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

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

tracy_rosenbach_7975ef

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

“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!

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

Growing Your Knowledge Base, 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

More than 15 years ago, I decided to invest in my future (and my company’s as well) by taking the first steps into gaining my professional designation, signing up for NACM’s Business Credit Principles class. It was a great class.  I had a wonderful instructor who brought a lot of different experiences to us.  One of my fellow industry credit group members held the class in their conference room.  There were 8 students and we all passed.  This class started me on my path to my CCE.

This class also helped me build a network of contacts that I still keep in touch with today.  Every course that I have participated in has other credit professionals just like me who are willing to share.  They may not be in my industry, they may be new or very experienced but we all have one thing in common, we all have the common goal of building a better credit world.

During my service on the CMA Board, I have not been shy about expressing my strong support of the education arm of CMA and NACM.   I believe every credit professional benefits from learning.  Whether it is a seminar, webinar or a certification class, every member should further their education, especially considering how fast the credit world is changing.

Why have you not taken advantage of the NACM / CMA Education?  Did you know that it only takes 3 classes and passing one test to achieve your Credit Business Associate (CBA)?  It is easy, there is a button for that, right?  You need to dedicate time, it is a commitment but the rewards are endless.  As a credit manager with direct reports, I have encouraged my team to get their designations, and I prefer to hire credit managers who have theirs over ones who don’t.

I encourage you to take that first step on the road of growth, the road of certification, become a CBA or take that next seminar or webinar.  I am confident you will not be disappointed with the outcome.

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