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Credit Today Online

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

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Reeling Credit Pro Seeks Advice to Get Back in the Loop
Reeling Credit Pro Seeks Advice to Get Back in the Loop Dear Jessica,

I handle credit and one other similar department. My boss just informed me that they are outsourcing the other department to a remote overseas location where we already have some other offices. Of course, wages are much cheaper in this country, but it's a drop in the bucket overall for our company. What concerns me the most about this situation is that the decision was made without my knowledge, at the highest levels of my company. I was only told what was going to happen just before I was required to tell my staff that their positions were being moved offshore. . . .
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Credit Today Benchmarking Survey, Part 3; 2015 Electronic Billing and Payment Survey - Best Practices & Lessons-Learned
By Dave Schmidt, "Survey Architect"
Credit Today Benchmarking Survey, Part 3; 2015 Electronic Billing and Payment Survey - Best Practices & Lessons-Learned The bottom line for invoicing is to do it efficiently and inexpensively. Transmitting invoices electronically fits the bill on both counts. Customer get their invoices faster, can capture them in their automated AP systems, and so pay faster, while at the same time the biller reduces costs. The key factor is the cost of paper, so reducing paper will generally have very positive benefits. Read on to find out what our survey participants are recommending. In part of three of our billing and payment survey results, we examine:
  • Participants' recommendations on best practices in invoicing
  • What challenges participants have faced in this area, and ways they have overcome them
. . .
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Credit Today Benchmarking: A Deep Dive on Payment Trends
By David Schmidt
Credit Today Benchmarking: A Deep Dive on Payment Trends In this, part two of our benchmarking survey on billing and payment trends, we take a deep dive and focus on payments:
  • The three most striking changes in the way payments are being received
  • A breakdown of each method by which payments are received, along with comparisons to our last survey four years ago
  • Where do checks stand in the scheme of things today?
  • The biggest barriers to electronic payments
  • Our take on the three most likely trends going forward
. . .
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Credit Today Webinar: Cash Application -- How Coleman Achieved 94%+ Automation with Artificial Intelligence
Credit Today Webinar: Cash Application -- How Coleman Achieved 94%+ Automation with Artificial Intelligence In this webinar, Lisa Tanner, Manager of Credit and Collections at The Coleman Company explains how to:
  1. Evaluate the pros and cons between an internal IT project and an external technology service provider
  2. Significantly reduce lockbox and bank key-in fees by using technology to automatically capture and process remittance information from check stubs
  3. Eliminate manual processing and linking of remittance received through e-mails or web portals by using parsing and aggregation technology
  4. Scale with business growth by seamlessly on-boarding new customers to an automation solution which is free of templates and does not require continuous manual intervention
  5. Streamline deduction management by automating the coding of disputes and deductions, effectively speeding up dispute resolution
. . .
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7 Keys to Negotiating Like a Pro
By Barry J. Elms
7 Keys to Negotiating Like a Pro I don't know anyone who negotiates more often or more critically than Credit professionals. I would argue that their career literally depends on their ability to secure successful deals. Experienced Credit managers learn how to develop effective strategies, tactics and game plans to ensure mutually satisfying deals that build relationships and a successful career. There is, however, a core mentality that exists with all effective negotiators that serves as an invaluable check list for both internal and external negotiations. I like to call it The 7 Keys to negotiating like a pro. . . . keep reading

Credit Today Benchmarking Survey: 2015 Electronic Billing and Payment Survey, Part I -- Billing Trends Show Paper Processes Waning
By David Schmidt
Credit Today Benchmarking Survey: 2015 Electronic Billing and Payment Survey, Part I -- Billing Trends Show Paper Processes Waning Increasingly, the processing and transmittal of invoices is moving away from paper and toward electronic methods. At the same time, more and more companies are turning over the tasks involved in invoice processing to external service providers. Sending invoices via the US Postal Service dropped below 50 percent somewhere between 2009 and 2011 and has continued to drop since our last survey. Likewise, the use of billing services to handle the invoice distribution process continues to grow at a rapid pace. Learn...
  • The biggest trends in invoice distribution
  • What percent of credit execs are now outsourcing their invoicing process, as well as the historical trend
  • What percent of invoices are now being mailed, along with the historical trend
  • What methods of invoice distribution are growing most rapidly
  • The average cost per invoice for those performing this in-house, vs. the cost for those outsourcing this (the difference may surprise you)
. . .
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Credit Management Lessons from the Oil Patch
When you're trying to start and grow a business in a dynamic industry like oil and gas, you can't do it in neat little increments. You have to step out and take risks. Curiously, however, the rate of failures of new gas and oil industry suppliers in the current downturn has been relatively low. Most of those that have failed, however, have liquidated, not reorganized. A veteran industry credit manager explores why. . . . keep reading

Selecting a Top-Flight Credit Staff
You can't rely on luck, or even resumes and interviews, to select the right people for your department. You need a system for going beyond what they tell you to find out what they actually know and can do--or what they can readily be trained to do. This veteran credit manager has devised just such . . . keep reading

Understanding the Meaning of a Certified Commercial Collection Agency in Today's Credit World
By Wanda Borges, Esq.
Understanding the Meaning of a Certified Commercial Collection Agency in Today's Credit World Credit grantors have come to rely on collection agency certification as a valuable tool in determining whether or not they wish to use that agency to assist them in collecting their debts. Over the past year, however, there has been some confusion as to what certification is all about and whether or not one certification is better than another. At the recent NACM Credit Congress in St. Louis, three of the exhibitors were organizations which grant certification to their agency members. Those were the Commercial Law League of America, the International Association of Commercial Collectors and the Commercial Collection Agencies of America. Several credit executives expressed some confusion about the three organizations and sought clarification from me as to which organization was which and what was the difference between their certifications. This article is not intended to recommend one certification over another, but rather is intended to provide factual information about the organizations which provide collection agency certification and about the respective certification processes. The author is a member of each of these organizations and is a past-president of the Commercial Law League of America. . . . keep reading

Letting Collectors Collect
Letting Collectors Collect Really effective collectors should be doing what they do best-- pursuing delinquents, not answering routine customer questions or handling complaints. At this company, that realization--and a subsequent staff realignment--has produced a dramatic reduction in overdue accounts.

Learn how this shared services center cut delinquent accounts beyond 30 days from 35% just 3 years ago to 7.5% now. . . .
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A 'Fabulous' IT System
A 'Fabulous' IT System Most transitions in business processes are incremental. This one was fundamental. Within a few weeks of implementation, the credit staff had shrunk by two thirds, and the work was being handled faster and more efficiently than ever before.

The firm profiled here is a small company with fewer than 30 employees. But when this credit pro joined them as credit manager 10 years ago, credit and collection work kept her and two collectors--10 percent of the total staff--busy. Then in 2011, as part of the company transitioned into a lean manufacturing mode, the company went to cloud-based SAP by Design, and she has been working alone ever since. . . .
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Nine Tips For Your Final Demand Letter
Nine Tips For Your Final Demand Letter Have you looked at your final demand letter lately?

We polled a group of savvy credit execs for their ideas on final demand letters and here's a distillation of their very best ideas:

1. Make it brief. You can say how you . . .
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Notes from the Expo Hall at NACM's 2015 Credit Congress
By David Schmidt
Notes from the Expo Hall at NACM's 2015 Credit Congress One of the best and most extensive source of new ideas and information related to the commercial credit profession can be found on the floor of the Expo Hall at the annual NACM Credit Congress. It, now along with CRF's growing August expo, offers a large group of vendors dedicated to serving the profession. Among these vendors you will find both new and innovative approaches and the evolving best practices for addressing credit management's challenges. Learn...
  • what newcomers were at this year's show and our take on them and the overall implications
  • about the new European influence in US trade credit and what this means for credit execs
  • new trends from credit reporting and tech vendors that mean continued improved options for credit execs
  • merger and acquisition news on industry service providers
  • our take on trends facing NACM
. . .
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Welcome Letter Puts Marginal Customers on the Business-Partner Track
Welcome Letter Puts Marginal Customers on the Business-Partner Track You don't extend credit to a high-risk customer without doing a thorough and painstaking financial analysis. Your notification to the customer of approved credit should detail how thorough and painstaking that analysis was. As this company shows, that can be the first step toward a prompt-paying business partnership.

This credit manager has developed a detailed welcome letter that helps in forming the beginning of the relationship with important - but sometimes risky - customers. . . .
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Important Knowledge For Fending Off Small Preference Actions
by Stuart Koenig and Richard Macias
Important Knowledge For Fending Off Small Preference Actions Everyone hates getting sued for the recovery of a preferential transfer, especially when the amount is seemingly de minimis. While those who have suffered the unpleasant experience of responding to and defending against a preference demand are familiar with terms such as "ordinary course defense" and "new value offsets," there is another defense that also may be available to you if the amount in dispute fails to meet a specific statutory threshold. . . . keep reading

Building Redundant Credit Functionality
Building Redundant Credit Functionality What would happen if one or more of your staffers suddenly vanished? Would others have the training, knowledge and experience--not to mention the time--to fill in? It's a scary prospect, and it could happen at any time. . . . keep reading

Three Clever Ways to Get Your Phone Calls Returned
Three Clever Ways to Get Your Phone Calls Returned One of the biggest problems for everyone these days is getting phone calls returned. First, everyone is too busy and many prefer email. Second, from a collection standpoint, sometimes customers want to avoid phone calls. Email's very effective, of course, but still, sometimes you need to actually talk to move forward on an issue - particularly a more complex collection issue .

Here are three methods we like better from Robert Shook and Eric Yaverbaum's book I'll Get Back to You, which has 156 unusual ways to get your phone calls returned. Here are three: . . .
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A Nine-Step Fraud-Fighting Model
Fraudsters targeting this company have mostly met their match, with only two of some 40 attempts succeeding this year. That's because of a multi-step order screening process and constant vigilance from Sales to Credit. But the credit manager/architect of this excellent program sees the fraud problem as a growing threat. . . . keep reading

An Update on Terms Pushback: Governments Around the World Act to Keep B2B Credit Terms Normal, Not Extended
By Scott Blakeley, Esq.
An Update on Terms Pushback: Governments Around the World Act to Keep B2B Credit Terms Normal, Not Extended Suppliers throughout the U.S. continue to experience a significant uptick of customers disregarding their established terms and unilaterally extending these terms to better fit their working capital and cash flow needs. This piece explores the extent to which governments around the world are intervening to protect suppliers. . . . keep reading

Purchase Orders for the Road
Purchase Orders for the Road Accepting and fulfilling an order without the customer's purchase order is a really bad idea. There's no dispute about that. But an order is an order, and when one arrives--say, from an independent rep on the rep's letterhead and, but for the lack of the customer's PO it looks really good--what the heck do you do? . . . keep reading

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