Sources of Credit Reports/Other Sources of Direct Investigation
|Unit 3.1- Sources of Credit Reports|
Other Sources of Direct Investigation
Sources of information are plentiful and limited only by a credit manager’s lack of creativity. The following sources are by no means exhaustive of the information available for credit investigations.
The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, and local newspapers are important, essential reading for a credit manager. First, it is important to understand the current economic climate. Second, there is much company-specific news that can affect credit decisions or at least suggest further investigation.
Directories, Internet and Other Reference Materials
There are a host of printed materials useful in a credit investigation. First, there are the standard sources: Thomas Register, Wards Business Directory, Directory of Corporate Affiliations, MacMillan Directory of Leading Private Companies, Moody’s Industry Review, Million Dollar Directory, Experían Trade Payment Guide, Value Line Investment Survey, and several different publications from Standard and Poor’s and Dun & Bradstreet. Specific industry references can be helpful as can directories of state businesses and chambers of commerce.
The amount of general information (publications, periodicals, and news services) on the Internet is truly overwhelming. Internet access does make it easy for a credit executive to check out many more publications than one would normally purchase to read. All the major newspapers are available on the Web. Right now The Wall Street Journal is one of several charging an access fee. Publications such as Fortune and the Economist are online, as is Business Credit (on the NACM site). Financial networks, such as CNN Financial News and Bloomberg, are also useful.
Finally, the Internet offers a fast, efficient, and effective way to communicate with buyers. E-mail seems to work faster and has an inherent friendliness that is a bonus in international credit management situations. People find it easier to compose e-mail messages rather than to use regular mail. Of course, a global credit executive must ensure that e-mail messages adhere to the same standards as regular letters. A relaxation of style does not mean relaxing credit policy or normal business practices.
Much credit information is confidential in nature. A professional credit manager should take every precaution to maintain standard levels of confidentiality, which may mean using encryption or otherwise securing messages and transmissions. Security also means controlling access to the computer where e-mail messages are stored (Business Credit Principles, Field Version 4, NACM Publishing).