It seems to go without saying that information is perhaps the best weapon a credit manager can have in ensuring payment in virtually any industry. It would also seem that most would take getting accurate and useful information would be treated as importantly. But often, it isn't even in situation where it screams out as a necessity (Re: legal documents and statutes).
During a Credit Congress session with Greg Powelson, director of the Mechanics Lien & Bond Service, and Karen Hart Esq., of Bell Nunnally, pounded home the need for credit professionals to not just do homework (a common theme at Credit Congress...see previous story), but to do it the right way.
Powelson noted that he is often approached by clients who e-mail him articles talking about laws and statute new or analysis they found on some random Internet site that are out of date or are simply not accurate, and maybe never were.
“There's a reason free stuff is free a lot of the time. There's no obligation to keep it up to date,” Powelson said.
Hart quipped that credit professionals need to be sure to go to reputable sources, such as Westlaw, or perhaps “pulling the books”/hard copy for the statutes.
“Laws are changing quickly; legislatures are active. Just because it is on the internet doesn't mean it's right,” Hart said. “It might be. But the minute you have a problem, it's going to cause you a lot of heartburn.” In short, it's worth doing things right early in a process, even if that means having an attorney looking at a contract in many instances, whether a one-off or a standard document.
-Brian Shappell, CBA, NACM staff writer