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

CMA President and CEO Mike Mitchell

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading!

CMA Elects New Board of Directors Members for 2017-2018

Congratulations to new CMA Board of Directors Members, whose term with CMA began on May 1.

The new directors are:

  • Kim Howard, Cemex
  • Mark Speiser, Unified Grocers Inc.
  • Janet King, Joseph T. Ryerson & Sons

Additionally, following is a current list of CMA’s Board of Directors members.

Gent Culver, ICCE (Chair), IGT
Pam Craik, CCE (Vice Chair), McKesson Drug
Matt Johnston (Treasurer), United Site Services
Tracy Rosenbach, CCE (Counselor), Silgan Containers LLC
James M. Bradley, Reliance Steel Company
TJ Nance, Walters Wholesale Electric Co.
Alvin Moreno, MBA, Nestle USA Inc.
Sherry Raposo, VSS International Inc.
Nannette Bringard, Breakthru Beverage Nevada
Tim Cratty, Jackson Family Wines
Kim Howard, Cemex
Mark Speiser, Unified Grocers Inc.
Janet King, Joseph T. Ryerson & Sons
Alternates

Brian Atteberry, BSH
Joe Lucas
Hector Benitez, CBF, Equinix
Advisors

Darrell Horton, CICP, Aristocrat Technologies, Inc.
Melissa Kobus, CCE, Walters Wholesale Electric Co.

Special Advisors

Chuck Schultz, Interface Financial Group
Robert Shultz, Quote to Cash Solutions LLC (Q2C)

Jackson Family Wines Honored With CMA Member Company of the Year Designation

Tim Cratty accepts CMA Member Company of the Year Award for Jackson Family Wines

It is important for our member companies to participate and allow their employees time to be engaged. CMA membership thrives on participation and it is a struggle to find the balance between company goals and our own personal goals. Giving to the association makes the association stronger. This year, CMA wishes to recognize a member company who lets their credit professionals engage in various credit activities, shares their best practices so others can learn and allows their Customer Financial Services Manager to serve on the board. They are frequent attendees at CMA education events and Group meetings, and are generally engaged in the events of the association for the good of itself, its employees and other CMA members. Congratulations to 2017 CMA Member Company of the Year Jackson Family Wines.

The CMA Member Company of the Year Award was presented during the Annual Meeting portion of the CreditScape Spring Summit in Garden Grove, CA on April 12.

Mark Speiser Presented With CMA Credit Executive of the Year

Congratulations to Mark Speiser of Unified Grocers, who was presented with the 2017 CMA Credit Executive of the Year award. This award is given to the credit professional who is a well-respected leader not only within his organization but throughout credit. Speiser is a team player who works hard every day to ensure the credit group succeeds in reaching their corporate and personal goals. He has implemented a number of different programs to improve processes and results. He is an active member in the National Food Service Group and Food, Hotel and Restaurant Group, where he regularly leads discussions to help his fellow credit professionals. He has been in credit for over 23 years, 17 of which have been in credit management.

Speiser is also new to the CMA Board of Directors.

The CMA Credit Executive of the Year Award was presented during the Annual Meeting portion of the CreditScape Spring Summit in Garden Grove, CA on April 12.

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.

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

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.

What’s New at Credit Management Association?

CMA Logo

Greetings from CMA!

Now that the holidays are over, Credit Management Association is back with full steam ahead into projects that can help your company manage risk.

Here are a few of the projects we’re working on that you should be aware of:

– CMA recently announced our CreditScape Spring Summit, which will focus on process improvements in the credit department and cutting costs. The one-day event takes place April 12 in Garden Grove, CA. More info: www.creditscapeconference.com

– CMA and AG Adjustments are proud to announce a new collections-related webinar series that is must-attend material for anyone who works in that field. The webinars feature three of our most popular speakers: Bart Frankel, Dave Osburn and Greg Powelson. http://creditmanagementassociation.org/2017/01/31/cma-announces-new-collections-webinar-series/

– Future dates have been set for CMA’s new International Credit Best Practices Forum. For U.S. companies that sell abroad, this group can help you navigate some of the hurdles you might experience when selling overseas. More info is here.

– With all of the bankruptcies in the news last year from longtime strong companies, when is the last time you evaluated your credit information sources? CMA has a great resource who handles reports from all of the major bureaus and can get you the best solution for your company, not just the best solution from one bureau if you went direct. Learn more here.

– Several new advanced lien law webinars have been announced. If your company does construction-related business in Texas, California or Nevada, you should attend these sessions, which can be found on our education calendar. Details: http://www.creditmanagementassociation.org/events

– Speaking of construction-related business, CMA’s fast and accurate construction lien filing services can help protect your receivables to ensure you get paid on those projects. More: http://creditmanagementassociation.org/construction-forms-filing/

 

Are you getting CMA’s updates, including news and updates from around the credit and collections profession? If not, subscribe to our newsletter here: http://conta.cc/1tA5pOE
If there are any other services you need to help your credit operations run smoother, we’d love to talk to you about ways we can help. You can reach us at 818-972-5300 or at www.creditmanagementassociation.org.

Thanks for reading!

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.

President’s Blog: CMA Membership Budget Guide for 2017, by Mike Mitchell, CAE

 

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

All too often, our members tell us that they want to take advantage of all of CMA’s benefits but they say they do not have the budget to do so. For companies on a calendar fiscal year, here’s your opportunity to begin planning for those budget worthy benefits for 2017. Even if your next fiscal year extends well into 2017, it’s never too early to start your wish list.

If your company is one of the 600+ members that participate in one of CMA’s 51 Industry Credit Groups, then you know how valuable it can be to have unlimited access to anscers Credit Reports, RFIs, Credit Alerts, and the knowledge and experience of other credit professionals in your industry. In the past year, CMA group members have submitted more than 45,000 RFIs, warned other group members with more than 6,800 Credit Alerts (which included NSF and bankruptcy information), and shared countless stories about best practices in credit. Many credit group members have reported that they still find their credit groups and the shared trade payment experience the fastest and most economical way to conduct timely due diligence on prospective customers and effectively manage existing customer accounts. The unique combination of industry trade data, insider knowledge about common customers and industry best practices often recoups your dues many times over in helping group members minimize risk and grow revenue.

Before you budget, consider whether you are getting the best value possible for your credit information needs. Let CMA’s experts help you analyze your current credit reporting product mix – we might be able to save you money (and help you get better results) by suggesting a different report or mix of products that better meet your company’s risk assessment requirements while staying within budget. In addition to credit bureau contracts, CMA has several transactional credit report products priced to deliver maximum value at minimum cost. We have also seen usage for the NACM NTCR increase significantly over last year. Only CMA members have access to the millions of tradelines in the NACM National Trade Database (many of which are only available in this report), and at only $14.95 each, the NTCR reports are a great value for an initial credit check. CMA’s anscersX multi-bureau report combines proprietary scores and data elements from all three major credit bureaus (Dun & Bradstreet, Experian, Equifax) to give you a comprehensive look at the payment history of your customer or prospect ($69 per report). Be sure to budget for some anscersX reports to supplement your existing credit reports.

If you are a construction supplier, consider how using CMA’s Lien Filing Service can save you time and money. With more than 30 years of experience providing services ranging from preliminary notices to lien warning notices, mechanics liens, bond claims and stop notices, CMA has hundreds of clients across the United States who value the personalized, unlimited support from CMA’s caring and knowledgeable staff. You might be interested in CMA’s new Construction Credit Report, providing title data, public record data, active trade lines, credit analysis and scores, collection agency activity and links to state contractor information. The report, which is the only all-inclusive report of its type, runs $29.95 per report.

CMA’s collections partner, AG Adjustments, offers third-party collection services at competitive rates on a contingency basis.

If you’re looking for professional development help for your staff, CMA is again offering NACM Certification Courses for the CBA (Credit Business Associate) and CBF (Credit Business Fellow) designations starting in January. These will only be offered once next year, unless there is sufficient participation for additional classes. If you plan to get certified in 2017 or early 2018, you’ll need to register for the Certification Courses now and budget accordingly ($899-$995 per course). Information for all professional development events can be found on CMA’s website and on anscers.com under the Education tab.

CMA will continue to offer its standard webinar program, which includes several series on topics such as collections, advanced lien law and credit reporting. Our webinars typically cost $49 for CMA members and $69 for non-members, but some may be free to CMA members, depending on the topic.

We hope this list is helpful as you consider your needs for 2017.

Are there other credit-related services that you’re looking for that we currently don’t offer? Feel free to reach out to me by responding to this blog. Thank you for reading, and we look forward to your increased participation with CMA in 2017!