A few thoughts from Jon Flora, President & CEO
September. End of the summer. Football returns. And we’re back to school.
This is the annual time of renewal for all things educational. Whether it’s that first foray into kindergarten or making decisions about professional education, this is when it all starts! While we can’t help you with Kindergarten, we do have professional options for you!
- First, we’ve heard you asking for a good day-long program of presentations that’s helpful, affordable and close to home. We have it for you at the Northwest Commercial Credit Conference – NC3 – September 12th. There’s still time to register for a great day of topics of interest to you and your associates. Plus, all who register will be included for a FREE registration for the January 23rd Hawaii Winter Credit Forum along with two nights of hotel in Honolulu! We hope to see you next week.
- Second, our Webinar Series continues on September 26th with Beyond the Signature: Electronic Document & Signature Legality. Learn the basics of electronic signatures and the laws that govern them. Also, bring your entire staff with a single registration.
- But wait, there’s more! This short list just covers September! Check out our events calendar for our education and networking events over the coming months.
With all this education, it makes it a good time to think about best practices.
Leading up to the 2009 financial crisis, our economy was roaring along quite nicely. Business was very good; everyone’s customers were paying on time. Many of our NACM members were so busy that pulling credit reports didn’t seem important. Companies also sat on their A/R longer. Participation in our Trade Groups and education programs dropped off.
To put it mildly, best practices were set aside.
When the economy took that fast and painful fall, members started pulling reports again in a big way. And, then they hurriedly increased their use of our Collections Department. While NACM was able to help a lot, we couldn’t overcome the fact that many debtor companies just couldn’t pay their bills. Too much time had passed with too much leeway provided.
This pattern has pretty much led every modern downturn and, now, we’re seeing signs of it happening again. Members and customers are pulling fewer reports and sitting on debt longer. Participation in professional education and trade groups has slowed because everyone is busy and “can’t get away from the office”. Best practices are again being set aside because business is good. We’ve seen how this movie ends.
As Winston Churchill said at the outset of World War II, “Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”
This is not a message of doom. It is, however, a reminder to follow best practices and encourage your company to do so, too. If you consistently follow proven methods, like always pulling credit reports and turning accounts over to our Collections Department before too much time has passed, you will usually stay ahead of the game. When the next downturn comes – and it will – best practices will help you weather the storm better than those who choose a more relaxed path.
Our message: Stay disciplined and take full advantage of the credit tools available. Even in good times, best practices can help you avoid problems. We’re always here to help you.
I hope your autumn is off to a good start and your favorite football team has at least won a game!