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Fort Worth, Texas

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Credit Today newsletter

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.

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. . . .
keep reading

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?

. . .
keep reading

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
The Four Key Elements of Risk Management and the One People Fail At
Last week ("Our Take on Buffett's Annual Letter") we covered some of the highlights - from a credit manager's perspective - of Warren Buffett's recent annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders. This week, w . . . keep reading

Train your (Employee's) Brain - Best Practices For Implementing Training
By David Schmidt
Train your (Employee's) Brain - Best Practices For Implementing Training With the rapid changes in technology in credit departments, training for both new and existing credit staff is critical to keep productivity on the rise. But most training is based on a flawed training models. Here we outline training best practices, in which you'll learn...
  • The three critical steps to take when planning your training program
  • Four steps to replace the traditional "lecture" model normally used in training
  • Two very important steps that are typically neglected after training is "done"
. . .
keep reading
Our Take on Buffett's Annual Letter
March 16, 2015
Our Take on Buffett's Annual Letter One of the things we look forward to each year is reading Warren Buffett's annual letter to shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway. This year marks the 50th anniversary of Buffett's management of Berkshire Hathaway. A single share of Berkshire, purchased 50 years ago, at its then-price of $20 is today worth $217,000, an astonishing 19.4% annual rate of return, and nearly 10% over the S&P's very respectable 9.9% (with dividends reinvested) over the same period. Considering that the vast majority of money managers lag the market and that even a 1 or 2 or 3 percent long-term beating of the market is rare and will make you very rich, this is a truly remarkable feat. And absolutely not attributable to luck.

What this all means for credit execs. . . .
keep reading

Credit Today Benchmarking Survey: 2015 Bankruptcy Claim Handling
By David Schmidt
Credit Today Benchmarking Survey: 2015 Bankruptcy Claim Handling In this month's benchmarking survey, we answer the following questions: :
  • Whether credit departments file claims on all or some bankruptcies, and why
  • The extent to which bankruptcy claims are filed in-house versus with outside help
  • The reasons credit departments seek outside help for the process
  • Who is responsible for filing the claims and managing the paperwork
In addition, our readers weigh in with some great advice, including several handy tips and best practices. . . .
keep reading
Increasing Sales With Customers You Know Can Pay--A Credit Management Specialty
Increasing Sales With Customers You Know Can Pay--A Credit Management Specialty This credit management veteran visited a customer with the sales person and--Bingo!--he spotted an opportunity that has increased sales by $12,000 a month. Better yet, it opened a new sales channel for previously hard-to-move product. Not bad for one day's work.

Chairs, awnings and other large items are not normally the types of inventory to be front and center in an RV dealer's parts store. Rather, you'd typically find them towards the back right. But they were front and center at a 10,000 square foot particular store. Visiting the dealer with the area salesman . . .
keep reading
Using Customer Meetings at Trade Shows to Balance Credit Risk and Opportunity
Using Customer Meetings at Trade Shows to Balance Credit Risk and Opportunity You can't blame the customer for trying to get the best credit terms on a big new order -- or your salesman for supporting him. But risk is your responsibility. This credit veteran has found that a meeting between the three of you at a trade show can be the best place for quickly balancing risk and opportunity. . . . keep reading
There's a Reason They Put This Guy on the $100 Bill
There's a Reason They Put This Guy on the $100 Bill Well, actually many reasons. Ben Franklin was an inventor, a philosopher, a successful publisher and businessman, the first U.S. Postmaster General, the originator of volunteer fire departments, a diplomat, a flirt (well, maybe we won't go down that path today), and known as a founding father of the United States. . . . keep reading

Turnaround Story: Bringing Chronic Slow Pays in Line With Promissory Notes
You're not a bank, so why would you want to do business with promissory notes? "Because that may be your best way of handling serious delinquencies while continuing to do business with these customers." That's what happened here when this credit-consultant-turned credit and collection manager took over a dysfunctional department. Read on for a great turnaround story. . . . keep reading
Spotting Risks and Opportunities with Credit Scoring
Spotting Risks and Opportunities with Credit Scoring High risks are a daily fact of life for this credit management veteran. But, then again, so are promising opportunities. So spotting both are crucial for him. And he's found credit scoring a powerful tool for meeting those responsibilities.

Learn what tools this veteran credit exec uses and how they help him cut losses, aid their sales efforts, and find the right risks to take. . . .
keep reading
How One Credit Manager Reduced DSO By 14%
By Dean Kaplan
How One Credit Manager Reduced DSO By 14% When Lhoist North America hired Chris Soignier as Credit Manager in 2012, senior management recognized that they wanted to better control risk and reduce DSO. They had just made DSO one of the variables that impacted bonuses for sales people, but there was there was still much to do in order to achieve their objectives.

Chris identified a number of issues that needed attention, including: . . .
keep reading

Tech Buyer's Guide: Lockboxes On the Way Out?
January 26, 2015
Last year, our benchmarking survey on Cash Application & Remittance Processing revealed that - not surprisingly, lockboxes are used by 76 percent of compan . . . keep reading

Huge Productivity Gains: Expert Insights Into Remittance Processing Technology
By Dave Schmidt
Huge Productivity Gains: Expert Insights Into Remittance Processing Technology 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. In this article...
  • A checklist of eight critical issues to consider when analyzing your remittance processes
  • A breakdown of the key benefits to automation in each of autocash, EIPP, and credit/debit matching
  • The top two factors driving change in the remittance processing arena
  • The implications for lock box usage
. . .
keep reading
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Members-only, this month...
 Credit Jobs Today
 This Month's Survey

Electronic Document Management Systems

This month's survey takes a look at electronic document management systems in credit departments. We're examining
  • How pervasive are these systems in credit departments
  • The extent to which electronic signatures are being used
  • What documents are being stored electronically
  • Lessons-learned and advice on the process
If you're as interested in these results as we are, then please click here to participate!

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