Magazine article Business Credit

Members Helping Members Pays the Best Dividends

Magazine article Business Credit

Members Helping Members Pays the Best Dividends

Article excerpt

"Scientia potentia est." This may not mean much to you unless you understand Latin, but translated into English, the saying often attributed to Sir Francis Bacon means "knowledge is power." Having knowledge or information about something gives you the power to use it and pass it on because what good is knowledge if it isn't shared?

Associations such the Finance, Credit and International Business Association (FCIB) provide a worthwhile avenue to invest and grow this knowledge. According to a Forbes article, there are four main reasons for being involved in an association: education, research, advocacy and networking.

FCIB members can contribute to each of these facets in a variety of ways, and in so doing, they strengthen the association for themselves and others, said Diana Mota with FCIB's programs and services. "They make FCIB programs meaningful and relevant by providing invaluable information and feedback; they help educate other members and staff about challenges and solutions to problems and other issues."

Donna Foy, CCE, ICCE, credit manager, Advanced Drainage Systems, agrees. "We get out what we put into it." Membership with an association is a two-way street, added Foy, who serves on the FCIB Board of Advisors. "You cannot just take; you also have to give. By doing so, the benefits and rewards you receive will be better and more plentiful."

Contributing to FCIB as a member goes well beyond serving on the board or a committee; there are many other ways members strengthen the association, which require minimal time and still provide invaluable information.

The International Credit & Collections surveys are a great way to pass on knowledge in the international credit field, and they rarely take more than 10 minutes to fill out. The surveys cover eight regions across the globe and run on member feedback. They are driven by data from credit professionals, said David Anderson of FCIB's member relations. "Members can use these surveys to share their knowledge and data about credit and collections experiences in five different countries each month." The International Credit & Collections surveys also give members a platform to share advice.

The surveys, however, are not the only way members contribute valuable information. Members can participate in individual conference calls with FCIB staff and even earn ICEU points for the one-on-one calls, which help improve all aspects of the association. Conversations between members and FCIB staff about professional challenges have led to new resources that support the membership and the credit field. For example, a discussion with Foy last year inspired FCIB to begin developing comprehensive country guides that outline what credit professionals should know when doing business in a particular country.

FCIB will release guides for Mexico, the United Arab Emirates and China this year, with other countries to follow on a regular basis. While the guides grew out of the discussion with Foy, other members are contributing vital information to them. The country-by-country guides will include links to relevant FCIB resources such as the surveys and include general information about a country--its GDP, imports and exports as well as financing tools and resources. They will also include: a credit application checklist; bankruptcy and insolvency info; collections; payment security and methods; and import requirements.

Each major category will be broken down into subsections. For example, in Mexico, collections also includes standard payment terms in the country as well as information about the legal system and court proceedings. …

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