double that amount)
  • 12 NSF check notifications @ $5 each
  • 4 placed for collection notices @$50 each
  • 1 change of owner announcement -NO CHARGE
  • 1 Chapter 7 bankruptcy alerts @ $500
  • 2 “business is closed” alerts @ $250 each
  • 1 mechanic’s lien filed @ $300
  • 4 clearances at group meeting @ $5 each
  • Educated by group member on various topics-PRICELESS
  • Recommendation NOT TO BUY computer system or software package by member-$10,000
  • Informed of new A/P contact at customer’s or owner’s cell phone #- NO CHARGE

This adds up to $11,805 for one month, considerably higher than the bundled price of $99/month now charged to most groups. This does not include a Past Due list or Meeting Review reports.

While I do not think this will ever become the standard, it does make you realize how cost effective participation in a group is. The more RFIs submitted and alerts posted, the Return on Investment becomes even greater.

With the holidays upon us, make sure you set aside time to attend the meetings and submit your reports. The survival of many businesses will be determined in the next 2 months.

Have a great November,

Larry Convoy

What creates the need for financing international growth, by Brent Hoots

Note: this is one in a series of international blogs to help credit managers learn how to assess risk in foreign countries and expand their potential customer base.

As a consultant, NaviTrade is approached by companies on a regular basis asking for our assistance in developing and implementing financing programs for their international business. Sometimes companies are frustrated about and even confused as to the need for financing. In fact, we often times see the need for foreign receivables financing as a natural outcome of successful international growth strategies that in part define a company headed in the right direction. To gain a better understanding of this issue, it’s productive to consider the many views of key management team members at typical small to medium-sized companies, including the following:

VP of International Sales – often times tasked with growing a business globally, a VP in this position may find several very attractive overseas markets. To succeed in these markets, the best strategies may require relationships with strategic partners in certain markets – often distributors – that can lead the company to successful market penetrations and substantial sales.

What does it take to make a relationship with an overseas distributor work? Many things, of course, including some level of understanding of the financing constraints facing the distributor. Overseas distributors are often thinly capitalized (i.e., they don’t have much money to work with!) and are looking for substantial open account terms to match their cash flow cycle. Distributor cash flow cycle means what? Let’s say the overseas distributor places an order with your company, it takes 30 days to receive the goods, they spend 30 days getting the product out into the market, then they get paid by the retailer 30 days after that – we would call this a 90 day “distributor cash flow cycle” from the point of view of the U.S. company. But wait! Isn’t the 90 day distributor cash flow cycle the distributor’s problem – not ours?! Right?! No – this is very much the U.S. company’s problem too!

If this topic is of interest to you, I invite you to join me for a free 45-minute Webinar on December 2 at 9am PST to delve deeper into this issue, take a further look at the views of the Credit Manager, CFO, and CEO, and investigate how this all relates to and where we ultimately find a financing solution!

Brent Hoots is president of NaviTrade Structured Finance LLC (NaviTrade), a financial advisory and brokerage firm that specializes in helping U.S. and overseas companies and financial institutions finance international transactions, better manage overseas risks and marketing related issues, and achieve their global potential. He can be reached at (720) 841-6371 or by email at bhoots@navitrade.com.

I Am CMA, by Anne Mattson, Tropitone

Anne Mattson, Credit Manager, Tropitone
Anne Mattson, Credit Manager, Tropitone

“‘I am CMA’ covers a wide array of Why I will continue to support CMA with my membership and volunteer as a committee member.

CMA allows me 24-hour access to information on their website. I use their Encyclopedia of Credit as a tool for educating my staff on all aspects of credit, Bankruptcy laws, credit practices, document examples for collection etc. The teleconferences and Credit events held by CMA are educational, enjoyable and affordable for my entire department.

When assessing the potential risk of a new customer, some of the outside reporting agencies information may not be updated for 6-12 months. This allows for errors and potential high risk decisions which could lead to a bad debt write off. I am confident in using CMA’s RFIs and anscers reports, that the information provided is current and precise allowing me to make confident decisions lowering my companies’ risk.

My credit group through CMA has enabled me to continue invaluable relationships with peers in my industry. I have made friends for life who are professional, educated and respect the credit confidentiality as much as CMA does.

I AM CMA.”

Anne Mattson
Tropitone Credit Manager
21 years
“I Am CMA” is a Membership Committee driven initiative to allow members to share the most valuable aspects of their membership with CMA members. The monthly series explores CMA’s different programs and services and how they have helped members. With a full range of business credit services from Industry Credit Groups to credit reporting to construction forms filing services to collections to business insolvency, we hope the series will inspire you to utilize CMA more to help provide information to reduce your company’s overall risk.

For more information on the blogs, or to be featured, contact CMA Communications Manager Alan Dicker at 323-573-0840 or adicker@emailcma.org.

A Comparison of Credit Risk Mitigation Tools, by Buddy Baker

Note: this is one in a series of international blogs to help credit managers learn how to assess risk in foreign countries and expand their potential customer base.

Most CMA members don’t know me. I don’t make it to many CMA activities because I live in Chicago. But about a year ago, I joined CMA as a vendor member who provides credit-related services to CMA members.

I’d like to invite you to a short webinar I’ll be conducting on December 3. I think you’ll find the information to be useful and maybe even compelling. The webinar will be a review of multiple techniques for managing credit risk. Maybe you are familiar with all of them but never compared them side by side. I’ve attached a chart that should give you an idea of what I’ll be talking about.

You can sign up for the webinar here. http://www.anscers.com/upcomingevents.aspx?eventId=1840

Then, in January, I am planning to be in Los Angeles to conduct some classroom-style seminars on these techniques. If the webinar makes you decide you’d like to understand some of these techniques better or get some classroom practice at matching risks with risk-mitigation techniques, I hope you’ll come to one or more of these seminars. In addition to risk mitigation, one will be on structures for arranging financing for your domestic and international sales (much of which is built on the risk mitigation techniques). These seminars are not limited to CMA members, but CMA members will get a discount.

My objective is to provide education to Credit Managers. Information you can use. My experience-35 years of it-is as a banker and a credit insurer. I’m an expert in various techniques for managing credit risk and financing receivables, with particular expertise in export transactions. Please feel free to call me whenever you have a question about letters of credit or credit insurance or foreign exchange contracts.

And I look forward to getting to Los Angeles, and out of Chicago, in January.

Buddy Baker

Buddy Baker is president of Global Trade Risk Management Strategies, LLC, a consulting firm that specializes in providing education content to Credit Managers. Baker has 35 years of experience as a banker and a credit insurer, and is an expert in various techniques for managing credit risk and financing receivables, with particular expertise in export transactions. He can be reached at (847) 830-3038, or by email at buddy.baker@gtrisk.com.

How to Achieve Procurement from Using Foreign Trade Zones, by David Harlow

Note: this is one in a series of international blogs to help credit managers learn how to assess risk in foreign countries and expand their potential customer base.

A Foreign-Trade Zone is a secure, access-restricted, Customs & Border Protection privileged area in or near a U.S. port of entry where merchandise both foreign and domestic may be admitted, stored, exhibited, manipulated, temporarily removed, manufactured, or destroyed duty-free! Duties, certain user fees and taxes are only assessed on products that are transferred out of the FTZ and imported into the United States for consumption. Products that are transferred out of the FTZ and exported abroad are exempt from any duty, user fees or taxes

Benefits:
1. Duty Deferral – Duties are only paid when imported merchandise is entered into the U.S. Customs territory.

2. Duty Avoidance – There are no duties paid on merchandise that is exported from a FTZ, transferred to another zone or destroyed. This eliminates the need to manage costly and time-consuming Duty Drawback programs.

3. Weekly Entry – Customs allow for a weekly entry processing, which benefits importers because the Merchandise Processing Fees are capped at $485 on a weekly basis, versus per shipment basis.

4. Fee Deferral – Harbor Maintenance Fee is paid quarterly and in a single payment.

5. Enhanced Security – By using a FTZ, the “internal controls” requirements of section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act are met. Participants in the Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) program are eligible for additional benefits provided by Customs.

6. Expedited Logistics – relocating CHB to your facility and expedite the delivery to your facility without customs clearance. Potential savings is up to two days.

7. Ease of Paperwork – through automation of the FTZ, the paperwork submitted for receiving and the weekly entry program is greatly diminished with all parties and the processes for approval are expedited dramatically.

8. Manipulation – all manipulations are authorized and completed without physical Customs supervision. Goods are allowed to enter an FTZ and have the following manipulations: clean, repair, fix, improve in value, amend, exhibit, pick & pack, and many other functions.

If you’re interested in this topic, I encourage you to join me on December 1, 2015 for a free webinar on how you can use these trade zones to your company’s advantage. Register here: http://www.anscers.com/upcomingevents.aspx?eventId=1843

david harlow

David Harlow represents four of the nine Grantees in Southern California and assists regions, cities, and businesses with the implementation and oversight of the FTZ Program. Additionally, ITC provides services in eight different states while continuing to grow. ITC was founded in 2002 as an International Trade Consulting Firm and a second generation National Corporate Custom House Broker. ITC provides a unique blend of international trade related services to importers, exporters, manufacturers, distributors, public utilities, and local government, focusing on CBP and the Foreign Trade Zone. 

New International-Themed Webinar Series Announced to Help Members Think Global

Several international-themed webinars have been scheduled for early December in an effort to get CMA members to think globally.

The webinars, which will run 30 minutes each and are free for CMA members to attend, will take place December 1-3 at 9:00 AM PST. Descriptions for the webinars (and registration information) can be found at www.creditmanagementassociation.org/events.

  • December 1, 2015: How to Achieve Procurement From Using Foreign Trade Zones (Speaker: David Harlow, ITC-Diligence)
  • December 2, 2015: Financing Foreign Receivables (Speaker: Brent Hoots, NaviTrade)
  • December 3, 2015: Comparison of Credit Risk Mitigation Tools (Speaker: Buddy Baker, Global Trade Risk Management Strategies)

To echo the value of international education and resources to our members, CMA president and CEO Mike Mitchell dedicated his November blog to the topic.

For more information about these webinars or the CMA education program, contact Lisa Wong, CMA Member Relations Associate, at lwong@emailcma.org.

Fraud Tips – Don’t be a target this season, by Michael W. Fenner, CBA

Wow…it’s hard to believe the holidays are just around the corner. We all know this time of the year we need to be more vigilant in regard to protecting our assets. I wanted to take a few minutes and list some bullet points to think about so you can share with your teams. I don’t have all of the answers so feel free to share your experience as well. You know if we close any potential loop holes now we will save our companies some money and hopefully minimize any possible theft this holiday season. Let’s make sure we all review our credit policies with our team members today.

Below are some tips about accepting checks and or credit cards:

  • Know your customer. – Have you dealt with this person before? If not, it might be a sign.
  • Avoid taking credit card payments over the phone from customers you don’t know. – It’s hard to verify the identity of the person on the phone. Have them come in to verify them and swipe the card.
  • The customer won’t show their ID. – Call the company number on the check to verify the person, call the bank to see if the account is open or closed. Chances are something will come out of the additional questions you are asking.
  • Is the driver’s license preprinted on the check or prewritten on the check already? – Still take the time to review and verify the customer’s identification. They could be trying to slip one by you.
  • Is a rental truck picking up the material? – Notify your yard personnel to keep an eye out for customers loading material into rental trucks. This is a very common sign.
  • Are they not from your area? – Is there ID from San Diego but they are purchasing from you in Los Angeles? They may have a job in your area but keep an eye out for this one.
  • How is the customer acting, are they nervous? – Are they avoiding eye contact, are they acting suspicious, being pushy after a very simple request?
  • Does the e-mail address match up with the company name? – Double check to see if the e-mail address matches up with the information on the check and or credit card authorization form.
  • An out of the area phone number. – Do they have an area code that isn’t from your area. Take a second look and confirm.
  • If it doesn’t feel right it probably isn’t. – We all have that gut feeling at times. Have your teams contact your credit department if they are feeling uncomfortable.
  • Did I mention know your customer? – Always make sure you know who you are dealing with.

Fraud can hit us many different ways, but it always bites us. They are always persistent and unyielding and it doesn’t matter where you are from New York to California. At times they are highly organized and very sophisticated. And other times they are by themselves looking for an easy target. Don’t be an easy target. As always keep your eyes and ears open.

Thank you for taking a few minutes out of your busy schedule to read my blog.

Please remember we need you to support “your” credit association when you can and as always “thank you” for your support. I encourage you to send in any ideas to improve your credit association. Let me know your thoughts. I’d love to hear your feedback.

Michael W. Fenner, CBA, is the Credit Management Association Chairman and Regional Credit Manager for Beacon Roofing Supply. He can be reached at 714-321-8187, or mfenner@becn.com.

Theme, Hotel Registration Announced for CreditScape Spring Summit and Annual Meeting

CreditScape Spring Summit
CreditScape Spring Summit

Attendees of the 2016 Spring CreditScape Summit and Annual Meeting, which takes place March 24-25, 2016 at the Island Hotel in Newport Beach, will learn about the efficient digital credit department, according to CMA president and CEO Mike Mitchell. “We listened to feedback from Fall CreditScape attendees and members, and the survey results overwhelmingly suggested the topic should resonate with most credit managers today.”

While the session and speaker lineup is currently being developed, attendees can reserve their hotel rooms now at www.creditscapeconference.com.

More information about the event will be announced in a few weeks.

President’s Blog: It’s Time to Start Thinking Globally, By Mike Mitchell, President & CEO

How can you play and get paid in the global marketplace? Over the last two years, CMA has been exploring how member companies can grow export sales using a variety of credit and trade finance resources to mitigate the risk of selling into other countries.

Today, I am attending Discover Global Markets, a two-day export conference hosted by the U.S. Commercial Service, the trade promotion arm of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration (http://export.gov/discoverglobalmarkets). I am looking for information and insights I can bring back to the CMA membership.

In the meantime, we have many other resources that can help you sell into the global marketplace. CMA established a strategic alliance with the U.S. DOC’s Commercial Services because its trade professionals in over 100 U.S. cities and in more than 75 countries help U.S. companies get started in exporting or increase sales to new global markets (http://www.trade.gov/cs). Regional Director Richard Swanson recently participated in a panel discussion on international collections at CMA’s Fall CreditScape Summit, and he has provided CMA members with guidance on how to access U.S. government export resources in many other countries. You can also find all the basics at www.export.gov.

When you conduct international credit investigations, CMA recommends long-time partner Skyminder which offers reliable, up-to date information on millions of public and private companies worldwide. Details on how to find them are here.

CMA has three upcoming webinars before the end of the year that will give you more tools for exporting your products and securing your receivables.

  • December 1, 2015: How to Achieve Procurement Using Foreign Trade Zones (Free Webinar) 9:00 AM PST
  • December 2, 2015: Financing Foreign Receivables (Free Webinar) 9:00 AM PST
  • December 3, 2015: Comparison of Credit Risk Mitigation Tools (Free Webinar) 9:00 AM PST

Details on these can be found at http://www.anscers.com/upcomingevents.aspx

Is your company missing out on the other 95% of the world market? Stay tuned.

I Am CMA, by Jim Morrow, Davis Wholesale Electric

Jim Morrow - I AM CMA

“As a longtime CMA member, there are two services that I really value. The monthly credit exchange meetings from the Industry Credit Groups provide very valuable information. The accounts discussed may not be on your radar the day of the meeting but down the road a day, a week, or a month, you will have use for what was discussed at the meeting.

In addition to the information gained at the monthly credit exchange, I find the information on the ancsers group reports very valuable in day-to-day decisionmaking. You won’t find that information anywhere else.”

“I Am CMA” is a Membership Committee driven initiative to allow members to share the most valuable aspects of their membership with CMA members. The monthly series explores CMA’s different programs and services and how they have helped members. With a full range of business credit services from Industry Credit Groups to credit reporting to construction forms filing services to collections to business insolvency, we hope the series will inspire you to utilize CMA more to help provide information to reduce your company’s overall risk.

For more information on the blogs, or to be featured, contact CMA Communications Manager Alan Dicker at 323-573-0840 or adicker@emailcma.org.

CMA Member Darrell Horton, CICP, Runs For NACM National Board of Directors

CMA member (and former Chairman of the Board of Directors) Darrell Horton, CICP, of Aristocrat Inc. has announced his candidacy for the NACM National Board of Directors. Ballots for the NACM National Board will be sent out to all CMA members beginning today Monday October 12. If you didn’t receive your ballot, contact us at CMA and we’ll send you another one.

Horton, who has more than 30 years in the Credit profession, has been an active CMA member since 1992, and has served on various committees and has chaired two Industry Credit Groups and was a founding member of a new industry Credit group. In addition, he has served on the CMA Board of Directors since 2007 in various capacities including Director, Treasurer, Chair Elect, Chairman, Councilor and currently as Advisor. In 2015, he was named CMA Credit Executive of the Year.

 

Darrell Horton, CICP
Darrell Horton, CICP

 

“I believe one of the greatest challenges facing NACM and its affiliates today is membership and getting new credit managers involved and connected to realize the value of being in an organization such as NACM. I believe we need to find ways to communicate through the technological methods they prefer to be communicated to. Once they are comfortable with the communication they receive, they would be more open to attending a face-to-face meeting. I will continue to engage the ‘up-and-coming Credit Managers’ to determine what they value, need and demand from NACM both now and in the future. If given the opportunity to be a Director for the NACM, I will do my best to listen to and be a voice for the membership at large, as I feel that this is the responsibility of each and every director, manager, employee and even member of NACM,” Horton said.

Directors are elected for a term of three years following the date of election. Ballots will be mailed to the primary contact for each CMA member company.

Save the Date: Credit Management Association Announces CreditScape Spring Summit and Annual Meeting

— Expanded Two-Day Education Summit will be held March 24-25, 2016 in Newport Beach–

On the heels of its successful inaugural CreditScape Fall Summit in Las Vegas, Credit Management Association (CMA) has announced plans for an expanded Annual Meeting, which will include two days of focused credit management best practices training and workshops to help increase cash flow while reducing your company’s overall risk.

The CreditScape Spring Summit and Annual Meeting, March 24-25, 2016 at The Island hotel in Newport Beach, will feature two days of workshop training, expert practical and legal advice, and networking with other credit professionals.

“The Fall CreditScape event was born out of feedback from members who asked us for help with their collections processes. Survey results from the recent Fall event show that members appreciated learning from subject matter experts and seasoned credit professionals who shared their experiences through panel discussions and interactive workshops. We plan to take that feedback and build an even better program for the Spring,” said CMA President and CEO Mike Mitchell.

“CMA members are always looking for better ways to manage and maximize recovery of their receivables. We are weighing several options for the overall theme of the event, which the educational content will focus around,” Mitchell added. “And as we did in the Fall, we will incorporate the latest techniques in content delivery for adult learners to create a thought-provoking and practical meeting experience that produces valuable take-aways and sustained value for participants and their credit departments.”

Credit Management Association is currently developing the programming for the event, which is designed to propose best practices and methods to help companies increase their cash flow and reduce losses from their customers. Details about the program will be announced later this Fall.

In addition to the increased educational offerings at CreditScape, the event will also recognize the CMA Mentor of the Year, Student of the Year and Credit Executive of the Year.

The event will be preceded by the Credit Executive Symposium on March 23 at The Island Hotel. The one-day event for senior credit executives of national and global companies, offers facilitated discussions and workshops on the high-level and trending topics in credit management.

CreditScape Summits are offered in the Fall and in the Spring, focusing on different aspects of the Credit Management landscape. It is one in a series of in-person educational opportunities offered by Credit Management Association. To learn more about the other sessions and topics, visit www.creditmanagementassociation.org/events or call 800-541-2622.

Attendees Agree: CreditScape Fall Summit Was a Success

The CreditScape Fall Summit, an interactive learning seminar and workshop which took place September 17-18 at the Tropicana Las Vegas, was a success, according to preliminary survey results that were tabulated after the event.

Among the feedback received: “What key takeaways did I get? There were too many to list. There were takeaways from every single speaker.” Another attendee said, “I learned we need to use automation much more. We can start by using metrics.” Several other attendees mentioned that they’ve already recommended this event to a colleague.

Plans are already underway for a 2016 Spring CreditScape and Annual Meeting, March 24-25, 2016 at the Island Hotel in Newport Beach. Details about the event are forthcoming.

Thanks again to all who attended the event!

"Speed networking" event allowed attendees to discover services that can help them "prevent collections" at the 2015 CreditScape Fall Summit.
“Speed networking” event allowed attendees to discover services that can help them “prevent collections” at the 2015 CreditScape Fall Summit.

The power of “WE” (not just “ME”) submitting your company’s full A/R, by Michael W. Fenner, CBA

Submitting your company’s full A/R has been talked about quite a bit this summer. There is a reason for that…it’s important. I wanted to take a minute to point out the value and personally ask for your support in this request. You know, the more companies that contribute, the more people that will benefit. If you contribute, your company will have an advantage. Besides, with today’s web-based technology, it’s very simple, fast, and secure to do. Let’s all support Credit Management Association and contribute our full A/R’s so we can all make better business decisions.

Below are a few bullet points as to the value of submitting your full A/R:

  • Reference Information – Trade experience will be available to you right away. No need to wait for faxes any longer.
  • Supports NACM and CMA – This contribution will support the National Trade Credit Report (NTCR) as well as members at Credit Management Association.
  • Easy to Contribute – Most of us already submit to our Industry Trade Groups. You can use the same format such as Excel to contribute your full A/R and send it right off to CMA.
  • Informed Decisions – You will be able to approve credit applications in a timely manner with current up-to-date information. This will also help you with updating accounts, when those big orders come in at the 11 hour. This happens to all of us.
  • Supports Well Established Customers – Members will be able to support their good paying customers and everyone will know who is consistently paying on time.
  • No Need to Respond to RFI or Group Lists – This will save time and money as contributors’ information will automatically be added to the Anscers database. This is a nice feature. Additionally, this will also strengthen your Industry Credit Group.
  • Reports Delinquent Customers – Members will know who isn’t paying regularly month in and month out.
  • CMA President Mike Mitchell has offered an incentive – Beginning October 1, members who support the NTCR program with their monthly accounts receivable contributions will get 25 free NTCR reports annually and receive a discounted price of $9.95 per report over and above those 25 free reports. To get complete details please go here.

And, as always, Credit Management Association is here for YOU! Make sure you talk to your leaders to see if you can take advantage of this benefit. You can’t go wrong. Thank you for taking a few minutes out of your busy schedule to read this blog.

Please remember we need you to support “your” credit association when you can and as always “thank you” for your support. I encourage you to send in any ideas to improve your credit association. Let me know your thoughts. I’d love to hear your feedback.

Michael W. Fenner, CBA, is the Credit Management Association Chairman and Regional Credit Manager for Beacon Roofing Supply. He can be reached at 714-321-8187, or mfenner@becn.com.

CMA Launches New “I Am CMA” Blog Series

CMA, through the input of its Membership Committee, has launched a new campaign to allow members to share the most valuable aspects of their membership with CMA members.

Titled “I Am CMA,” the series will explore CMA’s different programs and services and how they have helped members. The first blog will appear at CreditManagementAssociation.org in October.

With business credit services ranging from Industry Credit Groups to credit reporting to construction forms filing services to collections to business insolvency, we hope the series will inspire you to utilize CMA more to help provide information to reduce your company’s overall risk.

For more information on the blogs, or to be featured, contact CMA Communications Manager Alan Dicker at 323-573-0840 or adicker@emailcma.org. We hope you enjoy the series.

Pepsico joins Supplier Risk Group

Pepsico

Pepsico is the latest company to join CMA’s Supplier Risk Management Group.

The Group, which is one of 60 Industry Credit Groups that CMA offers, provides resources for learning the best practices and techniques to evaluate your suppliers.

Pepsico joins other participants in the group including Nestle USA, Aryzta, Ventura Foods, Silgan Containers, and others.

For more information about joining, and the types of conversations that happen in the group, contact Larry Convoy at 818-972-5323 or lconvoy@emailcma.org.

Suppliers Accepting Credit Card-Present Payments Take Heed To Adopt New Technology By October 1, 2015 Or Bear Risk Of Fraud Loss, By Scott Blakeley

The Wall Street Journal reports that credit card use in the B2B space continues to increase as a preferred payment channel for customers. Suppliers accepting cards in the B2B space commonly receive payment through card not present forms, whether through payment portal, email, fax or over the phone. For those suppliers that accept cards in the cardholder’s presence, card issuers are changing card acceptance rules to give cardholders greater protections from identity theft.

“Chip and pin” or “smart cards” are credit or debit cards that store data on integrated circuits rather than on traditional magnetic stripes. The transition to “chip and pin” or “smart card” technology is now largely underway in the United States. The transition is being assisted by the shift in liability for card-present fraud that will be implemented on October 1, 2015.

Currently, if an in-store transaction is conducted using a card obtained fraudulently, cardholder losses from that transaction lie with the payment processor or issuing bank. From October onwards, that liability will shift to the supplier that has not changed its system to accept chip technology. If a customer uses a chip card, the failure to update the card reader may permit a counterfeit card to be successfully used. In that scenario, the supplier will bear the cost of the fraud. Again, the supplier will only be responsible for the cost of the fraud if the fraudulent transaction is a card-present transaction.

The major benefit of using a “chip and pin” payment card, and what compelled the US to migrate its cardholders to the new generation of cards, is improved security and fraud reduction. Whereas magnetic stripe card transactions rely on the holder’s signature and visual inspection of the card, the use of a PIN and cryptographic algorithms provide authentication of the card to the processing terminal and the card issuer’s host system.

The identity of the cardholder is confirmed by requiring the entry of a personal identification number (PIN) rather than signing a paper receipt. Unlike magnetic-stripe cards, every time a smart card is used for payment, the card chip creates a unique transaction code that cannot be used again. This eliminates the possibility of card duplication fraud as the transaction code becomes obsolete and cannot be used in further transactions.

While much of the rest of the world has already been using “chip and pin” cards for several years, the US is now committing to migrate its credit card use to this more secure format. There is a historical viewpoint regarding the reason for this delay by the US in updating its credit card technology standards. In the past, fraud was much more prominent in markets outside of the US. What has happened, especially over the course of the past few years, is that since other markets have migrated to “chip and pin” cards and become more secure, fraudsters have moved their focus to the US market. Essentially, they came to the US market because they were looking for less secure networks from which to steal fraudulent credit card information.

For suppliers in card-present transactions, the switch to this technology means adding new in-store technology and internal processing systems, and complying with new liability rules. For cardholders, it means activating new cards and learning new payment processes. And for the supplier and cardholder, it means a more secure form of payment by credit card, and fewer opportunities for fraud to occur. As the credit team is responsible for managing risk, including risk of fraud with payment channels, the credit team must prioritize compliance with this new technology within the organization for card-present transactions.
Scott Blakeley is a principal with Blakeley LLP, where he practices creditors’ rights and bankruptcy. His e-mail is: seb@blakeleyllp.com.

What Credit & Collections Professionals Can Learn from Football Coaches, by Mark Wilson

With the NFL season officially underway, let’s take a moment to explore what Accounts Receivable departments can learn from coaches, especially when it comes to the season’s biggest game changer: analytics.

As a credit and collections professional, take a look at the metrics you’re currently tracking. Throughout my years as a consultative resource for AR departments, I’ve found that most companies spend most of their time focusing on DSO and maybe how much they wrote off as uncollectible. Don’t get me wrong, tracking how fast you get paid is important. If collecting money was a game, DSO would be the score. But if that’s all you’re measuring, you’re not properly leading your team.

Let’s think about this from the perspective of a football coach. When evaluating a team’s performance, coaches look at many other stats beyond the final score. Tracking things like rushing yards, turnovers, quarterback ratings, third-down efficiency, help identify areas that need to be improved upon as well as potential opportunities. All of these ultimately feed into the final score and the overall success of the season.

Within accounts receivable, we need to go beyond DSO. Tracking underlying metrics allows companies to evaluate individual performance, uncover potential process improvements, gain valuable insights, and of course leads to an improvement in DSO.

If you’re interested in diving deeper to improve your team’s performance but are unsure of what metrics to track, this AR Analytics Playbook can provide some insight on six simple, yet effective metrics that every financial executive should be tracking. By leveraging these metrics, your company is guaranteed to improve customer relations, reduce administrative costs, and get paid faster.

I encourage you to learn more by downloading the AR Analytics Playbook today.

Mark Wilson, a former CFO, is the President of TermSync, a cloud-based accounts receivable software company owned by Esker, Inc.

We Saw it Coming, by Larry Convoy

Recently, one of my Industry Credit Groups experienced 3 bankruptcies in less than 48 hours. One of these was an East Coast account that only 2 members were selling with minimal exposure so their losses were small. The other 2 were long-established accounts.

Since I always preach that the 1st alert posted should never be the BK notice, I decided to do some research to see if my words had made an impact. Over the last 5 months, the following alerts were posted on one of the BK accounts:

1. 5 months ago: slowing, now 60-90, $32K past due
2. 4 months ago: customer states they are waiting for Bank Loan
3. 3.5 months ago: customer not returning calls, changed to cod
4. 2 months ago: placed for collection, have personnel guarantee
5. This week: company filed chapter 11,

The alerts must have worked because the anscers report over that period of time showed the other suppliers reacting to these postings and dramatically reducing their exposure.

Group members were given advanced warning on the second BK with postings such as a Mechanics Lien filed, shop account closed, contractor removed from job. Again, you could see the exposure trending down over that period as members reacted to the alerts.

Years ago, group members were mailed pink reports every 2 weeks listing the NSF checks and other pertinent news. It seemed efficient then. Today, the group can be notified in seconds of any problem with a customer.

The only flaw in the system is that members must be pro-active. Most groups have a small but dedicated group of individuals that seem to provide 90% of the alerts. To prevent losses, you need every member looking for opportunities to report a change in payment habits. Encourage your group to utilize this service.

Somewhere, there is an alert waiting to be posted that will save your company $$$$ and help you manage risk. Let’s be sure you see it.

Larry Convoy
Lead Group Facilitator

An Incentive When You Submit Your Full A/R Data, by Mike Mitchell

Dear CMA Member,

A few months ago, I requested additional support for the NACM national trade credit report (NTCR) in the form of accounts receivable data contributions from our members. I am happy to report that we have 8 new contributors and are working with other members that have expressed interest in contributing. Currently, there are 140 members that participate in the data contribution program. We have come a long way since we started this program 5 years ago, but we need to continue growing contributions to meet the increased NACM contribution requirements.

Remember, access to the NTCR has always been and will continue to be an exclusive benefit of your membership in CMA/NACM and we hope that you will continue to see it as a unique and increasingly valuable tool for investigating and managing your customer relationships. Our commitment to this resource means that we will continue to ask for data contributions. Please contact Lisa Wong at lwong@emailcma.org if you are interested in adding your contribution.

Beginning October 1, we would like to thank our members who support the NTCR program with their monthly accounts receivable contributions by continuing to offer 25 free NTCR reports annually. Data contributors also will continue to receive the discounted price of $9.95 per report when they need more than 25 reports annually. In order to continue to invest in this effort, we have decided to remove 15 free reports from the CMA membership package, and we will ask members that cannot support the NTCR program with data contributions to support the program by paying the standard $14.95 per report fee for all NTCR reports.

We understand that some companies are willing but simply unable to contribute data. If you do not contribute your full accounts receivable file to CMA or another NACM affiliate, and you currently use or think you might use more than 15 NTCR reports annually, we are happy to offer discount pricing on an annual commitment basis. For more information on CMA’s reporting services, contact Terry Campos at tcampos@emailcma.org.
Respectfully,

Mike Mitchell, President and CEO
CREDIT MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATION

CMA Congratulates Recent NACM-Certified Professionals

 

CMA Congratulates Recent NACM-Certified Professionals

Several CMA member individuals recently passed their NACM-certified professional certification exam, demonstrating standards of professional excellence.

BURBANK, CA (September 2, 2015)–The NACM professional certification program, sponsored by the National Association of Credit Management, has helped define and establish professional standards in this demanding and rapidly changing field, and fosters recognition of those individuals who possess special expertise. Among credit management professionals, the professional certification program is respected and appreciated. Not only is participation in the program a mark of distinction throughout the profession, but it offers expanded knowledge of the credit profession, better career opportunities, heightened professional recognition, and demonstration of standards of professional excellence.

Congratulations to the following Designees who passed their NACM-Certified Professional Certification exam on July 27.

• Todd Whiteside, CBF – E & J Gallo Winery
• Michael Nguyen, CCE – Ferguson
• Kimberly Wagenman, CBA – Cascade
• Bertha Pedulla, CBA – HD Smith
• Adam Moreno, CBA – Helena Chemical

For those who are interested in obtaining their certifications, a free informational webinar explaining the benefits of the designation program has been scheduled for September 30. In conjunction with this webinar, CMA has scheduled its Fall courses for the Credit Business Associate (CBA) program. The three courses needed to qualify to take the exam are Business Credit Principles (10-week course that begins Sept. 21), Financial Statement Analysis 1 (6-week course that begins October 6) and Basic Financial Accounting (start date TBD).

Additionally, students who are interested in the Credit Business Fellow (CBF) certification and have obtained their CBA can sign up for Business Law course on October 7. For more information on the programs, and to sign up for classes, visit http://www.anscers.com/upcomingevents.aspx. This is the last time these courses will be offered until next Spring.

For more information on how to achieve your Designations, please contact Lisa Wong, Member Representative Associate at (951) 672-0581, or lwong@emailcma.org.

Again, congratulations for your achievements!
# # #

 

Media Contact: Alan Dicker, adicker@emailcma.org

Does your credit department need a Tune-up? By Michael W. Fenner, CBA

As August winds down and your teams are returning from their summer vacations hopefully, things are returning back to normal. This may now give you the opportunity to review the services you currently use in your credit departments today.

As our vehicles need tune-ups so do our credit departments from time to time. As an example, are you taking advantage of your industry credit group (ICG)? Is there not a specific ICG for you and you would like to start one? Is your current collection agency “getting it done for you”? Do you have the need to file preliminary notices in your industry? Would you like to get started and or continue on with your professional credit certification? How about adding an additional credit report to your credit approval process? What can the business insolvency service do for you? Do you even know CMA offers payment services and deduction management? You may be looking for an association to do it all for you, replace an existing service and or supplement the current services you use today. Either way Credit Management Association is here for YOU!

Below is a quick look at what Credit Management Association has to offer:

  • Industry Credit Groups – With 60 current groups’ network and share factual information timely and get responses promptly with other group members so you can make educated decisions with your new accounts and or your current A/R.
  • Business Insolvency – Let CMA help your customers with other alternatives other than filing for bankruptcy with less publicity, cost and time.
  • AGA Collections – AGA offers nationwide service, reasonable rates, excellent communication and they collect the money too.
  • Business Credit Reports – They offer the AnscersX commercial report, NACM national trade report, as well as DNBi, Equifax and Experian. Additionally, they offer consumer reports and international reports as well.
  • Construction Forms Filing – Accurate and cost effective construction forms filing in all 50 states.
  • Education (Professional Development) – quite a few options from the CreditScape fall summit, online courses, live and recorded webinars, and the ability to get your Professional Credit Certification all in one place.
  • Payment Services – Through United TranzActions…check guarantee, ACH processing (including Canada), online bill pay, credit card merchant services, virtual lockbox and more.
  • Deduction Management – With IBA Solutions expertise they will be able to assist you with your deduction and A/R management.

Add the Anscers website to stay on top of all of your services and now have it all. You can’t go wrong. Please take a few minutes to logon to the CMA website to see all that is available to you http://creditmanagementassociation.org/ look under the services tab to get details for the bullet points above.

Please remember we need you to support “your” credit association when you can and as always “thank you” for your support and I encourage you to send in any ideas to improve your credit association. Let me know your thoughts. I’d love to hear your feedback.

Michael W. Fenner, CBA, is the Credit Management Association Chairman and Regional Credit Manager for Beacon Roofing Supply. He can be reached at 714-321-8187, or mfenner@becn.com.

Why A/R Analytics Matter, by Mark Wilson

In today’s business world, virtually every department in every company uses analytics to create efficiencies, make better decisions, and improve results. For example, a sales manager is no longer basing the sales team’s success solely on the number of sales made—that person is utilizing technology that looks at a number of metrics beyond those final sales. Why? For multiple reasons. Analytics can provide any business area with information that helps them stay competitive, streamline processes, hold their team accountable, and keep their customers satisfied.

Credit and collections teams should be utilizing this same type of technology to track metrics relating to their business area, however two obstacles often arise: (1) many credit professionals don’t know this technology even exists, and (2) those that do know it exists assume that implementation is an expensive and grueling process that requires a lot of IT support.

So, what if you had an easy way to go beyond DSO and track metrics that will transform your company’s A/R into a strategic and value-driven operation? Would you be interested? What metrics would matter? What if there was a free trial of a software that would let you do this so that you could decide if this was a valuable tool?

My company, TermSync, offers a cost-effective accounts receivable software, that is easy to integrate and use. By offering a program exclusive to CMA members, we’d like to make it even easier for you to track important AR metrics. CMA members can use TermSync for FREE until the end of 2015 if you sign up before September 30.

As a Preferred Partner with NACM National, the TermSync team has come to realize how innovative NACM members are and how much they really care about improving their credit and collection processes, especially those in the CMA chapter.

If you’re interested in learning more, join our free webinar on Thursday, September 10, at 9am PST surrounding The 6 Metrics You Should Be Tracking to Guarantee Success. Register here!

Mark Wilson, a former CFO, is the President of TermSync, a cloud-based accounts receivable software company owned by Esker, Inc. Mark will present this topic at his webinar on September 10. Register here.

What to Do When You’ve Reviewed and Rejected a Request For Open Account Terms, by Michael C. Dennis

Let’s assume you have received and reviewed and rejected a request for open account terms from an applicant company. What would you do if that applicant called and demanded to know the specific reason for your decision? Would you:

  • Ignore the request, or
  • Might you offer a response such as this: “Your company does not meet our credit granting criteria”, or
  • Would you provide a more detailed explanation (and if so what information would you provide)

I think the answer is in part an internal policy issue, and in part a legal question based on relevant federal and state laws. I assume each of us has a process for handling this question from an angry applicant. I would be interested to know your process and your rationale for it.

This topic will be covered at the upcoming CreditScape Fall Summit, September 17-18 at the Tropicana in Las Vegas. For more information about the conference, visit www.creditscapeconference.com. I hope to see you there.

Michael C. Dennis is the author of the Encyclopedia of Credit, a free, fast, internet resource for credit and collection professionals. He is a frequent instructor at CMA-sponsored educational events. His most recent book, “Happy Customers, Faster Cash,” is available at amazon.com. He can be contacted at 408-204-0129.

Can the Credit Department Reduce (or Withdraw) Open Account Terms?, by Michael C. Dennis

In business-to-business credit granting, can the credit department withdraw or reduce open account terms at any time for any reason or for no reason? I think most people would say ‘Yes’. In my opinion, the answer is ‘Maybe’. For example:

  • You cannot reduce or withdraw open account terms if the decision to do so is based on factors including Race, Religion, Age, or Sexual Orientation.
  • You cannot reduce or eliminate open account terms if there is a law that prevents you from doing.

You might respond that this is not the case in the United States. Assuming that is true, my question is this: Are there laws limiting your right reduce the credit limit in the other countries in which you do business?

If you have a contract with a customer that limits or prevents you from taking unilateral action in connection with lowering the credit limit, then obviously the actions of the credit department in this regard are constrained.

What are your opinions of this subject? As always, I welcome your feedback.

This topic will be covered at the upcoming CreditScape Fall Summit, September 17-18 at the Tropicana in Las Vegas. For more information about the conference, visit www.creditscapeconference.com. I hope to see you there.

Michael C. Dennis is the author of the Encyclopedia of Credit, a free, fast, internet resource for credit and collection professionals. He is a frequent instructor at CMA-sponsored educational events. His most recent book, “Happy Customers, Faster Cash,” is available at amazon.com. He can be contacted at 949-584-9685.

What a Collections Professional Should Know Before Picking Up the Phone, by Michael C. Dennis

Debt collections fall broadly into two categories: Consumer collections, and Commercial collections. Consumer collections involve collection activities between a business and a consumer. Consumer collections are highly regulated. These laws are intended to protect consumers from overly aggressive or deceptive practices used against inexperienced and unsophisticated consumers.

Commercial collection deals with debts owed by one business to another. Commercial collection is largely regulated. Why? Because it is assumed that businesses are sophisticated enough to understand their rights when dealing with a creditor.

The laws, rules and regulations governing credit and collection activities change dramatically based on whether the debtor is (a) a consumer or (b) a customer. In my opinion, the collector must have a thorough understanding of the regulations and laws governing debt collection activities before ever picking up the phone.
Are your activities in full compliance with state and local laws? If you sell internationally, are your collection efforts permissible or unlawful in the countries in which your company sells products? Do you know what laws govern your collection activities? I look forward to your comments.

This topic will be covered at the upcoming CreditScape Fall Summit, September 17-18 at the Tropicana in Las Vegas. For more information about the conference, visit www.creditscapeconference.com. I hope to see you there.

Michael C. Dennis is the author of the Encyclopedia of Credit (www.encyclopediaofcredit.com), a free, fast, internet resource for credit and collection professionals. He is a frequent instructor at CMA-sponsored educational events. His most recent book, “Happy Customers, Faster Cash,” is available at amazon.com. He can be contacted at 949-584-9685.

Thank you, Dina Amadril!

CMA management and staff would like to say “Thank You” to longtime Credit Management Association staff member Dina Amadril for her 25-plus years of service with CMA. Dina recently left CMA to pursue her passion, making ice cream at her new business, the Long Beach Creamery in Long Beach, CA.

During her time at CMA, she has worked in collections, customer service, technology management and marketing, and for the past 10 years she’s served as the association’s Director of Marketing. Among her countless contributions to CMA and its members is the anscers.com website, which she was instrumental in building from its inception, along with many takeaways and activities at CMA events, other websites such as EncyclopediaofCredit.com and CreditManagementAssociation.org, and interactions with countless members at CMA functions and group meetings.

Thanks again for everything, Dina, and best wishes in your new business.

Dina Amadril dina 3-5 dina 4-5 dina and jodi 2004 dina get on track IMG_8100e

When To Place Your Collections With a Third-Party Agency,  By Sam Fensterstock

As a 25-year veteran of the Credit and Collections industry and now with a primary focus in third-party collections, one of the most frequent discussions I have recently had with both collection industry peers, clients and prospects is what is the appropriate third-party collection placement strategy for a B2B company?  What constitutes serious delinquency? How long after invoices go past due has the customer reached the “point of no return” and should be placed with an outside agency?  What is the optimal placement policy that ensures the highest possible recoveries?

In a typical credit and collection department, accounts are considered actionably delinquent somewhere between being 30 to 60 days past the due date. In the real world, if an account is a few days late, often your collectors are not going to hassle the customer too much for fear of upsetting your relationship with them. If you have implemented risk-based collections and are using an order-to-cash workflow solution you probably have strategies designed to auto-treat many of these customers.

However, at 30 days past due your collection strategy probably directs your collectors to call the customer and try to collect the receivable. But, most companies will not start really squeezing their accounts, until they are 45-60 days past due. At that time, depending on the organization of the credit and collection department and their resources, delinquent customers are likely to be turned over to the internal collection team who will begin to initiate recovery procedures.

Now let’s look at this from the viewpoint of a typical internal collector who is responsible for managing an account portfolio, all of which are in various stages of delinquency. The collector’s goal is to collect as much as they can and our experience says that accounts that are most current are the ones most likely to pay and will get the primary focus. As noted above, the older an account gets the lower the probability they are going to pay and as accounts age one of two things is going to happen, either they will eventually pay or they won’t. Accounts that don’t pay, as they age, will continue to become harder to collect and given your current collection environment will these severely delinquent customers continue to get the collection focus they need?

If you look at the percentage of a delinquent portfolio recovered by your collectors as a function of days past due, you will most likely see an extremely skewed distribution. When a delinquent customer is initially turned over to the internal collections team, the recoveries during the period until the accounts are 120 days past due will be material. Perhaps 50% of the initial value will be recovered. But, after 120 days almost nothing additional is likely to be collected. And the main reason for this is that given most companies collection resources, collectors are not actively working the older accounts, but focusing instead, on the more current accounts that are the easiest to collect. This practice means that the un-collected delinquent accounts will continue to age and a drag on your balance sheet.

Given this scenario happens so often, why do so many companies wait until an account is 180 days past due or even older before turning it over to a collection agency? It just doesn’t make any sense.

Take in mind that accounts turned over to a collection agency have first been handled by a company’s collection department usually for at least 90 to 120 days – unsuccessfully. But a good collection agency will eventually recover 30%-50% of those receivable.  Why? Because an agency is an expert in handling these types of accounts and they don’t cherry pick based on age or dollar amount, they work them all. That’s why you can expect the types of recovery % mentioned above even on accounts that have been turned over even at 210 days past due. However, if the accounts are turned over sooner say at 90 to 120 days past due, the collection rate may go even higher.  It a proven industry fact, holding on to delinquent receivables for too long will cost your company money.

As a participant at the upcoming CreditScape Fall Summit, September 17-18 at the Tropicana in Las Vegas, I will address this topic in much more detail. For more information about the conference, visit www.creditscapeconference.com. I hope to see you there.

Sam Fensterstock is senior VP of Business Development for AG Adjustments. He will be participating in a panel discussion on Collections Compliance and Best Practices at the upcoming CreditScape Fall Summit, and can be reached at samf@agaltd.com.

Why It’s Worth Leaving the Office to Attend the CreditScape Fall Summit, by Michael W. Fenner, CBA

As we are all busy at our desks this summer with increased sales, dealing with coverage issues due to family summer vacations, etc., let’s take a minute to think about where we are all at with our current positions. Don’t we all want to stay up-to-date with the latest best practices in collections? Or maybe you have a new employee just starting out in credit who needs to learn the collection basics. How about that one person in your department that’s been around for awhile and needs to brush up on their skills. I might suggest that you and your credit team take advantage of attending the CreditScape Fall Summit, hosted by AG Adjustments and Credit Management Association.

This is something new and different this year. Let’s take a look at some of the items that stood out to me:

  • All Levels of Expertise Welcome – Good for beginners to experts in your department.
  • Roundtable Experience – This will not be a classroom setup as usual; it will be a roundtable interactive workshop (with limited participants) so you all can look each other in the eye and share valuable insights.
  • Focusing on Collections – This Summit will be all about collections. techniques, third-party processes, best practices, fraud prevention, collection results, strategies, international collections to name a few.
  • Convenient Location – This will be at the Tropicana Hotel in Las Vegas, well priced to save on flight and hotel costs.

The event information is as follows:

Date: September 17-18 2015 (from 10:30 am Thursday through 2:00 pm Friday afternoon)…Location: Tropicana Hotel 3801 South Las Vegas Blvd. Las Vegas NV 89109 (discount rates available)…Cost: $495 for CMA members and $595 for non-members… To register go to www.creditscapeconference.com

We all know how it is important to stay up-to-date with our education. And finding the time to go to these events can be hard too. Invest in your team, and challenge them to improve and grow. This program will be packed with information and has many excellent speakers too. I would highly recommend it.

Please take a few minutes to read through the program highlights to answer all of your questions.

Make sure you encourage your teams, support CMA your association, and network with old friends and make some new ones too. Team up with your colleagues and learn together. Then bring back your experiences to incorporate into your jobs. Let me know your thoughts. I’d love to hear your feedback.

Michael W. Fenner, CBA, is the Credit Management Association Chairman and Regional Credit Manager for Beacon Roofing Supply. He can be reached at 714-321-8187, or mfenner@becn.com.

The Advantages (and Disadvantages) of Accepting Credit Card Payments, by Scott Blakeley, Esq.

Customers in the B2B space are increasingly using credit cards to pay supplier invoices. The upside for the cardholder and paying customer is the 30 extra days to pay the cardholder statement that includes the supplier’s invoice. Cards also reduce paperwork and allow the customer to eliminate the time and cost of processing A/P checks. The upside for suppliers is that payment by credit card means near immediate remittance, reduced credit approval and collection activities, reduced credit and bankruptcy risk, and new sales channels (attracting customers who otherwise may not qualify for terms). Further, by accepting cards only when the order is placed, the supplier also enjoys increased cash flow, improved DSO and reduced A/R.

Still, there are complications involved with accepting credit cards in the B2B space. One area where suppliers may have particular legal questions surrounding their policy concerning credit cards is in collections, particularly in suppliers using credit cards as a collection strategy on past-due accounts.

As a speaker at the upcoming CreditScape Fall Summit in Las Vegas, I will address the use of credit cards as a supplier collection strategy in scenarios where the customer has failed to pay. I will cover the rules of the supplier accepting credit card payments on past due invoices from a customer who cannot pay. The discussion will also include the possibility of a surcharge rollout, and the legal issues associated with surcharging the credit card using customer, including how handle the 2-4% interchange fee that credit card companies charge their customers.

Join me as we cover this topic in much more detail at the upcoming CreditScape Fall Summit, September 17-18 at the Tropicana in Las Vegas. For more information about the conference, visit www.creditscapeconference.com. I hope to see you there.
Scott Blakeley, Esq., is founder of Blakeley LLP, where he advises companies around the United States and Canada regarding creditors’ rights, commercial law, e-commerce and bankruptcy law. He will be speaking at the upcoming CreditScape Fall Summit, and can be reached at seb@blakeleyllp.com.

To Cash or Not to Cash? How to Handle “Payment-in-Full” Checks, by Christopher Eric Ng, Esq.

What should you do when you receive a check from a customer for an amount less than your total claim, but the check is marked with a “payment in full” or similar restrictive notation? Should you return the check to the debtor? Or can you simply cross out the “payment in full” language, deposit the check and pursue the unpaid balance? And what if you use a lockbox to handle the numerous checks you receive and those checks are deposited before you see them?

The answer to this question depends on what state law applies to your customer’s account. In the vast majority of states, if you are not willing to accept the amount of a “payment in full” check, the only safe action is to return the unnegotiated check. If you have accidentally negotiated a restricted check, many state laws give you a period of time (e.g., 90 days) to return the funds to the debtor to avoid an “accord and satisfaction” (the acceptance of a certain sum as payment for the entire disputed amount) of the claim. Finally, even if you have negotiated a “payment in full” check, you may be able to avoid waiving your right to pursue the balance if the debt was undisputed, or if the debtor did not act in good faith.

Creditors that want to expansively address the problem of inadvertently accepting “payments in full,” resulting in an unintended accord and satisfaction, can create and conspicuously designate a “debt dispute office” in credit agreements and invoices to customers. If such a debt dispute office procedure is appropriately implemented, an accord and satisfaction will not be established unless a person who is charged with the responsibility of dealing with such issues makes a knowing, affirmative decision to accept the partial payment. If such a procedure is not established, creditors should implement an alternative process to identify all partial payments made by a customer that could result in an inadvertent accord and satisfaction within 90 days from the date payment is received.

It goes without saying that it is imperative that you understand the applicable state law, consider including a favorable governing law provision in your credit and sales agreements and consult with an experienced commercial attorney regarding your particular situation. If this topic has piqued your interest and you want more information, please read Christopher Ng’s complete LinkedIn blog post at https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/cash-cashhow-handle-payment-full-check-christopher-ng?

Join me as we cover this topic in much more detail at the upcoming CreditScape Fall Summit, September 17-18 at the Tropicana in Las Vegas. For more information about the conference, visit www.creditscapeconference.com. I hope to see you there.

Christopher Eric Ng, Esq. is a Partner of Gibbs Giden, Los Angeles, CA, and will be speaking at the upcoming CreditScape Fall Summit. He can be reached at cng@gibbsgiden.com.

International Business — How Understanding Culture Will Help You Get Paid, by Eddy Sumar

When someone signs a contract to do business with your company, you allow them to do so with the expectation that they will pay you. In the U.S., there are laws that help protect your assets to ensure that the contract is enforceable, but what happens when you’re dealing with foreign nations? Are there resources (like the government) that can help when your customer doesn’t pay?

In this global economy, there are ingredients to succeeding in getting paid internationally. One of the key factors that I always recommend to my clients is to make sure you understand the culture of any company you’re selling to overseas. For instance, there are many cultures that have a strong family element to them. In some of those cultures, it is probable that the person who answers the phone is a daughter/son/spouse of the company owner. If that person has a negative experience with you (even if it’s perceived), you may never get to talk to the owner to enforce your contract and get paid.

There are plenty of other resources that can help as well. Join me as we cover this topic in detail at the upcoming CreditScape Fall Summit, September 17-18 at the Tropicana in Las Vegas. For more information about the conference, visit www.creditscapeconference.com. I hope to see you there.

Eddy A. Sumar is the President & Founder of ERS Consulting Services. He is also the director of education and community outreach for CMA, and will be speaking at the upcoming CreditScape Fall Summit. He can be reached at 909-481-9869 or ealberto@aol.com.

Using Predictive Analysis to Create Collection Management Strategies, by Christopher Rios

Traditionally, debt collection involved little more than picking up the phone and convincing the debtor why they need to pay for the products/services sooner rather than later. Today, credit and collection professionals are being asked to adopt more sophisticated techniques. One of the newer techniques utilizes predictive analytics to create collection management strategies. Predictive analytics permits creditors to identify at-risk A/R and focuses collection efforts on those customers with the greatest propensity for paying slow. This combination of historical AR data and predictive attributes will allow creditor companies to review and optimize their resource allocation, provide improved customer service, and to accelerate cash inflows. By doing so, creditor companies potentially reduce unnecessary costs across the credit to cash cycle and accelerate payments from high risk customers.

Inevitably, even the best collection strategies fall short at times. An organization’s fail-safe shouldn’t be to write off uncollectible receivables against its bad debt provision and move on. What is sometimes overlooked is the need for and the benefit of having a robust third party process for dealing with debtors that cannot or will not pay. Third party strategies should include bankruptcy administration, pre-litigation, litigation and mediation strategies.

Establishing a solid process that provides prescriptive treatment for dealing with non-paying, financially distressed customers will help creditor companies maximize the benefits of the third party services being provided. Ensuring you’re maximizing your return on investment and increasing the chances of recovering unpaid accounts receivable are two benefits of partnering with the right service provider.

This topic will be covered at the upcoming CreditScape Fall Summit, September 17-18 at the Tropicana in Las Vegas as I lead the discussion on creating a robust third-party collections process. For more information about the conference, visit www.creditscapeconference.com. I hope to see you there.

Christopher Rios is the Group Leader – Finance Operations for Dun & Bradstreet. He will be speaking at the CreditScape Fall Summit, September 17-18, at the Tropicana in Las Vegas.

Can Anyone’s Signature Make a Credit Application Enforceable?, by Michael C. Dennis

Can anyone sign a contract? Most people agree the answer to this question is No. For example, most people acknowledge that a Minor [someone under 18] cannot sign a valid, enforceable contract. So… who can sign a valid, enforceable contract on behalf of a customer? More specifically, who can sign a valid credit application on behalf of a business?

There are several requirements for creating a valid legal contract. One of the most important to credit professionals involves the idea of contractual authority. To be enforceable, the person signing the credit application must have authority to do so. What constitutes authority to do so? This question can be answered this way: Credit professionals often need to rely on the concept of ‘apparent authority.’ Why? Because creditors don’t know who has actual authority to sign the credit application on behalf of the applicant.

The intent of the legal concept of apparent authority is to protect third parties [such as creditors] who might otherwise incur losses if the signature received did not bind the debtor company. Basically, apparent authority means this: If a reasonable person [such as a creditor] believes the person signing the contract has the authority to do so, that signature is binding on the applicant company.

So, what do I look for? I look for the title of the person signing the application. I expect to see that an Officer or a business owner has signed the credit agreement. Do you agree? Do you disagree? I think this is worth discussing this with your attorney.

This topic will be covered at the upcoming CreditScape Fall Summit, September 17-18 at the Tropicana in Las Vegas when I moderate the panel discussion on collection compliance and best practices. For more information about the conference, visit www.creditscapeconference.com. I hope to see you there.

Michael C. Dennis is the author of the Encyclopedia of Credit (www.encyclopediaofcredit.com), a free, fast, internet resource for credit and collection professionals. He is a frequent instructor at CMA-sponsored educational events. His most recent book, “Happy Customers, Faster Cash,” is available at amazon.com. He can be contacted at 949-584-9685.

 

Discussions You’ll Have at the CreditScape Fall Summit, by Mike Mitchell

At CMA, we are so excited about the CreditScape program we’ve got planned for you, we wanted to give everyone a sneak peak at what you’ll be talking about. All next week, CMA will publish a series of briefs from thought leaders who will be featured at the Summit — Chris Rios, Bart Frankel, Scott Blakeley, Chris Ng, Eddy Sumar, Michael Dennis, and more.

When I spoke with Chris Rios, Director of Finance Operations for Dun & Bradstreet, about the whole collections process, he spoke about the importance of treating collections like sales, because you are “selling” customers on why they should pay their bills. The key to success is building and maintaining good relationships with your customers. He also stresses the importance of being “forward looking” and strategic in your approach to collections – using data and analytics to drive collection effectiveness.

Bart Frankel has been a member favorite with his “Phone Power” Collection Webinars over the years, and we’ve asked him to share the collection techniques he developed for the $7 Billion Order-to-Cash process for the Pratt & Whitney Division of United Technologies. Bart will be the first to tell you that collections starts with the sales call and he stresses the importance of getting the upfront process right the first time so you don’t have so many issues on the back end.

What if you are exporting and trying to collect from customers in foreign countries? Eddy Sumar, CCE, CICE, has plenty to share about his experiences collecting money from all over the globe, and he’ll be the first to tell you, collections starts with an understanding of the 6th C of Credit — Culture.

Join us next week in hearing from these, and our other thought leaders, who will be driving the workshops and discussions that you care about at CreditScape. You can read their contributions on our blog page.

Full Schedule Announced for 2015 Fall CreditScape Summit

The CreditScape Fall Summit, September 17-18, 2015 at Tropicana Las Vegas, offers a 360-degree look into the entire collections process, focusing on best practices and real-world case studies with the best and brightest practitioners in credit and collections.

Here are some highlights of the sessions and workshops at the Summit. The full schedule, along with descriptions, is posted at www.creditscapeconference.com

  • Phone Power: 6 Steps to Collection Success (Speaker: Bart Frankel).
  • Using Credit Cards for Collection Strategy (Speaker: Scott Blakeley, Esq.)
  • Hire and Retain the Best Collectors (Speakers: Bob Daniel, Professional Recruiter, and Joe Lucas, VP & Chief Credit Officer, SRS Distribution)
  • Effective Collection Communication Strategies
  • Leverage Automation for Better Collection Results
  • The “Collection Prevention” Department
  • Collection Compliance & Best Practices
  • Developing a Third-Party Collection Process
  • Advanced Collection Techniques
  • International Collections
  • …and more!

If you’re serious about evaluating the collections processes at your company, or learning the latest best practices in collections techniques, then you must attend this event.

Learn more at http://www.creditscapeconference.com

 

Because “That’s the Way We Always Did It” Doesn’t Cut it Anymore, by Larry Convoy

Larry Convoy, lead group facilitator
Larry Convoy, lead group facilitator

To change successful formulas or brands takes courage. Sometimes it works (Datsun becoming Nissan), sometimes it doesn’t (remember the “New Coca Cola”?). But in this current environment, where you can close or lose a multi-million dollar deal by touching an app on your phone, being passive will leave you behind the crowd.

For that reason, CMA is taking an aggressive approach with its new CREDITSCAPE Summit. CreditScape is unlike any other education activity CMA has ever offered. For one, the topics were created from feedback direct from CMA members about items they need to know. It focuses on only one topic (collections), and covers it thoroughly. If your idea of an educational event is to sit and passively watch a PowerPoint presentation given by someone pushing a product or book, this is NOT for you.

CreditScape will present collection options, not by a vendor pushing their services, but by credit managers who are actually using them so you can hear about their experiences. It will allow you to break into small groups and brainstorm various scenarios and hopefully come up with better ways to run your collection department.
CMA is offering workshops, role playing, a collaborative approach to learning instead of the standard classroom style for the credit and collection manager and their staff.

The event takes place September 17-18 is the Tropicana Hotel in Las Vegas.

Brainstorm with your peers, hear their procedures, tell them yours and then divide into smaller groups and address the issues presented. Leave Las Vegas with some solutions to your collection issues and real-world case studies, ones that you can implement immediately.

All credit professionals are encouraged to look over the agenda for the conference and decide if you’re ready to learn the latest in collections by being a participant, not a spectator.

You can register now at www.creditscapeconference.com

I hope to see you in Las Vegas.

Larry Convoy
Lead Group Facilitator
Credit Management Association

CMA needs Member Support for the NACM National Trade Credit Report, by Mike Mitchell

 

MMitchell2

Most CMA members are familiar with the NACM National Trade Credit Report, or NTCR. CMA has been a proud supporter of the NTCR program since its inception, aggregating trade information from NACM members across the U.S. The result has been a unique credit report product that you can only access as an NACM member.

What you may not know is that CMA must meet data contribution requirements in order to continue offering access to the NTCR reports through anscers.com. I have been informed by NACM Affiliate leaders who oversee the NTCR program that CMA did not meet its minimum contribution requirement for the second consecutive year. CMA needs 25 additional full AR data files to contribute its minimum of 15% to the national database by the end of July.

Unless CMA can meet the minimum contribution requirement, we may need to suspend direct access to the report until we get support from enough members.

How easy is it to contribute? If you are already contributing to another agency, send us a copy of the same file, as most of them are compatible. If your AR is in an Excel file format, we can use it also. Not sure of what format you have? Send us a copy of the file and we’ll review it.

We believe that there are many companies that are capable of contributing full AR files right now. Let me remind you about good reasons to contribute your full AR to CMA. You can save precious time reporting accounts to credit group meeting reports. You can save money with discount rates on NACM NTCR reports. You can speed cash flow by informing your customers that you report all your accounts to NACM, and your company will participate in a national movement that better informs all credit decisions made by NACM members.

To contribute, contact our data specialist Lisa Wong at lwong@emailcma.org. We need member support to keep bringing you this valuable resource. For those who already contribute, thank you!

Sincerely,

Mike Mitchell, President and CEO
CREDIT MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATION

CMA Chairman’s Blog: Why I Chose to Pursue Professional Credit Certification, by Michael W. Fenner, CBA

Michael Fenner, CMA Chairman of the Board of Directors
Michael Fenner, CMA Chairman of the Board of Directors

Are you looking for a way to be more successful and become more knowledgeable? Have you ever thought about making yourself more valuable at your current job or expand your career opportunities? Would you like to have a level of respect among your colleagues? How about being the best you can be at your current position? For me, my CBA designation helped with all of the above.

First, let’s take a look at the different professional credit certification levels:

The National Association of Credit Management’s (NACM) levels of certification are as follows:

  • Certified Credit and Risk Analyst (CCRA) – For analysis and interpretation of financial statements.
  • Credit Business Associate (CBA) – This includes three credit courses basic financial accounting, business credit principles and introduction to financial statement analysis.
  • Credit Business Fellow (CBF) – The lessons include business law and credit law.
  • Certified Credit Executive (CCE) – You must be proficient at accounting, finance, domestic and international credit concepts, management and law.

Once I made the decision to get my designation, everything else fell into place. Some of my questions were: Where can I get more information? Should I do the classes online or should I do them in a classroom setting? How much does it cost and where do I apply?

I chose to take all my courses in a class room setting and do the Credit Administration Program (CAP). I then networked and studied with a friend. My CBA designation has given me tremendous confidence to do my job and more credibility to my position and credit department.

We all want to grow and continually improve our abilities. The program is definitely worth it and I would highly recommend it.

I won’t be able to answer all of your questions in this blog so make sure you head over to the NACM website for complete information. CMA will be offering the CBA program again in the Fall. Stay tuned to CreditManagementAssociation.org as dates will be released soon.

As we all know, there are no degrees in the credit field, so a professional credit certification is definitely the way to go. Team up with some of your colleagues and learn together. Have fun with it! Let me know your thoughts. I’d love to hear your feedback.

Michael W. Fenner, CBA, is the Credit Management Association Chairman and Regional Credit Manager for Beacon Roofing Supply. He can be reached at 714-321-8187, or mfenner@becn.com.

Registration now open for the 2015 CreditScape Fall Collections Summit

CreditScape Fall Summit Logo

Registration is now open for the 2015 CreditScape Fall Summit, which will focus solely on improving attendees’ collection practices. The conference, a collaboration with commercial collection partner AG Adjustments (AGA), takes place September 17-18, 2015 at the newly renovated Tropicana Hotel on the Las Vegas Strip, featuring two days of hands-on workshop training, expert practical and legal advice, and networking with other credit professionals.

Register now at www.creditscapeconference.com

CreditScape will be unlike anything else CMA has ever done before because:

  • It takes a different approach to a conference in that it focuses on only one topic, and covers it thoroughly
  • CMA members have asked for more information on collections
  • The summit takes a different approach to learning by collaborative exercises with other credit managers in a workshop approach instead of the standard classroom style
  • CMA members’ input will comprise the curriculum, to give credit professionals exactly the content that they need.

Topics will include:

  • Effective collections communications strategies
  • Understanding the AP process & cycle at a member company
  • The “Collection Prevention Department”: Collection mitigation tools like UCCs, Liens, and Credit Insurance
  • If my company sells internationally, how can I collect the payments? Where to go for information on collection protocols for other countries?
  • How to leverage automation for better collection results
  • Developing and managing a third-party collections process: insourcing, outsourcing to third party agencies, legal, and bankruptcy administration
  • Using data and analytics to drive collections effectiveness
  • Power phone collection techniques
  • Collections best practices tips
  • Advanced Collection Techniques (Pre and Post judgment) and when to use your collection attorney
  • Bullet-proofing your credit application to make it enforceable
  • Legal compliance and best practices: Standards for commercial collections, including personal guarantees
  • How to hire and retain the best collectors: Interview techniques, skills you’re looking for

A complete schedule of topics, including speaker information, will be announced during the summer. Credit professionals can visit CreditScapeConference.com to register now.

President’s Blog: Why I’m Excited About the CreditScape Fall Summit, by Mike Mitchell

CMA President Mike Mitchell
CMA President Mike Mitchell

I am really excited about our newest program, the CreditScape Fall Summit, focusing solely on Collections. First of all, I have to thank all of our members who participated in the CreditScape program development survey. We have received almost 100 responses from you with very valuable feedback on the topics and challenges you feel are important for getting better collection results. We are committed to considering input from our members and creating curricula that addresses your challenges as we design all of our education and training programs.

Additionally, in talking directly with members and subject-matter experts about the main focus of CreditScape, collections, my own view of collections has changed. I always thought of collections narrowly as a process for collecting overdue invoices. I now see it as a broader discipline that begins as soon as a sale is made. So, in addition to the mechanics of making demands for payment, the CreditScape will include many other aspects to ensure timely payments and effective accounts receivables management.

I am also excited about the format of the Summit. I have now attended and hosted probably close to a hundred conference-style events, most of which were in classroom-style lecture presentations. Recently, I have attended several events where a concerted effort was made to incorporate audience collaboration into the learning experience, and when done well, gave participants a much greater sense of value for their time spent, and I personally got a lot more out of those types of sessions. Bringing that approach to CMA, while subject matter experts will still share their experiences with credit practitioners, much of the learning at CreditScape will come from practitioners sharing experiences with each other in workshop-style settings. This might be the perfect opportunity for credit and collections teams to get away from the office for a couple of days to pursue a journey toward process improvement.

Our goal with CreditScape is to provide an opportunity for credit practitioners with all levels of experience and expertise to come together to share successes and solve problems around collections and accounts receivable management. Everyone has something new to learn or something valuable to pass down that could help drive better results. You don’t know what you don’t know, and what you don’t know could be hindering your success.

And speaking of what you don’t know, I mentioned in my last blog that I had enrolled in the Business Credit Principles Online course. Since I am not a credit practitioner by trade, I have learned a lot about what credit professionals face every day, and the myriad of factors that have to be considered before a simple credit decision can be made. Clearly, it’s not that simple, which is why not just anyone with an accounting degree or with a general business background (like me) can perform effectively without a great deal of training and dedication to the profession. The real value in continuing education, even if it’s in an area with which you are already familiar, is that you don’t know what you don’t know, and I have had a great experience with instructor Paul Beretz discovering what I don’t know and putting it to good use.

By the way, I personally valued the Business Credit Principles course so much that I enrolled in Beretz’s Financial Statement Analysis course. Stay tuned…

Chairman’s Blog: What’s Your Personality Style (and How it Can Help Relationships)? By Michael W. Fenner, CBA

After having dialogue with a customer, have you ever thought, “Wow…wasn’t that a great conversation?” Have you ever hung up the phone and said, “She was so nice.” And maybe you have said, “We really, really get along.” Or on the contrary, how many times have you said, “What did I say to irritate that customer?” Have you ever thought, “Why were they so upset?” Did you ever get off a call and say, “What just happened?” It’s happened to all of us. For me, when it does, I try to figure out a way to manage it.

Once I understand personality styles (and am able to conform to that customer’s style), I have been able to improve my relationships and enhance all conversations.

Here are the four personality styles:

  • Analytical – They think it through, they are detail oriented and love spreadsheets.
  • Amiable – They have “feelings” they are very low key and have good friendships.
  • Driver – They tell it like it is, it’s their way or the highway and they are in charge.
  • Expressive – They just want to have fun, talk about what happened last weekend and you always know where the next party is.

Here are several steps I went through that helped me have better conversations.

First, I figured out my own “personality style.” Once I did that it made the next steps easier. Take a look at the styles above and ask yourself “what’s your style?”

Second, take a minute before you make your next phone call and/or before you go in to visit your next customer and figure out what their personality style is.

Third, conform to their style. Yes, imitate it. It’s that simple. If an analytical person wants detail, give it to them in a spreadsheet or aging etc. Make sure you slow down and be very mellow with an amiable person (don’t make them mad). For the expressive person, have fun with them talk through everything they want to then get to your point and exit. With the driver, make sure you are as tough with him as he will be with you…he will think it was a great conversation.

I’m sure the times you got along with someone you conformed to their style and you didn’t even know it. And the times you didn’t get along, guess what…you probably didn’t conform to their style.

So what’s your style? Think about it on your next few phone calls and customer visits. See if it makes a difference or better conversation. Let me know your thoughts. Have fun with it. I’d love to hear your feedback.

Michael W. Fenner, CBA, is the Credit Management Association Chairman and Regional Credit Manager for Beacon Roofing Supply. He can be reached at 714-321-8187, or mfenner@becn.com.

Save the Date: CMA Announces CreditScape Fall Summit, by Mike Mitchell

CMA President Mike Mitchell
CMA President Mike Mitchell

CMA is proud to announce that it is collaborating with commercial collection partner AG Adjustments (AGA) to bring credit professionals an entirely new experience in collection and A/R management training. The CreditScape Fall Summit, which takes place September 17-18, 2015 at the newly renovated Tropicana Hotel on the Las Vegas Strip, features two days of workshop training, expert practical and legal advice, and networking with other credit professionals.

Part of this unique learning approach will involve subject-matter experts and seasoned credit professionals sharing their experiences through interactive case studies, and each session will dedicate time for participants to share their own experiences with each other. Sustainable learning is about shared knowledge and experiences, and this is one way that CreditScape Conferences will keep participants ahead of the curve in an ever-changing credit landscape. This will also be much more interactive than the typical teacher-and-classroom experience our audience is used to.

From discussions I’ve had with members over the years, CMA members are always looking for better ways to manage and maximize recovery of their receivables. CMA’s partnership with AGA has played an important role in satisfying that need, but we saw an opportunity to take that relationship to a higher level. By leveraging AGA’s deep expertise in commercial collections and vast network of contacts and resources in the credit space, we can deliver leading-edge tools, techniques, and best-practices in accounts receivable management. I also want to incorporate the latest techniques in content delivery for adult learners to create a thought-provoking and practical meeting experience that produces valuable take-aways and sustained value for participants and their credit departments.

AGA’s president Mark Gerstel has told me that his company has envisioned producing a training event focused on commercial collections because there is such a need, and that working with CMA on this event gives AGA an opportunity to help credit managers do a lot more to help themselves and help their outsource partners to get better results.

Preliminary discussions with CMA members and industry partners have uncovered various capabilities and core competencies that affect collection effectiveness, including automation tools, the quality of customer investigations and evaluations, building relationships with customers and sales, and differentiated collection approaches for large and small debtors. These are some of the subjects that will drive content and discussion at CreditScape.

CMA’s education subcommittee is currently developing the programming for the event, which is designed to propose best practices and methods to collect receivables from your company’s customers. Details about the program will be announced this summer.

To learn more about the event, visit www.creditmanagementassociation.org/events or call 800-541-2622.

We look forward to seeing you there!

President’s Blog: Practice What We Preach, by Mike Mitchell, CAE

CMA President Mike Mitchell
CMA President Mike Mitchell

I have always been a big proponent of continuing education. My degree programs gave me the opportunity to serve in my current executive role at CMA, and earning my Certified Association Executive (CAE) designation helped me continue to grow into this complex management and leadership role. Having spent the last 15 years working closely with credit professionals in dozens of different industries, I have observed that most credit management positions require a depth of knowledge across a broad range of disciplines – financial, legal, customer service, and organizational leadership. The first three require study and practice to gain a proficiency for effective management. Organizational leadership requires proficiency for the first three, plus the confidence that comes from experience.

To be leader in your organization, you need to be good at what you do, and you have to bring new ideas and prospectives to your team and to the company. When I was studying for my CAE, I read up on many areas of association management that helped fill gaps in my knowledge, but I learned just as much from my colleagues who took the course with me. Their collective experience greatly enhanced my learning and insights, and gave me new ideas to bring back to CMA. How often can you say that about an educational course?

CMA’s online course format was designed to deliver just his kind of experience. We wanted to make education convenient for time-challenged participants without sacrificing the live classroom-style interaction that is so valuable for real learning and the exchange of ideas. Lectures are delivered by the course instructor in a live webinar format to allow for real-time interaction with them and other learners. Course assignments are assigned weekly in a virtual classroom and completed by learners at their own pace and posted to the classroom for sharing.

Continuing education is really about sharing knowledge and experience. There is a great scene in “Good Will Hunting,” a movie about a brilliant young man who is afraid to confront his own life’s extraordinary potential. Will’s therapist tells him that there’s nothing he can learn about his patient that he can’t read in a book, unless Will is willing to share his thoughts, ideas and experiences with him. Learning is about shared experience. Some of that experience is captured in a text book, a linear, fixed perspective which forms the basis on which to understand the multitude of shared experiences you will encounter from the subject matter expert and fellow learners.

I believe in the value that continuing education creates for professionals and the companies they work for. I also believe that we should practice what we preach. Almost 10 years after CMA launched its first online certification course, I have decided to experience CMA’s online courses myself. I am currently enrolled in Business Credit Principles with the goal of earning a CBA designation.

Stay tuned…

Years of Credit and Collection Knowledge is a Phone Call Away

Did you know that the CMA staff has dozens of years of credit and collections knowledge that is available for free to members? If you haven’t called CMA lately, you should call the association’s experts to ask your questions about the construction services industry and construction forms filing (led by Amber Jackson, 702-259-2622); credit reports and all of the options you have that are available by a non-brand-specific salesperson (Terry Campos, 818-972-5361); insolvency services which can help distressed companies with out-of-court reorganization and liquidation efforts (led by Molly Froschauer, 818-972-5315), and Industry Credit Groups, led by Larry Convoy (818-972-5323).

Additionally, CMA’s Business Development Staff can help address many of your other needs. We invite you to call your reps Patrick Spargur (the newest member of the team, operating out of the Las Vegas office, 702-636-4329); John Morgan (Northern California, 916-672-7362); Laura Rothman (Southern California, (949) 493-3504); and Scott McLaughlin (818-972-5322).

For more information on how Credit Management Association can help fulfill your company’s credit and collection needs, we invite you to call us.

United TranzActions Signs Strategic Alliance with DadeSystems

United TranzActions, a leading payment solution provider, announced that it has signed an agreement with Miami-based DadeSystems, a provider of next generation payment solutions. The agreement will further expand UTA’s extensive payment processing offerings through the addition of DadePay AR Automation receivables management system and DadePay e-payments, the company’s electronic bill presentment and payment (EBPP) solution.

“UTA has a proven track record of helping clients increase efficiency, maximize revenue, reduce risk and decrease costs. Our solutions focus on these same bottom-line benefits. We look forward to joining forces with UTA and leveraging our combined capabilities to deliver ongoing value to their clients.”

Through the agreement, UTA clients will gain access to cutting-edge features including the ability to accept payments in any form—cash, check, wire, ACH and credit card—and then match those payments to open AR invoices. DadeSystem’s straight-through processing architecture delivers capabilities that will enable UTA clients to further increase cash flow and reduce days sales outstanding (DSOs), a key measure of the efficiency of an organization’s collection activities.

“The partnership between UTA and DadeSystems is an excellent alignment of complementary technologies and shared business philosophies,” said UTA President Dean Middleton. “Like UTA, DadeSystems is recognized for its next-generation payment processing software and personal service. Today’s complex, rapidly-changing payments environment requires innovative strategies and smart partnerships like this to ensure that our clients always have access to the most advanced solutions available in the industry.”

“We are thrilled to be partnering with such a well-respected leader in the payments industry,” said DadeSystems President and CEO Bill Zayas. “UTA has a proven track record of helping clients increase efficiency, maximize revenue, reduce risk and decrease costs. Our solutions focus on these same bottom-line benefits. We look forward to joining forces with UTA and leveraging our combined capabilities to deliver ongoing value to their clients.”

About DadeSystems

DadeSystems provides advanced payment processing solutions to financial institutions, wholesale distributors, property managers, healthcare providers, insurance companies and other organizations with complex payment system environments.

The company’s flagship offering, DadePay, is an integrated suite of payment processing solutions that leverages next-generation technology to accelerate payment processing speed, increase operational efficiency, eliminate unnecessary fees and dramatically improve cash collection. Supported by its team of industry professionals, DadeSystems delivers the technology and expertise organizations need to successfully navigate today’s complex payment systems environment and ultimately, improve their bottom line. For more information, visit: www.DadeSystems.com.

About United TranzActions

UTA is the result of a merger of National Check Trust (founded in 1991) and American Check Management (founded in 1996). UTA is now a leading payment solution provider and the largest check guarantee company in the industry. UTA is able to offer its clients a suite of programs guaranteed to maximize revenue and minimize risk, while delivering the highest level of customer support. UTA provides a wide variety of pre-built or customized gateway payment solutions that saves its customers time and money. From paper check processing, internet and fully integrated payment processing, each of our products is designed to deliver value and peace of mind with the industry’s most secure payment solutions. Specific products include Check Guarantee Services, Remote Deposit Capture with Guarantee, ACH Processing with Guarantee, Electronic Bill Presentment and Payment, Credit Card Processing, Virtual Lockbox, and Customized Online Bill Pay. For more information visit www.unitedtranzactions.com

Are You an Engaged CMA Member?, by Michael W. Fenner, CBA

Michael Fenner, CMA Chairman of the Board of Directors
Michael Fenner, CMA Chairman of the Board of Directors

Here at CMA we are always looking for engaged volunteers; you know, new people, fresh ideas etc. who can help further the credit management profession. Are you wanting to make a difference? It is so important for each and every one of us to support our association. Without members like you and I it just wouldn’t work. So if you are interested in getting involved please contact me directly. I would be happy to point you in the right direction.

Are you supporting the services offered at CMA such as Industry Credit Groups, RFIs, Education, AG Collections, Construction Forms Filing, or maybe Business Credit Reports? Use as many as you can to support and protect your credit departments. What is your department lacking? Where do you need extra support? Make sure you reach out to the CMA staff or me if you have any questions or needs. We are always here to support you.

And when I’m talking about engagement, I’m talking about doing the little things: attending credit education opportunities and introducing yourself to other credit managers; submitting RFIs and subjects for your industry group meetings; regular active participation in your industry credit group; and the list goes on and on.

Here’s an idea let’s all try to bring one new person to your Industry Credit Group this year…wouldn’t that make a difference? Remember, please make sure each and every one of you reach out and support when and where you can this year. It’s up to us and we can all make a difference.

What a wonderful opportunity to serve as your chairman on Credit Management Association’s Board of Directors this coming year. On a personal note, I am truly honored and humbled for the chance to help make a difference for the CMA organization. I am also appreciative that my company supports me in this role at Credit Management Association. Have you thanked your boss lately for their support? I know that I have.

Again, thank you all for this wonderful opportunity, and I look forward to doing great things with you this year.

Michael Fenner, CBA, is the Credit Management Association Chairman and Regional Credit Manager for Beacon Roofing Supply. He can be reached at 714-321-8187, or mfenner@becn.com.

CMA Annual Meeting 2015 Recap

For those who attended the 2015 CMA Annual Meeting, you already know that the panel discussion on securing transactions, keynote on Moving Beyond Business as Usual, and presentation on Understanding Your Communications Style, as well as the networking event with the theme of finding your credit paradise were among the highest rated events that we’ve put on. Additionally, several worthy credit managers, including Michael Fenner, Kimberly Wagenman, Ross Cirrincione and Darrell Horton received prestigious awards at the event.

Whether you attended the event or you didn’t, here are some editorial, pictorial and video highlights of what went on at the event.

CMA President’s Blog: The Virtues of Continuing to Learn, by Mike Mitchell, CAE

CMA President Mike Mitchell
CMA President Mike Mitchell

With another Annual Meeting behind us, I was encouraged to see such a great turnout at the event last week. It was a pleasure seeing all who attended CMA’s Annual Meeting at Disneyland, and what made it particularly exciting for me was seeing that more and more of you are coming out of your offices to engage with other members and learn IN PERSON. It was nice to see credit managers reconnecting or getting to know each other for the first time, and learning from one another as they asked questions and shared experiences during the education sessions, an advantage of meeting in person rather than participating in online learning.

I noticed something else at the Annual Meeting that was very encouraging: experienced, senior credit managers brought their staff members with them to share in the education and networking experiences. I applaud this effort of good old-fashioned staff development, knowledge transfer, and succession planning, something that we don’t often think about in our daily routines, but is critical for the long-term sustainability of a credit department and the credit profession.

For those of you who were unable to join us at the Annual Meeting, look for more opportunities this year, as there are more upcoming in-person seminars, learning lunches and conferences. Additionally, NACM Oregon is hosting the NACM Western Region Credit Conference October 14 – 16 in Portland, OR. More details will follow after NACM’s Credit Congress in St. Louis next month.

My experience at the Annual Meeting re-affirmed for me why CMA is here for its members, customers, and other stakeholders. We believe, as you do, that credit management is critical to the success of any B2B company that sells on open terms, and we are here to help you grow revenue and reduce risk by providing, first and foremost, a vibrant community of credit practitioners with whom you can exchange experiences, best practices, and new ideas.

We hope you’re finding the educational and networking opportunities CMA is offering as useful to your business. Looking to learn more about a topic that we’re not currently offering? Let me know and we’ll try to help.

We hope to meet you in person at one of these upcoming events.

Kimberly Wagenman named CMA 2015 Student of the Year

Kimberly Wagenman Named CMA 2015 Student of the Year. Pictured (left to right): CMA Chair Melissa Kobus, Wagenman, Pam Craik
Kimberly Wagenman Named CMA 2015 Student of the Year. Pictured (left to right): CMA Chair Melissa Kobus, Wagenman, Pam Craik

Kimberly Wagenman was named as CMA’s 2015 Student of the Year at the 2015 Credit Management Association Annual Meeting on April 9. Wagenman is an enthusiastic supporter of continuing education. She has a BS in Business; she is currently working to obtain her CBA and will be attending Credit Congress this year for the first time. Congratulations to Kimberly Wagenman!

Darrell Horton Named 2015 CMA Credit Executive of the Year

Darrell Horton was presented with CMA's Credit Executive of the Year for 2015 by Chairman Melissa Kobus
Darrell Horton was presented with CMA’s Credit Executive of the Year for 2015 by Chairman Melissa Kobus

Darrell Horton of Aristocrat Technologies, the 2015 Credit Executive of the Year, has been an active CMA member for over 25 years.  He continues to promote the credit profession by encouraging his team to continue their education.  He has contributed numerous hours to CMA serving on committees and the Board of Directors. The textbook picture of a volunteer, we salute Mr. Horton for his many contributions to this industry. Congratulations to Darrell!

 

Horton was one of several award recipients who were announced at the recent 2015 CMA Annual Meeting.

Announcing The Construction Credit Report: One Report Does It All

octo_contractor
One Report Does It All

The Construction Credit Report is a new single-source report providing critical construction related data

 

Yesterday, industry leaders in business credit data exchange on the West Coast– Credit Management Association® (CMA), Ansonia Credit Data and Southwest Business Credit Services– released THE Construction Credit Report, providing companies in the construction industry all the critical information they need to facilitate sales to their customers.

The Construction Credit Report makes data available to construction companies immediately via the internet, including title search (with live links to actual documents) on mechanics lien filing/release; notice of completion; notice of Lis Pendens (action/discharge); public records search on bankruptcy; tax lien or judgment; active trade lines; credit analysis and score; collection agency and factoring company activities; and links to state Registrars Of Contractors. Each report is available for $29.95.

“The report gives someone in the construction industry all of the data they need to know about the amount of risk associated with a construction project in one place,” said CMA President and CEO Mike Mitchell. “There’s nothing else like it on the market to my knowledge. In the more than 30 years of experience that CMA has in the Construction Forms Filing business, our customers have asked us for this type of report, but we previously didn’t have the technology to allow us to provide it. With the help of our partners, we believe the report will save our customers countless hours searching for this type of data in multiple places, some of which is exclusive to this report. The information gained from the report can potentially save our customers tens of thousands of dollars by helping them avoid over-extending credit to risky companies.”

Rich Adams, President and CEO of Southwest Business Credit Services, concurred. “The data contained within the report helps material suppliers, general contractors and project lenders perform due diligence on their customer as well as the projects they will be supplying materials, labor or financing for. The ability to confirm that a contractor is licensed to execute the work they’re going to do, pays their bills on time, is free of liens, judgments and the like all in one report is previously unheard of in my 35 years in business credit,” he said. “This report will help you determine the maximum dollar value your company should risk for any project that your customer is bidding on or that you plan to supply materials for.”

Bill Weiss, Vice President of Sales for Ansonia Credit Data, agreed: “The depth of the credit-related information available on this report, coupled with technology that not only captures mechanic lien and title detail but can also download the actual documents, makes this offering unique. There is so much useful information available – it really makes the credit department’s job much easier to have all of that information in one place without having to search for it.”

To use the Construction Credit Report, log in to anscers.com, ansoniacreditdata.com or swbcs.com

View a Sample Construction Report

The Construction Credit Report is one of many services available to material suppliers, construction companies, bonding companies and lenders from CMA, Ansonia Credit Data or Southwest Business Credit Services including assistance in filing mechanics liens and preliminary notices, lien warning notices, bond claims and stop notices. For more information, visit http://creditmanagementassociation.org/services/construction-forms-filing/,
http://www.ansoniacreditdata.com, or http://www.nacmaz.org/.

Proud to be a CMA Member, by Melissa Kobus, CCE

Melissa Kobus, CCE, is the Credit Management Association Chair and Regional Credit Manager for Anixter Inc., based in Anaheim, CA. She can be reached at 714-695-2219, or melissa.kobus@anixter.com
Melissa Kobus, CCE, is the Credit Management Association Chair and Regional Credit Manager for Anixter Inc., based in Anaheim, CA. She can be reached at 714-695-2219, or melissa.kobus@anixter.com

I am honored to have served as the CMA Chairman of the Board for the last year and as my chairmanship ends this month, I would like to share my sincere gratitude and appreciation to the membership. It was a great privilege to serve on behalf of the entire membership. My goal was to provide guidance, insight and enthusiasm to the membership and to the credit industry as a whole. I am proud to be an active volunteer for CMA.

Sharing ideas and processes are important to me and I very much enjoyed creating my Chairman chat every month. I hope that you found little tidbits of information that you could use in your every day credit life. I believe in learning every day and hope this contributed to you learning something new. Education will always be a personal top goal. Learning is power!

As I complete my service, I challenge you to get involved with your association. CMA gets bigger and stronger when its members give back and are engaged. Look to volunteer on a committee, participate in your industry credit group or attend a networking function. Share your ideas and best practices. Quite frankly, this week is the CMA Annual Meeting, if you are not already registered, do so today. It will be the best $99 you will spend for an entire day of learning and networking. Please connect with me at the annual meeting; I really cannot wait to have a little “Credit Paradise”!

I appreciate your time in reading these posts. If there are any questions or comments, please feel free to email or call me. Thank you again for allowing me to serve as your Chairman of the Board.

I Love My Credit Industry Group, by Melissa Kobus, CCE

Melissa Kobus, CCE, is the Credit Management Association Chair and Regional Credit Manager for Anixter Inc., based in Anaheim, CA. She can be reached at 714-695-2219, or melissa.kobus@anixter.com
Melissa Kobus, CCE, is the Credit Management Association Chair and Regional Credit Manager for Anixter Inc., based in Anaheim, CA. She can be reached at 714-695-2219, or melissa.kobus@anixter.com

Last week someone asked me why my company joined CMA. I did not have to think long about why we became a member of CMA, it is all about the access to resources. The number 1 reason we joined was the electrical credit industry group. I have been a group member for over 15 years. The other credit professionals in the group at that time were wonderful, excellent credit managers in their own right, that group made me want to get involved.

I learn so much from participating in the group. I can ask questions and not feel uncomfortable. I am exposed to best practices that I can bring back and implement immediately. I developed friendships with people who understood what I face every day. A commitment of two hours every month helps me become a better credit manager, helps my company protect their assets and allows me to contribute to the growth of the credit profession.

Every month I have my credit industry group meeting on my calendar. It is not something I can afford to miss. I make the time to attend, it’s important to me, my company and the other group members. Contribution to and participation in the group is the key to a successful experience. My contribution is submitting our aging report every month so that the group has access to the most current data available. My participation is coming prepared to talk about new ideas, give insight on processes, and discuss upcoming educational opportunities.

One of the most significant parts of the group is the submission of aging information. The aging goes into the CMA database for access on anscers and in group reports. The contribution of your data is so very important, as it makes the meetings so much more valuable to deal with real-world problems. If you are not submitting your data today, please find a way to do it. There are contacts at CMA that can assist. Talk to your IT person to find an easy and simple way to download the data.

I love my credit industry group. I respect the credit managers that are a part of my group. I hope you find the same enjoyment with your group. If you are not part of an industry credit group today, ask why not. Contact CMA to find a group or even better, create a group for your specific industry needs. Please let me know if I can answer any questions about CMA’s credit industry groups.

Melissa Kobus, CCE, is the Credit Management Association Chairman and Regional Credit Manager for Anixter Inc., based in Anaheim, CA. She can be reached at 714-695-2219, or melissa.kobus@anixter.com

CMA Creates Resource to Manage Vendor Relationships

Supplier Risk Management Group
Supplier Risk Management Group

Supplier Risk Credit Group to provide tools to help companies avoid business disruption.
Credit Management Association recently announced that credit professionals will now have access to tools that will help them assess the riskiness of a vendor with the formation of the association’s new Supplier Risk Credit Group. Comprised of credit and risk-management professionals from medium to large-sized businesses, the group offers resources and provides best practices to help companies manage their vendor relationships.

“We’ve had a number of responses from our members asking for a resource like this one, as many of our member companies have expanded the credit departments’ risk management role to include key suppliers,” said CMA president Mike Mitchell. “There has been a tremendous increase in the number of companies evaluating the risk and cost of business disruption when vendors are unable to deliver goods for reasons ranging from economic to political. Credit Managers deal in risk evaluation daily. They have the skill set necessary to transition from customer analysis to vendor. This new group will help companies assess their exposure to vendor failure, develop, implement and maintain a process to evaluate risk and gather business intelligence more efficiently and cost effectively,” he added.

“During my time in credit management, I’ve often heard the following: ‘We can survive if a customer relationship goes bad, but we cannot survive if one of our primary or secondary vendors has an interruption in delivering product, raw materials or services to us. For that reason, we invest an equal amount of resources investigating our vendors,'” said CMA lead group facilitator Larry Convoy, who will be CMA’s liaison for the new group. “I’m very excited to add this service for our members, as these relationships can make or break their businesses.”

Chaired by volunteer Alvin Moreno of Nestle, the Supplier Risk Credit Group held its initial information session in January, and the response was overwhelmingly well received by member companies who attended. “Moreno will do a great job with this group, especially since he just received his MBA with a focus on this topic. The existence of this group is a huge advantage for our members that can provide information that they cannot efficiently get any place else,” Mitchell added. The first official meeting is slated to take place at the CMA Annual Meeting, which will be held April 22, 2015 in Burbank, CA.

The group, which is one of 60 industry and topic specific groups that CMA offers, will meet quarterly via phone and in person. To learn more about this group, or any of the other groups and how they can help businesses minimize risk, visit http://creditmanagementassociation.org/services/industry-credit-groups/ or call 800-541-2622.

You May Not Know, CMA Has a Solution For That

CMA Has Solutions

Recently, a friend of mine told me that he joined a well-known national association. When I asked him why he joined, he told me he was really only interested in one of the benefits they offered, and that he would probably never explore the other benefits because that one thing was valuable enough to him to justify membership.

After having this discussion with him, I realized that some CMA members may think the same about its programs and services: they join for the Industry Credit Groups but are unaware about (and don’t explore) the other benefits that can help manage risk. Here is a quick look at some additional benefits that you may not know about that are included with your membership:

Credit Reporting: CMA is a reseller of reports from the major credit bureaus (Equifax, DNB, Experian), NACM, plus the hybrid anscersX multibureau report. Let CMA be your first call when you’re looking for customer information; report rates through CMA are often less expensive. Plus, members receive several free reports from NACM, which is included with their annual membership.

RFIs: CMA offers the ability to submit an RFI (Request For Information) on specific accounts from other members who may have experience with those accounts. The system is fully automated and available online in an as-needed basis.

Professional Development Programs: CMA offers dozens of webinars, seminars, in-person networking opportunities and more to help you stay current in the quick-evolving credit management profession.

Construction Forms Filing: If your company has the need to file preliminary notices and mechanics liens in the United States and Guam, our staff offers everything you need, including a free lien provisions guide.

Business Insolvency Services: What options do you have if one of your customers threatens to file for bankruptcy? What if your company suddenly faces financial distress? CMA’s Adjustment Bureau is the largest entity in the United States specializing in neutral administration of out-of-court workouts and liquidations of insolvent businesses.

– Collections Services: CMA has partnered with AG Adjustments to handle all of your collections needs. All placements can be viewed on CMA’s interactive web site, www.anscers.com.

– Transactions processing: If your company offers Electronic Funds Transfer, Online Bill Pay, Credit Card Services , Fifth-Third Check Guarantee Services can probably help you get a better rate than you’re already receiving.

– And more!

With many benefits that you may not have already been aware of, if you’re in the credit management profession (or if you may need help with determining the riskiness of a potential customer), CMA should be your first call at 800-541-2622. CMA is known for its top-notch industry credit groups, but the association offers many more benefits besides them. CMA probably already has a program or service that can provide information to help answer your credit questions.

What is your biggest need in credit management today? I welcome your feedback.

Credit Paradise: CMA Announces Schedule For 2015 Annual Meeting

Credit Paradise
CMA Annual Meeting

Credit professionals will experience a “Credit Paradise” on April 9, 2015 at Credit Management Association’s Annual Meeting. Taking place at Disneyland’s Paradise Pier Hotel in Anaheim, California, the “Credit Paradise” event includes a full day of training, education, awards and networking opportunities with other credit professionals.

“The Annual Meeting allows CMA members from all over California and Nevada the opportunity to learn about the latest trends affecting the credit profession, growing their personal and professional skillsets,” said CMA president Mike Mitchell. “Last year, we addressed the relationship between the sales and credit departments, and received some of the best feedback scores we’ve ever had from our exit survey. This year, we’re looking to build on that positive word of mouth and create a program to allow attendees to create a ‘Credit Paradise’ in their offices.”

Among the highlights of the education program, Jodi Walker will present the keynote address on utilizing creativity to move beyond “business as usual.” Walker is an award-winning speaker who is known for her high-energy presentations. “The topic should resonate with credit managers, as research has shown that five of the world’s largest economies are currently operating with a creativity gap,” Mitchell added.

“Securing transactions is a hot topic in credit management,” Mitchell said. “We thought we’d take a different approach this year and address the topic in a panel discussion with three expert speakers and a moderator who each have a different take on the subject.” Moderated by Diana Crowe of IAB, panelists for the discussion include Jerry Bailey (NCS), Milene Apanian (Law Offices of Abdulaziz, Grossbart & Rudman) and Rudet Fountain (United TranzActions). “The interactive session will include an audience question-and-answer opportunity, so attendees are encouraged to bring their questions to address the panel,” he added.

Popular speaker Rita Jo Schilling will present a discussion on understanding different communications styles in order to help create lasting relationships with others.

In addition, a designated networking reception (sponsored by D&B), a lunch session (sponsored by AG Adjustments) which honors the achievements of CMA’s members, and several Industry Credit Group meetings will take place at the event.

The Annual Meeting is the largest in a series of in-person educational opportunities offered by Credit Management Association. To learn more about the other sessions and topics, visit www.creditmanagementassociation.org/events or call 800-541-2622.

…And Seated to my Right…, by Larry Convoy

Larry Convoy, lead group facilitator
Larry Convoy, lead group facilitator

Recently, I discovered that a longtime CMA and group member had played college basketball not far from where I went to school.  A few years ago, I found out that gentleman who sat next to me at a group meeting was a decorated hero from the Korean War.  Unfortunately, both discoveries were a result of reading their obituaries.

Today, with Facebook and Twitter posting everyone’s daily activities, likes and dislikes out there for all to see, I am still amazed at how little I know about some people that I have had lunch with every month for decades at the group meetings. On Tuesday, I discovered that a member had attended the same concert I went to on Friday at Staples Center, the night before in Fresno. Our conversations will now extend past contributing and attending when I call her.

You already share a profession with the people sitting at your niche group meeting. The possibilities are unlimited for other things in common; schools attended, companies worked for, favorite teams, hobbies, vacation spots.

My goal has always been to get more information and participation from the members of groups in an effort to get critical mass. Groups do not have to be just alerts and past dues. For those who insist that we stay focused on Business, consider that forging these relationships might result in some advanced warnings about a problem account.

Take a few minutes at your next group meeting, put down the aging report and find out what movie the person on your right thinks will win the Oscar, or how they got in credit.

Years from now, I don’t want you to read that we were both diehard Yankee fans.

Finding Hidden Gems in Your Organization, by Melissa Kobus, CCE

Melissa Kobus, CCE, is the Credit Management Association Chair and Regional Credit Manager for Anixter Inc., based in Anaheim, CA. She can be reached at 714-695-2219, or melissa.kobus@anixter.com
Melissa Kobus, CCE, is the Credit Management Association Chair and Regional Credit Manager for Anixter Inc., based in Anaheim, CA. She can be reached at 714-695-2219, or melissa.kobus@anixter.com

The role of credit is ever changing.   What credit professionals handle on a daily, weekly, monthly basis is challenging and can sometimes feel overwhelming.  The requests from your customers, internally and externally, require you to reprioritize at any minute of the day.  What happens when the requests outweigh the resources available?  How do you handle the workload?  What steps have you taken to help balance your day?

I recognize that every company is different, what is a priority at one may not be a priority at another.  As the workload changes, have you taken a moment to rank your tasks by importance?  Are there tasks that you do as a matter of course “it’s always been done this way”, that are no longer really required.  Have you asked those who you are supporting, if the action is still necessary?  Eliminating redundant or outdated activities will easily add time to your day.

A challenge that I face with regularity is keeping up with technology.  Our customers ask us to support any number of different platforms for billing services and customer research.  Having the time and knowledge to provide excellent customer satisfaction is important, so I engage weekly with our IT group.  They have strong technical skills and have helped us out of a bind in a number of cases.  They too lack resources but I have found a good relationship has been mutually beneficial.

Sometimes there are those special projects that seem to come out of nowhere.  What about those projects that have been on your to-do list since last summer?  I have found resources outside the credit department to be extremely helpful depending on the project.  I have engaged sales support and front office staff to assist in getting the job done.  They welcome the new experience and opportunity to be involved.  They become part of the credit department extended family.  Who knows, they might bloom into the newest credit team member.

Streamlining your main activities and prioritizing; partnering with other departments; and developing resources outside of your specific team will help in balancing the ebbs and flows of the credit dept.  Can you too find hidden gems in your organization?

Melissa Kobus, CCE, is the Credit Management Association Chairman and Regional Credit Manager for Anixter Inc., based in Anaheim, CA. She can be reached at 714-695-2219, or melissa.kobus@anixter.com

Apple Pay And Its Implications As A Payment Channel For Customers To Pay Vendors’ Invoices In The B2B Space, By Scott Blakeley, Esq.

Scott Blakeley, esq.

By Scott Blakeley, Esq.
Blakeley & Blakeley, LLP

Apple has made a media splash with its announcement of Apple Pay, the latest foray of a tech company entering the mobile card payment space. While the B2B space has been slow to embrace electronic payment channel alternatives, especially those designed for smart phones and tablets, these alternatives are thriving in the B2C space. In another article “Payment Channel Alternative (Traditional and Emerging) For The Customer (And The Credit Team’s Preferences),” Lyle Wallis (VP Research, CRF) and I considered the topic of mobile payments. Apple Pay advances this payment form. But does Apple Pay provide insight for the credit team in the B2B space of what the payment channel may look like in the near future?

The Mobile Wallet: A B2B Payment Channel in the Near Term?

Electronic payments, especially in mobile form, are showing to be a most efficient and cost effective payment channel. Banks have invested in mobile options, which allow consumers to deposit checks, view balances and make transfers between accounts, all from their smart phone or tablet. Javelin Strategy and Research estimates that the average cost for a mobile banking transaction (deposit or transfer) is 50% cheaper than a desktop computer transaction and 90% cheaper than an ATM transaction. It costs J.P. Morgan Chase $0.03 to process a customer’s mobile check deposit, versus $0.65 where the customer physically deposits a paper check.

The mobile wallet has arrived. A mobile wallet can be peer-to-peer, consumer-to-business, or both. To use a mobile wallet, the consumer registers a new account with a provider and then connects that mobile wallet to their existing debit card and bank account. Once money is loaded onto the digital wallet, it can be sent to other peers and/or businesses also on the mobile wallet network. Then, should they desire, the consumer may “cash out” all or a certain percentage of their mobile wallet, and the funds are automatically routed back to the original bank account.

Consumers may choose a variety of mobile wallets: Google, Amazon, PayPal, Square, Venmo, and now Apple. Apple announced that its new iPhone 6 and digital watch give users the ability to pay for products and services just by tapping the device to payment terminals using Apple Pay. The service is a take-off of the Google Wallet, which has been available on Android phones since 2011. The mobile payment system uses a technology known as Near Filed Communication (NFC), which transmits a radio signal between the device (smartphone in this instance) and a receiver, when the two are fractions of an inch apart or touching.

Apple Pay, Data Breach and Card Security: Applications to the B2B Space?

The headlines regarding the Home Depot, Target Stores and Neiman Marcus data breaches have affected hundreds of millions of their customers. Vendors rolling out card payment programs in the B2B space are reminded to consider a cardholder’s privacy rights when they store the cardholder’s card information electronically. Apple recognizes the significance of cardholder privacy and intends to distinguish itself through greater card security. Major payment networks and banks have all been working on a system that allows customers to make a payment without handing over any personal details, using a kind of digital token that can be used only once. Apple Pay is the first program to use the tokenization system on a widespread basis. With each Apple Pay transaction, a user’s credit card number won’t pass through the system, just a scrambled, one-time code that can’t be used in any future transaction.

If a retailer’s systems are hacked, Apple Pay customers’ personal information is not compromised. The service also requires a thumbprint scan for each transaction, meaning that only the phone’s owner can use it to make purchases–a stolen smartphone cannot be used for fraudulent purchases. The devices’ operating software iOS 8 will also encrypt more of the user’s personal data (photos, messages, email, contacts, call history, iTunes content), where previous versions of iOS only encrypted a device’s email. These added security features are important and one of the reasons that Apple Pay has won over credit card companies and retailers. The iPhone 6 and the Apple Watch will use Apple Pay at merchant locations that have purchased the hardware that can read the wireless signal from Apple’s devices. Because merchants are already under pressure to upgrade their POS systems to accept EMV, a new card technology to reduce fraud, there is thus greater opportunity to add-on the NFC technology at the same time. Upgrades to POS systems have been mandated by the credit card companies and must be in place by late 2015 else the merchant will be liable for fraudulent credit card use.

Both Visa and MasterCard are on board with Apple Pay, and Apple is not charging them for allowing their products on Apple phones. Banks have agreed to accept lower fees from Apple than what they usually accept on credit card transactions, with their hope that cardholders will opt to use the technology in place of cash and other payment methods, thereby driving up the total number of transactions. Safer credit card transactions will lower the instance of fraud and thereby reduce card fees for everyone.

Apple Pay and B2B Implications

Can mobile solutions accommodate transactions in the B2B space? Mobile payment technologies have focused on the consumer sector. However, given the push for electronic payment alternatives in the B2B space, developers are pursuing B2B mobile payment technologies. Will businesses move to this payment channel, given the transactional efficiency and low processing costs of mobile payments? According to the AFP, only 11% of US companies surveyed are using mobile payment technologies.

Apple Pay is presently geared toward brick and mortar stores. Online application for card-not-present transactions is a key for the B2B space. The single use nature of Apple Pay technology (digital token) rules out use for multiple transactions (the credit team storing a card on file).

Applications will be developed that provide for Apple Pay technology to be used to pay vendor invoices in the near term.

 

Scott Blakeley, Esq., is a founder of Blakeley & Blakeley LLP, where he advises companies around the United States and Canada regarding creditors’ rights, commercial law, e-commerce and bankruptcy law. He can be reached at his email address.

”Just Add it your Job Description,” by Larry Convoy

This year, I put my New Year’s resolutions in writing so that I could verify that I achieved them next December. Unfortunately, the major one was broken by 9AM on January 1st when my wife asked if I wanted eggs or the leftover cheesecake for breakfast.

CMA Industry Group Leader Larry Convoy
CMA Industry Group Leader Larry Convoy

Though I was weak, it doesn’t mean that you cannot use this method to fully document your company’s position on industry credit groups and your role.

I contend that though the amount of information picked up at each meeting may be less than what is detailed on the monthly reports, alerts and RFIs, the quality of that information is greater. Previous businesses, the owner’s new cell number, other bank accounts, and the new a/p person’s name are just a few valuable pieces of non-trade data that do not show up on reports including D&B and Experian. This is only learned by attending group meetings/calls.

Therefore, to avoid confusion, last minute requests, and to ensure that you get all the information, ask your management to include the following in your job description:

“Credit Manager is required to attend and participate fully in all facets of the industry credit group.  Only senior management can override this and in that case, an alternate chosen and trained by the credit manager will attend.”

This past year, a company lost over $200,000 because the credit manager was asked to handle the phones, missed the meeting and the news that a major customer was not renewed by a big box retailer. Their anticipated big re-order never came through.

Don’t let it happen to you.

ATTEND. CONTRIBUTE. SAVE.

Happy New Year!

Larry Convoy

President’s Post: Trends in Credit Management, by Mike Mitchell

CMA President Mike Mitchell
CMA President Mike Mitchell

Happy New Year!

With gas prices down and holiday sales up over last year, 2015 has already been off to a great start.

At CMA, we are working on exciting new initiatives that will make it an even happier 2015. I recently attended a credit reporting summit hosted by one of CMA’s partners, Experian, and heard about 11 trends in credit management that the Credit Research Foundation has identified for 2015.

• Cash Flow – Cash is King
• Integration with ERP/CRM Platforms
• Credit Cards
• Shared Services Environments
• Credit Scoring/Portfolio Management
• Risk-Based Collection Activity
• Reporting – Business Intelligence
• Blended Scores and the FCRA Hurdle
• Sales/Credit Partnership
• Supplier Credit Evaluations
• Emerging global markets

In order to best meet the needs of the credit managers, CMA is offering programs to address several of these trends.

Sales/Credit Partnership – Gear Up for Profit: Linking Sales and Credit Cycles to Grow Profit

CMA is offering a first-of-its-kind workshop that addresses the challenging dynamic between Credit and Sales, for the first time inviting leaders from the Credit and Sales teams to participate in this ground-breaking approach to exploring how the Credit and Sales teams can work together for better profitability.

Supplier Credit Evaluations – Supplier Risk Credit Group

CMA is launching a new credit group that will focus exclusively on evaluating Supplier Credit Risk. We see an emerging trend in companies tasking the credit department with evaluating the risk and cost of business disruption caused by the failure of key suppliers. CMA plans to support this new functional competency by creating a special credit group that focuses on expanding the credit department’s risk management role to include key suppliers as well as key customers. CMA invites you to attend a complimentary organizational meeting to explore and finalize the benefits and features of a Supplier Risk Credit Group – January 28, 2015, 10:00 am – Noon. Email Larry Convoy for details at lconvoy@emailcma.org.

Emerging global markets – The Global Trade Credit Consortium

CMA is building a unique network of top resource providers for international trade and credit practices, with the goal of helping companies sell internationally by making critical trade and credit resources more accessible, responsive, and accountable. International credit consultant and co-founder Eddy Sumar, MBA, CCE, CICP will leverage the Global Trade Credit Consortium to provide professional guidance to help navigate the complex process of exporting. For more information, visit the GTCC website at http://www.globalcreditconsortium.com.

Which trends are you most concerned with in your business for 2015? I’d love to get your feedback on how CMA can deliver services that will make 2015 the best year yet!

How Can You Give Back to the Association, and Get Something in Return?, by Melissa Kobus, CCE

Melissa Kobus, CCE, is the Credit Management Association Chair and Regional Credit Manager for Anixter Inc., based in Anaheim, CA. She can be reached at 714-695-2219, or melissa.kobus@anixter.com
Melissa Kobus, CCE, is the Credit Management Association Chair and Regional Credit Manager for Anixter Inc., based in Anaheim, CA. She can be reached at 714-695-2219, or melissa.kobus@anixter.com

I find that the more you give the more you get back.  Sometimes it’s obvious, sometimes it’s in smaller increments.  In the credit world however, sometimes it can be hard to give.  You never know if your customer will send the payment your way, if the sales rep will get that RA or credit issued.  If you give too much, will you be able to meet your objectives?  Well, I have found a way to give back to CMA and its members that actually helps me to be more comfortable with my credit decisions.

Anixter has been a long-standing member with CMA.  We had always participated in the credit industry groups, submitting accounts for discussion and being involved.  In the last 5 years or so, we started to submit our aging too.  It was a great decision!  We are able to have our data available monthly for the members to pull electronically.  Having fresh data is so important in making an informed decision.

I download a report the first week of the month and submit it to the CMA data group.  They do all the rest.  They make sure the data gets into the anscers system quickly.  All members who pull a credit report from CMA have the immediate data at their finger tips.  If someone pulls an RFI, they will see the trade line from that month.  It is great!

I am making a call to action for all CMA members in 2015!  Start the New Year off by giving back to the association: submit your aging!  It is simple to submit the report in an Excel, CSV or tab delimited form. Simply send it via email at lwong@emailcma.org.   When you give to CMA, you will reap the rewards tenfold.  You will be able to make a solid credit decision and you will be helping other credit professionals too!

Melissa Kobus, CCE, is the Credit Management Association Chairman and Regional Credit Manager for Anixter Inc., based in Anaheim, CA. She can be reached at 714-695-2219, or melissa.kobus@anixter.com.

 

CMA Salutes Its Staff for Milestone Service

As the year draws to a close, it’s time to celebrate some of the notable accomplishments that happened in 2014, as the association staff looks forward to serving your risk management needs in 2015. Among those activities, several members of CMA’s own staff celebrated milestone anniversaries in 2014, and we ask that you join with us and help us appreciate these individuals who work tirelessly to help your businesses. Several of those staff members were recognized at CMA’s annual holiday luncheon in Burbank (see the photo gallery below).

On behalf of our membership body, we wish to extend sincere thanks to Jean Capitanelli (5 years), Scott McLaughlin (5 years), Daphne Masin (5 years),  Amber Jackson  (10 years), Laura Rothman (25 years), Jose Felix ( 25 years), Michael Hansen (25 years), Charles Klaus (25 years) and Cheryl Lloyd (50 years), along with the rest of the staff.

Thanks again to all you do for the membership, and we look forward to many more great years to come.

Senior Staff Accountant Cheryl Lloyd Celebrates 50 years with CMA
Senior Staff Accountant Cheryl Lloyd Celebrates 50 years with CMA
Resident IT expert Michael Hansen Celebrates 25 years with CMA
Michael Hansen Celebrates 25 years with CMA
Sales Manager Laura Rothman Celebrates 25 years with CMA
Laura Rothman Celebrates 25 years with CMA
Jose Felix Celebrates 25 years with CMA
Jose Felix Celebrates 25 years with CMA
Daphne Masin celebrates 5 years with CMA
Daphne Masin celebrates 5 years with CMA

Chuck Klaus celebrates 25 years with CMA
Chuck Klaus celebrates 25 years with CMA


Supplier Risk Credit Group created to help manage your vendors, by Larry Convoy

During my time in credit management, I’ve often heard the following: “We can survive if a customer goes bad, we cannot survive if one of our primary or secondary vendors has an interruption in delivering product, raw materials or services to us. For that reason, we invest an equal amount of resources investigating our vendors.”

CMA Industry Group Leader Larry Convoy
CMA Industry Group Leader Larry Convoy

Responding to members requests, CMA is establishing the SUPPLIER RISK CREDIT GROUP for companies that have expanded the credit departments’ risk management role to include key suppliers. There has been a tremendous increase in companies evaluating the risk and cost of business disruption when vendors are unable to deliver goods for reasons ranging from economic to political.  Credit Managers deal in risk evaluation daily, they have the skill set necessary to transition from customer analysis to vendor.

This new group will help companies assess their exposure to vendor failure, develop, implement and maintain a process to evaluate risk and gather business intelligence more efficiently and cost effectively.

CMA invites you to attend a complimentary organizational meeting to explore the benefits and features of a Supplier Risk Credit Group.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015 from 10am-noon

In-Person: Nestle USA headquarters, Glendale CA, or via Web-conference (must have web cam and speakers)

RSVP to lconvoy@emailcma.org and we’ll save a seat — either virtually or in-person — for you.

We hope to see you there!

2014 – the Year in Review

2014 has been a very productive year for us at Credit Management Association. While the year will be remembered in pop culture history for its massive data breaches and Kim Kardashian “breaking the internet,” CMA has continued to help businesses minimize risk, as it has since it was founded in 1883. Additionally, it has enhanced some of its services to make them even more valuable to members. Here are a few of those new upgrades:

  • CMA launched a new anscersX multibureau report that incorporates the data from the top three reporting bureaus in a concise, easy to read report, to allow credit managers to make informed decisions. Details: www.anscers.com.
  • CMA upgraded its Construction Forms Filing Services (CFFS). Serving as a point of reference for those who supply materials or labor to construction projects, the new functionality equips companies with the tools to protect their lien rights under the law. Among the enhancements: CMA’s Lien Provision Assistance Guide provides a summary of the provisions to meet individual state statutes in all fifty states to assist any company working public, private or federal construction projects by identifying each state and the time requirements for each form in that state depending on the type of project. Other upgrades included an enhanced reminder system and incorporating the Lien Provision Assistance Guide with the CFFS service module on www.anscers.com.
  • CMA and the International Trade Administration (ITA) of the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) have agreed on a “U.S. Trade and Investment Expansion Partnership” that will help credit and risk management professionals gain access to educational resources needed to expand their businesses nationally and globally. The agreement will continue to promote international trade to CMA’s members by increasing awareness of the economic benefits of exporting, and educating them on trade activities as a job creation and growth strategy.
  • Speaking of education, CMA has successfully administered more than 50 webinars, in-person seminars and events allowing CMA members to stay current in the ever-changing credit management profession. For a list of upcoming educational programming, visit www.creditmanagementassociation.org/events.
  • CMA enhanced its communications with members by creating Quick News, its bi-weekly newsletter. The newsletter focuses on the latest happenings from the credit management industry, as well as news from CMA. CMA has also had a bigger presence than ever on LinkedIn and Facebook.
  • CMA members have continued to understand the value of submitting their A/R data to CMA and NACM.  Members who contribute continue to save time by never having to answer an RFI nor fill out a past due or meeting review report. They create an industry-specific data bank for their niche markets, reducing their dollar commitment to third-party reporting agencies. Though CMA has a large number of members who participate, CMA welcomes every company to add their data to the pool. For more information, contact Lisa Wong at (951) 672-0581.
  • Another successful Annual Meeting and Western Region Credit Conference were completed, with some of the best attendance figures in both events’ histories.

2014 was a great year for Credit Management Association, but we’re looking forward to an even better 2015. As a valued customer of CMA, we appreciate your business and look forward to continuing on as your association. Have a Happy New Year!

Not The Top Ten List You Want To Be On, by Larry Convoy

With due respect to David Letterman and Sports Center’s nightly “Top 10” lists, there are some lists that you would be better off not being on.  One that directly affects you and your company is “The Top 20 Creditors in a Bankruptcy Case,” a document that is easily obtainable by accessing Pacer. No company likes to see their losses published for all to see.

CMA Industry Group Leader Larry Convoy
CMA Industry Group Leader Larry Convoy

However, this document of doom will now be turned into an excellent prospect list for any industry credit group (ICG). Whenever you post an alert of a Chapter 11 in your industry, CMA will run a list of the top 20 creditors. These companies could be competitors of yours, or they are at least selling into the same market as you and have just taken what could be a major hit. A phone call from a group member informing them about the group, and mentioning that the group was aware of the problem and therefore had minimal exposure, could get the group a new member very easily.

Therefore, effective with the next Chapter 11 alert posted on anscers, the ICG department will forward this list of names to the group chairmen and group facilitator. There will probably be some banks, factors or lending companies that would not fit but you should be able to identify some HOT prospects. Tell them that the best way to avoid the next BK is through membership in your credit group.

Thank you for your support throughout 2014, and we wish you and your family a Happy and Healthy Holiday Season and a Prosperous 2015.

Larry Convoy
Lead Group Facilitator
lconvoy@emailcma.org

To Ship to Not to Ship – Should a Credit Manager Be Santa Claus or the Grinch?, by Melissa Kobus, CCE

Melissa Kobus, CCE, is the Credit Management Association Chair and Regional Credit Manager for Anixter Inc., based in Anaheim, CA. She can be reached at 714-695-2219, or melissa.kobus@anixter.com
Melissa Kobus, CCE, is the Credit Management Association Chair and Regional Credit Manager for Anixter Inc., based in Anaheim, CA. She can be reached at 714-695-2219, or melissa.kobus@anixter.com

It’s December, the last month of the fiscal calendar for most companies.  There is a lot of pressure to make sure your results are strong.  The sales team wants to have as many orders as possible go out the door. You need to have as much money as possible come in but your customers are having cash flow concerns, and it’s not making your job any easier. What is a credit manager to do?

It might be easy to just say ship the material and say “Happy Holidays.”  It will help increase sales and will make your past due percentage smaller and possibly improve your DSO.  The orders will help your customer complete the job they are trying to finish before the holidays.  Your sales manager will be happy as that will increase their bonus payout for the month, no coal in their stocking this year.  You can collect those funds in January.  However, is this really in the best interest of the company?  Are there other options that might secure the order, entice your customer to pay you sooner or can you just bring in the cash?

In my credit experience, I have worked with a lot of contractors.  We ask questions about the order and find out if this is material that is being used to improve a particular piece of property, if it is we will ask for a job sheet.   With that information, we create a job account to secure our transactions either through lien or bond rights.  There is a level of comfort when we have a job account: we know that if there is a payment issue, we can reach out to the owner or the general contractor for their assistance.  If I am questioning if an order can go out the door, I will always ask, “Can we secure it?”

All credit professionals are trying to be paid before other suppliers.  Providing excellent customer service helps as the customer is more willing to pay you first but that may not get the job done.  Have you ever tried to offer a one-time discount for a large payment?  Have you asked the customer if they can dip into their line of credit?  In the construction industry, you can ask for a joint pay agreement, when they get paid by their customer, you’ll get paid at the same time via a two-party check.  We are all leery about accepting a credit card payment, but is that an option you can offer?  Being creative is a key asset to success in credit. Find a way to get the order out the door and to collect the funds.

Your goal within the credit department is to maximize sales by managing risk and minimizing write offs.  This is the same throughout the year but even more important at the end of the year.  So how do you make that decision to ship or not to ship?  Are you going to be Santa or the Grinch?  My suggestion, pull out your red bag of tools & tricks and surprise the sales team, your boss and your customer and show them that Santa does really exist and find a way to accept the order and get paid.

I wish you all the very best during the holiday season.  If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to me.

Melissa Kobus, CCE, is the Credit Management Association Chairman and Regional Credit Manager for Anixter Inc., based in Anaheim, CA. She can be reached at 714-695-2219, or melissa.kobus@anixter.com

Save the Date: CMA Announces “A Credit Paradise,” the 2015 Annual Meeting

Credit professionals will experience “A Credit Paradise” on April 9, 2015 at Credit Management Association’s Annual Meeting. Taking place at Disneyland’s Paradise Pier Hotel in Anaheim, California, the “A Credit Paradise” event includes a full day of training, education, awards and networking opportunities with other credit professionals.

CMA is currently surveying its members about the resources that would be “A Credit Paradise.” The results of this survey will direct the event’s education and training topics. Details about the program, including the keynote speaker and education topics, will be announced in early 2015.

The Annual Meeting allows CMA members from all over California and Nevada the opportunity to learn about the latest trends affecting the credit profession. Last year, the event addressed the relationship between the sales and credit departments, and received some of the best feedback scores it’s ever had from the exit survey. In 2015, CMA is considering valuable training programs and topics requested by its member so they can attain ‘A Credit Paradise’ in their offices.

The Annual Meeting is the largest in a series of in-person educational opportunities offered by CMA. To learn more about the other sessions and topics, visit www.creditmanagementassociation.org/events or call 800-541-2622.

New CMA member benefit: The Interface Financial Group to Offer New Source of Working Capital for Small Businesses

We are excited to announce that CMA and The Interface Financial Group (IFG) have announced a partnership that will offer small businesses an alternative source for working capital. IFG will be working with members of Credit Management Association (CMA) and their at-risk customers to provide working capital through receivables financing to companies who are unable to receive traditional bank funding.

This partnership will help both CMA members and their at-risk customers by providing alternative sources of funding to companies that wouldn’t otherwise have been able to access these funds.

Charles A. Schultz Jr., a former restructuring and turnaround consultant who runs the Las Vegas office of IFG and will be a point of contact, was most recently with a New York City-based boutique consulting firm, where he provided turnaround and restructuring services, and interim leadership within diverse companies. With his diverse background, he achieved results from foreclosure-to-corporate-sale transformations and large-scale operational expansions through such strategies as business plan development, cash flow planning, budget development, negotiations, right-sized operations, and crisis management planning.

IFG’s solutions are specifically designed for small business, and programs can be tailored to each individual business from a service mix that includes invoice discounting, purchase order funding, and inventory financing. IFG also works closely with local banks to make available the working capital business owners need.

Schultz previously held Director of Finance and Assistant Controller positions with a startup sub-prime consumer finance company, and served as Comptroller of the then third largest financial institution in the state of Nebraska.  Over the past 20 years, he has conducted numerous presentations and training seminars in the restructuring and banking industries.

For more information on these services, contact Charles and Karin Schultz, 702-636-8644, schultz@interfacefinancial.com, or via the web at http://ifgnetwork.com/cmaca/.

Offshore Suppliers Beware of the Insolvent U.S. Customer and the Terms of Sale: What the World Imports Bankruptcy Case Teaches the Credit Team, by Scott Blakeley, Esq.

Scott Blakeley, esq.

The global supply chain is an often written topic in the press. Recent public company chapter 11 filings (usually Delaware or the Southern District of New York) highlight the global network of suppliers reflected in debtors’ lists of 20 or 30 largest unsecured creditors. This list often consists of offshore creditors from around the globe, whether Asia, Europe or South America.

Offshore suppliers who ship goods to the U.S. on credit should be wary of insolvent, or potentially insolvent, customers. Although U.S. Bankruptcy Code section §503(b)(9) provides that suppliers of goods are entitled to an administrative expense claim for the invoice value of the goods received by the customer within 20 days prior to their filing, an issue arises as to when the goods are received.

For many offshore suppliers, it is advantageous to ship goods to a U.S. customer “Free on Board port of origin” (“FOB”) as it places risk of loss during transportation on the customer. However, shipping goods FOB would also mean that the goods are technically received by the customer on the date of shipment. For many offshore shipments, this would mean that the shipment may have been received prior to the 20 day period of the customer’s bankruptcy filing, even if the goods were actually in the customer’s possession within the 20 day period.

The recent decision in In re World Imports, Ltd2, however, takes the §503(b)(9) priority claim protection away from the offshore supplier. There, the Bankruptcy Court held that an offshore supplier who provided goods to a U.S. debtor within 20 days of the bankruptcy was not entitled to a priority claim under Bankruptcy Code §503(b)(9) because the goods were “received by the debtor” at the time they were placed on the vessel at the port overseas more than 20 days before the debtor’s bankruptcy filing, even though the debtor took physical possession of the goods within the 20 day period.

The ruling of World Imports is a red flag for offshore suppliers and their global supply chain selling to U.S. customers on credit who are insolvent as they may not have a priority claim, leaving them with a non-priority claim, which translates to no distribution on the invoices. To avoid this harsh result, we consider ways the foreign supplier can reduce this payment risk.

The World Imports Court Ruling
In World Imports, a Chinese supplier had shipped goods to the Debtor within 20 days of the bankruptcy filing, and claimed that such prepetition delivery entitled them to an administrative priority claim pursuant to §503(b)(9). The supplier asserted that because §503(b)(9) does not define “receipt,” the Uniform Commercial Code should apply, which defines “receipt” as occurring when the buyer takes physical possession of the goods, which occurred within the 20 days required by §503(b)(9).

However, the debtor argued that given this was a contract for the international sale of goods the UCC was preempted by the federal CISG treaty. Under this treaty, Free On Board (“FOB”) delivery provides that the customer’s “receipt” occurs not when the customer takes physical possession, but when the vendor delivers the goods to the agreed upon carrier.

The bankruptcy court found that the contract was governed by the CISG. The court noted that the parties did not opt out of the CISG and concluded the delivery occurred outside of the 20 day window and barred the offshore supplier from administrative priority under § 503(b)(9). The World Imports only applies to international contracts between countries that have adopted the CISG treaty. The CISG has been ratified by 80 countries, including: Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Columbia, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Netherlands, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, the United States, and Venezuela.

The Creditor Waterfall in Chapter 11
Suppliers selling on credit to an insolvent customer know well that when the customer files chapter 11, the value of the prepetition invoices that are very old, say 100 days, will typically bring but a few cents on the dollar, often years after the filing. The reason is the creditor waterfall or priority scheme of creditors. Secured creditors are entitled to be paid first from the collateral in which they have a security interest. After secured creditors, administrative or priority creditors are next in line. Each of these creditor classes are entitled to be paid in full prior to a junior class of creditor. Last in line of the creditor class is suppliers that have provided trade credit. Even though these suppliers may have undisputed invoices entitling them to payment, the problem is that they are at the bottom of the creditor waterfall and they face a shortfall. Thus, the World Imports case is significant as the §503(b)(9) claims are often paid in full.

The Credit Team Reducing the Risk of Being Ensnared in an In re World Imports Setting
So what steps can the offshore supplier take to reduce the payment risk that World Imports creates when that customer is insolvent? One step is for the supplier to opt out of the CISG’s application. Another option is moving the customer to CIA. However, the supplier may lose the business if terms are cut off. A supplier may also require the customer to post a letter of credit at the time it delivers the goods to the carrier, which insures that payment is made to the supplier at the time the “risk of loss” shifts to the customer. With a drawdown of an L/C, the supplier is protected from preference as the payment comes from a third party, the issuing bank of the L/C, and not payment from the debtor.

Key Concepts & Terms

§503(b)(9) of the Bankruptcy Code – provides that suppliers of goods are entitled to an administrative expense claim for the invoice value of the goods received by the customer within 20 days prior to their filing

FOB Origin – The acronym for Free on Board. A shipment for which the seller is responsible for transportation and shipping costs to the point where the goods are delivered to and loaded onto a carrier.

CISG: The Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods. This international treaty has been signed by most industrialized nations and many that are not. Its provisions govern the formation and subsequent rights and obligations of the parties to international contracts, meaning those entered by parties in different countries, both of which countries are signatories to the convention. The list of countries changes almost every year. Current status of accession of a particular country to this convention can be checked, for prospective sales and international law concerns, at the CISG database.
Scott Blakeley, Esq., is a founder of Blakeley & Blakeley LLP, where he advises companies around the United States and Canada regarding creditors’ rights, commercial law, e-commerce and bankruptcy law. He can be reached at seb@blakeleyllp.com.

WRCC – CreditScape – An Excellent Opportunity to Learn and Network, by Melissa Kobus, CCE

Melissa Kobus, CCE, is the Credit Management Association Chair and Regional Credit Manager for Anixter Inc., based in Anaheim, CA. She can be reached at 714-695-2219, or melissa.kobus@anixter.com
Melissa Kobus, CCE, is the Credit Management Association Chair and Regional Credit Manager for Anixter Inc., based in Anaheim, CA. She can be reached at 714-695-2219, or melissa.kobus@anixter.com

As you probably already know, I am a big proponent of continuing education, which is why I attended the CreditScape – Western Region Credit Conference,  held at the Palms Hotel in Las Vegas last month. As someone who has participated in many seminars and events, this was one of the better programs I’ve attended.  I was impressed with the many first-time attendees attending.  I thought the conference overall was excellent. The speakers and topics were varied and well presented.  I learned about a lot, I met many new people and was able to connect with others who I had lost touch with.  There were so many different topics and I would like to share my thoughts on a few of the sessions I attended and look forward to your feedback and comments.

The Opening Keynote Speaker this year was Steve Zipkoff.  He energetically shared with us how to deliver customer delight in many aspects of our professional and personal lives.  I now know the 6 tools that I started implementing right away.  The one that hits home the most is to be a “fixer” not a finger pointer.  We all should be looking for solutions to resolve the cause and change it verses putting a band aid on the problem.  You can either fix the issue the right way or you will be fixing it again and again.  It is important to practice continuous improvement and be able to adapt quickly.  Steve expressed to everyone to behave like you own the business which is something I’ve believed for a long time.

I attended Rudet Fountain’s session on the changes in payment processing.  Does everyone understand how electronic payments are processed and what is changing?  If you attended this session, you would now.  B2B payment processes continue to change and improve but at what cost to your company?  How are banks standardizing communication formats so that data can be transmitted more easily?  What about credit card payments, I know my company gets requests daily to use a credit card to pay but are we ensuring our fee structure is the best it can be?  Is our processing at a Level 3 standard which could save my company a lot of money?  What about the new chip we are starting to see on credit cards – anyone know what that is for?  It is for fraud protection; which there are new rules for that and those need to be in place by Oct 2015.  Boy, lots to think about just from this session alone.

The Credit View was a fun session filed with excellent pointers and insight to other credit professionals’ struggles and achievements.  The panelist shared with the attendees how they broke into the credit field, how they work with the sales team and how they integrate with upper management.  The session was a takeoff from the TV show “The View”.  There was some banter and good opinions shared.  I was particularly impressed with the ladies on this panel, excellent role models for women in the credit profession, definitely making sure I am connected with all through LinkedIn or Facebook !

The Closing Speaker was one of my favorites, I am sure that cannot be said about many other economists but Chris Kuehl has a great way to share information and keep it light hearted and entertaining.  Chris is NACM’s chief economist and especially enjoys presenting to credit managers across the US.  Have you completed the Credit Manager’s Index with NACM, if you have, Chris is the one who is analyzing the data and telling other economy professionals what is happening in the business world.  He let us know that during an election year, things will be crazy that the economy has not taken off as well as everyone had hoped and an “Ebola czar” is not really needed.  Chris publishes a regular brief on changes and updates to the economy, I am definitely getting on his email list.

Overall, the WRCC was a great opportunity to learn.  There was also great network events too, “Fly Me to the Moon” was well attended and a super fun dance night!  I really encourage all credit professionals to mark their calendar and not miss the next conference, you will not be disappointed.  For those who haven’t seen them, photos from the event have been posted on CMA’s Facebook page.

I truly hope that the first-time attendees this year return for years to come and that training stays a key attribute for all credit professionals. What about you, did you attend (or wish you had attended)? Please post your comments and insight below.

Melissa Kobus, CCE, is the Credit Management Association Chairman and Regional Credit Manager for Anixter Inc., based in Anaheim, CA. She can be reached at 714-695-2219, or melissa.kobus@anixter.com

U.S. International Trade Administration Renews Educational Resources Program for Credit Management Association Members

Credit Management Association® (CMA) and the International Trade Administration (ITA) of the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) have agreed on an extension to its Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), titled the “U.S. Trade and Investment Expansion Partnership,” that will help credit and risk management professionals gain access to educational resources needed to expand their businesses nationally and globally.

The agreement, which now goes through Sept. 30, 2015, was signed at the recent CreditScape Conference in Las Vegas by CMA president Mike Mitchell and U.S. DOC representative Richard Swanson, at the event, which represents the largest gathering of credit managers on the West Coast. Upon completion of the contract, the program will be up for renewal for a third time.

The agreement, which was originally signed earlier this year, continues the relationship between CMA and the U.S. Department of Commerce, to promote international trade to CMA’s members by increasing awareness of the economic benefits of exporting, and educating them on trade activities as a job creation and growth strategy, emphasizing the small- and medium-sized businesses that make up CMA.

Through this program, CMA and the DOC have begun jointly developing a series of educational webinars and events on topics such as exporting to Latin America and Mexico that was offered at the CreditScape Conference. Other topics are likely to include the importance of trade and business investment and associated benefits to the economy, export and business investment opportunities, and ITA’s role in opening foreign markets to U.S. exporters. Additionally, this partnership creates the platform to engage in a dialog between CMA and the DOC. The program expands upon the resources of another CMA-sponsored service, the Global Trade Credit Consortium, which offers assistance for companies that sell internationally by providing access to letters of credit, international collections, banking resources, credit insurance, international credit reports, and education and training.

“In this global economy, CMA is constantly evaluating which programs and services it offers that will help our members the most,” said CMA President Mike Mitchell. “Participation in this project furthers CMA’s programs such as the Global Trade Credit Consortium which encourages the economic growth of its members and other small and medium-sized businesses, and gives them access to some high-powered government resources on these topics. CMA is helping its members to better understand how to navigate and effectively compete in a global marketplace.”

“The function of the ITA is that it strengthens the competitiveness of U.S. industry, promotes trade and investment, and ensures fair trade through the rigorous enforcement of U.S. trade laws and agreements. ITA works to improve the global business environment and helps U.S. organizations compete at home and abroad,” said Eddy Sumar, CMA Director of Educational Services. “The goals of this U.S. Trade and Investment expansion partnership are to increase the economic benefits of trade; educate the public on trade activities as a job creation and growth strategy; to create general awareness of ITA and other government resources, and encourage U.S. businesses interested in exporting and foreign businesses interested in investing in the United States to seek the assistance of ITA. I can’t wait to announce some of the great training programs that we have planned.”

“In the coming months, CMA members will be reading more about these developments via CMA’s social media sites, blog, newsletter and other communications. I am very excited about the growth possibilities of this program,” Sumar added.

These educational sessions will complement the dozens of annual seminars, webinars, courses, conferences and training sessions that CMA offers. For details on other offerings, visit www.creditmanagementassociation.org/events.

Rich Swanson, USFCS Pacific South Region, and Mike Mitchell, CAE, President & CEO, CMA (Credit Management Association) sign the MOA at the CreditScape Conference at the Palms Hotel, Las Vegas on Thursday, October 16, 2014.
Rich Swanson, USFCS Pacific South Region, and Mike Mitchell, CAE, President & CEO, CMA (Credit Management Association) sign the MOA at the CreditScape Conference at the Palms Hotel, Las Vegas on Thursday, October 16, 2014.

Pictured in the photo: Front row: Rich Swanson, USFCS Pacific South Region and Mike Mitchell, CAE, President & CEO, CMA (Credit Management Association). Second row from left to right: Melissa Kobus, Chairman of the Board, CMA; Bob O’Brien, Director Channel Partnership Development, D&B; Eddy Sumar, President, ER$ Consulting Services; Andrew Edlefsen, Director, USCS, USEAC.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“WE PAY TRIBUTE TO …,” by Larry Convoy

CMA Industry Group Leader Larry Convoy
CMA Lead Groups Facilitator Larry Convoy

Having recently watched Major League Baseball and its fans pay tribute to one of its greatest players, leaders, and ambassadors, the retiring Derek Jeter, it made me realize that we have industry credit group members that have displayed the same loyalty and longevity and should be recognized for their achievements. Here are just a few that come to mind:

  • Candy Royster of Oceanic has served as an officer of the Underwater Sports group multiple times and never misses the opportunity to share information with fellow group members, as she’s done so for over 2 decades.
  • It is difficult to determine if Linda McCarty is employed by Florexpo or CMA by the way she supports, encourages others, promotes the group and simply over many years has exhibited a positive attitude for all involved in the National Wholesale Floral group.
  • There are not many titles that Sandy McConnell of Charleston Auto Parts has not held in her years of involvement in the Las Vegas Materialmens group and CMA boards. She has played a major role in the growth and success of CMA in the Desert.

When constructing this newsletter, I asked our group secretaries for recommendations of individuals who satisfied the “Jeteresque” qualifications, hoping I could get a few names. What I received were over 30 nominees of members who have exhibited the same professionalism, loyalty and integrity as the Yankee shortstop. I wish I had the space to list them all and to express our appreciation for all that they do for the Credit Profession.

Now our challenge is to find suitable replacements for these individuals as they transition over the next few years into a well-deserved retirement. CMA is happy to be working with UCLA Extension in developing the next generation of Credit Professionals through the Credit Analysis and Management Course. This program may become the “Minor Leagues” for upcoming credit people and keep the profession and groups well stocked with quality people for years to come.

For more information on the UCLA program, visit www.uclaextension.edu/credit.

Have a great October!

Sincerely,

Larry Convoy
Lead Group Facilitator
lconvoy@emailcma.org

The Year End is Coming – What is the Credit Professional To Do?, by Melissa Kobus, CCE

As a credit manager, I am not sure there is any time of the year that is “slow” for me, especially not year-end.  There is always an account that needs attention, money needing to be collected, training that needs to occur, etc.  However, as we roll into the last quarter of the year, I will take a few moments to identify some action items to ensure that we will meet our goals for the year.

Melissa Kobus, CCE, is the Credit Management Association Chair and Regional Credit Manager for Anixter Inc., based in Anaheim, CA. She can be reached at 714-695-2219, or melissa.kobus@anixter.com
Melissa Kobus, CCE, is the Credit Management Association Chair and Regional Credit Manager for Anixter Inc., based in Anaheim, CA. She can be reached at 714-695-2219, or melissa.kobus@anixter.com

I know that 80% of our receivables base is made up of 20% of our customers.  I will review these accounts for any special items that could delay our payments coming in as they need to.  I will check with the sales team to see if their purchases will be ramping up for the end of the year so that the credit limit is in place.  I might make a customer visit to strengthen the relationship with my Company, expressing my appreciation for their continued support and to verify payment expectations for the year end.

It is house-cleaning time, or better yet account-cleaning time, my team and I will spend some time to ensure that our account disputes are being resolved for the year end.  We will scrub and clear as many disputes as we possibly can.  We will engage the sales team early in the quarter to give them plenty of time to address the issue.  I might even pull one credit analyst to spearhead this activity, and let them focus on only this activity.

I also take time throughout the last quarter to remind my team how important they are to me.  They have worked hard all year and I am asking them to make the push to close the year strong.  I want to keep them motivated and happy; I might take them out to lunch, for a cocktail after hours, or maybe let them leave an hour early on a Friday to miss the traffic.  I appreciate their efforts and recognize that as a team we are successful.  The recognition really is all year long but the last quarter can be more stressful than the others.

The year end is coming, sooner than we all probably would like.  It is a good time to reflect on areas of opportunity, and lead the team to the finish line!  What are some of the opportunities you look to as the end of the year approaches?

Melissa Kobus, CCE, is the Credit Management Association Chairman and Regional Credit Manager for Anixter Inc., based in Anaheim, CA. She can be reached at 714-695-2219, or melissa.kobus@anixter.com

What’s new at CreditScape 2014?

CreditScape 2014

In four weeks from today, many of the greatest minds in credit management will gather at the Palms Hotel in Las Vegas at CreditScape, the 2014 Western Region Credit Conference.

If you haven’t already signed up for the conference, here are 10 new reasons to attend:

1. NEW TO WRCC: Top-notch presenters and program moderators, including Chris Kuehl; Steve Zipkoff; Lisa Wright, Esq.; Rita Jo Schilling; Steve Ragow; Romelio Hernandez; Andrew Edlefsen; Bob O’Brien; Kelly Brockway; Joyce Simas; Ross Cirrincione; Lee Clutter, CBA; Tracy Rosenbach, CCE; Jennifer Walsh, CCE; Elissa Miller, Esq.; Michelle Herman and Diana Crowe.

2. As the Credit Industry keeps changing, lots of information has changed since last year. Keep current on the latest trends in credit management.

3. With the economy going global, CreditScape offers a bigger focus than ever before on international issues.

4. New Industry Huddles provide a forum to network with credit managers in the Construction, Food and Technology industries.

5. Sessions “tracks” include fundamental credit principles, legal, international, collections and finance to help make it easy to pick your conference schedule.

6. More than 10 new topics/sessions that have never been featured at this event before!

7. Looking for inspiration to excell at your job? Several sessions have been created to inspire you, including Reinvent Yourself 101, Understanding Your Communication Style and Delivering Customer Delight

8. “Fly Me to the Moon” Event on Thursday night offers a fabulous reception at the Moon nightclub for all registered conference attendees. The Moon is a sultry penthouse nightclub with one of the most spectacular architectural features in Las Vegas – a massive retractable roof that opens up to provide a mind-blowing view of the stars above. Located at the top of the Palms Fantasy Tower, Moon’s dramatic, surreal environment is truly out of this world. Come play among the stars!

9. CreditScape is still the only conference of its kind on the west coast, offering credit education to credit managers by credit managers at an affordable price.

10. The venue (The Palms Hotel) is new too.

Learn to navigate the credit landscape…register now ( http://creditscapeconference.com/registration-payment/ )

I hope to meet you in person at the conference!

UCLA Extension Launches Credit Analysis and Management Course, by Mike Mitchell, CAE

CMA President Mike Mitchell
CMA President Mike Mitchell

I have long wondered why institutions of higher learning have not offered courses in business credit. When I was pursuing my graduate degree in business administration, I don’t recall that credit ever came up as part of the course curriculum. I began working for CMA shortly after I completed my degree, and this is where I learned that business credit is really what makes the U.S. economy as unique, competitive, and robust as it is.

NACM does a great job of supporting professional development and recognizing credit professionals through its Professional Certification Program, but that only touches practicing credit professionals. What about the many more college graduates and job seekers who don’t know that credit jobs exist? How do we reach out to those people who are pre-career or looking to change direction and let them know about credit as a career? What about small business owners who don’t have the staff to delegate credit decisions?

A few years ago, CMA was invited to participate in the development of a credit analysis and management certificate program at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) Extension to expose an entirely new audience to credit as a career. The program is intended for the credit community in banking and finance, trade credit management and small business owners. Roger L. Torneden, Ph.D., CFP®, the Director of Business, Management and Legal Programs at UCLA Extension, actually worked as a credit manager at JC Penney. He saw the same opportunity as we did to reach people working outside of credit.

CMA is committed to bringing qualified credit management professionals to member companies, and programs like this one at UCLA Extension is a great way to do that, specifically when CMA- and NACM-member companies are looking to fill internships or entry-level positions that require specific skill sets in credit management.

Many students have already successfully completed the coursework, and CMA continues to help UCLA Extension promote this great program. With training from UCLA and professional networking and services from CMA, our collaboration could seed the next generation of credit managers and expand the NACM brand.

For more information, visit www.uclaextension.edu/credit.

“Which is the Greater Return On Investment,” by Larry Convoy

Over the years, I have attended dozens of trade shows in my role of Industry Group Secretary for CMA.  My travels have taken me to Orlando, New Orleans, Atlanta, San Francisco and Dallas, cities where food, travel and accommodations can be quite costly.

What always surprised me was the ratio of salespeople to credit people that the companies brought to these shows. In some instances the ratio was 6 to 1, but in many cases, there was no one from the credit department there. The sales team, all in matching shirts, wined and dined customers present and future, many of the company names I recognized from past-due reports and alerts.  Four nights’ hotel, meals, and transportation costs, what was the cost and what was the Return on this Investment?

I am reminded of this every time I ask if members will be attending CreditScape, the Western Region Credit Conference in Las Vegas from Oct. 15th -17th. The stock answer I get is “management does not see the value or we are not budgeted for it.” Take a look at 4 of the 18 breakout sessions offered and convince me that the ROI is equal to if not greater than the above scenario:

• How to Analyze Customer Liquidity
• How to Secure Transactions in Mexico and Latin America
• New Rules, Developments and Trends in Credit Laws
• What the Recent Data Security Breaches of Major Retailers Means to Vendors

Financial Strength, International credit, credit laws and security, are topics that will increase and protect the bottom line for many years. In addition, vendors displaying the latest in resources and technology make this a conference that senior management should insist their credit people attend.

It is time to change this ratio around not only at trade shows but in the opportunities available to credit managers to keep abreast of the latest developments in their profession.
Attending the Western Region Credit conference would be a wise investment for any company.

We’ve even written a letter that you can give to your boss to help convince them of the value of this conference. You can get it here: http://creditmanagementassociation.org/events/creditscape-conference/western-region-credit-conference-letter-to-your-boss/

For more information or to register, go to www.creditscapeconference.com or contact Jodi Owens at 888-887-7913 x221
Have a great September, and I hope to see you there.
Sincerely,

Larry Convoy
Supervisor-Industry Credit Groups
lconvoy@emailcma.org
818-972-5323

Senior Accountant Cheryl Lloyd Celebrates 50th Year With CMA

Congratulations to CMA senior accountant Cheryl Lloyd, who on Monday celebrated her 50th anniversary with Credit Management Association.

Lloyd, who began working at the CMA headquarters (then located in the Koreatown area of Los Angeles) on Sept. 8, 1964, started as an Industry Credit Group clerk, moved over to maintaining membership records, then to accounting in 1983, where she has been ever since.

“Throughout my time here, some things have changed and others haven’t. When I started at CMA, the groups were different because we didn’t have computers. We had to do our work on a typewriter. We copied our reports and group information on a Xerox machine and passed them around the office to share data amongst our staff. Computers have made my life (and job) much easier. On the other hand, the Group meetings themselves were about the same. Group members discussed information on their delinquent accounts in meetings and lunches back then, and still continue to do that,” Lloyd said.

Having only worked part-time jobs prior to coming to work at CMA, Lloyd says that some of her most fond memories have come from the family atmosphere that’s been cultivated while working at CMA. “I’ve appreciated the support over the years that I’ve received from my co-workers. We have shared life and work experiences, and many of them have become as close as family,” she said, adding that she met her husband Ed while he was running the mailroom for CMA from 1976-1992.

The CMA staff participated in a surprise celebration of Lloyd’s amazing feat last Friday, and we’re happy to report that Lloyd has shown no signs of slowing down.

cheryl lloyd

Credit Management Association Expands Construction Forms Filing Services

CMA is excited to announce that it has published a series of enhancements to its Construction Forms Filing Services (CFFS) on CMA’s website, CreditManagementAssociation.com. The site, which serves as a point of reference for those who supply materials or labor to construction projects, equips companies with the tools to protect their lien rights under the law. The service assists those customers who file or pursue preliminary notices, notices of intent, mechanics liens, releases, stop notices, bond claims, foreclosures, or other legal actions pertaining to construction.

A free service to all those in the construction industry, CMA’s Lien Provision Assistance Guide provides a summary of the provisions to meet individual state statutes in all fifty states. To view the guide, go to http://creditmanagementassociation.org/services/construction-forms-filing/lien-provision-assistance-guide/. This guide will assist any company working public, private or federal construction projects. The guide identifies each state and the time requirements for each form in that state depending on the type of project.

CMA has upgraded its reminder system incorporating the Lien Provision Assistance Guide with the CFFS service module on www.anscers.com. The system allows users to create reminders that are web, email or Outlook calendar based throughout the lifecycle of a construction project. As users create reminders, they can review the lien provisions for each state to ensure they pick the right follow-up dates for their project.

This rounds out CMA’s other recent enhancements, which include importing multiple Preliminary Notice Requests using Microsoft Excel and providing access to detailed monthly usage reports, creating a state-of-the-art forms filing service from CMA.

“These new features greatly expand the benefits of our Construction Forms Filing capabilities,” said CMA president Mike Mitchell. “We listened to the feedback of our customers, who have requested changes that would help them file their forms online, and their suggestions have helped us deliver a better product,” he added.

CFFS services currently allow construction suppliers to request preliminary notices and record mechanics liens in all states and Guam; as well as request mechanics lien releases; lien warning notices; bond claims and stop notices. Other benefits of using CMA’s CFFS services include online filing and notice tracking; no set up fees or minimum orders; same-day service when rapid filing is required; automatic verification of ownership and parcel information; CMA member and quantity discounts; and the availability to send progress releases at no charge.

“Our rates have always been competitive with similar services, and these enhanced features improve an already good product. The site can be tailored to fit individual needs, and the pricing is more cost-effective than filing in-house. CMA is even licensed and bonded for our customers’ protection,” Mitchell added.

For pricing information, visit CMA’s website at http://creditmanagementassociation.org/services/construction-forms-filing/ or call CMA at 800-841-5793 for more information.

The Power of Data and the Credit Manager, By Melissa Kobus, CCE

Melissa Kobus, CCE, is the Credit Management Association Chair and Regional Credit Manager for Anixter Inc., based in Anaheim, CA. She can be reached at 714-695-2219, or melissa.kobus@anixter.com
Melissa Kobus, CCE, is the Credit Management Association Chair and Regional Credit Manager for Anixter Inc., based in Anaheim, CA. She can be reached at 714-695-2219, or melissa.kobus@anixter.com

I was thinking about the amount of data that is available to today’s credit manager. Historical data and current facts are keys in making a decision to continue to support a customer.  It is quite amazing how much information is right at my fingertips.   Reviewing financials, a customers’ average day to pay and understanding their current needs is only part of my decision process.  It is important to have data from other sources too.

So who or what are those other sources?

First, I would highly recommend that you belong to an Industry Credit Group, such as any of the 60+ industry-specific ones that Credit Management Association (CMA) offers.  An Industry Credit Group is a connection that a credit professional should not live without.  It is a source to share data and experiences that are real-time, current and factual about customer trends, from people who share the same customer base that your company does.  It is a professional group that allows for networking and a great source of training.  Connect to find an industry group in your area.  I’ve professionally been a CMA Industry Credit Group member for 17 years.

Another source of data is credit reports.  There are many different kinds of credit reports available, including D&B’s business information report, Experian’s business report and Equifax’s small business report, and users of these reports know that each has its pros and cons, and the information can vary between bureaus. It is really up to the credit manager to determine which credit report best suits the needs of their business.  The data needs to be current and obviously accurate.  The report needs to be easy to obtain and cost effective.

The Big 3 bureaus have their reports, but have you looked at your local NACM affiliate for additional report options?  There are great reports that can be obtained there too!  Your local NACM affiliate can provide an NACM National Trade Report that has collected data from all members across the country.  I am also proud to announce that CMA has recently rolled out its own multibureau anscersX Report.  This report pulls data from all 3 bureaus and can be customized to include the data you need in one report.

The data in credit reports is very powerful.    A credit manager needs to know how the customer will pay in the future based on past trends.  Having the ability to pull a report that has the payment experience from the last month is a tremendous help.  I can’t imagine being able to do my job without access to data. How about you?  Do you find it easy to access data on your customers?  Does it help you make quick decisions with ease?  What other tools are you using?
Melissa Kobus, CCE, is the Credit Management Association Chairman and Regional Credit Manager for Anixter Inc., based in Anaheim, CA. She can be reached at 714-695-2219, or melissa.kobus@anixter.com

Announcing the New anscersX Report that combines key data from D&B, Experian and Equifax into one Business Credit Report

The anscersX multi-bureau trade credit report combines key factors from the three largest trade credit reporting agencies (D&B, Experian and Equifax), giving credit managers the most complete payment story available. “We spent time reviewing all the elements on each provider’s business credit report to determine what would give anscersX clients the best insight into their customers’ credit worthiness,” says Robert Shultz, Managing Partner of Trade Information Exchange. “By using an anscersX Report, you have covered the necessary bases at a much better cost and a tremendous time savings.   The anscersX Report provides a quick review of the information needed for most trade credit decisions.”

Credit Management Association® and Trade Information Exchange are proud to announce that they have produced the anscersX Report, a single report that contains all the key elements about your customers’ paying habits needed to make most credit decisions.
Credit Management Association® and Trade Information Exchange are proud to announce that they have produced the anscersX Report, a single report that contains all the key elements about your customers’ paying habits needed to make most credit decisions.

The report, which is available now at www.anscers.com, ranges in price from $29.95 to $64.95, depending on the number of reporting agencies the user requests. Users control which reporting agencies are accessed for the report.

“The anscersX report offers some real advantages to anyone making a credit evaluation,” said CMA president Mike Mitchell. “Single-source Business Credit Reports are made up of accounts receivable data that has been contributed by companies, public record data and scores generated from the combination of this data. Since most companies that contribute accounts receivable data only send it to one provider (D&B, Experian or Equifax), using one report may only provide a piece of the payment habit story.”

The anscersX Reports are available through CMA’s web-based platform anscers.com. “The anscersX Report is a significant proprietary credit offering to our customers,” says Teresa Campos, CMA’s Credit Information Services Manager. “A key feature is the summary section that displays scores from all three providers, plus other key data. This makes the anscersX Report easy to read and comprehend so users can make faster credit decisions. There are other advantages as well. This is a web-accessed report that can easily be ordered and received at the user’s workstation in seconds, all at a low cost. There are no minimum purchase or contract requirements. The users order what they want, when they need it and only pay for the reported results,” she added.

Several CMA Members have already used the anscersX Report and have had positive experiences with it. “We got an answer in minutes as opposed to calling all the trade references on the credit application,” said Mary Donaldson, Office Manager, Worthen Equipment Inc. Grating Pacific Inc.’s Stacy Henry added: “The enhanced anscersX Report is very intuitive and easy to read. The “Summary” section at the top of the report included all the information I needed to make my decision whether to extend credit. That saved me a lot of time.”

To learn more about the program, visit www.anscers.com or call 800-541-2622.

What Motivates The Credit Professional?, by Melissa Kobus, CCE

Melissa Kobus, CCE, is the Credit Management Association Chair and Regional Credit Manager for Anixter Inc., based in Anaheim, CA. She can be reached at 714-695-2219, or melissa.kobus@anixter.com
Melissa Kobus, CCE, is the Credit Management Association Chair and Regional Credit Manager for Anixter Inc., based in Anaheim, CA. She can be reached at 714-695-2219, or melissa.kobus@anixter.com

Credit professionals are a great group of people. They are hard workers. They are multi-taskers. They are consensus builders. They are goal focused. They are risk managers. But, what keeps them engaged and involved?

Motivation is defined as the reason one has for acting or behaving in a particular way.  So what motivates the credit professional to continue to perform and strive to be successful? This is a question I think about often. I manage a team of 10 credit professionals and each one is motivated differently. We have department goals and objectives and that influences their actions however it is more than that. Some are motivated by the bonus plan we provide. Some are motivated by the opportunity to learn more about our customers and our business process.   Some simply enjoy the challenge of getting the task completed, the account approved, the cash in the door, etc.

Will a challenging bonus program motivate you to be more successful? Our bonus plan is specific to cash results, past due balances and timely accounts reviews. In the past, it has also included turn-around time on applications, order releases and customer visits. A friend of mine once said, what gets measured gets done and that is what stays with me when I create a bonus plan.

Will the opportunity to learn more motivate you? Mastering a new task will keep you engaged. You should challenge yourself by learning a new “thing” every month. There are a lot of ways to find that new “thing”, webinars or classes, cross-training within and outside the credit dept, what about volunteering?

Will more engagement and influence in business decisions motivate you? The credit department has a unique role within the company; they interact with almost every dept. The credit professional can influence change, can offer insight to how a process works, and can help to make your business more successful. Think big, get involved, and challenge the barriers.

Everyone is motivated differently; I encourage you to think about what motivates you and make sure you strive to keep yourself challenged every day.

Have a great month!

 

Melissa Kobus, CCE, is the Credit Management Association Chairman and Regional Credit Manager for Anixter Inc., based in Anaheim, CA. She can be reached at 714-695-2219, or melissa.kobus@anixter.com

Registration Now Open for 2014 NACM Western Region Credit Conference

Credit Management Association (CMA) announces that registration is now open for the 2014 NACM Western Region Credit Conference (WRCC), titled the CreditScape Conference, Oct. 15-17, 2014, at the Palms Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The CreditScape Conference offers credit professionals three-days of targeted credit skills training. It is the only West Coast-based conference for credit managers, by credit managers. Credit Professionals at every level can benefit from the conference sessions and keynote presentations. It is designed to provide skills and best practices that can help improve an attendee’s bottom line/profit margin and allow them to sell to more accounts.

“It’s critical for credit managers to attend this conference so that they can stay current with best practices in credit management and bring those practices back to the office to implement immediately,” said CMA president Michael Mitchell. “Tracks are geared towards international credit management, collections, legal issues surrounding credit management, and Credit 101, so that every level of credit manager can benefit from attending this event.”

Registration is now available at www.creditscapeconference.com. Pricing for the conference is $595 for NACM members, while non-NACM members will pay $695. This includes 2 keynote sessions, over 20 breakout sessions, lunches and receptions. NACM members are encouraged to take advantage of special early bird pricing of $495, which is available via the website until August 15.

“With more than 20 session offerings, most of which are exclusive to this event, there’s no other place to get  business credit training at this price, and also get the opportunity to network with some of the top credit managers on the West Coast,” Mitchell added.

All educational sessions qualify for Continuing Education Units (CEUs) and provide roadmap points for those interested in pursuing a Credit Designation.

The Western Region Credit Conference is sponsored by the following NACM Affiliates:  Burbank, Denver, Nevada, New Mexico, Portland, Salt Lake City, San Diego, San Leandro, Seattle, Alaska, Hawaii, and Spokane. Members of NACM receive a discount on Conference fees. To find out more about your local NACM Affiliate and NACM Membership, visit the NACM website at http://www.nacm.org.

CMA Introduces Credit Management Association Quick News

In an effort to keep its members informed about issues affecting credit managers, Credit Management Association has created a new bi-weekly electronic newsletter, called CMA Quick News, to be distributed to members of the association.

The newsletter, which will be released every other Thursday beginning June 5 via e-mail, offers tips and tricks to make informed business decisions based on extending business credit, exploring opportunities and issues on the horizon.

“We understand that our members are very busy with their daily jobs, so we’ve created a news format designed to be read in a matter of minutes,” said CMA president Michael Mitchell, CAE. “The newsletter will focus on news pertinent to every credit manager…the latest trends that are available, new educational opportunities and reports that can help them make informed business decisions.”

To be added to the mailing list, subscribe at http://bit.ly/1rErsna and select CMA Quick News.

Chair’s Message: How to Spot Fraud, by Melissa Kobus

In today’s connected world, fraud is an epidemic that can hurt any company, big or small, and it’s becoming more common.

In my company, we recently were hit with some large fraud both with “phony” PO’s and stolen credit cards.  As credit managers, make sure that you are diligent about watching for the red flags so that we can stop these before we take a hit.  If something does not smell right, look right, etc. – ASK your credit analyst and investigate further.

Please pay attention to the following details when accepting orders (on terms or credit cards):

  • No contact except via email
  • Phone number is from outside the area or linked to Magic Jack phone
  • Urgency of getting a quote or in shipping material (must have it air freight today)
  • Email address is outside the normal address (gmail and yahoo too)
  • Reluctance to complete online forms
  • Typos and misprints on pre-printed information
  • Material type and quantity is out of the ordinary (hard drives, projectors, testers, etc)
  • Material has a high copper content and seems out of the ordinary for a credit card purchase
  • Shipment going to a different location or a location outside of their territory  (Use google earth to research ship-to address)
  • Shipment made close to a border town
  • Credit card number and name does not match the way the account is setup

Our best defense against fraud is a strong front line, so please make sure to keep your eyes open and ask questions, make phone calls, do the research.  We can continue to stop these thieves from hitting your company.

It is important to make sure everyone on your team gets this information.

What measures are your companies taking to prevent fraud? We welcome your feedback.

Melissa Kobus, CCE, is the Credit Management Association Chairman and Regional Credit Manager for Anixter Inc., based in Anaheim, CA. She can be reached at 714-695-2219, or melissa.kobus@anixter.com

A Complete Picture, by Larry Convoy

I recently sent a letter out to CMA’s group leaders and volunteers for the upcoming year talking about the biggest challenges we’ll face over that time period.

I told them that this year holds many of the same challenges that commercial credit grantors faced previously with the added pressures to industries affected by the California drought and the horrible winters throughout the country.

Our belief at CMA is that the major component of a successful Industry Credit group is “member participation,” both online and by attending the meetings/conference calls.

For the 3rd consecutive year, we have been able to revitalize several Industry Groups by getting more members to contribute their A/R to the CMA data bank. This industry-specific data has increased the information on the anscers report which resulted in providing a more complete picture of the vertical markets that they participated in.

Did you know that companies that contribute their A/R:

  • NEVER have to respond to RFI’s, as the system will automatically look for your trade information
  • NEVER have to fill out their Past Due Report or Meeting Review Report, as CMA will automatically extract your information
  • Receive an additional 10 FREE NACM credit reports, bringing your total to 25/year
  • Create an industry-specific data bank that can be accessed 24/7

We encourage all group members to contribute. It will save them time and can result in a reduction in any third-party credit reporting contract they have.

An increased data bank, timely alerts, comprehensive RFI’s, packed meetings, engaged members and interesting best practices discussions make for successful groups.  A successful group will have the most complete information and will save everyone $$$$.

Feel free to call upon me throughout the year to assist in any way I can. I want the groups to be as successful, and as complete, as possible.

Sincerely,
Larry Convoy
Supervisor-Industry Credit Groups
818-972-5323
lconvoy@emailcma.org

Time to look inside the box – by Larry Convoy

At CMA, success of our groups can be directly tied to the amount of information exchanged.

Traditionally, membership in CMA’s industry groups was restricted to companies selling the same product. For example, the Electric group had only electrical distributors, and the Roofing group had only shingle suppliers. This system worked out very well before mergers and consolidations reduced the number of companies in each industry, which significantly reduced the amount of information exchanged.

Seeing this trend, several groups took a different approach to recruiting new members. They looked at which other products their customers stocked, trying to find other commonalities. For example, the Door and Window group wished to expand. They already had the major players in their industry, but most of their customers also bought hardware. This opened up an entirely new list of group prospects. Similarly, roofers have to buy glue to secure the shingles; while restaurants need paper products and linens besides food.

Each of these groups increased membership count and information exchanged by looking INSIDE the customer’s business.

Don’t let the name of your group or its historical policies prevent expansion. By-Laws can be amended to include, rather than exclude, new members.

We would be happy to work with you on this new member drive.

We encourage you to hold elections in March and plan on joining your fellow Credit Managers at CMA’s Annual Meeting on April 10th in Anaheim, CA for a great educational program. I hope to see you there.

Let’s look inside the box and expand the amount of information that we share.

Larry Convoy
Supervisor, Industry Credit Groups
lconvoy@emailcma.org
818-972-5323

Megan Perry, CBA – CMA Student of the Month February 2014

Megan Perry, CBA
Megan Perry, CBA

Meet Megan Perry, Credit Manager at Boyett Petroleum and CMA’s Student of the Month for February 2014. Megan has worked with Boyett Petroleum for 11 years. She attained her Credit Business Associate (CBA) designation in July of 2013.

What do you like best about your job? The daily challenges that credit brings, and the variety of people that I deal with in various industries.  I belong to CMA’s Petroleum Industry Credit Group.

Motivation for taking classes toward the Professional Certification: I wanted to obtain a well-rounded knowledge base in the credit and financial world. Down the road there’s the possibility that I’ll be able to pursue the second Designation, the Credit Business Fellow.

Background and/or Special Interests:  Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in Psychology from California State University Stanislaus.

In my free time I enjoy my show-jumping horses.

Congratulations Megan!

If you are interested in learning more about the Professional Certification program and classes required for each Designation, contact Cheryl Hammond, Education Counselor,chammond@emailcma.org or 831-475-9482.

UCLA Extension – Credit Analysis & Management – Free Info Session

Learn about UCLA’s Credit Analysis and Management certificate and how to be at the forefront of this growing field through their free information session. Listen to a presentation by the Credit Management Association President and learn about new trends in the industry and future job growth.

Schedule & Location:
Saturday, March 15 10am-12pm
Figueroa Courtyard: Room 102
261 S. Figueroa Street
Los Angeles, CA 90071

Click to download information. CAM Info Session SP14

Patricia Montanez, CBA – CMA Student of The Month – January 2013

In 2014, CMA is celebrating those that are making the extra effort to enhance their credit career. We will be highlighting a new student each month. Sharing with you what they love about Credit and their motivation for furthering their education.

Patricia Montanez, CBA
Patricia Montanez, CBA

Patricia Montanez, CBA – Accounting Supervisor at Oldcastle Precast, Inc. is our first CMA Student of the Month. Patricia achieved her CBA in July 2013 and is currently on track to the CBF designation.

What do you like best about your job? 

What I like best about my job is that I learn something new every day. In Credit there are always new scenarios and circumstances to resolve and learn from no matter how many years of experience you may have there is never a dull work day.

Motivation for taking classes toward the Professional Certification:

Our Director of Credit Management (Josh Nolan, CCE) encouraged me to pursue the CBA designation through NACM because he believed that it would help with my everyday work activities. I took Financial Analysis and Business Credit Principles in 2013 through the NACM on-line courses and was successful at completing the CBA designation in July 2013. Not only has this designation helped me career wise but it has helped me tremendously improve in my daily business credit decisions. I am now currently pursuing the CBF designation as my Business Law NACM on-line course starts today. I have no doubt that this new designation will only make me better at what I do in my career as I continue to move forward.

Background and/or Special Interests:

I’ve been doing different Accounting functions over the past 14yrs. In my career I have enjoyed doing Bookkeeping, Collections (consumer and b2b), Accounts Receivables, Customer Service and Credit Specialist. My special interest is to spend time with my daughters and being the best role model possible to them.

If you are interested in learning more about the Professional Certification program and classes required for each Designation, contact Cheryl Hammond, Education Counselor, chammond@emailcma.org or 831-475-9482.

Meet the Graduates of the Credit Boot Camp, Winter 2014 – Glendale, CA

Graduates of the Credit Boot Camp
Graduates of the Credit Boot Camp

GLENDALE, CALIFORNIA – In joint effort of the government and credit trainer/consultant Eddy Sumar’s dream to help disadvantaged young adults,  The Credit Boot Camp educational training took place from 8 AM to 5 PM, Monday, January 13 through Friday, January 17 at the Verdugo Jobs Center.  With professional support and facilitation from the Credit Management Association and funds from the Glendale Youth Alliance, the Boot Camp was made available for 10 underprivileged Glendale Community College students.   Funding for the program comes from the Workforce Investment Board, part of the federal Workforce Investment Act.

“We are delighted to team up with Eddy,” says Michael Mitchell, CEO of the Credit Management Association.   “His enthusiasm and commitment to helping disadvantaged young adults find employment is a gift we cannot ignore. The support of the Glendale Youth Alliance and the Verdugo Workforce Board suggests the importance to the community of training these young adults.  As a business in neighboring Burbank, CMA is proud to be part of this effort.”

 “This is my dream come true,” says Eddy Sumar, the creator and instructor for the Credit Boot Camp.  “Our goal with this boot camp is to assure that these kids have a solid chance at an entry level job.  No one needs a job more than kids who are disadvantaged and struggling.”

Mr. Sumar’s boot camp training started three years ago in Riverside County for peer level professionals and business owners.  Then a high school principal came to him and suggested he create a training program for continuation school students.  “These are the kids everyone’s given up on,” says Mr. Sumar.  “I took everything I know about the credit management profession and created the Boot Camp for young adults.”

He says some were appalled thinking the term “credit” was a huge negative involving credit cards and tough collectors.  “But I deal in business-to-business credit, not consumer credit.  Credit is the lifeblood of any company and a traditional, uniquely American way of doing business. Credit and collection training touches on every aspect of a business, from customer relations to international  credit management to understanding there is a company culture.”

Using his nearly 30 years of experience as a credit and international trade professional, Mr. Sumar’s training has resulted in several of his attendees getting entry level jobs.

“It’s critical they get that first job, even if it’s file clerk,” says Mr. Sumar.  “From there they can grow into a better job within the company using what they learned in our workshop.”

Mr. Sumar’s program also has earned the respect of the National Credit Management Association, which is offering four units of accreditation for those completing Mr. Sumar’s course.

Below is a picture of Eddy with the graduates (middle row, center right), Don Nakamoto, Executive Director of Verdugo Jobs Center, JUDITH VELASCO, Manager at Verdugo Jobs Center, and Mike Mitchell, President of CMA.

Credit Boot Camp, Winter 2014
Credit Boot Camp, Winter 2014

 

What prompt do you put on your Past Due invoices to customers?

Final Demand
Final Demand

CMA Poll Results:

  • Stamp “Past Due” 25% 81 votes
  • Second Reminder or Second Notice 14% 47 votes
  • Hand write a note 13% 42 votes
  • We do not send second copies of invoices 28% 91 votes
  • Other 21% 68 votes

Comments:

mary Raynoha
We have the sales person contact past due customer within 5 days of becomming past due. This seems to work good for us as the sales person usually has a relationship with customers. I only contract if they cannot collect

Fay D’Amico
We have moved in a paperless direction so we not longer mail out statements, invoices or correspondence it is all done via e-mail.

Linda Reynaga
We either call, e-mail or send a past due letter at 45 days and follow up with a call in 1 week. If no response we send a statement with a “past due” stamp at 60 days. Of course, if an order is placed we hold util payment secured.

Barbara Giras
We too try to be proactive. We contact the account at 45 days. Send copies, POD’s etc as needed.

Linda Olsen
We do not sent out copies, nor do we send out statements. We try to be a proactive as we can up front. If an account goes beyond terms, we start contacting the account, the sales team and the GC.

Manny Geronimo
I do all of the above…if necessary. Certain customers require a call, but mostly I get paid as long as I knock on their door one way or another.

Jaime Figueroa
We send e-mails with copies of invoices, POD’s and any supporting documentation as needed. CREDIT HOLD on new orders pays hugh for remit resolution.

Maya deBourguignon
We send a past due letter & current statement or aging report when invoices reach 15+ days past due requesting pmt ASAP

Raj Prasad
For customers who are always paying late, we also notify them with a “Credit Hold” prompt.

Congratulations New Designees

 

Cheryl Hammond, CMA
Cheryl Hammond, CMA

Congratulations to the following Designees who took their Professional Certification exam on November 4th.

Deborah Crowe, CBA  – Anixter, Inc.
Stachia Currie, CBA – Anixter, Inc.
Sangeeta Ram, CBA – Anixter, Inc.
Alexis Doulton, CBA – Deckers Outdoor
Lindsay Fletcher, CBA – Deckers Outdoor
Todd Whiteside, CBA – E & J Gallo Winery
Tracy Rosenbach, CCE – Silgan Containers

For more information on how to achieve your Designations, please contact Cheryl Hammond, Education Counselor at 831-475-9482chammond@emailcma.org.  She will be holding a free webinar on Wednesday, December 18th at 9:00 PT to discuss the process.  You can register for it by clicking on the Education tab at www.anscers.com.

Now Accepting Nominations and Applications for CMA Board of Directors

CMA Board 2013-2014
CMA Board 2013-2014

The CMA Nominating Committee is now accepting nominations and applications for service on the 2014-2015 Board of Directors. If you would like to nominate a candidate for service, or you are interested in applying for a Director position directly, please complete a Candidate Nomination or Application form and return it to CMA by January 10, 2014. Download the form –CMAdirectorap14

Board of Directors Qualifications and Responsibilities

As provided by the Bylaws of CMA, the Board of Directors oversees the general operation and sets policy for the Association. It is, therefore, essential that members of the Board understand their responsibilities and be willing to commit the time and effort necessary to do justice to this great organization.

The responsibilities and qualifications of a member of the Board are as follows:

  1. Read and be familiar with the Bylaws of the Corporation.
  2.  A Board member is required to be the authorized representative of his/her company to CMA.
  3.  Attend the Annual Meeting and Installation of Officers and Directors, April 10, 2014 (or a similar Chapter Annual Meeting).
  4.  Attend regular Board meetings, four times per year.
  5.  Attend the Annual Board Retreat (two days in February).
  6.  Review and accept financial and operating statements of the Association.
  7.  Review and approve reports of committees, project teams and Boards of Governors.
  8.  Serve on various committees of the Association as assigned by the Chair of the Board.
  9.  Show support for the Association and its programs by participating in CMA’s member services and by attending educational and social functions, and promote CMA’s services to other members and prospective members at every opportunity.
  10. When possible, attend the annual NACM Credit Congress held each May or June, and/or the NACM Western Region Credit Conference in September or October, sponsored by the NACM affiliated associations of the Western Region.

A Tribute to Erna Ohlsson

Erna Ohlsson
Erna Ohlsson

For many of us, the major part of our life has us going to work, interacting with our co-workers and customers for 8 hours and then returning home to our family, friends and loved ones. If you are lucky, some of these people become your friends making the work experience that much more enjoyable.

For Erna Ohlsson, her 50 years of Industry Group Management has taken her far beyond this level of acquaintances. Her customers or “group members” have become her family and loved ones. She has not only opened her home to her groups but has forged lifetime friendships that have seen her included in their family gatherings. For many, the first call made after a job promotion, job change or family news is to Erna.

But don’t let that “Swedish Charm” fool you: This is one tough lady that entered a male dominated fraternity and not only earned their respect but became a trusted confident to many who help grow LA’s business community. All this while running a department responsible for administrating over 150 credit groups per month before fax machines and the internet, relying on the United States Postal system to insure that all group members received their reports.

Sometime in Mid-December, she will secretary her final meeting, pass out the 3 statements she has heard read thousands of times, distribute reports and carefully monitor the proceedings . Being that it is the holiday season, she has most likely organized some type of gift exchange and I am willing to wager that a bottle of Champagne, her beverage of choice, will make an appearance. At the conclusion of the meeting, she will pack up her group book for the final time.

In January, new group secretaries will be assigned to administrate her groups. Like Jay Leno taking over for Johnny Carson, they will have one tough act to follow. We ask for your patience during this transition. We are aware of the task ahead of us replacing someone who conducted her meetings much like her own life, with class, dignity and professionalism.

To Erna Ohlsson, thank you for a job well done. Enjoy retirement!

Author: Larry Convoy, Supervisor-Industry Credit Groups

Youth Employment Incentive Program

GYA 2014
GYA 2014

As we begin Thanksgiving Week, I want to remind our members about the importance of giving back to our local communities. Many of us volunteer for our local schools, sports teams, boys and girls scouting, and many other youth programs. In January 2014, CMA will be working with the Glendale Youth Alliance, Glendale, CA to offer a Credit and Collections Boot Camp training program to 18 – 21 year olds who are eager to learn entry-level job skills that will help them find good jobs.

Created and taught by Eddy Sumar, CCE, CICE, MBA, the Credit and Collections Boot Camp offers valuable entry level skills that can be very helpful to a credit department, as well as in other areas within a company. This will mark the third time CMA has supported Eddy’s valuable program, which has helped a dozen students find meaningful employment.

The program is funded by the State of California as part of the Workforce Investment Act, and includes paid internships for the first 200 hours of employment. This is an easy way for your credit department to benefit from specialized skills taught by a seasoned credit professional, while providing employment opportunities for motivated young adults in your community.

The ultimate goal of this training program is to help students find employment, and we are asking members located in the Glendale, Burbank, Pasadena, and Los Angeles areas to consider internship opportunities at your company. Download the flyer (see below) to learn more about how your company can participate. For now, this program is limited to the Los Angeles area, but if your company would be interested in helping CMA bring similar youth credit training programs to your area, please contact me at mmitchell@emailcma.org or Jodi Owens at jowens@emailcma.org.

We are hoping that members in the Los Angeles area will help us find credit internship opportunities for these youth, and help us fulfill our mission of supporting business through investment in our future workforce.

Mike Mitchell, CAE
Mike Mitchell, CAE

Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving!

Mike Mitchell, CAE
President & CEO

Download GYA Flyer

 

CMA Poll – Have you ever had a customer cross out Terms & Conditions on your credit application?

Now this is overkill!
Now this is overkill!

Have you ever had a customer cross out Terms & Conditions on your credit application?

  • Tammy Adams  Incomplete, unsigned or altered Credit Applications are not accepted for consideration of open account terms. This information is clearly communicated at the time a Credit Application is emailed, faxed or personally handed to a ‘prospective’ new account.
  • John Lysdahl  We do not accept a credit application that has any such type of change made by the customer (potential customer).
  • Mike Puccinelli  Every customer signs a MSA contract and all Ts and Cs Re in the contract. No business can be conducted without a signed contract and signed sales orders.
  • Yvonne G. Our credit application is written and reviewed by our legal dept thus allowing any changes to the terms and conditions will undermines the intent of the credit application which is to protect the company. The only change or cross outs we allow and its on a case by case basis is the personal guarantee. Otherwise the customer is advised the cross outs and/or changes to the verbage is not acceptable.
  • Nina There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all contract, so we’re willing to take a look at the changes they request. We’ll review the changes, and decide whether we’re willing to accept the adjusted risk. Most of the time, we won’t lend on the altered terms and contact the customer to let them know we can’t lend to them under those terms. That usually opens up the discussion to where we either come to a mutually acceptable agreement, or they decide to do business with us on a COD account instead.
  • Robert Simmons On the rare occasion a customer has elected to dictate our terms and/or conditions of sale by crossing out or changing the wording, I have advised sales the credit application is unacceptable and will be unable to establish an account. Credit would need a new application, unchanged, to restart the process. Very few resubmit a unchanged credit application. Only once has management over written my position and after a couple of years with this customer, management finally understood why I took the position I took and wrote off a 5 figure dispute, partly based on the changes in the credit application. Expensive lesson.
  • DMarc We review this carefully and there are only a few items we will allow to be crossed off, otherwise we view it as a possible red flag about the future relationship. If they cross off important items we don’t set up an individual account for them, they can purchase on the generic cash/credit card account & be taxed instead. Sr Mgmt can make a business decision to allow an override on the important items but they rarely make an exception. Would a bank or finance company allow it…
  • Dianne Talbert In addition to crossing out the terms the Credit App will not be signed.
  • Tina Smith  When this does occur, it is best to contact the customer to discuss. Even for minor issues, this helps to build a good relationship and to avoid any future mis-communication.
  • Donna Sweet  We do not accept altered terms and conditions. President/Owner will sometimes accept as a business decision.
  • Julie Ramos I would love to see those same companies try and cross out sections on their credit cards terms.
  • Theresa Golden You can live with some modifications, but there are a few (like modified terms) that you cannot accept.
  • Matt Johnston  We understand that some items can be struck from the application, however some simply cannot.
  • Ron Childs There are a few T&C that we can live without but there are some that will prevent approval of an open account

CMA New Member- Tropitone Furniture Company Inc.

From their website:

Tropitone has full-service manufacturing and distribution operations in Sarasota, FL and Irvine, CA, providing Tropitone the ability to quickly respond to ever-changing marketplace conditions for outdoor patio furniture by being close to North American customers. Tropitone Furniture Company’s bi-coastal presence provides the Tropitone® brand with the unique ability to specialize in two key service requirements of residential customers: 1) short order-to-ship cycle time; and 2) customized outdoor patio furniture manufactured and shipped within that short cycle time. This capability allows residential customers to get exactly what they want, when they want it.

www.tropitone.com

 

CMA New Member- Surestep

From their website:

SureStep is the most effective means of providing stability to children who pronate when standing and walking.  This patented, dynamic system allows children to gain stability, while still allowing normal movement and function.  Children with low muscle tone who have trouble with stability due to pronation can  now walk, run and jump without the delays and instabilities that often result.  SureStep is not a different brace, but rather a completely unique system that manages the foot and ankle without over-managing.

www.surestep.net

CMA New Member- Western Refining

From their website:

Western Refining is dedicated to fueling the lives of our customers, by supplying them with products that move them, fly them, feed them, and make their lives better.

We’re an independent oil refiner and marketer, headquartered in El Paso, Texas, while operating mostly in the southwestern and western United States. Western Refining (WNR) has been publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange since January, 2006.

Western Refining owns and operates two refineries with a total crude oil throughput capacity of approximately 151,000 barrels per day (bpd) producing primarily high-value light products such as gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel. In addition to our 128,000 bpd refinery in El Paso, Texas, we also own and operate a 23,000 bpd refinery near Gallup, New Mexico.

These refineries and our wholesale division which supplies a wide range of fuels, lubricants, and automotive chemicals, are how we fuel the lives of millions of people in Arizona, southern California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, western Texas, Utah, Virginia, and northern Chihuahua, Mexico.

We also fuel the lives of our customers through the more than 200 convenience stores we operate in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas under the popular brands of Giant, Mustang, Sundial, and Howdy’s.

And we are fueling our continued growth with substantial investments in our refining capabilities, our distribution network, and our operations, while always maintaining our strong commitment to safety and a healthy environment.

We are just as committed to serving the communities where our Company and our employees are active, involved members. We encourage our employees to participate, to give back, and to make a positive difference by enhancing the local life experience.

It’s another important way, Western Refining is fueling our lives.

www.wnr.com

CMA Mew Member- NDC Infrared Engineering Inc.

From their website:

NDC’s Business Mission is “to provide measurement and control solutions that meet the needs of our customers and enable them to maximize process profitability and product quality; to strive for ever increasing simplicity and convenience in the application of our technology; and to maintain our world leadership and reputation for the supply of accurate, reliable, and robust systems and instrumentation.”

www.ndc.com

CMA New Member- Kala Music

From their website:

Kala currently offers over 120 different models made from a variety of woods including: Lacewood, Acacia, Koa, Mango, Mahogany, Flame/Spalted Maple, Spruce, Bocote, and many others. We have all of the traditional sizes and models of ukulele and SO MUCH MORE! Our most unconventional offering is the new U-BASS. This instrument is turning the collective Bass community’s head. When people hear the sound and then see that it is coming from this little bass they are blown away. It sounds amazing, is fun to play and is easy to transport. We also have the incredible, pint-sized mini-uke dubbed the “Pocket Ukulele”. It is only 17” long, fits in your pocket and yet has a full and rich voice all of its own. There is also the amazing thin-bodied “Travel Ukulele” that defies acoustic reasoning by producing the most volume of any uke its size. We are constantly coming up with new ideas and ever-growing innovations in instrument design. This is why so many players are looking to Kala for their first or their next ukulele. There are more ideas percolating, more proto-types being tested, more crazy ukes to build, and more music to be made. We are passionate about what we do. We love the people and customers we serve and the music that they make. Welcome to Kala!

www.kalabrand.com

CMA New Member- IMPCO Automotive

From Their Website:

IMPCO Technologies, Inc. has been in business for over fifty years, opening its first facility in 1958.

At IMPCO, we develop, manufacture and market products that enable internal combustion engines to operate on less expensive, cleaner burning fuel which promotes both energy independence and a cleaner environment.

Our products, and just as important, our integration expertise, enable Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and our distributors to satisfy both customer specifications and government emissions regulations for application in the transportation, industrial, lawn & garden, large stationary, small engine and power generation markets.

In 2009, IMPCO launched the US Automotive  Division in order to   capture and support the growing North American alternative  fuels   market. The Automotive Division continues to forge new    relationships with some of the largest and most influential Original Equipment Manufacturers in the   world.  Our push to encourage legislative changes in Washington DC,  favorable to our  industry, will allow IMPCO Automotive to be positioned   as a true global leader.

We continue to certify many CNG/LPG applications to meet the growing   demand of  fleets and OEM partners. IMPCO Automotive has made the   necessary investments in  technology and capabilities that establish us   as a world leader and a “one-stop  shop” for high volume programs with   OEMs and others. We are ready to become a  much larger part of the   solution in North America for clean technologies that  save our   customers money while reducing emissions and limiting our nation’s    dependence on foreign oil.

www.impcpautomotive.com

CMA New Member- Pacific Produce

From their website:

Welcome to Pacific Produce, your one-stop destination for quality produce, spices, juices, nuts, olive oil and select dairy and baked goods. We’ve had nearly two decades in the produce business and are known for our superior quality, service and competitive pricing.

Quality: We are located in the largest produce terminal in the Bay Area. We have superior buying capabilities within the industry. We personally shop at all of the Bay Area produce markets as well as the Los Angeles Produce Terminal. We also have long-standing relationships with the best farmers, shippers and produce brokers. If a customer is not satisfied, we will offer full replacements or credits – ALWAYS.

Service: Our entire sales staff is comprised of former produce company business owners. They understand the challenges of managing a business and they have a wealth of knowledge within the industry – nearly 100 years combined. Our delivery associates are equally experienced and personally select and inspect all the produce which is loaded onto the trucks. They undergo a lengthy training process to learn about the products and the customers they serve. Our customers know them by name and often call them directly with questions. Unlike most produce companies, we have flexible delivery schedules. We deliver customers’ products when they need them – whether it is in the morning, afternoon or night. We never say no to a product request. We carry organic, non-organic, exotics, spices, juices, purees, olive oil and some dairy and baked goods. If we don’t have it, we will get it – PROMPTLY.

Pricing: We shop for the best prices and quality 24 hours per day. We offer our customers regular market updates and specials. We will also recommend substitutions when market fluctuations or seasonal changes dictate. In addition, we offer a variety of options on different brands at various price levels. On high demand items, we often offer contract pricing. We will match and often beat any competitive prices on same quality product. We partner with our customers to protect their margins and ours.

Our Mission:
To provide the highest quality products whenever you need them, wherever you need them – at prices which are always competitive. No order is too small and no item is too exotic or impossible to get. We love a challenge!

www.pacificproduceonline.com

CMA New Member- Ainsworth Game Technology

From their website:

For more than half a century the Ainsworth name has been synonymous with the gaming industry. In 1995, Len Ainsworth founded Ainsworth with a commitment to become the leading manufacturer and supplier of gaming solutions.

Today, with global vision and exceptional leadership, Ainsworth is able to provide the global gaming market with its outstanding range of gaming technology and game combination software.

Our vision is clear

• To deliver excellence in Global Gaming Solutions

Our mission is concise

• To provide high quality innovative gaming solutions globally

• To secure sustainable profitability and growth for all stakeholders

With a fully integrated operation including design, development, assembly testing, sales and field service, Ainsworth encompasses the entire product development cycles, from conception through to installation, service and support. Ainsworth design and manufacture the A560, Ambassador and Celebrity range of gaming products along with a range of entertaining standalone progressives and linked games.

Ainsworth Game Technology is an Australian publicly listed company (code:AGI) headquartered in Newington, Sydney, Australia. Ainsworth offices are located around the world including: US, Europe, NZ, Macau and South America. See our Contact Us section for your nearest representative.

www.ainsworth.com.au

CMA New Member- New Harbinger Publications Inc.

From their website:

For forty years, New Harbinger Publications has brought readers effective, scientifically sound self-help books that deal with a range of topics in psychology, health, and personal growth.

Launched by psychologist Matthew McKay and writer Patrick Fanning in 1973, New Harbinger pioneered a style of self-help book that has become the standard of today. Fanning and McKay believed that the job of a self-help book was to teach readers skills they could use to significantly improve the quality of their lives. These books might inspire and enlighten in their own way, but they had to offer real tools for real change. McKay and Fanning’s writing partnership has yielded a dozen highly successful titles which have established the model for New Harbinger’s other books.

The values of our founders have, since the beginning, directed our publishing program. We value books that address the real problems of our readers. We value research-based and clinically proven books, written by respected, experienced clinical professionals. We value books that are concise and easy for every reader to understand. Our dedication to these standards has made us the first choice for general readers and professionals looking for effective, reliable information on a range of mental health, medical, and personal growth topics.

All of New Harbinger’s books are grounded in science, careful research, and a tradition of empirically validated clinical practice. Many of our titles are based in cognitive behavioral therapy, a method which has time and again been proven effective for treating a range of psychological problems. New Harbinger is also in the vanguard of developments in clinical practice. We are the leading publishers of books based in the new “third wave” of behavior therapy. Using acceptance and commitment therapy and dialectical behavior therapy, these books combine traditional cognitive and behavior-therapy techniques with other approaches like mindfulness and acceptance.

Although we publish books on familiar subjects like anxiety, depression, anger, relationships, and health, we also strive to recognize new diagnoses and offer self-help strategies based on the newest research. We were the first publisher to provide sufferers of fibromyalgia with a factual, reliable source of information about their little-understood condition. Our bestselling book Fibromyalgia and Chronic Myofascial Pain brought relief to thousands of people struggling with this condition. With more than half a million copies sold, this book has become an indispensable resource for professionals and patients alike.

New Harbinger books are distinguished and respected. The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook has sold more than 750,000 copies. It is widely regarded as the definitive self-help resource for anxiety sufferers, and thousands of professionals rely on it as an indispensable part of their practices.

Our titles are widely recommended by therapists, psychiatrists, and physicians to their patients and clients. The books have received accolades from reviewers in the health care and publishing industries alike, and many have remained in print for decades—a testament to their enduring quality and value.

In the coming years, we intend to expand our publishing program into several new and exciting areas. In every endeavor, though, you will always be able to depend on New Harbinger for reliable, practical, and relevant information about the topics that interest you most. Count on New Harbinger—we’ll be with you every step of the way.

www.newharbinger.com

CMA New Member- WillowWood

From their website:

Caring about you and your patients has been the primary focus of WillowWood since the company was founded in 1907.  We’re dedicated to being an innovative product developer, foremost in customer care, a generous and caring corporate citizen, and a great place to work.

Product Innovation We are dedicated to our mission of designing and manufacturing prosthetic products that are comfortable and functional. Every product we design aims to enable individuals with limb loss to remain active and ready to live life to the fullest. Since being founded we’ve utilized new technology and been at the industry’s forefront with products including Carbon Copy Feet, Alpha® Liners, and LimbLogic®.

Customer Care We foster strong relationships with our customers. Our Customer Care reps are assigned specific regions of responsibility so we get to know you and promptly meet your needs. Our staff is dedicated and devoted to meeting the needs of amputees. We are truly grateful for their commitment to our mission.

Philanthropic WillowWood has ongoing philanthropic efforts and a history of responding to large-scale needs following traumatic events with product donations or employee-driven support efforts. We’ve participated in the relief efforts following the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and resulting tsunami,  the 2005 Pakistan earthquake, and the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. Additionally, WillowWood regularly assists clinicians with individual pro bono cases and prosthetic mission trips.

Outstanding Workplace WillowWood was recognized as one of the top 10 medium-sized companies to work for in Central Ohio by Columbus Business First newspaper. We offer competitive benefits and personal development opportunities. Plus, we have a strong sense of family among our staff.

 

www.willowwoodco.com

CMA New Member- Mechanical Equipment Reps LLC

From their website:

Company Description

Mechanical Equipment Reps will provide engineered mechanical and plumbing equipment to contractors, wholesalers, and owners. With proven experience, Mechanical Equipment Reps shall provide reliable, responsible, ethical business practices with strong customer service. With over 40 years of combined experience, Mechanical Equipment Reps shall serve the Las Vegas market.

Mission Statement

Mechanical Equipment Reps will provide quality engineered Mechanical and Plumbing equipment with unsurpassed service and support to the engineers and consultants that design them, the contractors that deliver and install them, and the owners and the facilities that they serve.

www.me-reps.com

 

CMA New Member- Preferred Electric LLC

From their website:

Preferred Electric, LLC was founded in September of 2006 by a group of professionals that have been performing quality electrical work in the Las Vegas Valley for over 10 years.  With over 55 years of combined experience in the Electrical Industry our partners share a common vision to provide the best possible service to our customers at the most competitive price while keeping customer satisfaction and loyalty our primary focus.

In an industry where the smallest of shortcuts can lead to the largest of problems, Preferred Electric takes our commitment to quality very seriously.  It is not just the quality of the installation you can see, but the quality of the installation you cannot see that is the mark of a great electrical system.   Whether your project needs design development, value engineering or is ready for immediate construction, Preferred Electric can help bring your project to a successful completion.  When time is a major consideration, our experience in fast-track construction can complete the most difficult projects on schedule and exceed your expectations.

www.preferredelec.com

CMA New Member- Winston/Brown Jordan

From their website:

Winston furniture presents casual outdoor furniture that caters to the style-conscious yet discriminating consumer. Through the merging of contemporary manufacturing technologies, weather-resistant materials and eclectic designs, the collections represent desirable and enduring casual furnishings.

Winston’s diverse offering represents the finest in extruded and cast aluminum casual furniture. Contemporary and durable fabric slings and tailored cushions complete the individual collections. Winston depicts stylish and distinguished furnishings for year-round enjoyment.
In the summer of 1975, Winston furniture began producing outdoor furniture. Today, Winston is one of the largest and most recognizable names in the outdoor “casual” furniture industry. Winston Furniture is regarded as “the performance company” specializing in high quality quick ship special orders. So if the in-stock offering at your local Winston Dealer is not in a fabric or finish that coordinates with your outdoor environment, you can special order your Winston Furniture in the style, fabric, and finish that suits your needs. And, you’ll be enjoying your furniture in a matter of a few short weeks. The product line for 2013 consists of 27 furniture collections, more than 550 fabrics, and 15 frame finishes.

CMA New Member- Meridian Nut Growers

From their website:

Meridian Nut Growers is the sales and marketing arm for a group of  California growers and processors of almonds, walnuts, pistachios as well as a variety of other nuts and dried fruits. In addition, we work with South African growers and processors to supply the highest quality Macadamia nuts in the world.

We supply large volumes of high quality nuts and dried fruit products to customers worldwide for use in the snacking, baking, confectionery and manufacturing industries. We understand the needs of customers and match that need with the right product and the right supplier. No matter what the customer’s needs; from Hong Kong to Hamburg, Meridian Nut Growers is here to serve them.

Our primary focus is on users that need the services of a major nut producer but like a more personal touch. We also specialize in high quality specifications and use every tool at our disposal to give the customer the product they desire.

We strive to be the bridge between growers and users of dried fruits and nuts. While we are customer oriented, we never forget that without growers, we would not exist. We believe that while looking out for our customers, we can look out for our growers best interests as well.

 

www.meridiannut.com

CMA New Member- Geobrugg North America LLC

From their website:

Geobrugg Netting Solutions

Geobrugg AG develops and produces netting and mesh made from high-tensile steel wire for technologically mature geohazard solutions, for ground support and open pit mining and security applications which are installed worldwide. Geobrugg AG employs 120 people in Romanshorn.

Geobrugg concentrates on the following two business areas:

Geobrugg Geohazard Solutions

Systems with steel wire netting and mesh protecting from natural hazards, such as rockfall, unstable slopes, landslides, mudflow and snow avalanches.High-tensile steel wire mesh for rockfall protection and rock stabilization in open pit mines as well as ground support in underground mining.

Geobrugg Security Engineering

Special steel wire net and mesh as escape and intrusion protection for penitentiaries, boat barriers for harbor as well as offshore oil and gas production facilities, protection fences for motorsports race circuits, rocket propelled grenades protection for armored vehicles and ships.Special architecture mesh for sports stadiums and parking garages as building facades, stairwells and fall protection. Ball catch fence for sports stadiums. Rollaway fence system for sports stadiums and major events.

www.geobrugg.com

CMA New Member- Rugby ABP

From their website:

Rugby Architectural Building Products is an FSC certified, leading nationwide distributor of architectural interior building products including the following surfacing products: Wilsonart, Nevamar and Pionite brands of decorative laminate, Staron Solid Surfacing manufactured by Samsung, and Wilsonart Brand Solid Surfacing.

Rugby markets and distributes a detailed line of specialty plywood and composite panel products servicing the residential and commercial cabinet, countertop, store fixture, RV and furniture industries, along with numerous other product segments including lumber, moulding, cabinet hardware, doors, millwork, adhesives and stainless steel sinks and faucets.

Rugby is committed to fulfilling its promise to supply high quality products, competitively priced and delivered in a timely manner by industry professionals who know the value of exceptional service.

 

www.rugbyabp.com

 

CMA New Member- CAPCO Tile & Stone

From their website:

CAPCO Tile & Stone imports and distributes the finest in ceramic tile, stone tile, and stone slab from Italy and around the globe. Established in Colorado Springs in 1977, CAPCO moved its main warehouse and showroom to Denver in 1978. In the late 1980’s, CAPCO opened branches in Las Vegas, Nevada, Fort Collins and Carbondale, Colorado. Each branch location had its own showroom, showcasing tile and stone in vignettes and floor patterns. Building on the success of these branch showroom operations, the company continued its expansion into the 1990’s establishing branches in Grand Junction, Avon, and Boulder. By the mid 1990’s, CAPCO was well regarded as one of the premier tile distributors in the Rocky Mountain region.

In 1996, a new ownership group purchased CAPCO with a focus on service and reliability aimed toward further growth and expansion. Riding the explosive wave of growth in the region and promoting a “customer comes first” attitude, CAPCO’s sales multiplied threefold over the next four years. 1999 saw the addition of a new branch in Silverthorne. In 2000, CAPCO integrated stone slab into its product line, rounding out CAPCO’s standing as the one-stop leader in the tile and stone industry. CAPCO positioned slab warehouse locations in Denver, Colorado Springs, Fort Collins, and Basalt to provide flexibility for customer selection and pick-up. Finally outgrowing its original Denver location, CAPCO moved to a new, 87,000 square foot facility in 2001, combining all of its products under one roof. The most recent additions to the CAPCO family are in Fort Collins, Colorado, with the addition of a slab location next door to the existing tile branch. Today CAPCO showroom branches serve the entire Rocky Mountain region, from Montana to Colorado and west to Nevada, with the finest selection of imported tile and stone from around the world.

www.capcotile.com

 

CMA new Member- Ceradyne Inc.

From their website:

Headquartered    in Costa Mesa, California, Ceradyne Inc. is a fully integrated developer and manufacturer    of advanced technical ceramic products and components for defense, industrial, nuclear    power, oil and gas, solar energy, electronic, automotive/transportation and medical    markets.

Founded in 1967, Ceradyne has diversified its product lines to capture opportunities    created by the growing demand for better materials performance. In late 2004, the    company added new product lines and new markets—and one of the world’s leading suppliers    of starting powders for manufacturing advanced ceramics products—by acquiring ESK    Ceramics of Kempten, Germany.

The unique characteristics of advanced technical ceramics—hardness, light weight,    ability to withstand extremely high temperatures, resistance to wear and corrosion,    low friction, and special electrical properties—offer significant advantages over    traditional materials such as metals and plastics. As a result, Ceradyne continues    to develop new uses for ceramics and offers a diversified line of high performance    ceramic products for a wide range of markets.

www.ceradyne.com

CMA New Member- Performance Nursery Inc.

From their website:

Performance Nursery is a family-owned business that has been serving Southern California from multiple locations for over 20 years.
We know what you’re looking for, and we’re dedicated to providing you with the absolute best quality plant material.
This means well-maintained and well sized plants, excellent variety, abundant quantity, and great availability.
Grower-direct prices help you make more money on the job and reduce your bottom line.
Because we at Performance Nursery, know that if you are doing well, we are doing well.
Knowledgeable team members, accurate quotes, timely deliveries, and outstanding service, is what we are about.
 
So whether you’re a landscaper, contractor, designer, architect, or homeowner, contact us and let Performance Nursery work for you.

CMA New Member- Ohio Medical Corp.

From their website:

It is the mission of Ohio Medical Corporation
to be recognized by the customer as the most progressive enterprise in the
respiratory, medical and industrial gas/vacuum delivery systems market. We will
serve our customers worldwide with innovative quality products while supporting
them with outstanding service. Ohio Medical Corporation strives to understand
the customer’s needs, their expectations and to honor our commitments with
respect and integrity.

www.ohiomedical.com

CMA New Member- Tortillas Inc.

From their website:

Tortillas Incorporated was originally established in 1979  under the name and doing business as “Los Arcos Tortillas”. We are  the first tortilla factory to ever hit the Great State of Nevada. When at that  time with only a small tortilla machine, that produced about 200 dozen  tortillas per hour and a dream of one day making it big. With very little  capital and this big dream, Founders Mr. Jose Gutierrez and his son, Gus  Gutierrez, wanted to make this business a success. Steadily, sales increased  and business grew. With their skills and his son’s plans the business started  to blossom. When one day in 1984 it all went up in flames. Having trusted  friends and loyal family who worked hard for very little pay the business was  back within months. This time Incorporated and with a new name “Tortillas  Incorporated.”

In 1985, after the fire, we moved into a large manufacturing  plant and warehouse. This of course gave us the room we needed to grow and grew  we did. Tortillas Inc is now the leading supplier and distributor of Mexican  products to retail, foodservice, Hotels Casinos in the State of Nevada  and abroad. Manufacture hundreds of thousands of tortillas a day, and without a  doubt has become a “MEXICAN AND SPECIALTY FOOD EXPERTS.”

www.tortillasinc.com