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The Benefits of Professional Designations For Credit Department Personnel
By Michael C. Dennis, MBA, CBF

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NACM Professional Designations

The professional designations offered by the National Association of Credit Management [NACM] are respected, well-recognized credentials for individuals who work in the area of business credit granting and commercial debt collection. Possessing a professional designation is one of the best ways a credit professional can demonstrate their mastery of the work they do to their current and potential employers. The Credit Business Associate [C.B.A], Credit Business Fellow [C.B.F.], or the Certified Credit Executive [C.C.E.] designations identify employees as dedicated and competent credit professionals. The sense of accomplishment and satisfaction gained from earning any or all of these credentials are one of many benefits of receiving these professional designations. Other advantages of receiving professional designations include:

  • Having any of these designations establishes a nationally recognized professional identity.

  • Workers with professional designations have more confidence in their skills, and make better and faster credit decisions.

  • These designations identify individuals as employees prepared to go well beyond meeting the minimum requirements for their position.

  • Sometimes, professional designations can be the springboard for professional advancement.

  • These designations tend to produce greater job satisfaction among credit department personnel resulting from mastery of a variety of skills, tools and techniques that help employees to better manage risk and control delinquencies.

  • Better job skills will increase the employer's satisfaction with the work being done by the credit department staff.

  • The curriculum that candidates are required to complete to earn these designations exposes them to the latest challenges and opportunities facing the credit function.

The basic requirements for each of the professional certifications listed above are described below:

The Credit Business Associate (CBA) is a designation based on academic achievement. There is no minimum work experience requirement. Course work needed to qualify for the examination can be taken at colleges, through local NACM Affiliated Association programs, or self-study programs, or in nationally sponsored programs. The CBA designation indicates the recipient has a working knowledge of financial accounting, business credit principles, and financial statement analysis.

The Credit Business Fellow (CBF) is both an academic and participation based designation. To receive it, a candidate must complete an examination intended to test their competence in intermediate financial statement analysis, and in business law and credit law. In addition, the candidate must have passed certain required courses, and must have made specific contributions to the business credit community by volunteering his or her time to various approved programs.

The Certified Credit Executive (CCE) is NACM's highest designation. It designates the recipient as capable of managing the credit function at an executive level. Generally, candidates must have a minimum of 10 years experience plus a four-year degree or the equivalent to become a candidate for the CCE designation. They must pass a rigorous four-hour examination that tests skills in the areas of accounting, finance, domestic and international credit management concepts, general management and business law.

Receiving any of these designations demonstrates a commitment to the credit profession. All three of the programs emphasize the need to understand the nuances of credit risk management, and debt collection. The educational programs candidates for these three designations are required to complete helps prepare them for rapidly changing business conditions. In addition, the curriculum is designed to give candidates for these designations the tools, the knowledge and the resources to respond to those changes quickly and effectively.

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