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Nov 01 2013
Letters of Credit v. Security Deposits

Some creditors find that maintaining security deposits for marginal customers is a convenient method to protect against default. However, security deposits are still considered to be the property of your customer and if the customer files bankruptcy the bankruptcy trustee has the authority to take the security deposit. Therefore, as an alternative to the security deposit, you can use a letter of credit. If your customer has enough money to give you to hold as a security deposit, then they could also deposit that money with the bank in exchange for a letter of credit.
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Oct 01 2013
To Kiss or Not to Kiss

Pop Quiz (True or False): 1. Eating with the left hand is taboo in Saudi Arabia. 2. In Japan you should always present a business card with both hands. 3. When being introduced to a group in Finland, you should shake hands with women first. 4. Eating while walking or standing on the street is considered bad form in Canada. 5. To point in China, use an open palm, not your index finger. 6. In the United Kingdom, it is acceptable to put away a business card with only a cursory glance.
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Oct 01 2013
Could the Pick Up in the Economy Mean the End of the Rope for Some Companies?

Could the Pick Up in the Economy Mean the End of the Rope for Some Companies? The United States economy is finally picking up, but unfortunately, for many businesses this may mean the end of the rope. Many of these companies barely survived through the downturn. During the economic tough times, they used up all of their cash reserves, sold all of their equipment, laid-off most of their employees, and reached the limit of their borrowing power. As the economy begins to . . .
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Oct 01 2013
ICEL Meeting Recap: Credit Law 101

We need to know what type of business we are selling to. Make sure we understand the differences between all the different business types; i.e. sole proprietorship, LLC, S-Corp, etc. Credit managers need to understand how they are going to receive payment for goods/services. Is there a contract in place with a personal guarantee? Are the principles who they say they are? Ensure that the person signing the agreement has authorization to do so. The credit application is one of the most, if not the most, important tool we can use to collect. If you . . .
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Sep 01 2013
ICEL August RECAP: In the Trenches

Speakers: Jo Anne Mills, CBF, Deseret Book; Ryan Palmer, CBA, ProBuild; Mark Jones, Geneva Rock In our August ICEL meeting we found ourselves deep "In the Trenches" with three outstanding credit professionals. Each brought a unique insight from being on the front-line keeping us enthralled with their experiences and lessons learned. Joanne Mills found that after 15 years working in accounting dotting "i's" and crossing "T's" that when she got into the trenches of credit matters, procedures weren't as clear and meticulous. Moving to the front-line proved to be a precarious place where 'attacks' from customers can seem personal.
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Sep 01 2013
The Agony and the Ecstasy

On August 12th, I received the news that I had finally become a CCE. I was thrilled and so relieved! This was the joyful end of a journey that has encompassed over four years. I had finally done it! Like so many others, I never expected to work in the credit field. In fact, . . .
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Aug 01 2013
ICEL Recap - Test Your Credit Knowledge

Many would disagree with the possibility of putting the words "fun", "games" and "credit" in the same sentence. But, leave it to ICEL to find a way to not only defy reason, but to prove that its members can make games and have fun with the credit profession. ICEL members continued their annual tradition of celebrating summer at
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Aug 01 2013
Cooperation and Fairness When Dealing with Debtors

The NACM Canons of Business Credit Ethics state that "Cooperation, fairness and honesty must dominate in all insolvent debtor proceedings." Further, the Canons state that "Creditors must render all possible assistance to honest debtors who become insolvent." As credit professionals, do we ever struggle with this pledge? Do we occasionally want debtors to pay, and not just
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Aug 01 2013
The Power of Attitude

One of the classes I attended at Credit Congress addressed this very topic. Do you realize that your self-esteem-meter goes up and down daily? If you connect with people it goes up. If you compare yourself to others, it goes down. When we compare ourselves to others, it is usually in these three areas: Appearance (looks) Status (wealth) Performance The power of attitude, or how you think, predicts your success
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Jul 01 2013
NACM Nat'l Instructor of the Year: Doug Darrington, CCE

The National Association of Credit Management (NACM National) announced its Honors & Awards Program recipients during the General Session of its 117th Credit Congress and Exposition in Las Vegas on May 20. The 2013 Instructor of the Year Award was presented to Douglas Darrington, CCE, Credit Manager, Kilgore Companies, Magna, Utah.
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Jul 01 2013
Get it Delivered: 10 Guidelines for Properly Addressing Mail

The United States Postal Service estimates that 25% of all mail pieces have something wrong with the address such as an incorrect ZIP code or missing suite number. And while these mail pieces are usually still delivered, they are most often delayed. The quicker your customer receives his invoice, the quicker he can pay you.
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Jul 01 2013
My Cheese Has Melted

One thing I have learned the past three years is that change is inevitable. Between being merged, acquired, expanded, and nearly bankrupt, I find I am in a constant state of change. For someone who is used to consistency and structure, the last few years have been challenging. I either had to cope with the changes and make the best of them or become extinct.
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Jun 01 2013
June ICEL Chairleader's Article - 10 Email Etiquette Tips

Did you know that National Email Week is celebrated in the month of June? Email is becoming an increasingly dominant form of communication in the business world. And, since a whole week has been dedicated to honoring this technology, I thought we would look at 10 tips for improving email communication. 1. Subject Lines. It could be argued that subject lines are the most important part of an email. They are generally what convince a recipient to either open an email or ignore it. Subject lines should contain concise, descriptive information about the topic you are addressing - the meat of your email - and the action you would like the recipient to take. They should also be descriptive enough to allow the recipient to quickly find your email if he or she needs to refer back. Be specific and streamline your subject by using short words and eliminating unnecessary words. Consider using action verbs and dates and times when needed. And never leave the subject line blank.
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Jun 01 2013
May ICEL Meeting Recap: Stop Being Bullied By Bad Customers

Nina Flurer, CCE, a regional credit manager with H&E Equipment Services, Inc. presented at the May ICEL meeting. She addressed the topic of how to stop being bullied by bad customers - a topic to which most all credit managers can relate. Ironically enough, the term bully can be abused (no pun intended). Just because someone engages in behavior that someone does not like or agree with, does not necessarily mean it is abusive. Nina encouraged attendees to incorporate the "reasonable person test." This test requires asking if most people would consider what the other person is saying or doing to be inappropriate or unacceptable. Once it has been determined that the actions of a customer are that of a bully, his or her actions will typically fall into one of two categories
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Apr 01 2013
The Imperative Partnership

Why the sales driven organization must encourage partnership between sales and credit to succeed. The selling team of yesteryear would have a hard time getting along, or even understanding the business world of today. Things have changed such that a client's credit worthiness is just as, or even more important than, the gross revenue potential of that coveted client. In the old days when the "big sale" ruled all, we (the selling organization) kept the credit department quite busy cleaning up when one of those big sales turned into a big collection nightmare.
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Mar 01 2013
Credit/Sales Smack Down

Have you experienced ballistic moments dealing with sales people? If you have, you are not alone. At times, the friction between credit & sales produces a duel of epic proportion; well it seems like it at the time. Sales: Excited voice "I have a new customer that is 'golden' and they want to buy A LOT - RIGHT NOW!" Credit: Up go the hackles . . . "Ummm, looking at their credit report and payment history, the only possible way we can sell them is cash in advance." Sales: Angry "Oh Come On! They're good for it!" Credit and sales have very different personality . . .
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Feb 01 2013
Liens or Secured Transactions (UCC)

I am often asked by creditors whether they can file a lien against their customer's property because the customer is seriously delinquent. The creditor is usually looking for a simple "yes" or "no" answer. But, it really isn't a simple question so I respond either with the standard "depends," or launch into a series of questions. Why? Because some liens can be filed without the debtor's consent and some require the debtor's consent. There are voluntary liens: those that require the debtor's consent, and involuntary liens
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Feb 01 2013
Odds It's Fraud

Business credit fraud is an intentional plot to scam a business out of "value" without payment. This may be accomplished by providing a credit department with carefully crafted inaccurate information hoping that it goes unnoticed thus allowing the flimflam artist to get away with as much value as possible. Let's look at an attempted fraud scenario that happened recently in Utah. An NACM member received a phone order from a caller in Ohio declaring that they had a "staple emergency" and needed product to be "shipped immediately"
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Dec 01 2012
The 5 C's of Credit in Today's Economy

Jobless rate climbs. Tougher bank rules. Wall Street drops. Firms less optimistic . . . With headlines like these how are we ever to feel confident about extending credit to anyone? Fortunately, the tried and true 5 C's of Credit are still valuable tools for evaluating a client for creditworthiness.
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Dec 01 2012
Collections Rut? Mix Things Up!

Recently, I noticed that our receivables had plateaued. We had several accounts that were showing up on our aging day after day, week after week, and with no apparent progress. Since I know that doing the same thing, the same way, and expecting different results is the definition of insanity, I decided to try to mix things up. Instead of setting up new procedures or policies, all I did was to reassign which accounts were handled by my collectors. Sounds simple, right?
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