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

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Suppliers Accepting Multiple Credit Card Brands May Now Steer Card-Paying Customers to Cheaper Brands in Light of American Express Federal Court Ruling
August 28, 2015, By Scott Blakeley, Esq.
Suppliers Accepting Multiple Credit Card Brands May Now Steer Card-Paying Customers to Cheaper Brands in Light of American Express Federal Court Ruling Customer credit card use to pay suppliers invoices continues to increase, both with existing and new customers. Credit cards are the most expensive payment channel. Suppliers accepting multiple card brands (Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover) find that there may be a meaningful difference with card brands' interchange fees, as show in the chart: . . . keep reading

What Business to Business Credit Companies Need to Know About the October 1, 2015 EMV Liability Shift
By Christine Speedy
What Business to Business Credit Companies Need to Know About the October 1, 2015 EMV Liability Shift Both retail and card not present businesses/merchants that have not prepared for the US EMV migration could experience financial losses after the October 1, 2015 liability shift takes effect. The liability shift is a major milestone for all parties to credit card processing, including credit card issuers, acquirers and merchants. While this is a retail specific change, it has far-reaching implications that can impact credit managers, especially for new accounts. There is plenty of misinformation so a review of key facts is recommended for all departments accepting credit cards. . . . keep reading

Even Credit Pros Need to Love What They Do
By David Schmidt
Even Credit Pros Need to Love What They Do The old saying goes: "Find something you love to do and you'll never work a day in your life." The reality is that doing something you love is great -- but if you can't pay your bills or you if you have to work with people you can't stand, your love can quickly turn sour. So while finding a workplace utopia may be as likely as finding a unicorn in a field of four leaf clovers, there are three categories -- tasks, time and people -- that you can use to judge your happiness levels and perhaps see where changes need to be made in order to improve your work environment and your overall life experience. . . . keep reading

Purchase Order Required & Best Practices Checklist
Here are the checklists used by one firm to reign in problem purchase orders and ensure invoice accuracy. The top one below lists what they require order entry staff to verify prior to acceptance of a purchase order. The second one is a list of preferred best practices to check. . . . keep reading

Reducing Errors and Aging with an Invoice Processing Procedure Checklist
Reducing Errors and Aging with an Invoice Processing Procedure Checklist Errors in invoicing due to inexperience, lack of training or just rushing resulted in disputes and delayed payments. At this company that problem was spread across a dozen business units, but it's being tackled with a shared services department initiative based on a simple checklist. . . . keep reading

Anticipating and Preventing Post-Audit Charges
Anticipating and Preventing Post-Audit Charges What do you do when, up to four years after a transaction, a customer contends to have been over charged or under served and demands compensation? The tendency to cave in to these post-audit charges is so common that post-audit searching has become an industry in itself. But companies like this one are fighting back and winning.
  • How this firm cut deductions to about a tenth their previous level
  • Changes in the ways customers are doing post audits
  • Three very specific and critical instructions this firm's compliance director gives to sales to keep them out of trouble when emailing customers about deals
. . .
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Credit Today Interview: Half a Century in the Risk Trenches
Credit Today Interview: Half a Century in the Risk Trenches There have been many memorable moments in Bob's long career. In December 1989, when he was still with Dun & Bradstreet, a client asked for his opinion on Federated, the enormous department store chain. His reply: "We cannot support shipments into the new year." That reply, as they say today, went viral, and that night Federated contacted the CEO of D&B stating, "You don't know what you're talking about. We have more than enough cash." Bob was summoned to the CEO's office and he stuck to his guns.

Learn what happened to Bob and Federated next after that meeting, as well as...
  • The top factors he looks for first when evaluating the health of a business
  • What credit analysts are most likely to forget when evaluating a business
  • The biggest changes in the credit reporting world over the last 50 years
  • What's highest on Bob's radar today in the retail world
  • How changing demographics might hurt the quality of credit decisions in the near future
  • A surprising trend negatively impacting a big retailing segment
  • Why Chapter 11 reorganizations are failing more often today
. . .
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Tech Notes: Benefits and Challenges of E-Signatures
By David Schmidt
Though much of the corporate world is going digital these days, one of the thornier aspects of digital conversion is the acceptance of electronic signatures. Even when so much can be done without putting pen to paper, the act of signing a document or transaction is an activity that too often requires moving from the digital to the manual. In this article we cover:
  • The six main tenants of the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (The E-Sign Act), from a credit manager's perspective
  • The benefits of E-Signatures
  • How E-Signatures are critical for streamlining workflow
  • What authentication means, some examples, and how it fits into the process
. . .
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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. Customers 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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