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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.

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

Shipping Nightmares
Shipping Nightmares Let's say a customer orders 100 units of your style A, and 100 of style B. And, for some reason, there is an error in the picking process and the delivery is over on one and short on the other. So the customer just combines it all, takes the price difference, pays you--over or under- and calls it a shortage.

So now you have to try to determine what the shortage is when it's not a shortage at all but a product substitution. You don't find that out, however, until you chase them down and figure out what's going on. They'll say, "Oh yeah, we ordered this, but we got that." . . .
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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. . . .
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For those of you with ERP systems, how are unapplied credits handled?
May 7, 2015
We have an in house built AR system of which unapplied credits are a huge problem. Whether they come from a sales return, an overpayment, etc, we have to manually handle them. For those of you with ERP systems, how are unapplied credits handled or do you have any? . . . 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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