Strive for More

Strive for More

Growing in your career means always striving for more. It means growing in your knowledge and skill set that will make you an asset for any company you work for. That is why NACM established the six-level Professional Certification Program for credit professionals to learn and sharpen their skills, further enhancing their credibility both in their company and their field.

Lisa Cullen, CCE, CCRA, credit manager at Daikin TMI LLC (Chesterfield, MO), recently earned her Certified Credit Executive (CCE) designation after a large gap in her credit education. "My journey started back in 2008 in a previous job where a colleague and I were discussing what I wanted to do and I was introduced to NACM," she said. "She and other colleagues gave me the incentive to pursue taking classes with NACM to better myself in the field of credit."

After taking a long break, Cullen didn't know she was going to pursue her CCE until last year. "I hired and started mentoring a young lady who is getting her CBA," she said. "Her and another colleague essentially encouraged me to earn my CCE and so I did."

Along with refreshing her math skills, the CCE taught Cullen a lot about business law and accounting. "The one thing I liked about taking these courses and getting these certificates is that it's like cramming a four-year degree into two with just a group of courses," she said.

Cullen encourages others to take full advantage of the courses as it is beneficial for a career in credit. "Not only does earning your CCE help your business financially, but it helps you gain better recognition when you go to job interviews," she said. "It also helps you meet and network with the right people within your field."

"I feel fulfilled and motivated now, in my career and in life," Cullen said. "I don't know what my next goal is going to be, but I know it's going to be something big because I have that drive."

💡Study Tips: Take journal style notes. "Instead of typing notes on my computer, I write my thoughts out with pen and paper, like a daily journal," said Cullen. "It helps to highlight and make bullet points of what you read about or what you want to know."

Find a mentor. "If you need help outside of studying online and listening to lectures, don't be afraid to reach out to someone," she said. "I asked someone who already earned their CCE a few questions I had about the course which was very helpful."

For more information about each designation within NACM's Professional Certification Program, visit our website.


Shoot for the Stars

Shoot for the Stars

At NACM, we pride ourselves on the professional advancement of our members. By providing them with opportunities to learn, grow and succeed, our members can not only improve but add value to the B2B credit profession—which is why NACM established its' six-level Professional Certification Program, allowing credit professionals to widen their credit knowledge and skills, significantly improving their performance at the workplace.

Abby Haymore, CBF, assistant credit manager at Sunroc Corporation (Orem, UT), recently earned her Certified Business Fellow (CBF) as a means to challenge and improve herself professionally. "I realized that I can do hard things!" she said. "The CBF wasn't easy, but I learned about the laws of what happens when an account is in collections or how bankruptcies work in detail, which was very helpful."

Haymore was inspired by her mother, who had entered her first credit position a few years ago. "She had an amazing mentor that showed her the ropes," she said. "It was when I was helping her with her accounting class that I realized that I loved numbers and money. I was going back and forth on whether to do credit or accounting and decided to follow in my mom's footsteps and take the steps to get my designations."

"If you are interested in starting classes, but don't know where to start, reach out to your local NACM branch and they will help you get started," Haymore said. "If I can do it, you can do it! You have to shoot for the stars in life and if you never start, you never know where you could end up."

💡Study Tips: Prioritize your time. "I suggest taking one or two nights a week, or one day a weekend to study the materials and make sure you understand everything you have learned," Haymore said. "If you have questions, anybody at NACM or even in your class would be happy to help you!"

For more information about each designation within NACM's Professional Certification Program, visit our website.


Credibility Through Certification

Credibility Through Certification

Earning designations are not limited to those who are new to the industry. Whether advancing your career, expanding your knowledge on basic information or learning new skills, NACM's Professional Certification Program helps credit professionals with career growth.

Designations can provide many benefits for your company and your customers. They demonstrate both credibility and professionalism in the credit industry. Alfredo Rivas, CBA, credit analyst at Walters Wholesale Electric Company (Brea, CA), said his journey to earning the Credit Business Associate (CBA) was both challenging and rewarding. "One of my favorite parts of the experience was the depth of knowledge I gained in understanding credit principles and financial analysis which overall helped me expand my skill sets," Rivas said. "The most challenging part for me was studying for the CBA exam. The exam puts everything you learn all in one test, so studying for the exam may seem overwhelming at times."

Credibility is an essential attribute for both your company and your customers. Holding a certification can also give customers the confidence in knowing they are working with an experienced professional. "Earning the CBA felt rewarding," Rivas said. "It proves not only to other people, but to myself that I have learned all the material that was given to me. I'm looking forward to earning my Certified Business Fellow (CBF) next!"

💡Study Tips: Always ask questions. Learning from other people is your biggest source of information. "It is important to read and gain new information when possible. Don't be afraid to ask others for help."

For more information about each designation within NACM's Professional Certification Program, visit our website. 


One Step at a Time

One Step at a Time

In B2B credit, business and law go together. Developing skills in business law helps credit professionals navigate complex legal environments, mitigate risks, protect assets and foster ethical conduct. Timothy Van Natta, CBF, clinical assurance division chief at California Department of Health Services (Sacramento, CA), just earned his Certified Business Fellow (CBF) designation through NACM's six-level Professional Certification Program.

"I have some experience with business law as I've previously worked in two large agencies," he said. "So, I was familiar with a lot of the material, but I learned much more about law when it comes to credit management as there was a lot of overlap with what I do."

The CBF helped Van Natta understand business better, both domestically and globally. "I think credit is really the heart and soul of business," he explained. "So, understanding credit law just allows you to understand business better, which is neat for me. It was something I never studied in college."

Van Natta said earning his CBF was gratifying as it was hard work. "I also feel like being older makes it a little harder to learn new material," he said. "But when I do, I internalize things better once I have a lot more context and experience to attach the information to."

Overall, the CBF designation journey exceeded Van Natta's expectations. "I think that the online courses are really excellent and one of the advantages is that you can go back and reference the material long after you've passed the course."

💡Study Tips: Don't rush through it. "Internalize the material by taking that time to retake the quizzes and sort out why you missed the questions," Van Natta said. "Go back to the book and lecture to complete the picture before you move on to the next module."

For more information about each designation within NACM's Professional Certification Program, visit our website.


Reinvent Yourself

Reinvent Yourself

Credentials matter in credit. They enhance both your personal and company's value through education and improve confidence in your day-to-day duties. NACM's Professional Certification Program provides six levels of certification for credit professionals who want a deeper dive into their careers.

Some credit professionals seek to earn designations to get a deeper knowledge of their role and how to use that knowledge to bring value to their department. But others seek designations to help build new skills outside of their norm. "I decided to pursue my CBA as part of my transition into my new role with my company," said Sandi Saunders, CBA, credit analyst II at The Andersons, Inc. (Overland Park, KS). "I had been in consumer credit for 20 years and decided it was time to reinvent myself in the world of credit. Obtaining the Credit Business Associate (CBA) is a huge milestone in that reinvention."

Though every journey experiences its setbacks, Saunders said her strategy of sharing her goal of obtaining the CBA with those closest to her held her accountable for achieving it. "Announcing a goal and how important it is to you can be a powerful tool in being able to make the commitments to study and follow through on those commitments," she said. "It is also important to realize any limitations in your schedule. Setting that achievement date too soon can cause a lot of undue stress and detract from the learning experience."

💡Study Tips: It is a marathon, not a sprint. Commitment to blocking out time to study is essential.

For more information about each designation within NACM's Professional Certification Program, visit our website. 


Persistence Pays Off

Persistence Pays Off

NACM's Professional Certification Program gives credit professionals the opportunity to earn designations and apply useful knowledge to excel in their career. For some, the journey to success is a straight path—but for others, the journey takes them over a few hurdles before reaching the finish line. The certification program equips both new and experienced credit professionals with the tools needed to overcome challenges and succeed.

As a credit professional who works for a company that encourages ongoing learning, Elizabeth Roush, CBA, credit and collections analyst at Nucor Steel Seattle, Inc. (Seattle, WA), was determined to earn the Credit Business Associate (CBA). She said the best part of her experience was being able to learn in her own time. "I took college courses over a long period of time and when I finally ended up in credit for my company, I buckled down and finished my accounting degree," Rodgers said. "When I learned I could get additional educational experience, I started looking at NACM and their certification program. I had already attended some of the courses previously, so I was familiar with the testing."

Earning the CBA has left Roush with a sense of professional fulfillment. "It makes me so proud of myself to accomplish this," she said. "NACM provides a lot of valuable information for many different jobs, so there is something for everyone. Plus, I deal with a lot of international customers, so pursuing another designation such as the Certified International Credit Professional (CICP) or International Certified Credit Executive (ICCE) would be worthwhile!"

💡Study Tips: Use all the resources at your disposal and make sure you read each question fully before answering.

For more information about each designation within NACM's Professional Certification Program, visit our website. 


Sharpen Your Credit Skills

Sharpen Your Credit Skills

Since the early 2000s, artificial intelligence has revolutionized business, creating new roles and boosting productivity. However, its lack of human elements like creativity and emotional intelligence has increased the demand for workers with specialized skills and knowledge. Through NACM's six-level Professional Certification Program, credit professionals can acquire credit knowledge as well as the technical and soft skills required in credit management.

The Credit Business Associate (CBA), an academic-based designation which signals mastery of three business credit related disciplines: basic financial accounting, business credit principles and introductory financial statement analysis. Each course introduces a variety of technical and soft skills in various aspects of credit management.

Lisa Ridosh, CBA, lead credit analyst at Superior Plus Propane (Rochester, NY), earned her CBA designation after enrolling in basic credit courses. "They encouraged me to learn as much as I could to perform well in my new position, so I decided to go for the certification," she said. "Being new to the industry, almost every class was something new. There were items that heavily pertained to my day-to-day work life that have helped me to understand why our company does certain things."

For Ridosh, it was a significant amount of work being a full-time employee and mom to a young child while taking the courses. "I had a great support system between work and home that allowed me to get the course work accomplished without too much stress," she said. "Now, I feel like I can be successful in my current position and confident to grow within the industry."

💡Study Tips: Set aside time each day to review. "Flash cards were my favorite," Ridosh said. "Also, find a good study partner that is also working toward the same goal so you can bounce items off of one another."

For more information about each designation within NACM's Professional Certification Program, visit our website.


Tools for Success

Tools for Success

Earning the Credit Business Associate (CBA) was a way for Tina Rodgers, CBA, credit manager at Spartan Chemical Company, Inc. (Maumee, OH) to deepen her understanding of credit principles. "I wanted to earn this designation to enhance my credibility in the field of credit management," Rodgers said. "Holding a CBA demonstrates to our customers, my employers and peers that I have achieved a certain level of knowledge and proficiency."

Rodgers' journey to earning her designation began with thorough research into the requirements and expectations of the CBA, including the qualifications, exam and experience necessary. "The main challenge I faced was how to study for the exam because of my unique situation," she said. "Two out of the three classes required, I had taken in college many moons ago, therefore, I was not required to re-take through NACM. This left me outside of my comfort zone of not knowing exactly what to study. But ultimately, the greatest success was the sense of personal fulfillment and accomplishment when I passed!"

Achieving major milestones garners a sense of accomplishment. For Rodgers, her experience led to her better skills in managing credit risk. "Personally, earning the CBA has reinforced the importance of staying curious and remaining open to acquiring new knowledge and skills," she said. "It's a mindset I will continue to embrace through the rest of my career. It has boosted my confidence in my abilities and reassurance that I am well equipped to handle the challenges of my job."

💡Study Tips: We all have very busy lives outside of our professions, so organization skills are key. "I had to make sure to create an organized schedule with time set aside to study," Rodgers said. "I used various study materials such as the live zoom meeting for exam review. On the NACM website, I utilized the practice exam and downloaded the recorded CBA exam review. The key for me was consistency and practice."

For more information about each designation within NACM's Professional Certification Program, visit our website. 


Gain a Competitive Edge

Gain a Competitive Edge

Andrejs Semjakins, CICP, global credit analyst at BioMarin International Ltd (Portmarnock, Ireland), earned his CICP for many reasons. "First, it was the next step in my professional development as I've been working in international credit for a number of years already," he said. "Second, I wanted to get a better understanding of different industries and approaches to credit management around the world. As credit managers, we aren't often exposed to all aspects of credit, especially when we're working with one or two companies in the same industry or the same types of clients. Third, the CICP helps me to be competitive because it showcases my potential and expertise to my employer, clients and competitors."

Earning his CICP filled in knowledge gaps in different areas of international credit. "I definitely feel like I became a better professional once I completed it," Semjakins said. "During the course, I was able to apply the knowledge and practical skills to my daily work. It gave me a better understanding of the whole credit function and how it interfaces with other company departments. In the end, it helped me dive deeper into the impact and value the credit department has within a company."

💡Study Tips: Refer to the student portal. "I found some helpful study tips such as what to do when exposed to a letter of credit (LC)," Semjakins said. "And if you don't understand something, don't hesitate to ask questions. I'm a firm believer that if you just put enough effort to complete it and don't give up, anyone can pass the course."

Make use of breaks. "Let's say you have a couple extra days off," he said. "There's your chance to catch up if you're falling behind or you can go through the most difficult modules again and redo the quizzes to refresh your memory."

 


Reaching Goals Against the Odds

Reaching Goals Against the Odds

Jessica Kempton, CBA, junior credit analyst at PNW Railcars (Portland, OR), said the CBA piqued her interest because she wanted to learn more about her new role. "I told my boss about my desire to obtain more official credit training with the junior credit analyst role she promoted me into and from there the idea took off," Kempton said. "The coursework was rigorous, interesting and somehow felt more like a friend passing on their hard-earned knowledge gained from years of experience rather than a dry lecture series."

Kempton considered earning her CBA even while six months pregnant. "I was pleasantly surprised by all the options for working moms available and chose the online, self-study program as I knew I could reasonably complete that with the flexibility it offered," she said. "The process getting to the end was clearly communicated and seamless thanks to the competent and knowledgeable NACM staff."

Kempton persevered with staying disciplined and studying. "It's helpful to have some work history in A/R or credit to gain perspective on the process and some accounting courses under your belt," Kempton said. "Overall, it feels great to have base knowledge in credit as it's been invaluable in supporting my work family. I am planning on completing the Certified Credit and Risk Analyst (CCRA) in June!"

💡Study Tip: Carve out regular time to study and stick with it. The courseload may seem like a lot at first but is very manageable in chunks. "Give yourself time to soak it all in, a little every day. Also, start applying it to your work right away. The process of applying the coursework to a direct example is a phenomenal way to study."


Refresh Your Mind

Refresh Your Mind

A risk mitigation plan is essential for identifying, assessing and reducing risks. When making credit decisions, credit professionals must consider risk factors and be knowledgeable in business and credit law. By earning the Credit Business Fellow (CBF) designation through NACM's six-level Professional Certification Program, credit professionals can display their competence in business and credit law as well as establish their credibility in the credit profession.

Jon Ulrich, CBF, is a credit administrator who recently earned his Credit Business Fellow (CBF) designation as a challenge and an opportunity to improve in his role. "I was lucky because my colleague, an NACM member, asked me if I'd be interested in earning the designation," he said. "But I also earned the designation because it was important for the company I work for."

Ulrich reaped the benefits immediately after earning his CBF. "The subject matter in the courses were directly related to my job and it covered topics that I already was very comfortable with," he said. "I found that during my journey, I was competing against myself, doing my absolute best to pass and not miss anything."

Although it had been a while since he'd been to school, the courses refreshed his mind, especially in accounting. "It was an opportunity for me to sharpen my skills in my field," he said. "My next step in the journey is going to be earning the CCE, so I'm not stopping here and looking forward to that next stage."

💡Study Tip from Ulrich: It's all about balance. "A great way to limit how much you're trying to learn on the weekend or even after class, is to attend every class, take notes and pay attention," he said. "Focus on that, you'll be able to absorb more information and refer back to it later when you study."

For more information about each designation within NACM's Professional Certification Program, visit our website.


Reaching New Heights

Reaching New Heights

NACM's Professional Certification Program gives credit professionals an opportunity to gain expertise and prosper in the credit field. Each certification provides the tools credit professionals need to refresh their skills and learn new ways to complete day-to-day responsibilities. With six levels of certification, credit professionals can earn credentials along with several benefits such as new career opportunities, leadership recognition and mastery in the profession. In fact, certified credit managers can earn up to 6% more than those with no professional certifications.

Steven Prensner, CBA, senior credit analyst at MasterBrand Cabinets, Inc. (Jasper, IN) said his career began in the retail industry—but once he decided to switch career paths, he was all hands-on-deck when it came to learning about the credit profession. "I was looking for a designation to clearly prove the caliber of my abilities and knowledge in financial accounting, financial statement analysis, business credit principles, credit management and related topics," Prensner said. "After researching various certification options, the Credit Business Associate (CBA) designation was the perfect fit for me and my new career path."

When Prensner started his CBA journey, his strategy was to immediately set a goal to sit for the next available exam. "This decision gave me a very short window to intensely focus on studying the vast amount of information covered by the exam," he said. "One of the most beneficial aspects of the CBA certification process is they offer in-depth preparation at your own speed and on your own time with study sessions, seminars, self-study courses—but I wanted to do an intense self-study challenge for myself."

Earning a new designation comes with a sense of accomplishment and self-pride. But it's even better when you get the support from your upper management and colleagues alike. "My employer went to great lengths to recognize and celebrate my accomplishment as well," Prensner said. "The CBA is not where my journey stops. I have already begun working towards my next certification!"

💡Study Tip: Maximize the use of practice exams provided. "Even if you get an answer correct on the multiple-choice practice exam, challenge yourself to learn thoroughly about each of the possible answer choices."

For more information about each designation within NACM's Professional Certification Program, visit our website. 


Defining Success

Success is earned through education by providing individuals with the knowledge, skills and critical thinking abilities necessary to excel in their fields. Education opens doors to opportunities, expands perspectives and equips individuals with the tools to overcome challenges and achieve their goals. By earning a certification through NACM's six-level Professional Certification Program, credit professionals gain the knowledge and skills for personal and professional growth to succeed in their career.

For instance, Marcela Rolon, CBA, credit manager at RCP Block & Brick, Inc. (Lemon Grove, CA) recently earned her Credit Business Associate (CBA) designation, which signals mastery of three business-credit related disciplines: Basic Financial Accounting, Financial Statement Analysis 1 and Business Credit Principles. "I had been in the business for 10 years and felt like I needed to challenge myself and see if I was able to accomplish it," she said. "It was time, so I made it a goal of mine."

But earning her CBA was challenging and intimidating at first. "I had to take all three courses needed to earn my CBA and the last time I took a class was over 15 years ago," Rolon said.

Despite her challenges, Rolon achieved success. "It feels great and very rewarding," she said. "I learned I was still up for a challenge. Sometimes you get stuck on the same routine and feel like you need to change things up a bit. My advice: it's never too late to relearn or start this process."

💡Study Tip from Rolon: Take plenty of notes. "It's a lot of information to read but taking good notes is important to be able to study the material," she said. "It might help to study with someone else as well to interact and ask each other questions. It is very important not to be afraid to ask questions."

For more information about each designation within NACM's Professional Certification Program, visit our website.


Confidence in Credit

Confidence in Credit

Confidence is intrinsic to leadership and professional growth. Though confidence is not considered a fixed characteristic, it can be both acquired and improved over time through different experiences. As a credit professional, confidence is key. Whether it's needed to make sound credit decisions or build customer relationships—confidence shows dedication to expertise in the profession.

NACM's Professional Certification Program gives credit professionals the building blocks needed to reach their full potential. With six levels of certification, credit professionals can showcase their knowledge in their day-to-day lives. "Being in a new role and the only designated credit professional in our organization, going through the CBA requirements provided me with much more confidence in my decisions," said Kimberly Doss, CBA, senior credit analyst at United Capital Funding Group (Saint Petersburg, FL). "It was very gratifying every time I passed a quiz knowing I was mastering material that would greatly benefit me professionally."

The Credit Business Associate (CBA) is an academic-based designation which signals mastery of three business credit related disciplines: basic financial accounting, business credit principles and introductory financial statement analysis. Doss said accounting was challenging for her to learn. "Carving out time for the requirements while working full time was also a challenge, but it feels great to accomplish earning my CBA," she said. "I feel much more prepared and knowledgeable in my role, and I feel it gives me more clout in the industry as well. Earning a designation is a great accomplishment. It's worth the time and commitment to showcase your knowledge. I'm definitely earning additional designations in the future!"

💡Study Tip: Work on a small chunk of the material each day so you don't get overwhelmed with all the information at once.

For more information about each designation within NACM's Professional Certification Program, visit our website. 


Bloom with Certifications

Bloom with Certifications

The credit profession, like a flower, forms its intricate layers that contribute to the beauty and resilience of the financial ecosystem. From technological advances to relationship building, it is a profession that is ever-growing. By earning a certification through NACM's six-level Professional Certification Program, credit professionals acquire the necessary knowledge and skills to grow and advance in their career.

Linda Niffenegger, CBA, CCRA, credit analyst at Anchor Packaging (Manchester, MO) is a proud advocate for continued education and recently earned her Credit Business Associate (CBA) designation. "As a credit manager, you have to learn about many different things," she said. "You learn about delayed payments and bankruptcies to mitigate risk. You learn about financial analysis to read and analyze financial documents. You also need to comprehend the business you're dealing with and their ability to make necessary payments for the goods they'll receive from your company."

The CBA is an academic-based designation, which signals mastery of three business-credit related disciplines: Basic Financial Accounting, Financial Statement Analysis 1 and Business Credit Principles. Niffenegger said the CBA broadened her understanding of businesses and gives her the necessary skills to navigate B2B credit. "You learn about the hard skills to work with your managers," she said. "Apart from the knowledge, you are gaining personal growth and empowering yourself."

Niffenegger's desire to learn lead to her success in the course. "Although obtaining the CBA is difficult, it's not much of a struggle if you persevere and keep thinking about the end result," she said. "You must understand how the certification will enhance your skills and take you forward in your career. The CBA has helped me talk business with my managers and make better financial decisions."

💡Study Tip: Break the material down into pieces. "If you have two days before an exam, study one piece at time instead of doing it all at once," Niffenegger said. "Also, pick a study partner to discuss the material with because how you interpret the material will differ from how another person does. With both of you discussing it, you can come up with the outcome of what's really being asked and learn from that. It's also important to rest and eat well to maintain your health so that you're not overwhelmed while studying."

For more information about each designation within NACM's Professional Certification Program, visit our website.


Study for Success

Study for Success

Your success can be measured by a multitude of factors: your desire, how big your goals are and how you bounce back from adversity are just a few to name. But in the B2B credit world, credit professionals' success can be measured through educational goals—pushing their career goalpost even further.

Dan Erickson, CBA, collections representative at Daikin Applied (Maple Grove, MN) earned his Credit Business Associate (CBA)—the first level of six in NACM's Professional Certification Program. "My favorite part, hands down, was the accounting class because the instructor made one of the hardest classes enjoyable," he said. "I cannot stress enough how much you need to study—and if you thought you studied enough, tack on another hour or two to make sure you really understand the material."

Passing the final exam and earning the CBA is a remarkable accomplishment for credit professionals. It shows mastery of three business credit related disciplines: basic financial accounting, business credit principles and introductory financial statement analysis. "It feels amazing to have earned my CBA because I'm now qualified for many other jobs in the credit field," said Erickson. "I'm extremely lucky to have a boss who sees the benefits of having his team complete and attend NACM sponsored seminars regularly. My goal is to earn my CBF next!"

💡Designation journey tip from Erickson: "If you're able to, study while on breaks. I used to review the study guides from the previous weeks during my lunch breaks to help cut down on how much studying I had to do outside of class."

For more information about each designation within NACM's Professional Certification Program, visit our website. 


Knowledge and Connections

Knowledge and Connections

As a credit manager, you must be able to learn, adapt and make strategic credit decisions. This almost always requires ongoing education and networking with the right people. By earning designations through NACM's six-level Professional Certification Program, credit professionals have the chance to not only increase their knowledge and skill set, but to form relationships that may contribute to further success.

The Certified International Credit Professional (CICP) designation, for example, signifies knowledge and professional development in global credit management and risk analysis. It is available for national and international credit professionals. Noora Kaasalainen, CICP, manager, credit risk management at UPM-Kymmene Corporation (Helsinki, Finland) earned her CICP to update her knowledge in the field of credit and have an opportunity to learn something new. "I had heard about this designation from some of my colleagues and the course description seemed interesting to me."

Kaasalainen found the course comprehensive and beneficial to her career. "I noticed that some of the topics I only had a scratch of the knowledge, so it was really fascinating to learn more about them," she said. "I learned about Letters of Credit (LCs), which are quite complex, and the use of them in practice."

Her greatest challenge was managing her study time while working a full-time job and caring for her 2-year-old daughter at home. However, she formed a set schedule that allowed her to complete all her course work. "It was a good choice to use these few months effectively and get the course done during the autumn rather than extend the length of the course," Kaasalainen said.

Looking back, Kaasalainen found it easy to mirror her own work life into the discussions during the course. "I believe there will be situations in the future where I can make use of some topics I learned during this course," she said. "Not only am I proud, but I found yet again how determined I can be to finish what I've started, even if there is some struggle in the way."

💡Study Tips from Kaasalainen: Be diligent. "Even when it feels impossible, try to use weekends or nights to read the material through, finish the assignments and complete the weekly quizzes," she said. "Before the final exam, I reread the material and retook all the quizzes. If you have time, it is always a good idea to read the posts made by other students because you may learn something valuable from others. Even though it was not an easy task, strict timeliness helped me to keep the deadlines."

For more information about each designation within NACM's Professional Certification Program, visit our website.


A Leap of Faith

A Leap of Faith

As a professional in any career path, change is inevitable and necessary to grow. NACM's Professional Certification Program gives credit professionals the exact tools they need for growth. With six levels of certification including in-house courses, online courses and exams, this program is designed to contribute to a credit professional's well-roundedness and expertise in credit management.

The Credit Business Fellow (CBF) is the third certification level out of six. The CBF is an academic and participation-based designation which illustrates that achievers are knowledgeable about and have contributed to the field of business credit by first having earned the Credit Business Associate (CBA) designation, as well as having completed additional course work. The CBF signals competence in business law and credit law.

Nikki Davis, CBF, is a credit assistant at Ferguson Enterprises (Euless, TX). She said her designation journey was a rewarding experience. "My favorite part was using what I learned in my day-to-day responsibilities," Davis said. "When I would have had a question about certain tasks at first, it was like a lightbulb moment. I thought that it was pretty cool to be able to say, 'Oh I just learned this!'"

Though it can be hard to balance work, additional education and life outside of both, Davis was able to stay motivated throughout her CBF journey. "Finding the time to get it done was an important skill I had to master," Davis added. "I have two kids and I always try to balance my work and home life working from home. I had to do most of the lessons at night once everyone was asleep or on the weekends—but it feels so good to have completed it."

💡Designation journey tip from Davis: "I would suggest earning designations after you've been a credit manager for a little bit. Having hands-on experience helps when doing the lessons and I felt some lessons were easier because I already had the basic knowledge of the why."

For more information about each designation within NACM's Professional Certification Program, visit our website.


Fostering Personal and Professional Growth

Fostering Personal and Professional Growth

Continuous learning is indispensable for credit professionals, serving as the cornerstone for their professional success and organizational effectiveness. By earning designations through NACM's six-level Professional Certification Program, credit professionals gain the necessary knowledge and skills required to advance in their career. Beyond mere skill acquisition, each program fosters personal and professional growth, equipping credit managers with the knowledge and insights to excel in their roles and contribute to their company's financial success.

Erin Stammer, CCE, vice president of credit at PNW Railcars, Inc. (Portland, OR) earned her Certified Credit Executive (CCE) designation to jumpstart her year in 2023. The CCE endorses its achievers as capable of managing the credit function at an executive level in the areas of accounting, finance, domestic and international credit concepts, management and law. "I needed a challenge and knowing that I had an exam to take at the end kept me focused and engaged in the whole process," she said.

Stammer successfully passed the final CCE exam after completing the Graduate School of Credit and Financial Management (GSCFM), a hybrid program that covers four essential business and professional growth disciplines: Advanced Financial Statement Analysis, Legal Environment of Credit, Advanced Negotiations and Leadership. "Being there in person added to my desire to complete the program and take the exam," Stammer said. "Also being part of a group propelled me forward because it's not just about me anymore."

Not only was the graduate program a success, but Stammer became the recipient of the peer elected GSCFM Student Leader Award for 2023. "I was surprised and humbled by the award," she said. "Every person in the group brought a very valuable perspective to the GSCFM, and I was honored that they felt I demonstrated strong leadership because in the end, we were all natural leaders."

Stammer also gained deeper insight into her strengths and weaknesses as a credit professional. "I've always thought of myself as an overthinker and analytical to a fault," she said. "But being amongst others that think the same way or have a similar approach to credit gave me more self-confidence in my decision-making. I'm no longer overly concerned that I'm being too over analytical or asking too many questions."

💡Study Tips from Stammer: Preparation is key. "Due to my high anxiety about taking tests, the three-month delay between the end of our graduate program and the final exam for the CCE was a good amount of time for me to prepare, organize my study materials and make flash cards and really focus on the end goal."

Stammer advises that students purchase the books recommended in the courses and use online study tips. "I read through the book and reviewed chapters that we hadn't gone to in-depth during class," she said. "I also spent time on areas that I wasn't sure of until I felt more confident that I had mastered them."

Lastly, Stammer prioritizes a healthy work-life balance. "Make sure that you're getting plenty of rest, exercising and maintaining a good diet in the month leading up to the exam to stay sharp," Stammer said. "It's a four-hour exam so I made sure I had a set schedule with healthy habits so that I was ready for the exam."

For more information about each designation within NACM's Professional Certification Program, visit our website.


Sacrifices for Success

Sacrifices for Success

Accomplishing goals requires discipline and dedication—especially in the B2B credit industry. NACM's Professional Certification Program gives credit professionals the opportunity to accomplish their professional goals through education tailored to their interests. With six levels of certifications, credit professionals can create their own path to earning a professional certification.

The Credit Business Associate (CBA) is an academic-based designation which signals mastery of three business credit related disciplines: basic financial accounting, business credit principles and introductory financial statement analysis. Tim Cain, CBA, is the director of global credit and collections at Keen, Inc. (Portland, OR). He said his journey required balance. "It was important for me to balance family time and study time as well as creating a dedicated time to study outside of the normal workday," said Cain. "Sometimes a bit of leisure time had to be sacrificed but I truly enjoyed learning complex concepts and applying those exact learnings to real-life scenarios. NACM's support was fantastic."

Knowledge from continued education is golden when it comes to professional progression, and earning certifications give credit professionals a better understanding of the credit profession. "Earning the CBA is such a great sense of accomplishment and a milestone in my career and additional designations are definitely in my future," Cain said. "For anyone interested in starting their journey, I would say to commit to the process and connect with others who are at the same point of your journey."

💡Study tip from Cain: "Try to study in 20-to-30-minute bursts at a time up to the final exam for at least 30 days to retain the information best."

For more information about each designation within NACM's Professional Certification Program, visit our website.


Opening Doors for New Opportunities

Opening Doors for New Opportunities

Being a credit professional requires the ability to determine risk, think creatively and adapt to company-wide and industry changes. By earning designations through NACM's six-level Professional Certification Program, credit professionals gain the knowledge and skillset required to not only adapt to changes but expand their role in B2B credit management.

For Vanessa Omura Goncalves, CICP, region credit controller at Volvo Group (Chesapeake, VA), earning the Certified International Credit Professional (CICP) designation demonstrated her knowledge about the credit industry and has opened doors to new career opportunities. "My boss has several titles, including CICP, and she showed me the importance of having it and how it makes a difference in credit management," she said. "I had to balance work and personal commitments with intense study sessions, but it was worth it."

Although some topics were new to her, Goncalves said it was helpful to learn more about other subjects that affect the credit industry. "I'm grateful, proud and happy of my accomplishment," she said. "Earning the CICP designation is a significant achievement, considering all the hard work and dedication that is required."

Goncalves humbly acknowledges the people who helped her along her designation journey. "The NACM mentors and supporters were exceptional, generously sharing their vast knowledge and guiding me with insightful advice," she said. "The diverse perspectives brought by our group discussions further enriched the experience, pushing me to think critically and expand my understanding. As people, we always learn something new, even if the topic is already known. I deepened my knowledge in some topics that I previously knew superficially."

💡study tip from Goncalves: Practice. Practice. Practice. "I suggest that students complete as many of the quizzes as they can during the course. It helps you gain a deeper understanding of each topic of the module studied."

For more information about each designation within NACM's Professional Certification Program, visit our website.


Time Is on Your Side

Time Is on Your Side

The relentless pursuit of education never stops for some professionals, no matter where they may be in their career's tenure—especially for those who change or take on additional roles. NACM's Professional Certification Program gives credit professionals that exact opportunity. With six levels of education that start with the basics of credit all the way up to credit law and international credit, credit professionals can create their own path that suits their interests.

The Credit Business Associate (CBA) is the first level out of the six offered in the certification program. Michael Campbell, CBA, is a credit manager at Convergint Technologies LLC (Houston, TX). "I am super happy to earn my CBA because I'd been procrastinating going for it for almost 10 years," he said. "I decided it was now or never. After taking a break in studying, I plan to pursue the Credit Business Fellow (CBF) designation."

💡Study tip from Campbell: "Reading can seem overwhelming, but it's important to keep your end-goal in the forefront of your mind to keep you motivated and never give up!"

For more information about each designation within NACM's Professional Certification Program, visit our website. 


The Art of Staying Sharp

The Art of Staying Sharp

In the realm of credit management, staying sharp goes beyond mere preference—it's an indispensable asset. It makes for increased efficiency and productivity in the workplace. Through NACM's six-level Professional Certification Program, credit professionals are not only keeping their mind agile, but they're also growing the credit knowledge to navigate the intricate layers that is B2B credit.

Cherie Salvadras, CBF, clerk, Acra III at Entergy, (New Orleans, LA), who just earned her Credit Business Fellow (CBF) designation, said the CBF was her next step in her credit education journey, or adventure, as she likes to call it. Not only is Salvadras proud of her accomplishment, but she's also rediscovered her passion for learning. "I've learned that you're never too old to learn new things," Salvadras said. "I'm happy to know that I still have the drive and the ambition to keep learning instead of staying stagnant in my daily routine, especially since credit is changing every day."

Though many people recognize accomplishments when they've completed their journey successfully, they may not see obstacles experienced along the way. "When I started the course for my CBF after earning my CBA, my life got in the way, as it does for everyone," she said. "There were some hurdles that I had to overcome but I just kept my head up and stayed determined to go through each step and finish what I needed to finish."

Salvadras understands that it's important to continue learning so that she can adapt to the ever-changing times and keep up with the younger generation coming into the workforce. "I'm just thankful for the opportunity to be able to do this and in the near future, I hope to continue to move forward to the next step."

💡Study tips from Salvadras: Make sure that you engage in proper time management. "Carve out a little bit of time each day to study a small portion because trying to obtain all the course information in a day or two before the test will not help you remember it," she said. "You need to give yourself the time to study to fully learn and understand the concepts."

For more information about each designation within NACM's Professional Certification Program, visit our website.


Elevate Your Mind

Elevate Your Mind

Credit professionals are first and foremost risk mitigators. They have to make credit decisions based on risk factors and must be knowledgeable about business and credit law to minimize risk. By earing the Credit Business Fellow (CBF) designation through NACM's six-level Professional Certification Program, credit professionals can display their competence in business and credit law as well as establish their credibility in the credit profession.

Heather Spencer, CBF, senior district financial manager at The Sherwin-Williams Company (Lenexa, KS) recently earned her CBF designation as part of continuing her credit education. "I moved to a new area and joined our local Credit & Financial Development Division (CFDD), which prompted me to further my education in business and credit law," she said. "Although I've been in credit for some time, I gained a sense of accomplishment and a feeling of like I always knew what I was doing, especially since my college degree is not in finance or accounting at all."

The course was a straightforward, positive experience for Spencer. She learned about the nuances in business and credit law that as well as negation tactics she could apply in her daily work in commercial manufacturing. The biggest challenge in earning her designation was time management given that fact that it was remote. "Luckily, I did it without trying to rush," she said. "I did not let too much time go in between when I was doing classes that would cause me to forget everything."

💡Study tips from Spencer: Take one thing at a time. "Focus on completing each chapter and quiz and don't let the final exam overwhelm you. Also, if I'm doing something else with my hands, I retain the information better than if I just sat and listened to it. So, when I was listening to the lectures, I would build a Lego so that I could listen better."

For more information about each designation within NACM's Professional Certification Program, visit our website.


Build Your Future

Build Your Future

NACM's Professional Certification Program gives credit professionals the opportunity to accomplish their educational goals and excel in their career. With six levels of certification, credit professionals can map out their designation journey accordingly to their needs. In fact, those who hold certifications average 6% higher salaries than those who do not, and many credit managers hold more than one certification.

The Credit Business Associate (CBA) is the first level of the six offered. It is an academic-based designation which signals mastery of three business credit related disciplines: Basic Financial Accounting, Business Credit Principles and Introductory Financial Statement Analysis.

Philip Allen, CBA, is a credit analyst at Komatsu Mining Corp (Charleroi, PA). He decided to pursue the CBA to learn more about the significance behind credit analysis and to build on his knowledge in the credit field. One of the most valuable parts in his designation journey was passing each test knowing it was because of strong study habits and validated his credit knowledge. "Earning my CBA feels amazing after all of the dedication and hard work put in," Allen said. "The feeling of achievement is incredible! It's opened doors for me professionally and gives my customers the stamp of approval letting them know that I am a reliable resource."

For some credit professionals, starting a designation journey can seem intimidating, but the networking aspect alone makes it worth the hard work. Even through some of the more challenging courses, Allen still pushed himself to find a way to complete different equations and concepts. Taking his time to pause module videos and writing down thorough notes were key factors in passing the exam.

💡One study tip from Allen: "Advise a credit professional to read the assigned material before watching the assigned lecture. Dedicate an hour to an hour and a half each day to studying the material and don't be too hard on yourself. Reward yourself for every stride that you take."

For more information about each designation within NACM's Professional Certification Program, visit our website.


Gain Confidence with Certifications

Gain Confidence with Certifications

Confidence plays a key role in the success of a credit professional. You must be confident in your qualifications, experience and expertise to perform to the best of your ability. With NACM's six-level Professional Certification Program, credit professionals will not only gain invaluable knowledge and a stronger skill set, but they will gain confidence as a credit leader.

Misty Menashe, CBA, credit supervisor at LaCrosse Footwear, Inc. (Portland, OR) recently earned her Credit Business Associate (CBA) to better introduce herself to her internal teams. "I was promoted to a supervisor role when all our departments were working from home and my interactions with our sales team, customer service team and other managers is limited to emails and Teams meetings," she said. "The designation in my signature shows that I'm an active learner, engaged in my profession and have expertise in the subject."

Menashe knew it would be best to take the NACM led courses rather than rely solely on her college degree from 20 years ago and work experience. "The largest factor in my success is that my position has remained remote after the pandemic," she said. "Removing the commute times between home, office and class made it less stressful to add time for studying. My husband was supportive by prepping dinners while my three kids used public transportation to get home from high school on my class days."

To succeed in the course, she suggests that students take the certification exam review course, then retake the course mid-terms and finals or the end of chapter quizzes. "Try to answer questions closed book, check your answers and focus on the concepts you struggle most with," Menashe said. "Repeat until you are averaging 80% or more per quiz and do not hesitate to replay the exam review course. I listened to it three times!"

After receiving her CBA, Menashe has more confidence in her role and ability to make sound decisions. "I'm able to make strategic actions according to department policy and procedures when collecting receivables or extending trade credit. I'm also proud of being a positive role model to my teens encouraging them to never stop learning and it was also fun swapping studying techniques."

For more information about each designation within NACM's Professional Certification Program, visit our website.


Education Inspires

Education Inspires

Professionals in every industry know that education never stops. Learning is an ongoing process that we take with us in every level of life. NACM's Professional Certification Program provides six levels of education credit professionals need to level up professionally and personally. Whether being in the industry for 10 months or 10 years, earning a designation is a rewarding accomplishment that reflects your expertise in different ways.

As a credit professional in the banking industry for more than 25 years, David Dedrick, CCE, director of commercial lending at Kohler Credit Union (Sheboygan, WI) decided to enroll in the NACM Graduate School of Credit and Management (GSCFM) to provide himself with a well-rounded knowledge base of credit from a banking perspective and from the trade side. "Between the other students and professors, I created connections that'll last my entire career," Dedrick said. "After completing grad school, I decided to sit for the Certified Credit Executive (CCE) exam. Getting back into the study routine was a gradual process, but the wonderful staff at NACM helped me through every step of the way—and the lessons learned are permanent tools I refer to in my toolbox as my career continues."

Through long nights of studying and exam prep, one major study tip Dedrick has is to take advantage of the recommended study guides and books. "Give yourself enough time to read and re-read the resource books as well as the practice exams NACM provides," he said. "I would plan on studying and preparing for this exam for at least one to two months in advance. The exam is long and covers a large variety of topics, so take your time and focus on one question at a time."

Completing NACM's GSCFM and earning the CCE contributed to the advancement of Dedrick's career and his overall outlook on being a credit professional. "Earning this designation alongside so many exceptional credit professionals make the classwork, reading, case studies and hours of studying well worth it!"

For more information about each designation within NACM's Professional Certification Program, visit our website. 


Fuel Your Passion for Learning

Fuel Your Passion for Learning

It's no exaggeration to say that credit managers are financial "busy bees," always jumping from task to task—whether reviewing credit applications, collaborating with sales to extend credit or making routine customer visits. And the responsibilities continue to grow as advancements in technology and artificial intelligence (AI) increase. To remain successful in their field, credit professionals must increase their knowledge and sharpen their credit skills by earning designations through NACM's six-level Professional Certification Program.

Chantelle Rottle, CBF, CCRA, regional credit manager at North Coast Electric Company (Auburn, WA) has done so by earning her Credit Business Fellow (CBF) designation as a means to further her education and career in credit. "I earned my CBA designation in 2018 and at the time I wasn't necessarily looking to continue with my education with NACM as the advanced designations felt out of reach for me," she said. "However, as I grew in my career and then with the economy change during and after the pandemic, we were dealing with less-than-ideal circumstances, and I wanted to have a better understanding of what our options are for the company and the customer from a legal and collection standpoint, so I decided to enroll in the NACM business law and credit law courses to obtain my CBF designation."

One of the biggest challenges Rottle faced in obtaining her CBF designation was balancing a full-time career and being a mother of two. "Having the extra time to complete the courses and study was a struggle, but the journey is worth the success," she said. "My successes in the certification program include personal growth, a promotion to regional credit manager in July 2022 and earning my CCRA designation at Credit Congress in June 2023. Now, I've earned my CBF designation."

To successfully pass each course, Rottle encourages students to reread the text and take advantage of the CBF exam review, which can be found in the NACM Credit Learning Center (CLC). "I would encourage any credit professional who is looking for a better understanding of credit law and business law to take the courses. There is a lot to be learned."

For more information about each designation within NACM's Professional Certification Program, visit our website.


The Powerful Impact of Professional Designations

The Powerful Impact of Professional Designations

Earning a designation in any field gives a sense of accomplishment to those who put in the work to earn them. NACM's Professional Certification Program is a six-level educational program with several courses providing knowledge needed to excel in the role of a credit professional. It is a great way to seek career opportunities, get promoted to an upper management level and earn professional recognition from colleagues.

The Credit Business Fellow (CBF) is an academic and participation-based designation, which illustrates that achievers are knowledgeable about and have contributed to the field of business credit by first having earned the Credit Business Associate (CBA) designation, as well as having completed additional course work.

Melina Badalamenti, CBA, CBF is a credit analyst at Ampco Distribution Services. She said earning her CBF wasan amazing accomplishment. "I look back at when I first started this journey and I cannot believe how much knowledge I have gained," Badalamenti said. "The courses provided through NACM are fantastic. These courses not only educate you in business and credit law, but they also provide practical application in day-to-day business tasks."

💡Balancing her daily responsibilities with time to complete coursework was the only difficult part of Badalamenti's journey to the CBF. "One study tip I used was being able to identify aspects of the material I was comfortable with and identifying which areas and topics needed to be reviewed," Badalamenti said. "That really helped me with time management and self-assessment of the material."

Despite the two certifications behind her name, Badalamenti's certification journey isn't over yet. "I look forward to pursuing my CCE designation," she said. "I can honestly say, I look back and still cannot believe how much I have learned thus far."

For more information about each designation within NACM's Professional Certification Program, visit our website.


Mentorship, Passion and Perseverance

Mentorship plays a key role in professional success. The guidance and expertise from someone who has years of experience in your field is essential for professional success.

Annie Kopanski, CCE, senior credit analyst at Esco Group (Portland, OR) said her 15-year journey to the Certified Credit Executive (CCE) designation was launched and shaped by the mentors in her life who presented her with the opportunity. "My first mentor and employer took a chance with me, and his mentorship and encouragement launched me into this career," Kopanski said. "I remember him telling me he could see the passion I had for credit. I laughed at him back then, but he seems to have been right."

Though formal education was not available to Kopanski in previous roles, she self-studied Principles of Business Credit and applied that knowledge into her career, which gradually led her to moving up to the title of Credit Manager. "I knew there was still so much to learn," Kopanski said. "A year ago, I took on a new role and had the opportunity to work for a manager who is heavily involved in the NACM Commercial Services affiliate and for a company that was willing to financially support my quest for the CCE designation."

NACM's Professional Certification Program allows opportunities for credit professionals to network and create relationships with those around them. Cultivating new relationships was one of Kopanski's highlights in her designation journey. "In the past year, I was guided by several mentors who were all instrumental in both building my confidence and helping me study for the exam," Kopanski said. "If I had one study tip for other credit professionals, I would tell them to seek out mentors who have the CCE. They are the best at being able to help those in search of a designation. Also, be kind to yourself. It is a big undertaking."

Even for credit professionals with no formal education in the credit field, earning a designation allows all professionals, no matter the educational background, to start learning new information on the same playing field. "I am incredibly proud that I have earned this designation and look forward to seeing where it will take me in my career," said Kopanski. "If you are reading this publication, you have already begun your journey as a credit professional. My strongest advice is to seek out employers who will help you advance your skillset and give you opportunities to learn through NACM."

For more information about each designation within NACM's Professional Certification Program, visit our website.


Reach New Heights with Certifications

Seeking and acquiring knowledge is fundamental for any professional. It is what propels us forward in our careers. By earning designations through NACM's Professional Certification Program, credit professionals are not only educating themselves on various credit management disciplines, but they are gaining the necessary skills to become a master in their field.

Melissa Parsons, CBA, regional credit manager at Forest Lumber Company (Oklahoma City, OK) just earned her Credit Business Associate (CBA) designation to gain the appropriate knowledge to move forward in her credit career. "I've only been in credit for about four years so I'm trying to get as much education and learn as much as I can to help further my career and excel at my job," she said.

Parsons prepared herself by already taking Basic Financial Accounting, a form of the required courses for the CBA in college. "Meanwhile, I took the other required courses, Business Credit Principles and the Financial Statement Analysis 1 through the NACM Professional Certification Program to earn the designation."

After successfully earning her CBA, Parson is more knowledgeable about the intricacies in B2B credit management that she wouldn't have been able to learn anywhere else. "The Financial Statement Analysis was especially helpful to prepare me in how to interpret and analyze the different financial documents we get before extending credit to a customer," she said. "Although my company does not do international sales, it was helpful to learn about international credit management and risk in Business Credit Principles."

Parsons' only challenge was juggling work, school and being a parent as she completed the courses for her designation. But her determination is what pushed her to succeed. "I'm really proud of my CBA designation and I'm glad that I took the time and energy to earn my designation despite the challenges."

For more information about each designation within NACM's Professional Certification Program, visit our website. 


Refresh Your Credit Strategy

Credit professionals with several years of experience can sometimes remain stuck in the everyday motion of credit processes, dealing with customers, sales and more. But NACM's Professional Certification Program provides credit professionals with an important tool that can provide a fresh outlook: education.

As the world of credit continues to evolve, the certification program gives professionals a deeper understanding of credit through six different levels. James Olson, CBA, credit analyst at Neogen Corporation (Lansing, MI) wanted to start his designation journey earning the Credit Business Associate (CBA) because he believed it was a great opportunity to further himself in the field and gain further experience.

"Because of my college degree being focused in the area of credit, earning my designation was a quick process," Olson said. "But learning and studying the material opened my eyes to the knowledge I did not learn from my college experience. I was able to understand certain customers I'm looking at externally and how certain scenarios could play out potentially."

Olson said he plans on continuing the certification program and earning another designation in the near future. "It feels great to earn my accomplishments and seeing the three letters after my name gives me even more of a confidence boost," he said. "It's great to prove to myself that I'm capable of earning a certification while working and being able to do it at the same time. I was so happy to learn!"

For more information about each designation within NACM's Professional Certification Program, visit our website. 


Test Your Credit Knowledge with Certifications

From risk mitigation to financial analysis, credit professionals are constantly learning. And no matter how long they've been in the credit industry, there's always something new to learn. By earning a designation through NACM's Professional Certification Program, credit professionals are not only tested on their credit knowledge, but they are growing and improving within their field.


Scott Woitas, CCE, CICP, senior manager credit and collections at Donaldson Co Inc. (Minneapolis, MN) said earning his Certified Credit Executive (CCE) designation was beyond a test of his knowledge and skills—it was a rewarding accomplishment. "One of my mentors, Barbara Condit, CCE, has been pushing me for years to get it done," he said. "I had put off earning my CCE after taking my CBA in 2001 and CBF in 2002. So, she was just over the moon when I finally got it done. I'm so glad I did it. I learned a ton and absolutely agree that the CCE does show what you know in credit."

Woitas was not only tested but he was challenged in his journey to earning his CCE. "One challenge for me was the time gap since I had earned my CBA and CBF, even though I've been doing credit for 30 years," he said. "I had to remember things I learned years ago that I wouldn't have had to do if I did them back-to-back."

Woitas made sure he found time to study in his busy schedule and attended the CCE study session held at Credit Congress right before taking the final exam. "Without that, I don't think I would have passed the exam. It gave me a better understanding of the subject matter, especially through the case study examples. Now, I look forward to learning more as I tackle different roles for my company and that is very exciting for me."

For more information about each designation within NACM's Professional Certification Program, visit our website.

The Building Blocks of Credit

NACM's Professional Certification Program allows credit professionals to earn designations at anytime, anywhere. With an intensive six-level education program, credit professionals have all the tools they need at their fingertips for success. The Credit Business Associate (CBA) is the first level and an academic-based designation that includes a mastery of three business credit related disciplines: basic financial accounting, business credit principles and introductory financial statement analysis.

Catherine Grech, CBA, credit analyst at Victaulic (Easton, PA) said she was grateful for the opportunity to take virtual classes. "I took one class with an instructor and one self-paced course," Grech said. "The self-paced course made me feel like I could easily balance my goal to obtain the CBA with the rest of my life."

Though some prefer instructor-led courses rather than self-paced courses, the certification program gives professionals the flexibility to figure out what method works best for them. "I try to take what I've learned in class and apply it to my current job or conversations with my boss and colleagues to help absorb what I've learned," Grech added. "I think it's important for professionals to earn a designation to refresh their understanding of the foundational concepts of the credit field. It feels fulfilling to be on par with the rest of my colleagues who have the CBA designation and I feel more qualified to provide analysis in my current role."

For more information about each designation within NACM's Professional Certification Program, visit our website. 


Credit Managers Use Education to Adapt

In the ever-changing atmosphere of credit management, credit professionals must be adaptable. They must be prepared when changes happen within the department, company or industry. Credit professionals can adapt by earning a designation through NACM's Professional Certification Program. After earning each designation, trade creditors are not only building their credit knowledge but refining their skills so that they can better adapt to any changes that come their way.

Anthony Mitchell, Jr., CBF, CCRA, credit manager at Nutrien Ag Solutions, Inc. (Pittsford, NY) recently earned his Certified Credit and Risk Analyst (CCRA) certification, an academic-based designation which signals mastery in the analysis and interpretation of financial statements and the ability to make informed credit risk assessments.

"It validates my 30 years of experience in credit," Mitchell said. "There were a couple things that I picked up and noticed and I learned how I can do certain tasks differently, like my write-ups. This was based on the material provided by the instructor and what we were given as our case studies for the final exam."

Overall, Mitchell's journey for the designation was a success. "It's a good program that provides a lot of knowledge and I just can't promote it enough. I recommend it to all credit professionals."

For more information about each designation within NACM's Professional Certification Program, visit our website.


Determination to Learn More

Credit professionals in the B2B industry are in an everchanging world where they are always expected to adapt. But one consistent factor in growing as a credit professional is ongoing knowledge from educational opportunities. NACM's Professional Certification Program gives credit professionals an opportunity to expand their knowledge and wisdom to grow within their career and put their knowledge to use in their day-to-day work life.

The Credit Business Associate (CBA) is an academic-based designation that signals mastery of three business-credit related disciplines, including Basic Financial Accounting, Financial Statement Analysis 1 and Business Credit Principles. Josh Gorman, CBA, contracts manager at EFCO Corp. (Des Moines, IA) took advantage of every NACM resource he could. "I took the online review session and then sat in on the review session the day of the test at the NACM national conference," Gorman said. "I also carved out time on a daily basis to review materials that were highlighted in the online study session for a few months before the test. All these resources were very helpful. There is a lot of material and it is good to know the key subjects to focus on."

Though Gorman was challenged by the ability to have a work-life balance, earning the CBA was a rewarding experience for him. "It always feels good to achieve something you have worked so hard for," Gorman said. "I plan to soon begin studying for the Credit Business Fellow (CBF)exam and take that at the next NACM national event. NACM has made their resources very accessible through self-paced online classes. Earning your designation can not only give you more confidence in your abilities, but also give you credibility among your peers and associates."

For more information about each designation within NACM's Professional Certification Program, visit our website.


Tools for Credit Expansion

B2B credit management is more than just a career—it's a lifestyle. Credit professionals are constantly adapting and learning more about industry trends, their customers, their peers and themselves. With six levels of professional certifications in NACM's Professional Certification Program, credit professionals are not only gaining knowledge and sharpening their credit skills, but expanding their reach so they can better adapt in the B2B credit world.

Philip Mundine, CBA, area financial services manager at J. R. Simplot Company (College Station, TX) recently earned his Credit Business Associate (CBA) designation to expand his knowledge and professional skill set. This designation supplied him with just that through three business related disciplines, Basic Financial Accounting, Financial Statement Analysis 1 and Business Credit Principles (BCP).

Not only was Mundine eager to expand his credit knowledge and skill set by earning his CBA, but he wanted to demonstrate his commitment to his profession and become a reliable source to his credit team. "Many members of my team already had designations and in order to get to their level, I had to do the same," he said. "Finally, I just had to make a commitment and find out what my next move was."

Mundine started out by setting a goal. "I wanted to receive the CBA and then immediately start working on earning my CBF," he said. "I find that working towards a goal motivates me and results in me passing the courses."

His biggest takeaway was the expansion of knowledge for newer and older concepts in credit. "I was relearning all those things that I'd forgotten too," Mundine said. "I would encourage anybody who is interested in credit, especially if they're just starting their career, to look at the designations offered by NACM. Really understand what they can do for your career and your day-to-day credit responsibilities and make the commitment to earn them."

For more information about each designation within NACM's Professional Certification Program, visit our website.


Education Rekindles Motivation

Education gives professionals the opportunity to learn, share their knowledge and grow. NACM's Professional Certification Program allows credit professionals to earn credentials that showcase excellence and mastery in their career. With six levels of professional certifications, credit professionals are motivated to sharpen their tools or learn new skills.

Rachel Elrod, CBA, is a collections analyst at Tennessee Farmers Cooperative (La Vergne, TN). She said earning her Credit Business Associate (CBA) revived her thirst for knowledge, reminding her there is always a way to improve. "I am beyond thankful for my company's belief in and support of me while completing this goal," Elrod said. "I am also thankful for the incredible organization and presentation of educational material and opportunities offered to me by NACM."

Once Elrod realized she was able to be flexible in studying and completing coursework, it made things much easier for her. "It is an incredible feeling to earn the CBA," she added. "Even though the knowledge I gained is reward enough, adding the CBA badge to my email signatures and business cards is a daily reminder to me of my dedication and ability to continue pushing myself."

Elrod's motivation proved useful as she gained the necessary skills and knowledge to improve her efficiency as a credit professional. "Don't be afraid to start! Anyone has what it takes to earn this designation, and everyone with NACM will be there to help and encourage you every step of the way."

For more information about each designation within NACM's Professional Certification Program, visit our website.


Designations Fine Tune Your Credit Skills

Designations Fine Tune Your Credit Skills

Credit professionals who have been in the industry for several years have lots of knowledge and expertise in their career. But it's never too late to learn something new—or fine tune those skills you use on a daily basis. Just like a car, even the most reliable tires need to be rotated after a while to keep the machine rolling. "When I got recruited into credit management, my mentor and boss who has his CICP encouraged me to start with my CBA," said Chason Dancer, CBA, credit manager at DXP Enterprises, Inc. (Houston, TX). "Most of the training I received from him has been through a lot of best practices and technique we learned throughout those courses."

Dancer's journey to receiving his CBA differed from the typical route. Rather than completing all courses and the exam at once, Dancer spaced it out to work with his schedule. "It's hard to work full-time, with two kids (a second full-time job), on top of the classes I had to take," said Dancer. "It was a long, solid commitment at the time but it was worthwhile."

Many credit professionals can instantly use the knowledge they gain from course material to apply to their profession. Build upon the skills you already have and learn different perspectives to making credit decisions. Designations make you a more valuable asset to your company, said Dancer. "The confidence gained by earning my CBA is unmatched," he added. "You're applying technique, analysis and knowledge to daily situations. There's not a single day that goes by where I don't apply something I've learned from the coursework to my daily job. To anyone starting their journey or considering it, I would advise you to be patient. It is worth it!" 

We will be back with another member spotlight next week. Until then, you can visit NACM's Professional Certification Programs for more information about each designation. 


CCRA Crafts Confidence

CCRA Crafts Confidence

As many of you have seen throughout our Member Spotlight blog series, earning a designation through NACM's Professional Certification Program can advance your career in credit in various ways. Not only does it increase your knowledge and establish credibility, but it increases your confidence as a credit leader. For Suzanne Jorissen, CBA, CCRA, area credit supervisor at Wholesale Nutrien, Ltd. (Loveland, CO), it did the same for her when she earned her Certified Credit and Risk Analyst (CCRA) designation.

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"I feel like I can bring more to my very experienced team," Jorissen said. "Originally, I felt this designation journey would give me additional understanding of the financials, or provide an added weight of confidence while I review and analyze financials. I also wanted to be sure I was addressing and accepting any credit risk in the right places and wanted to verify I was reviewing the material correctly."

The online course required a lot of work for a short period of time but for Jorissen, it was well worth it. "It was a great experience," she said. "It was nice to be in a class with people in other industries as well, as it generated great discussion. My biggest challenge was making sure we thoroughly got through the course material and my biggest success was the additional understanding of credit and confidence I gained as a new member to a group of very skilled, experienced credit managers at my company."

Aside from gaining more confidence and understanding of business credit, Jorissen gained new perspectives on credit management. "Overall, I highly recommend that credit managers take the time to earn the designation," she said. "The course focuses on what we need to understand and you get to meet some great people and expand your network." 

For more information about each designation within NACM's Professional Certification Program, visit our website.