Why Year End is the Best Time to Use CMA, by Kim Lamberty, CAE

These are some things CMA president Kim Lamberty does at year end.

As a credit manager, I am not sure there is any time of the year that is “slow”, especially not year end.  There is always an account that needs attention, money to be collected, training that needs to occur, etc.  However, as we roll into the holidays, I like to take the time to file the piles of paper on my desk and organize the never ending emails so I can be ready to go into the New Year. I also use the time to think about the year that has passed and what I should be doing in the next year to be more successful. This goes for both my personal and professional development.

I visit the website of my professional association to make sure I’m using the resources available to me, which I know I can usually do in about 30 minutes. With technology changing everything so fast these days, I’m sure I missed things that they offer throughout the year because I’ve been busy.

I take the time to look at the education that’s available and sign up for one or two classes to make sure I’m staying current in my job knowledge. I find it’s best to do it at this time of the year since it helps me set goals and objectives for the coming year. Using the same logic, this time of the year is a great time for you to think about 2018 and whether you were successful in achieving your credit goals, and was CMA helpful to you during this journey.  Are you happy with the credit reporting solutions you’ve chosen? CMA’s friendly staff can help you evaluate your current solution to help you assess whether you’re using the best product for your company’s needs.

Professional development in a changing profession like credit is also extremely important. Have you checked out CMA’s education offerings lately? In 2018, CMA conducted more than 30 webinars and seminars at an affordable price point, and many of those are available on demand in topics such as credit card surcharging, terms and policies, lien laws, factoring, and my favorite around this time of the year, stress management. Year end is a great opportunity to review the offerings from the past year and the upcoming year at the same time.

It’s also a great opportunity to review anscers to see if any of your accounts have been reported as past due, slowing or NSF. Again, here’s a great opportunity to call CMA staff to help walk you through the site to make sure you’re using it to its full capability.

I also make a concerted effort to remind the CMA team and our customers about how important they are to me.  This gives me a great segue to say that, on behalf of CMA and our team, we wish you the happiest of holidays and thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your continued support as we strive for a great 2019!

Happy holidays from Credit Management Association!

From our family to yours, CMA wishes you happy holidays and a prosperous New Year! We thank you for your support, and we look forward to serving you again in 2018.

Click here or on the picture below to see and hear some of CMA’s Las Vegas members sing their take on the “Twelve Days of Credit”

 

 

Please also note that CMA’s offices will be open during regular business hours through the holidays except for December 22 (closing at 3pm), December 25 (closed all day), December 29 (closing at 3pm) and January 1 (closed all day). Normal business hours resume January 2.

The Twelve Days of Credit

Though Christmas is now over, we thought you might want to see the imagination of credit professionals, as a group of them rewrote the holiday classic “12 Days of Christmas” to apply to credit.

You can watch the video of them singing it at their recent holiday party here, or read the lyrics below.

Happy holidays from CMA and we wish you a prosperous new year!

 

1st day – A Large Check for H&E
2nd day- 2 Returned Checks
3rd day- 3 Phony Excuses
4th day- 4 Calling Sales Reps
5th day- 5 Bankruptcies
6th day- 6 Lost Invoices
7th day- 7 Liens a Filing
8th day- 8 Customers Complaining
9th day- 9 Collectors Dancing
10th day- 10 Late Payments
11th day- 11 Dancing Divas
12th day- 12 Cards Declining

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