rimualdoStrength in Numbers

Ralph Rimualdo, CCE

2004 marks the beginning of many new initiatives at NACM: NACM-National has transitioned to, or will change to, a calendar year for all aspects of its business. The time frame on which membership statistics are tracked and maintained is now based on the calendar year. The membership awards bestowed at the annual Credit Congress will recognize membership growth during the previous calendar year.

NACM-National has realigned its fiscal year to coincide with the calendar year effective January 1, 2004. NACM's audited financials for the fiscal year ending on September 30, 2003 are now posted on the NACM web site (nacm.org) on the "About NACM" page. In the coming weeks, we will also share a financial review of the mini-year, October through December, paving the way for the 2004 calendar year. The National Board approved the audit report and approved the 2004 calendar NACM operating budget.

While the fiscal year ending on September 30, 2003 was still a tough one, NACM did record a profit. Revenues were down, but expenses were also reduced. Losses in the areas of membership revenue and meetings continue to impact the organization. Those losses have been offset slightly by new offerings: NACM audio teleconferences and online and self-study courses. FCIB's new International Credit & Risk Management online course has attracted hundreds of new participants. NACM now offers online courses as well: a basic financial accounting course and the credit law and business law courses are offered several times each year. Additionally, NACM has created a proprietary self-study Principles of Business Credit course, adding CD-rom audio and video instruction to its cornerstone published title, Principles of Business Credit.

In an effort to streamline, or improve NACM governance, the NACM Board voted to reduce the size of the Board in addition to approving a change to its leadership year at its recent meeting. Beginning in 2005, the Board will reduce its size from 28 members to 22 members through attrition, as terms expire. The four Director-at-Large positions will be eliminated as will two Vice Chairmen (Officer) positions. The goal of the reduction in size is to create a smaller, more nimble Board that can gather and respond more efficiently and rapidly. The Board will assume office in January, beginning in 2006, rather than mid-year. The election of Officers will be held at each Credit Congress, followed by the one-member/one-vote election of Directors each fall. In January of each year, the newly elected Board will take office. All of the governance changes will be taken to the membership in the form of Bylaw Amendments in the coming months.

A new Affiliate Agreement, drafted during the past two years, was also recommended by the Board of Directors. The new Affiliation Agreement, which is currently out for review by each Affiliate Board of Directors, creates new membership categories, and clarifies and adds strength to many organizational and operating issues. Each Affiliate has been asked to announce its support of the new Agreement by March 31st.

With its works on policy and governance coming to a close, the National Board has made a commitment towards turning its focus to strategic initiatives. The Board will renew its focus on NACM's strategic plan, ensuring that the organization's goals meet the demands of its membership. The Board is dedicated to enhancing the value of membership in this organization and to increasing NACM's profile within the business community. NACM will continue to support Affiliate membership marketing initiatives.

We have made great strides with the NACM Credit Managers Index (CMI) in the past year. The NACM CMI has become a regularly reported economic indicator in business journals throughout North America. As credibility and participation in the Index grow, we anticipate that more business journalists will embrace and rely on this important economic news, increasing recognition for NACM.

NACM remains committed to building an organization that meets—and exceeds—your needs, well into the future. NACM's strength is its members. Your participation in NACM programs, educational offerings and conferences; your reliance on—and support of—its many business services, and your volunteer participation in the CMI or in NACM leadership is essential to NACM’s strength as an organization. There is strength in numbers: NACM.

Ralph Rimualdo, CCE is Vice President of Case Supply, Inc. in Syracuse, NY. He is also Chairman of the National Association of Credit Management. He can be reached at .