By Jon Flora, CEO, NACMBCS

Having spent the first 22 years of my career in private higher education, I have an over-developed need to question the real value of educational programs. This trait is exacerbated by being the son of school teacher who was (and, at 97, remains) an interested observer of modern education. 
Here at your association, we always ask the question: Is it worth a member’s time and money to participate in our programs? You and your company have limited resources. We have to be good stewards of them.

In January, one of our Hawaii Credit Forum speakers was John McCarthy, Deputy Chief of Police for the Honolulu Police Department. He held an insightful Check and Credit Card Fraud presentation, providing excellent food-for-thought. How do I know it was excellent? The attendees told me so. More importantly, I have proof.

Over the last few weeks, our association experienced check fraud. It’s been significant–with more than $50,000 in counterfeit checks written and attempted to pass off in our name. Relax. It doesn’t impact you. Its what FDIC insurance is all.

My first reaction could have been panic followed by a lot of colorful, longshoreman language. I’ll admit to some of the latter, but panic was never part of the equation. As a result of the education I received at our Hawaii Credit Forum, I knew exactly what-to-do. I knew who to call and how to handle it. I even reached out to Chief McCarthy for further advice. (Think about it. How often do you get to ask Hawaii 5-0 for help?!) Our experience will now become part of his presentation as he seeks to teach others. We’ll probably do the same.

We are working hard on a host of educational programs like this that will be of benefit to you. And, as you’ve seen, we’re trying new ways to deliver those presentations to fit today’s lifestyle–you can read about them in our eNews and eBlogs, listen to them in our podcast, and you can also network and learn, in person, at our member events. The topics are important; however, equally valuable is being introduced to the people doing the presentations. When you get a few months down the road and have need to reference something you learned, we can connect you with past speakers who always are glad to help further. NACM Business Credit Services is about education and relationships; and we definitely have both for you.

New this month, we’ve added a link in our Trends section to the National Debt Clock . Click on it to see what the current national debt levels are in real time . While not intended to cause hearts to skip a beat, it will give you pause to think about the Federal Government’s financial commitments and how they impact you.

You’ll also find a review of legislative activities in our heritage territory. Most notably, take a look at the new taxes the Washington legislature passed.

Also, be sure to read the piece under Tax Planning . New W4 forms are coming to a payroll office near you and they are expected to be a challenge. You and your company will want to cozy up to your CPA.

Which brings us to this month’s NACM National Credit Congress. I look forward to seeing many of you in Aurora, Colorado, May 19-22. This is always the biggest educational and networking opportunity of the year. Following our long tradition, we will be kicking off the big show with our exclusive member and customer party on Sunday night, May 19 th. You will get to mix it up with fun instruction in Mixology. Learn how to make a custom cocktail tailored just to you! And maybe win a prize for your creation. Join us for the best way to kick off Congress.

Have a great educational month.