How to Find Credit Information About Your Customers by Using the CMA Credit Report, by Kim Lamberty, CAE

It’s hard to believe that 2018 is nearly half over. Time passes way too quickly!
At CMA, this has been one of the busiest years I’ve seen, as we are continuing to work on exciting new initiatives that will help your company’s credit and finance teams.

I love the opportunity to talk with members and customers; lately during these conversations we discuss cost savings and doing more with less. These issues are affecting every business. Utilizing cost-effective tools is one way to adhere to budget restrictions and bring efficiencies to the Credit Department. We’ve been looking at different solutions to help solve these issues and to that end I’m happy to tell you about the brand new CMA CREDIT REPORT. This report is a cost-efficient way to access data for small- to medium-sized companies that are not usually reported to the larger credit bureaus.

The CMA Credit Report, which is the result of a partnership with data provider Ansonia Credit Data, offers payment trends and experience on your customers so that you can make informed credit decisions. The report includes payment history, bankruptcies, risk score, balance, days beyond terms and more. Better yet, the report is available at an affordable price point: CMA members get 5 free reports to try during their membership calendar year, and then pay $12.95 per additional report. Members who contribute their data to CMA get an additional 5 free reports, and pay $10.95 per additional report.

The report is also integrated with anscersX, our multi-bureau reporting solution that allows users to get the most-used data elements from the major bureau reports with one click.

We are excited to hear from our members on your thoughts on the new report. We hope you enjoy this new benefit, and that it’s useful in your credit decision making process.

How CMA Continues to Help Its Members, by Kim Lamberty, CAE

Change is never easy. In this volatile business environment, more than ever before, change is the only constant. In the past few months, there have been many changes in credit, which is why we decided to use the concept of “managing change” as the overall theme at CreditScape. Due to outside factors such as budget cuts in credit, automation and technology, the credit manager’s role is ever changing, and it is imperative that you stay up-to-date on the latest changes in the industry.

CMA has been changing as well. In the past few months since I became President of CMA, we have been evaluating every facet of our business. Our top priority in every conversation has been, and will always be, taking care of our members’ needs in credit.

We are the oldest and most experienced organization that continues to be your best source for information to make credit decisions about California and Nevada based companies, as we have been since we were founded in 1883.

Here are some of the changes that we have been working on behind the scenes.

  • We have enhanced the quality of the conversations at our Industry Credit Group meetings. If you have not attended a meeting lately, I strongly suggest you take the time to hear about the valuable account discussions that take place in those meetings and the best practices from companies that operate in your same vertical market.
  • We have created new strategic partnerships that provide members with the best information that they can use to make credit decisions. Here are several examples of these partnerships:
    • The new CMA Credit Report, which represents your best chance in finding data about California and Nevada based companies, with a nearly 20 percent increase in the number of relevant searches over the report it replaced.
    • An enhanced anscersX multibureau credit report that includes data from a number of sources such as D&B, Experian, Equifax, and others, to make it easier (and less expensive) to find credit information in one click.
    • A partnership with Credit Today to provide useful and relevant articles that affect the credit profession.
    • Low-cost webinars on topics that members have told us they want and need, increasing overall participation in our education program.

Here are some things about CMA that will never change:

  • We are loyal to our members and continue to strive to make your experience with CMA the best that it can be. Many of our staff members have been with CMA for more than 10 years serving your needs in credit with accumulated experience and knowledge.
  • We are committed to the credit profession.
  • We are headquartered in the areas we service.
  • We are dedicated to providing you, our customer, with the best value in credit services that you need to make informed credit decisions.
  • Our credit reporting and construction forms filing services is one are among of the best in the industry.

I encourage you to join me in continuing to support programs and services that make CMA great, as we truly are your partners in credit.

If you have suggestions on how we can make your association better or questions about our programs, I encourage you to reach out to me at 702-259-2622 or by email at klamberty@emailcma.org.

We thank you for your continued loyalty and patronage.

CMA President’s Blog: Join CMA’s New International Credit Best Practices Group, by Mike Mitchell

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

We live in a global economy where many of the trading lines that used to go from state to state now stretch from country to country. Our businesses sell to places in the world where the political climate is volatile and it is the credit professional’s job to protect their company’s A/R and ensure they get paid on the deals they accept.

More and more, I have credit professionals asking me how CMA can help them assess the risk involved in selling to different countries, where they can find information and reports about companies in their particular country, and which resources they can access to help sell abroad. In our ongoing effort to help members with mitigating risk, we recently surveyed our members for input on the best ways for CMA to help members sell internationally.

Based on the results of the survey, I am pleased to announce the formation of a new International Credit Best Practices Group, a monthly virtual meeting for credit professionals from different industries to exchange best practices in international credit sales. Each meeting will feature an expert in one of the many areas of international credit, including credit reporting, credit insurance and international business consulting. Each meeting will allow time for participants to share their own knowledge, and get advice from the rest of the group to help address their own specific issues.

If you manage international credit sales for your company, please join us for the FREE inaugural meeting of the International Credit Best Practices Group on January 23, 2017 from 10 am – 11 am PST. We will be joined by several experts, including Gary Mendell and Robina Peanh of Meridian Finance, and Eddy Sumar of ERS Consulting, who will share expertise about getting started in international business and where to find information about assessing country risk. The event will be held via web conference, and you can sign up on the anscers.com Education page.

The Group is an excellent place for companies who sell internationally (or plan to in the future) to hear from experts who will share best practices, tips and tricks to help companies minimize the risk associated with selling overseas. During the initial meeting, your input will help the group determine topics for upcoming meetings, allowing CMA to build a series of agendas for topics that will help your business.

We hope that this new Group will provide you with the knowledge and tools you need to help your company compete in the global marketplace. I look forward to participating with you early next year.

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!

CMA President’s Blog: The Virtues of Continuing to Learn, by Mike Mitchell, CAE

CMA President Mike Mitchell
CMA President Mike Mitchell

With another Annual Meeting behind us, I was encouraged to see such a great turnout at the event last week. It was a pleasure seeing all who attended CMA’s Annual Meeting at Disneyland, and what made it particularly exciting for me was seeing that more and more of you are coming out of your offices to engage with other members and learn IN PERSON. It was nice to see credit managers reconnecting or getting to know each other for the first time, and learning from one another as they asked questions and shared experiences during the education sessions, an advantage of meeting in person rather than participating in online learning.

I noticed something else at the Annual Meeting that was very encouraging: experienced, senior credit managers brought their staff members with them to share in the education and networking experiences. I applaud this effort of good old-fashioned staff development, knowledge transfer, and succession planning, something that we don’t often think about in our daily routines, but is critical for the long-term sustainability of a credit department and the credit profession.

For those of you who were unable to join us at the Annual Meeting, look for more opportunities this year, as there are more upcoming in-person seminars, learning lunches and conferences. Additionally, NACM Oregon is hosting the NACM Western Region Credit Conference October 14 – 16 in Portland, OR. More details will follow after NACM’s Credit Congress in St. Louis next month.

My experience at the Annual Meeting re-affirmed for me why CMA is here for its members, customers, and other stakeholders. We believe, as you do, that credit management is critical to the success of any B2B company that sells on open terms, and we are here to help you grow revenue and reduce risk by providing, first and foremost, a vibrant community of credit practitioners with whom you can exchange experiences, best practices, and new ideas.

We hope you’re finding the educational and networking opportunities CMA is offering as useful to your business. Looking to learn more about a topic that we’re not currently offering? Let me know and we’ll try to help.

We hope to meet you in person at one of these upcoming events.