CreditScape Spring Summit Helps Identify and Prepare For Change in Credit

The CreditScape Spring Summit, Powered by United TranzActions, helped attendees uncover areas in their company’s credit operations where they could help implement change in their credit operations to improve the performance of their department. The event was an interactive learning seminar and workshop, which took place April 4 and 5 at the Hyatt Regency Orange County.

Based on the preliminary results of the post-event survey, attendees said they were provided with dozens of ideas to bring back to the office.

“This is an excellent opportunity to evaluate best practices and learn how to implement within your credit and finance team,” said Melissa Kobus, Assistant Director of Credit for Walters Wholesale Electric.

With the common theme of “dealing with change in the credit department,” attendees commented that the sessions met or exceeded their expectations, with every attendee who responded to the survey commenting that they would likely recommend CreditScape to a colleague.

CreditScape gave attendees insights on using social media to track their delinquent customers, tips on automation and how robotic process integration (RPI) will change the credit function in the near future, customer terms pushback assistance, preference claims, customer service tips, credit card surcharge strategies, reading and understanding your customer’s financial data, and a lot more.

Thanks to the attendees, sponsors and CMA members for their support of the event, and we look forward to having you at the next one in 2019!

Here are some photos from the event:

Bob Shultz addresses the audience at the 2018 CreditScape Spring Summit, powered by United TranzActions.
Keynote speaker Joel Block talks about managing change with the audience.
What would an event be without a selfie with keynote speaker Joel Block?
Eddy Sumar gives tips on good customer service techniques during one of the breakout sessions at the event.
Popular speaker Christopher Ng, Esq., updates the audience on construction law changes in California.
CMA Chairman Gent Culver addresses the crowd at the membership luncheon at CreditScape.

Piece by Piece, Step by Step, by Joel Block

Goal setting is very difficult for many people, in part because they try to swallow the whole elephant all at one time. Sometimes goals are very easy to understand but for whatever reason, they’re very difficult, confusing, and sometimes seemingly impossible to achieve.

In the 1991 movie “What About Bob,” Dr. Leo Marvin wrote a book called “Baby Steps” and that pretty much summarizes the way that goals need to be achieved.

I travel frequently. Let’s say that I’m going to Florida. I don’t focus on going to Florida; I focus on the many steps that it takes to get to Florida. For example, first, I have to get in my car and make sure that the car has gas. Second, I have to get myself to the parking area at the airport. Then once at the parking area at the airport, I have to get myself onto the shuttle bus to the terminal. And once I’m at the terminal I have to get through security. And once I’m through security I get to the gate, board the plane, take my seat, change planes, whatever the next series of steps are. There might be 15 different steps, but when I travel I focus on doing one step at a time until I’ve arrived at my destination.

Business goals, educational goals, personal goals, and social goals all work the same way. Break them down into little pieces.

Sometimes it’s easier to understand sports than it is to understand real life, because sports are so definable. The rules are so clear and well understood. Any game or sporting event is easy to follow if you understand the rules. Everyone on the field understands the rules, and everyone in the stadium understands them too, and for those reasons, everyone knows when a player is making the right move, the wrong move, or if he is completely off course. But somehow in our life, setting goals just doesn’t work the same way.

We have to get in the habit of breaking big and seemingly impossible goals into bite size pieces. For example, writing a book is not a book, it’s a series of chapters. Or maybe the focus shouldn’t be on the whole chapter but rather on a number of pages or a series of paragraphs. And maybe those paragraphs follow a series of outlines that require some research.

One way or the other, you have to ask yourself, “What are the pieces that will eventually get me to the place I want to go?” By asking that critical question, you will eventually get yourself to the goal line. It’s very tough to get through the Red Zone to the goal line. The first 80 yards are pretty easy, but once you get into the Red Zone, those last 20 yards, the field is short, players are on their guard and there just isn’t a lot of margin for error. The Red Zone is where most of the fumbles take place but it’s also where the points are made.

Taking the ball 90% of the way down the field isn’t good enough because you don’t get any points for 90%. You have to cross the goal line. You have to identify your goals, you have to understand the objectives, and you have to really be clear about what it is you want to do and why you want to do it. When you understand what the outcome is going to be and what the reward is to you when the job is done, it gets a lot easier to plan the work and break the job into lots of little pieces.

We’re all doing more with less these days. As the organization changes, how can credit professionals create meaningful goals despite internal and external changes that are beyond their control? How can credit professionals proactively bring change to their organizations by changing process and policies to increase cash flow? How do you create a credit culture where people think about doing business differently and are purposeful about making and accepting change that they believe will make a positive difference? Attending CreditScape will help arm you with tools to do your job better. Visit CreditScapeConference.com for more information. I hope to meet you there.

Joel Block is a business advisor and long-time venture capitalist and hedge fund manager (gobbledygook for “professional investor”) who is based in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles. He will speak on Managing Change in Your Credit Department at CMA’s Spring CreditScape Summit on April 4-5, 2018. For more information about the event, visit www.CreditScapeConference.com.

Predicting the Future, by Joel Block

Did you ever notice how some people always know when the light is going to turn green while sitting at a red stoplight? Do you think maybe that they are looking side-to-side for the predictor about when the green light is going to turn red going in a cross direction? The same in business, there are some people who just are more in touch with signals and signs that point to trends and activities that are about to take place.

Driving is a great example of being predictive and looking for signs that indicate trouble or that help to change your strategy. There are clear rules in driving. One should stay a certain distance from another car in driving. However, sometimes cars do not apply their brakes evenly and they will jerk on their brakes a lot like in business sometimes people do not do things in the smartest way. When you are behind that kind of driver, maybe the best strategy is to look at brake lights of a car ahead of him so you can get a sense of when the slowdowns are coming. Business people need to develop signs of their own that are similar to the kinds of signs that drivers work toward or use. Similarly, traffic signals and the way that you can predict when a light is going to turn red based on the yellow or when a light is going to turn green based on the crossing red. What are the signs you are looking for?

When you come to CreditScape, I’ll be talking about some of these predictors in helping you navigate a changing business environment. With more metrics than ever before available, and the adage of “doing more with less in credit” becoming a reality for most businesses, attending an event like CreditScape will help arm you with tools to do your job better. Visit www.CreditScapeConference.com for more information. I hope to meet you there.

Joel Block is a consultant and long-time venture capitalist and hedge fund manager (gobbledygook for “professional investor”) who is based in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles. He will speak on Managing Change in Your Credit Deparment at CMA’s Spring CreditScape Summit on April 4-5, 2018. For more information about the event, visit www.CreditScapeConference.com.

Sometimes, You Have to Get On an Airplane, by Joel Block

Unfortunately, we can’t accomplish everything by telephone, email, webinar, TeleSeminar, text or Skype. There was a great United Airlines TV commercial in the 1990’s with a CEO passing out airline tickets to his team telling them to get “face to face” with the customers once in a while.

Some years ago, I found myself in a similar situation, up against such a frustrating problem, that I finally got on an airplane to go and solve the problem in person. The result was shocking, and fast.

I started my career in the CPA business in the mid 1980s, when I worked for PriceWaterhouse (now called PwC). The last account I worked on at PwC was a giant syndicator. My job, with an army of other guys, was to convert the books and records of over 500 partnerships into tax returns. The accounting was horrible and the tax work was tedious but I loved reading the partnership agreements. So I left the firm and went straight into real estate syndication but along the way, I became a CPA in Colorado but I gave up my license after 10 years because I didn’t practice accounting anymore.

At one point in time, it became advantageous for me to reactivate my CPA license. As an Expert Witness, having a CPA license adds to my credibility.

Even though I worked for PwC 25 years ago, the HR department sent a letter to the California State Board of Accountancy indicating that I did work for the firm, but the CPAs at the firm who I worked for have all either left or by now, retired. Therefore, no one could vouch for the work I did. Unfortunately, the State Board of Accountancy wanted a CPA to sign off on my hours worked at the firm.

I was unable to get a CPA at PwC vouch for me and the State Board of Accountancy wouldn’t budge. This went on for over two years and I couldn’t bring it to resolution although there was one woman at the State Board that been overseeing my case and the back and forth of our discussions.

One day I had enough and I decided the only way to break the log jam was to get on an airplane, go to Sacramento and physically show up at the offices of the State Board of Accountancy. I didn’t have an appointment but I knew they were open.

When I arrived in Sacramento, I called the State Board of Accountancy. As expected, the person that I had been dealing with was in the office. Not having an appointment would normally be a terrible idea but showing up unannounced seemed like a better tactic in this situation. So I showed up.

I explained the problem to her in person one last time – that no CPA at PwC would sign off on my hours, but their HR Department had done so, and it just didn’t seem reasonable that I should be penalized because I wasn’t able to find a CPA willing to sign off on my hours.

When I explained the situation in person, it seemed to make more sense to the woman who was working with me. Maybe she was more focused on the problem because I was standing in front of her. She went and got her manager who ran the initial licensing unit, and after I explained my story to her, it wasn’t five minutes before she signed her name on an approval slip and attached it to my file. A problem that I had been working on for over two years was resolved in less than 15 minutes.

There’s a big lesson here. Sometimes you have to just get on an airplane and deal with the problem head-on and face-to-face. If you don’t do that, sometimes you’ll drown in your problems for years on end. If you deal with people that are far away or if you sometimes get in the habit of talking to people only by telephone or other electronic media, you’re missing the boat. Sometimes you just have to change things up, get on an airplane, and go make it happen. It worked for me. Maybe this advice will help you.

When you come to CreditScape, I’ll be talking about change, including changing your mindset about how you do your job and approach credit. As the credit profession (and the whole world, for that matter) has changed with technology, attending an event like CreditScape will help arm you with tools to do your job better. Visit www.CreditScapeConference.com for more information. I hope to meet you there.

Joel Block is a business advisor and long-time venture capitalist and hedge fund manager (gobbledygook for “professional investor”) who is based in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles. He will speak on Managing Change in Your Credit Department at CMA’s Spring CreditScape Summit on April 4-5, 2018. For more information about the event, visit www.CreditScapeConference.com.

Coming Soon: How to Effectively Manage Change in Your Company’s Credit Department

The only thing constant in business these days is change. As the organization changes, how can credit professionals respond effectively to internal and external changes beyond their control? How can credit professionals proactively bring change to their organizations by changing process and policies to increase cash flow? How do you create a credit culture where people think about doing business differently and are purposeful about making and accepting change that they believe will make a positive difference?

Stop us if you’ve heard any of these scenarios before. Your boss comes to you and tells you that you need to start accepting credit cards (when your company hasn’t done that before). How about this: your company is repurposing someone in your already short-staffed credit department. Or, maybe your previously great-paying customer of many years tells you, “We’re changing your terms. You must accept in order to continue to do business with us.” Or, have you wished that you could have that proverbial “seat at the table” with upper management?

At CMA’s Industry Credit Group meetings, the majority of the best-practice conversations that were had in 2017 had something to do with managing changes like the ones mentioned above. As a response to these conversations, CMA has put together a program centered around managing changes like these, to help you do your jobs better. The program is geared towards practitioners with all levels of experience and expertise to leverage the knowledge and experiences of practitioners who can help you be ahead of the curve and effectively manage change.

The 2018 CreditScape Spring Summit, powered by United TranzActions, will feature a two-day workshop that includes a keynote address on change management, 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, our keynote speaker Joel Block will be guest blogging about dealing with change in your credit operations, a topic he will explore at CreditScape.

We invite you to join us at the Spring CreditScape Summit, powered by UTA, April 4-5, 2018 at the Hyatt Regency Orange County (or view the website at www.creditscapeconference.com), and to read the blogs, as the information you’ll receive can help you do your job better in the long run.

What changes in your credit department do you think are the most difficult to deal with? We welcome your feedback.

Here are the other posts in this series:

Joel Block to Deliver Keynote at CreditScape Spring Summit

Joel Block has been added as the keynote speaker at the upcoming CreditScape Spring Summit, powered by United TranzActions on April 4-5.

Block, who will talk about change as a constant practice in your company’s credit department, is a long-time venture capitalist and hedge fund manager (gobbledygook for “professional investor”) who lives in a Shark Tank world like what you see on TV. Companies regularly pitch ideas to Joel’s company, looking for business capital so he has learned to spot likely winners – frequently in 3 minutes or less and sometimes in under 30 seconds.

Speaking on business and money for over 15+ years, Joel has put together more than 40 companies; he has advised hundreds more and he has taught thousands of people innovative ways to think about leadership, strategy, sales, and money.

Unlike most business speakers, Joel explains sophisticated concepts around personal effectiveness, money, and business leadership in plain English – no jargon, no hype, and no fluff. Nobody breaks down complex issues like Joel Block with hard-won lessons and practical principles from the real world to help your attendees gain traction personally, professionally, and financially.

Nicknamed The Money-Making Guy™, Joel’s massively unique and immensely powerful leadership, sales, and disruptive innovation message is perfect for senior management, middle managers, and sales teams. His programs are refreshingly memorable, quotable, and actionable so your people leave your event ready to think, act, and work differently – impacted by big ideas and actionable insights at the convergence of money, success, and significance.

The 2018 CreditScape Spring Summit will feature two days 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.

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 the real-world issues they face at work.

While the Summit features subject-matter experts sharing their experiences with credit practitioners, much of the learning at CreditScape will come from practitioners sharing real-world experiences with each other in workshop-style settings. This is a perfect opportunity for credit and collections teams to get away from the office to pursue a journey towards process improvement.

For more information, and to sign up, visit www.CreditScapeConference.com.