Welcome to<br /> Credit Today Online

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.

You Take the Gavel: Limited Liability Companies
By Richard Macias
You Take the Gavel: Limited Liability Companies "Where's Pete?" credit manager Alex Mayhew asked cheerfully as he walked into Jerry & Pete's Hardware one bright spring morning.

"He's where I'm going to be by this time next week," Jerry told him. "He got a job with Center City Distributors."

"You're shutting down?" Alex asked incredulously. He'd been the fledgling retailer's major supplier and trade creditor. . . .
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What?! NEGATIVE interest rates?  
What?! NEGATIVE interest rates?   Late last week, the Bank of Japan announced that it was not just reducing interest rates to zero, but instead implementing NEGATIVE interest rates. Like all times in the last couple of decades, a central bank reducing interest rates caused markets to rally.

But wait. Does this make any sense at all? What does it mean? . . .
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Educating Debtors Who "Walk Away"
Educating Debtors Who "Walk Away" It isn't done on impulse. It's usually carefully planned. The struggling customer, rather than filing for bankruptcy, folds the business and walks away. Then he reorganizes under a new LLC and sets up shop, sometimes literally across the street and not even bothering to change phone numbers. He may even reapply for credit from the same vendors he failed to pay before. And it's all legal. What do you do? Try "educating" them.

All taxpayers have consequences when debts are cancelled. Under the Internal Revenue Code, the discharge of indebtedness is known as Cancellation of Debt or "COD Income," must be included in a taxpayer's gross income. . . .
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Surviving the Deviant Risks that KILL Businesses -- Don't do 'a Volkswagen'
By Ron Wells
Surviving the Deviant Risks that KILL Businesses -- Don't do 'a Volkswagen' A happenstance that occurs for the first time and causes serious, usually fatal losses for a particular business, an industry or a whole system -- the financial system for example -- has become known as a Black Swan Event but is also termed an Unquantifiable Uncertainty.

While this is written from the perspective of business owners, the type of thinking required to protect against - or profit from - "Black Swan" events is critical to successful credit management. We must always be imagining what might happen. That's what we're paid to do and that's the best way to protect our companies. Read on to get a framework for dealing with this type of unpredictable (but common, as Ron demonstrates) event. They are occurring all the time at businesses around the world, including your customer base. . . .
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Credit Today Benchmarking Survey: 2016 Outlook Survey -- Efficiency is an Imperative
By David Schmidt
Credit Today Benchmarking Survey: 2016 Outlook Survey -- Efficiency is an Imperative In this section of our "Outlook 2016" benchmarking survey, we learn...
  • The top 10 challenges faced by credit execs today
  • Additional challenges (beyond the "top 10") that credit execs are coping with
  • Whether external (economic & credit-related) or internal (administrative) challenges are tops on the list of concerns for credit execs currently
  • The top 10 improvement initiatives credit execs are implementing in 2016
  • Specific steps being implemented this year to improve credit, collections, and receivables
. . .
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Benchmarking 2016 Outlook, Receivable, Portfolio, Customer Base Health Explored
By David Schmidt
Benchmarking 2016 Outlook, Receivable, Portfolio, Customer Base Health Explored Credit execs - more than any other position in business - are closer to and more aware of - the pulse of their respective industries. After all, you're on the front lines with customers, sales reps, the financial side of things, and much more. So in this year's "Outlook" survey, we asked several questions designed to tease out what might be on the horizon. In this, part 2 of this survey, we reveal...
  • expectations on whether industries will be expanding or contracting
  • whether company "pricing power" (an important measure of the health of a business) is increasing or decreasing
  • expectations on collectablity in 2016
  • the level of confidence in the health of A/R portfolios
  • the level of confidence in the health of customer bases
  • expectations on bad-debt reserves
  • dozens of specific success stories from projects and improvement opportunities completed in 2015
. . .
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Creating Dynamic Collection Strategies-- Get beyond the alphabet when devising an effective collections approach
By Dave Schmidt
Creating Dynamic Collection Strategies-- Get beyond the alphabet when devising an effective collections approach The lack of pre-defined collection strategies is a major contributor to sub-par receivables performance. Without collection strategies in place, each collector handles his delinquent accounts as he sees best. Inconsistent performance is the immediate outcome. In addition, customers are sent an inconsistent message regarding your company's payment expectations. . . . keep reading

How Customer Visits Pay Off
How Customer Visits Pay Off How do you justify a robust travel budget? Can't you do the same thing with conference calls or Skype? Not really. As this credit management veteran shows there's nothing quite like personal visits for solving problems with struggling customers and building volume with stronger ones. For her first 12 years heading up the Chase Plastic Services' credit operations Debbie Sexton was your typical, office-bound credit manager. But in 2012, when Chase's management decided the company could benefit from more credit-customer contacts, she was raring to go. And, by 2014, she was making 50 customer visits a year all across the country. . . . keep reading

Travel Money Well Spent
Travel Money Well Spent How do you keep up with constantly changing credit management technologies and procedures? Participating in Credit Today is an excellent start, but you should also be attending conferences and programs where you can bat around ideas with fellow credit professionals. Your financial rewards are apt to be many times the travel money you spend. . . . keep reading

Selling to the Small Business (SB): Banks Cutting Back on Lending Means Increase in Credit Card Payments to Suppliers (and Further Conflicts With the Supplier's Expense Tied to This Payment Form)
By Scott Blakeley, Esq.
Selling to the Small Business (SB): Banks Cutting Back on Lending Means Increase in Credit Card Payments to Suppliers (and Further Conflicts With the Supplier's Expense Tied to This Payment Form) Selling to the SB carries a number of unique issues for the supplier, including the SB's borrowing needs to meet its operating expenses, including payment of suppliers that have extended terms. The WSJ reports that large banks are cutting back on loans to SMB's, concluding loan origination to the SB and maintenance of the loan is unprofitable. As a result, many SBs are turning to credit cards to pay suppliers as the card networks in effect offer the cardholder/customer up to 60 days to pay the card statement from the date the cardholder used the card to pay the supplier's invoice. . . . keep reading

Eight Critical Cash App Issues 
Eight Critical Cash App Issues  Applying customer payments in a timely and accurate manner is a key part of the order-to-cash process. Keyed manually into an A/R software module, cash posting can take considerable time. Furthermore, due to lack of information, some payments will be posted on account pending further research (or otherwise tagged to a suspense account or flagged for follow-up). Automated remittance processing systems will greatly reduce the time and labor required to post customer payments and increase the number of postings that are cleared on the first pass. Have you taken a thorough look at your cash app processes lately? Here's a checklist of critical issues from our recent Technology Buyer's Guide: . . . keep reading

What U.S. Commercial Service Officers Can Do for Foreign Sales and Collections
What U.S. Commercial Service Officers Can Do for Foreign Sales and Collections After two years and numerous collection efforts, a $40,000 invoice for irrigation equipment and parts sold to a firm in a Central American country for an irrigation project remained unpaid. Then a check arrived for the full amount.

What got the account moving? . . .
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Checklist: Choosing a Collection Agency
Here's a handy checklist designed to help you properly choose a collection agency. . . . keep reading

To Get the Big Bucks, You'll Need a Current, Active, Living, Breathing Credit Policy
In our profile of Mike Rodgers and FINACITY ("Can Your Department Pass the Stress Test"), we delved into what's important to them when they examine credit departments. When we say "examine credit departments," we're not kidding. It's more than an interesting question, because, as we have noted, earlier, this is a company that writes checks - really big checks - which are backed by the receivables at the companies getting the money. . . . keep reading

Checklist: Organizational and Time Management Skills Necessary to be a Successful Collector
Are you and/or your staff productive in your collection efforts? Here's a handy checklist to help you answer that question! Use this to see where you stand and to look for improvement opportunities. . . . keep reading

Your Compliance Management Responsibilities
Your Compliance Management Responsibilities If you ever wind up in court with a customer, would your documents of sale support your case? Maybe; maybe not. Unless they specifically define your rights and interests and have been signed by the customer, they could be useless. Like this company, you may need a Compliance Management campaign. . . . keep reading

No More Gut Feelings in Financial Risk Analysis
No More Gut Feelings in Financial Risk Analysis Three quarters of Hitachi Data System's privately held-customers--some 1,100 companies--routinely provide financial statements every time they release them. The statements of all publicly-held customers are routinely taken off their websites or stripped from SEC filings at 9 p.m. five nights a week. But until five years ago this mass of information would then await laborious manual analysis. Then they brought in vendor RAGE Framework's software. . . . keep reading

Credit Today Benchmarking Survey -- 2015 Travel Survey: Credit Pros Share "Road Warrior" Secrets
Credit Today Benchmarking Survey -- 2015 Travel Survey: Credit Pros Share "Road Warrior" Secrets Companies have a wide variety of views on credit department travel. Consequently, credit managers sometimes have to make the case for travel. Therefore, we asked our survey participants to share their experiences in obtaining funds for travel. We received a variety of responses covering the whole spectrum of credit department travel, conferences, educational events, customer visits, and company events. While the large majority shared their successes, a few unfortunately had to report resistance.

We also picked up some great "road warrior" tips, including plenty of suggestions to make your travel easier (some tongue-in-cheek). Besides the travel tips, the survey participants also shared some useful trip apps and websites, as well as some lessons learned from visiting customers. We're sure you will enjoy and benefit from reading the following. . . .
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Credit Today Benchmarking Survey -- Credit Department Travel: Never Enough
By David Schmidt
In this study, we examine...
  • The size of credit department travel budgets - broken down by size of company
  • Whether budgets are shrinking or growing
  • The percent of credit department budgets that are allocated to the top credit exec vs. the rest of the staff
  • The average & median days visiting customers by credit execs, along with additional data on the ranges
  • How travel budgets are allocated across a) customer visits, b) education, c) credit groups, d) legal activities, and e) other activities
  • The number of conferences attended per year
  • The most important conference activities
  • The most-attended conferences - both now and historically
. . .
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Avoiding Pitfalls: Enforcement of US Judgments in Mexico
By Romelio Hernández, HMH Legal
Avoiding Pitfalls: Enforcement of US Judgments in Mexico A foreigner can't help but to ask the reasons why the Mexican legal system requires the compliance of so many formalities during proceedings, many times considered hurdles. This question takes special place when a US party plans to enforce a judgment in Mexico. Based on the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act - which most US states have adopted - a party in the US needs only to ask a court clerk to complete a registration form and attach a certified copy of the judgment to have it filed in another district within the US, and then proceed to enforce it. In the case of a judgment from a federal court, it is not even necessary to give notice of such filing to the debtor. Mexico's enforcement proceedings are a totally different story. . . . keep reading

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