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Dec 01 2017
Why You Should be Sharing Your Trade Credit Data
Rebecca Mullins, CCE, Ferguson Waterworks

As a Credit Manager, having good and accurate credit information helps make solid and informed credit decisions. It also assists in setting credit limits and allows trade creditors to assess risk for their company. 

When the credit department begins the investigation of a new account or reviews an existing account, one of the first steps is to request a business credit report. Of all the credit reports to choose from, the one that I prefer to use on a regular basis is the NACM NTCR report because it has the most detailed information and is broken out by member and grouped by industry. This information is utilized in a couple of different ways. It helps show how the trade creditor is paying each account, and it also has the last date the information was reported, and numbers do tell a story. Part of the credit team's job is to uncover that story and make the best possible risk assessment for their company. 

Data sharing is important! If a credit report is requested and no information is listed, a trade creditor may not have enough information for a well-rounded decision. There are many ways that a company can share and contribute their data. Some companies send in information electronically or by a monthly Excel file and may also join a local Industry Trade Group to share information. As a current NACM member, I encourage all companies to contribute their accounts receivable information. Credit information allows local, national and international businesses to grow, thrive and contribute to economic growth. 

Local NACM Industry Groups are an excellent tool used for trade customer information, especially when paired with the NTCR. Such groups are bound by the by-laws of NACM and allow credit information to be discussed and shared in a group meeting. The meeting allows networking between similar industries in regard to shared trade customers. The discussions within the groups are confidential and assist with the assessment of risk and allows the credit department to obtain up-to-date information. 

I have been involved with NACM for over 10 years, and the contacts that are in the industry groups are extremely valuable. We are all likeminded credit professionals that share a similar goal of maintaining credit risk. 

It is important to remember that a credit report is only as good as the information provided. All creditors have a community responsibility to assist and share A/R information to continue the free flow of trade credit data. Share your data folks, get involved with your local NACM and get to know others in the credit industry. The increase in knowledge is always worth the risk.