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Penalties for violations of applicable federal or state antitrust laws can include fines, imprisonment, and liability for up to triple damages. How do antitrust laws affect day-to-day credit decision making and business activities? To what extent is pricing and payment terms subject to U.S. antitrust laws? Is it a violation of one or more antitrust […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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Michael C. Dennis

In a recent post on LinkedIn, a question was asked about If, When and Why B2B creditors such as CMA members request or require Social Security Numbers from credit applicants. (https://www.linkedin.com/grp/post/2412088-6014193760244690945?trk=groups-post-b-title) At the time, I posted two responses in which I posed questions for CMA members in connection with the laws governing the use and […]

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Michael C. Dennis

Even the most experienced credit professional can become a better risk manager. From the novice to the professional, learning new skills is crucial to ensuring that the risks of late payment or customer bankruptcy are mitigated. These simple tips are worth considering: Expect to Find Something Negative in each Customer Financial Statement You See Perform […]

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Michael C. Dennis

Collectors often make the mistake of talking to “Puppets,” those who are not authorized to make decisions, and are surprised and disappointed when a Puppeteer working at the customer company overrides, overrules or ignores the payment commitment provided by their Puppet. In a credit manager’s world where the norm is to deal with “puppets,” how […]

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In today’s metrics-driven business world, just as sales managers are accountable for their monthly quotas, credit departments need to have goals.  Credit managers should select goals for the credit department that are simple to measure and report, as well as easy to gather consistently and frequently.  Goals should focus on quality rather than on quantity, […]

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Credit managers manage risk. Therefore, I think credit managers need to actively seek out “bad news” from their collectors. Small problems can be used as opportunities for credit administrators and collectors to learn more about how to manage risk and collect past due balances more effectively and more efficiently. It’s clear that credit administrators are […]

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Michael C. Dennis

How many different types of customers do you have? The way I see it, the credit department has at least three customers:  (1) The Sales Department, (2) their Company’s Senior Management, and (3) The Customer.  Business gurus may differ in opinions and approaches to customer focus and customer orientation, but these truths about customers are […]

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Consider this example. Two credit managers, both with similar resumes, are vying for the same position within a company. Who gets the job, since both candidates (at least on paper) are so similar? The answer is easy: the one whose resume was hand-delivered to the boss’ desk by their contact, who works at the company. […]

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With the so-called “information age,” the business landscape is very different than it was 10-15 years ago. Lots of things are happening faster than ever before: speed to market, speed at which your customers demand information about your product, venues of where your products are sold, decreased budgets (read: do more with less resources) and […]

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Like many people, I’ve been watching the World Cup soccer matches (time permitting). For whatever reason, I’ve been trying to draw insights from the competitions that are applicable to the workplace. Here are a few I’ve come up with: It pays to be a winner Teamwork is critical to your success… …So is having a […]

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Your company’s pricing is predicated on certain assumptions about risk mitigation, payment delinquencies and bad debt write offs. Even with customer financial statements in hand, the credit decision can be complicated and the answer may be unclear. Without customer financial statements, you are truly in the dark about the amount of credit risk you are […]

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A friend of mine was told by a headhunter that she was overqualified for a position.  What does it mean?  Usually, it is code for: (a) you are too expensive or (b) you are too old.  If we give the hiring company the benefit of the doubt, we are left only with (a). In my […]

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Sometimes brevity is best. Most accounts payable clerks receive more voice mail messages than they can (or are willing to) respond to.  When making a call, if you must leave a message, make it a good one!   Your message should be clear and unambiguous.  You should indicate that your message is urgent.  Be sure to […]

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A friend of mine recently added something new to the signature line on her emails.  They now read:  Dana Keating, LCP.  You know how some people [including me] are afraid to ask questions for fear of showing weakness and ignorance.  Well, I finally asked about her new LCP designation.  Dana told me I am also […]

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I was just re-reading my recent blog post about career limiting mistakes, and thought I’d add this insight that applies to anyone who is a manager. Don’t delay difficult discussions with your subordinates relating to performance or behavior problems. Doing so tends to de-motivate and demoralize other members of your team who are usually watching […]

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I was recently thinking about the lessons I’ve learned in my experience as a credit manager, and I thought I’d share them with you. This is the advice I’d give to both a new and veteran credit manager. You can avoid many mistakes by following these guidelines: Admit when you make errors, correct them as […]

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