Many people attending a Credit Congress for the first time have an acquaintance or someone from their NACM Affiliate to help guide them through the registration process or have some hot-button topics/subjects in mind to help them decide on classes to attend. Whether these apply or not, if I were advising an associate of mine or fellow credit professional attending Credit Congress for the first time, my suggestion in selecting education sessions throughout the week would be to take a balanced approach: pick a couple of enjoyable classes but do not forget to select some of the most functional ones. By functional, I am suggesting those focusing on tools or traits that credit professionals use or need in every day. A good foundation in these will allow a credit manager to add specialized topics and depth later on.
For instance, a new credit professional may not have to confront a bankruptcy issue every day, nor an unclaimed property issue every day. However, such an attendee would stand to pick up many ideas or skills as possible on everyday items such as Credit Policies & Procedures or Using Risk Mitigation Tools. Most of all, and even more fundamental, I would suggest attending classes like Credit and Sales – on the Same Team or Creating Enduring Connections.
Establishing and developing lines of good communications inside and outside of one’s business will pay dividends day-in and day-out. Credit managers who actively work on these skills will typically know more personal details about their customers than. Ab objective should be to learn more about how to build relationships and trust, especially with sales staff. It’s always good to have someone acting as a second set of eyes and ears for the credit department and the greater company.
- Allen Vickers, CCE, corporate credit manager at A&K Railroad Materials Inc. and member of NACM's 2015 Editorial Committee