In today's business environment, characterized by downsizing and reengineering, staying in the mainstream of credit could be the factor that determines our job security as credit professionals. While you may already hold a degree or have professional training, as well as the respect of management within your organization, the fact remains that thousands of employees are being laid off each year. Therefore, we must continue our education to make ourselves more visible, valuable and marketable.
Consider the changes that have occurred with bankruptcy laws. Some of the rules that apply to a Chapter 11 and Chapter 13, that many of us must deal with on a daily basis, are not the same rules that were applicable five years ago. For instance, the time frame for filing a reclamation claim has changed. To be assured that your company will be in the best possible position at all times, it's important to stay informed about such topics.
To have a degree or to hold a professional certification or designation is more important today than ever. We simply cannot rely on experience alone when we are faced with perpetual change in our workplace. The discerning professional must plan for tomorrow with confidence. Colleges and universities offer courses for those who work full time. Some even offer accelerated courses (usually at night) for those who are willing to work a little harder in order to achieve a degree in a shorter period of time.
There are many other avenues to take in continuing one's education. Local and national organizations offer courses or seminars. I have found that most of my continuing education needs can be satisfied through NACM. Take advantage of your local NACM affiliate: many offer seminars or workshops that are pertinent to those at all levels of credit management. They cover topics such as the credit function, collection techniques and strategies, communication skills, cash management, financial analysis and bankruptcy, bad check laws, lien laws and statutes of limitations. Members who take advantage of the opportunity to participate are sure to stay abreast of important legal and business changes as they occur.
NACM offers the opportunity to achieve prestigious and nationally recognized professional designations that include the Credit Business Associate (CBA), Credit Business Fellow (CBF) and Certified Credit Executive (CCE). There are programs designed for those who are new to the field of credit, as well as for those who wish to gain the necessary skills to achieve greater corporate responsibility. The regional conferences are excellent and take place at different times throughout the year. The NACM Credit Congress and Exposition, which takes place during the second quarter of each year, provides an intensive program that I believe compares to none. While attending the Congress, you can take classes that will earn you credits toward your CBA, CBF or CCE. …