Greetings From Your 2010 NACM-National Chairman
Phyllis Truitt, CCE
During the past year when speaking with members, the subject of the world economy and all the challenges of 2009 were always discussed. The global economy and meltdown was on everyone’s mind. I find that today we are still discussing the year 2009 and probably will for some time to come.
What really happened last year was that businesses and consumers truly began to understand the importance of credit and debt. Credit is a double-edged sword. On one side, it provides business with the means to grow and expand. During this period of difficult time, we, as credit and treasury professionals, became even more important to our employers. We became integral in the brainstorming for new ideas in the ways to conduct business that took place in offices around the world. On the other side, many stockholders and business owners discovered what financial professionals have always known—that too much credit and too much debt can destroy what one is trying to build. Because of the financial discord, the availability of credit became almost non-existent, the economy slowed and the world suffered. Many of our members’ wages and benefits decreased or, even worse, jobs were lost.
The world really has changed forever, and it’s the paths we take now that will have lasting effects on our profession, jobs and companies and our own lives. We could dwell on the past and try to analyze how our financial institutions almost collapsed, but how would that assist our members? It is the future that matters and NACM has stood solid in its purpose. Its National Board, partners and affiliates joined together long ago to provide our members with the tools to not only survive but to prosper.
During 2009, NACM and its partners continued to convey its message to its members, never losing sight of its mission. So that credit and treasury professionals could lead during difficult times, NACM increased conferences and educational opportunities. Actions taken by the NACM staff and Board ensured continuing growth to this association and its members. Not once during these difficult times, did NACM fail to think about what services should be offered to members. Business Credit magazine became an even more important source for members. The magazine contained many articles on how to succeed in this changing world market.
Business Credit is only one of the benefits of being a member of NACM. Dollar for dollar, one of the best benefits of being an NACM member is the NACM Scholarship Foundation. This foundation provides scholarships to all NACM members who qualify. Especially during difficult times and cutbacks, scholarships are a great resource in enabling members to take part in NACM functions and educational offerings. I urge you to go to the NACM website and explore this wonderful option. A scholarship will ease, or even erase, the financial obligation of attending conferences and other NACM programs that you might not otherwise be able to attend.
How often do you visit the NACM website? It truly is a valuable source of information. The home page is user friendly and provides links and information to a variety of resources. Included on the home page are links to the Resource Library—another benefit of membership. The Resource Library is an up-to-date database of all kinds of information: NACM publications, magazine archives, presentation materials and more. An easy search by key words or phrases will return a list of material on your selected topic.
Last year was a year of renewal in the sense that every business was looking at revising procedures and becoming more productive. This was certainly true of the government who was planning on rolling out the new Red Flags Rules. NACM staff spent much time and effort working with the Federal Trade Commission regarding the new Reds Flag Rules on our behalf. Conference calls were added to our programs and a sample policy template was added to the Resource Library to educate and train members so that they would be in compliance with this new law. The Government Affairs work group also continued to lobby and send messages to Congress in an effort to consider revising bankruptcy law.
MLBS, our newest service to members, continued to provide professional excellence in services and classes for those in the construction industry. We knew that the construction industry was going to be part of the solution when the economy improved. Construction is showing improvement and our members should allow MLBS assist with their lien notices. Look for an article by MLBS Director Greg Powelson in the next issue of this magazine.
CFDD expanded its fund-raising activities and raised several thousand dollars for its scholarship fund. At its national conference last year in Denver, a national forum that touched on all sorts of issues for the attendees was presented for the first time. It was a successful format that will be developed for future conferences.
CFDD continues to mentor and network with all NACM members, once again, giving members the necessary tools to succeed and many members owe their continued success to the mentoring and networking provided by NACM-CFDD members.
Internationally, FCIB continued to expand and held a very successful Global conference in West Palm Beach, FL last November. This conference also presented a forum that assisted members with issues facing the world economy where doing business involves different kinds of risk. Not only is there company risk, but country risk, currency and others to consider. For those of you doing international business, visit the FCIB website and take a look at the requirements for the prestigious CICP designation. The online course in International Credit Risk Management will provide you with knowledge and hands-on experience in doing business internationally. In fact, refer to the Calendar of Events in this issue for your next opportunity to register for this course and all NACM and FCIB events.
New in 2009 was the launch of the NACM Credit Learning Center. The Learning Center provides 24/7 access to excellent programs and was developed to provide members with an educational benefit without the expense of travel. Certificate sessions will be available and CEU’s will be awarded upon completion of the modules now available, with more to come. What a great year. In the mist of a global crisis, NACM flourishes and continues to grow, preparing and training members to become future leaders.
Providing leadership should be a focus of every credit and treasury Professional. No matter what your position, there are certain skills that every professional needs in order to be a leader. When asking executives what they value most in employees, communication skills are at the top of the list. A leader will always know when and how to communicate.
Communication involves three elements written, oral and listening. Do you ever leave your boss’ office and wonder what was discussed? Do you offer precise information to IT concerning the new report you need? When the report is presented to you, it is totally different from what you wanted or needed? Does your staff continue to forget or fail to follow instructions? All of these situations are results of miscommunication. NACM always provides a program at Credit Congress on learning how to improve communications. If you answered yes to any of the above, please try to attend one of these programs at the Credit Congress.
Leadership requires participation. Members who are leaders participate. NACM is always looking for individuals to serve on workgroups and the National Board. Serving on workgroups and committees will assist in developing your leadership skills. Fresh ideas and planning is a must for any Association to survive. I urge you to get involved and participate—join a committee, apply for a position on your local Board.
What other traits are necessary for leadership? Every leader must be organized, set goals and strategically plan. Goals should be in writing and reviewed ever so often for adjustments when necessary. Goals should be obtainable, but not too easy.
Take time this year to set both professional and personal goals. It is a great process. This is why NACM has the roadmap to certification—it’s definitely a worthwhile goal. The roadmap is a program that provides members with a way to set goals to reach certification. There is also a dedicated NACM Education Department to help you with your certification process.
Leaders have a vision. They will walk a path where others would dare not go. When NACM started MLBS, it involved risk. Yet, the Board and its affiliates had a vision for the future.
Leaders must have the courage to take risks in order to grow and I believe that every leader must have courage. It is one of the most important traits of a leader—the courage to speak up and fight the battles that need to be fought. NACM works the same way for you with its lobbying efforts.
Courage means that you won’t win every battle or injustice you see, but your co-workers and staff will respect you for trying. Courage also involves making certain that the Canons of Business Credit Ethics is followed. Now is a good time to take another look as those ethics. If not already incorporated in your credit procedures, make it happen today. If you need a copy for reference, it’s available through the NACM Bookstore.
There is “Strength in Numbers.” I pledge to you that the NACM Board and its partners will continue to provide you with the services required to be the best this profession has to offer. Your board members and directors urge you to participate in this association. Sometimes all it takes is a phone call. If you have an idea or a suggestion, pick up the phone and call your area director. Find out who yours is in this issue. We are always available to talk and share with you.
Our members and their participation is the future of NACM. This May, leaders from all over the country will gather together in Las Vegas for the annual Credit Congress. Invest in your future and plan on attending. Take advantage of all that NACM has to offer. Make new friends and gather together with your peers to discuss and plan for the future.
I am looking forward to seeing all of you in Las Vegas and I personally thank each of you on behalf of the NACM staff and Board for your continued support.