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Welcome to
Credit Today Online

Credit Today is the premier online portal for trade credit professionals.

This web site and all the resources within are for Members of Credit Today Online.

From the EXPO Hall: Collection Claim Volumes Growing as Collectability Increases
By David Schmidt
From the EXPO Hall: Collection Claim Volumes Growing as Collectability Increases These are good times for commercial collection agencies. The placement of new claims is on a solid upward trend, the size of those claims is also trending larger, and most importantly the collectability of the claims being placed this year is higher than last. . . . keep reading

Credit Today Benchmarking Survey, Part 1: 2015 Electronic Document Management Usage
By David Schmidt
Credit Today Benchmarking Survey, Part 1: 2015 Electronic Document Management Usage In this month's benchmarking survey, we examine the following questions:
  • What percent of credit departments use an electronic document management (EDM) system to keep order-to-cash, credit and collections, or accounts receivables documents?
  • What percent of credit departments are exploring the implementation of EDM in the future?
  • Why are some credit departments not exploring this as an option?
  • What types of EDM systems are being used?
  • What types of documents are being stored?
. . .
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Electronic Document Management Benchmarking Survey, Part 2: Credit Execs' Advice and Lessons-Learned
By David Schmidt
Electronic Document Management Benchmarking Survey, Part 2: Credit Execs' Advice and Lessons-Learned The survey asked participants for their advice on imaging and document management: what lessons-learned, best practices and general recommendations can they share? As always, we received some very valuable feedback "from the trenches" which we are certain will be helpful, whether you already have an imaging system in place, or are considering one. . . . keep reading

You Can't Serve Two Masters... Or Can You?
May 18, 2015
Here's another "in-the-trenches" story that, as you'll see how it unfolds below, will understand why it probably needs to be anonymous. An old friend shared this one recently: In the last couple of years, his firm was purchased by a multi-national conglomerate. Anyone who's been through . . . keep reading

Top Customer Speaks Out of Both Sides of Its Mouth
An old friend, the head credit exec at a well-known consumer products company, told me a story the other day. "Here's something you might find interesting," he began. It's a deduction story from a big box retailer -- we won't say the name, but it is as big as it gets and is known for its aggr . . . keep reading

A Triumph in Credit-Risk Recognition
A Triumph in Credit-Risk Recognition Over the past five years annual bad debts at this company have plunged from $419,800 to zero. So did they slam on the brakes for all high-risk accounts? Not really. But they did figure out how and when to give these accounts just the kind of attention they require, from initial sales to final collections.

Read on as we talk with the credit manager and VP of Finance for how they managed this process, along with examples of the new reporting system that they implemented. . . .
keep reading

A Nine-Step Checklist to Help You Create an Unclaimed Property Policy
According to a benchmarking survey we conducted last year on Unclaimed Property issues in credit, roughly 6 percent of companies out there have been audited and paid a fine for unclaimed property violations. Now, 6 percent may not seem that high, but do you want to take a chance?

If you go to a credit group with 50 Members, that means that - on average 3 of you will have to go through a long and involved audit, and then remit to a state items that you presumably have declared as income, and also pay a hefty fine. . . .
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Tech Notes: A Primer on Sales Tax Compliance Automation
By David Schmidt
Tech Notes: A Primer on Sales Tax Compliance Automation Sales tax is the proverbial sticky wicket. For the small business with one point of sale it's relatively simple -- you know those items you sell that are taxable and the rate is fixed according to your jurisdiction. However, tax rates vary across jurisdictions and the items that are taxable vary as well. If you are a larger organization with transactions occurring at multiple points of sale, each with different tax rates and laws, your accounts receivable team can find itself up against a logistical nightmare.

Read on as we detail:
  • Three typical challenges in this area and solutions for each; and
  • The 5 components of a tax compliance automation system
. . .
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Disclosing Your Credit Card Surcharge Program to Customers: Can You Bury the Interchange Fee Through a Price Increase?
By Scott Blakeley, Esq.
Disclosing Your Credit Card Surcharge Program to Customers: Can You Bury the Interchange Fee Through a Price Increase? In the just released Credit Today survey of credit card use in the B2B space, a key finding of the survey is credit team members is that more customers are choosing credit cards to pay vendors' invoices, in some cases over the objection of the credit team in the B2B setting, and those customers using cards are increasing the frequency with which they use cards. . . . keep reading

Customer Selling Their Business -- Beware!
By Dean Kaplan
Customer Selling Their Business -- Beware! All too often, when a small business is up for sale, the net result for many of its vendors is bad debt expense. If you hear that one of your customers is selling the business it's time to be very careful with outstanding receivables and new orders. In this piece, we examine:
  • the reasons why a small business might be sold;
  • the most common risks associates with the sale of a small business
  • what you should look for, and
  • specific steps to take if you learn a small business customer is being sold.
. . .
keep reading

Saving Money and Boosting Sales by Seizing Control Over Compliance Chargebacks
Saving Money and Boosting Sales by Seizing Control Over Compliance Chargebacks Controllable chargebacks have dropped by over 400 percent at this company in the past four years. And, as these charges have dwindled, customer satisfaction has shot up. That's a winning combination built on the recognition of precise customer-delivery needs that is sorely lacking with many suppliers today.

Ten years ago a customer's shipping instructions were typically two or three pages long. Today 100-page instruction manuals are not unusual for large customers. Is this some kind of perverse explosion of administrative minutia? Not at all. The extreme detail reflects the complexity of large-scale receiving warehouses, often with hundreds of trucks rolling in daily. What's perverse is the failure of many suppliers to study, understand and comply with these complex but entirely necessary instructions.

. . .
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Women In Credit
Women In Credit Are you married? Do you plan on having a family, and if so, will you leave work? How will your responsibilities as a mother affect your ability to travel? Do you have any children? If so, how many, and what are their ages? And what will you do if a child gets sick?

Looking back, it's hard to believe these questions were fair game -- and fairly standard -- when women interviewed for a job.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 made it illegal to discriminate against women and other protected groups in areas such as hiring, firing, and opportunities for training and advancement. While it took time for acceptable practices to catch up with the law, the act made it easier for women to earn a paycheck.

After World War II, fewer than one-third of women were in the labor force, according to a December 2014 report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Women reached their peak participation in 1999, with 60 percent. In 2013 that number declined slightly to 57.2 percent. By comparison, men's labor force participation in 2013 was 69.7 percent.

Attendees at last year's Credit Today Senior Credit Executive Symposium began a conversation about women's experience in what was once a male-dominated field and one in which women still aren't well-represented in management. While the numbers -- and a sea change in attitudes -- have improved in both participation and the work environment, two women executives Credit Today interviewed say there's more to do to ensure credit enjoys the benefits of a diverse work force.

. . .
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A Few Stats on Credit Cards
A Few Stats on Credit Cards This morning we thought we'd share a few highlights from a benchmarking survey we conducted last year on Credit Card usage in trade credit. Here you go:

Overall Trend -- 84 percent of trade creditors now accept credit cards now, up from 78 percent in 2010 and 76 percent in 2008. . . .
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Fighting Back on Payment Terms Extension--At Least in the UK
You need the business, and your big customers say you'll have to wait--maybe 120 days--for your money. There may not be much you can do. But it's heartening to hear how the feisty Brits are battling it. . . . keep reading

Case Study: Missing Out on Reclamation
by Ann Morales Olazábal, MBA, JD
Case Study: Missing Out on Reclamation Payment for a delivery of a $9,000 order for sugar cones and waffle bowls that Sugar Treats had delivered to Mae's Ice Cream Corner, LLC on August 1 was late, which was no surprise. Mae's had been stretching out Sugar Treat's 30-day terms for the past year.

This time, however, the problem would go well beyond stretched-out terms. On September 9 Mae's filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, giving Sugar Treats just five days to seek reclamation under the Bankruptcy Law's 45-day rule.

Worse yet, Credit Manager Vic Blackburn, recently reduced to a staff of one, was on special assignment assessing a potential acquisition while all of this was going on. An AR clerk had been assigned to handle routine credit approvals in his absence. Anything beyond totally routine issues just piled up on Vic's desk.

"Oh, Lord," he muttered to himself when he returned on October 1 and came across the Mae's filing notice. "I think we just had 20 days to reclaim after the filing, and we've missed that too."

Is Vic right? And, if so, what recourse does he now have?

. . .
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A 12-Point Checklist for Evaluating Employee Engagement
By David Schmidt
A 12-Point Checklist for Evaluating Employee Engagement Measuring employee engagement sounds a little like trying to measure how strong Superman is. It's not like there are other Supermen on Earth you can use for comparison, and what counts for strength in regard to one refugee from Krypton might be totally inadequate in another solar system. The same holds true for employee engagement -- different employees within the same organization can interpret the definition of the term in very different ways. . . . keep reading

Automated Remittance Processing: A Checklist of Critical Issues
Automated Remittance Processing: A Checklist of Critical Issues As detailed in Credit Today's recently-released Technology Buyer's Guide, Version 3.0 on Remittance Processing, applying customer payments in a timely and accurate manner is a key part of the order-to-cash process -- and a great place to cut costs and improve your credit department's productivity. . . . keep reading

Let's Hear It for Creditors' Committees!
Let's Hear It for Creditors' Committees! Should creditors' committees be eliminated from small bankruptcies to hold down costs? That's a proposal from a group of lawyers, judges and "others" organized by the American Bankruptcy Institute (ABI). Apparently the "others" don't include trade creditors, whom we found are solidly against the idea. . . . keep reading

Q&A With Credit Group Legend, Part 2
Q&A With Credit Group Legend, Part 2 Last week, in part 1 of our interview with Lois Riemer of Riemer Reporting Service, we looked at the biggest changes in credit groups and credit over the last 50 years, how the service has changed over that time, the increasing role of women in credit leadership positions, as well as some of the occasional challenges in the management of credit groups. Read on for the rest of her insights into the past, present, and future of credit groups, group management, and the credit profession. . . . keep reading

Q&A With the Dean of Credit Groups
Q&A With the Dean of Credit Groups This year marks the 50th anniversary of Cleveland-based Riemer Reporting Service. Throughout its history, Lois Riemer has been the driving force behind their growth and remarkable customer loyalty. Many groups have been with them for decades. We can't be sure (no on keeps statistics on this), but we suspect that she's traveled and met with more credit managers over the last 50 years than anyone alive. So we thought it would be fascinating to sit down and talk with her about what's going on now in the credit world, how things have changed, and where she sees things in the years ahead. To find out what she's seeing, read on! . . . keep reading

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