My Experience With Certification Classes
DO IT! It may be daunting at first (especially if you've been away from the "student scene" for a decade or two), so start with something easy! I'd recommend Principles of Business Credit. This is perhaps the most relevant of the six classes for certification. You'll find the knowledge directly applicable to "everyday" clients. With the material in this class you'll be able to articulate to others (management, sales, etc.) the reasons for what you do on a daily basis.
I didn't understand the credit-sales relationship until it came up in that class. Previously, all I'd figured was that since salesman are commission-based, they're just out there grabbing as much business as they can, ignorant of the "declining business" red flags such as low inventory, staff layoffs, etc. Once I learned why BOTH our positions were important, I decided to start asking them about certain customers and getting them involved in credit. I started some basic sales training. Although things aren't perfect, in building these relationships, we've been able to approach issues as a team rather than a, "who will win-sales or credit?" or a "fight to the death" scenario.
Accounting 1110 was helpful to establish a groundwork or foundation for the posting that I do managing the accounts receivable. The Business Law class was by far my favorite, probably because I had to work HARD for that grade. I couldn't just skim the chapters and show up to class and expect to be prepared. I had to stop frequently to recap and make sure I understood. And by frequently, I mean every couple of sentences. I spent hours and hours over weeks and months reading the text and case studies line by line. My sense of accomplishment was magnificent when I finally finished and thank goodness for extra credit!
My experience with NACM scholarships has been flawless! I fill out a simple 2 page application, the NACM Scholarship Committee reviews and approves scholarship applications. Then you enroll for the class, and NACM pays the tuition, which, even at a community college, is rather pricey. I could not afford to continue my education on my own. I go to class one night a week, generally for 2-3 hrs, and have the remainder of the week to study and do homework, take tests, etc. All I had to do was initially apply to SLCC, buy the parking permit, and get the textbook. After that it was off to more learning which is rather exciting. Some of these classes I would not have selected on my own, but I'm grateful for the opportunity to branch out and expand my horizons!
I have experienced irritation at some of SLCC's add/drop policies. Classes can be cancelled after the add/drop deadline with no warning due to low enrollment and then you have to take the classes out of order, which throws off the time table for CBA exam certification, etc. The professor also has to manually add you to the class if you're even able to add one late. This leaves you behind in the class and it's tough to catch up as some of the classes are fast-paced and essential info is given the first week. It's also treacherous to walk across their parking lot in the winter-it's icy!
I've been pleased with the content of the courses. The knowledge and skills gained have directly benefited both my company and me personally. It has helped in the credit department, as well as allowing me to advise in basic legal matters such as the decision to sue and the validity of a contract.
But, overall, I've found the process of continuing education through NACM simple to set-up/maintain, and exhilarating to fulfill. Without the support of NACM (including specialized career skills, credit education, and personalized guidance in any number of areas) I'd still be in the stone age of credit and would have probably left the credit industry. There is so much more to it than I ever thought possible! Now, with my extended knowledge, I know the ins and outs of the credit world and not simply what to do or not, but WHY. This makes all the difference in a successful career as well as overall job satisfaction.
So, a big THANKS to NACM!