Tuesday, June 7, 2016


I love the Scotiabank’s tagline “You’re Richer than You Think.” If an individual or company takes time to reassess its priorities, expenses, and plans you can always find a way to be more efficient and profitable. Sometime the results can really surprise you.

During the 32 years that I’ve been in the credit and collection industry I have learned that every credit manager or business owner has an “ugly file box” tucked under his/her desk of customer issues that should be dealt with. I have an ugly file box!

Each piece of paper that ends up in this box is either a customer services issue that should be addressed, a finance concern (usually your own), or a business idea that you are saving to investigate when you have some time.

You Are Probably Grimacing Right Now

You know where your “box” is. You are probably grimacing right now just thinking about it. Unfortunately nothing good can come from ignoring your box.  Service issues fester, reputations suffer, and opportunities get missed.

As an employer, I appreciate it when my staff wants to discuss the items in their own “ugly file box”. Sure some of the items in the box may feel like they will be harmful to your career; however, in most cases it will only get worse instead of better. If some of these issues are credit and collection related, we recommend having a confidential discussion with the collection service provider of your choice. Your provider is a source of credit and collections expertise. They want you to look good and will provide some ideas and suggestions to deal with the issues at hand.

If your “box” issues are business ideas you've been saving to read later, time should be set aside to review and consider these ideas. As you are reading this article, someone in the world is working on a way to disrupt your business or put you out of business altogether. Time needs to be spent working on your business. Several business groups exist to help you work on your company, like TEC or Vistage International.

Tackle The Box!

Take action now. Tackle the box. Something good always comes out of this process. You will feel better, your business will run more efficiently, and staff morale will increase.

About the Author:

 Brad Lohner is a 32 year veteran of the domestic and international credit and collection industry with headquarters in Edmonton and a branch office in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Cash flow is the lifeblood of Edmonton business. At the PCR Group of Companies, We Protect Your Corporate Heartbeat®. The PCR Group provides expertise in the Order-To-Cash cycle beginning with credit approvals, through to receivable management and finally credit and collections and liens.

Brad Lohner
President & CEO
Direct: +1-780-643-2169

Saturday, May 14, 2016

How to Hire a Rock Star Receivable Clerk

   It’s no surprise that a majority of business owners and their staff hate having to call a customer for money. Most people end up in that position by fluke or accident. “Mary, you do an outstanding job on our payables. Would you mind calling XYZ customer for me?” the business owner has just placed, what could be their biggest asset, in the hands of someone who is scared to death to pick up the telephone. Is this a good idea? Maybe, but more often than not - no.
Poor cash flow can severely hobble or kill your company, so it becomes critical that if you are going to delegate the job to someone internally, or hire your first receivable clerk, that you find ways to give yourself the best chance for success. Luckily there are many ways to do so. They are:

  • Post a detailed job description outlining all key performance indicators (KPI’s)
  • Look for previous receivable collections experience
  • Run your advertisement in appropriate outlets where receivable clerks are most likely to look such as Indeed or even Kijiji
  • Check references and call previous employers
  • Consider the use of a job-specific personality profile

   A detailed job description is critical to not only the hiring process, but also the subsequent performance reviews. If the candidate has a clear vision of what you are looking for, they will weed themselves out if they are not suitable, but the right candidate will be thrilled that you have shown an interest in what they do. The successful candidate will feel like an important and valuable part of your team – which they are.

   Previous receivable experience is unusually a good indicator that the person can do the job, but is not always the case. Generally the receivables clerk position turns over frequently unless employers take the time to train people. It may be very easy for a candidate to look qualified, when in reality, they have been bouncing from one job to another. As mentioned earlier, this key employee may be managing your largest asset, so it makes good business sense to spend time performing some due diligence. Call previous employers and ask key questions like:

  • Was the candidate able to troubleshoot and reconcile customer accounts?
  • Were they able to bounce back easily from rejection?
  • Did the candidate escalate issues to sales staff or senior finance?

   You are checking to see if the candidates really understand their role or if they have managed to fly under the radar at previous jobs and were a mediocre employee.
There are no university degree programs that produce receivable management clerk graduates. The most successful candidates are more “street-smart” than book smart, so placing an ad to hire a receivable clerk on a CPA job board or a high-priced online recruiting agency will likely be a waste of money. We recommend using sites like Indeed or Kijiji that work very well, provided you use a descriptive “headline” and have a link to your firm’s career page. Another option is to connect with a receivable management firm. They may be aware of suitable candidates.

   These days checking previous employers and resume references are almost a waste of time. We recommend speaking to a former CFO or Credit manager to get feedback. Ask the tried and true questions – “would you hire the candidate back?” if there is a moment’s hesitation, you should probably dig a little further. Try speaking to someone other than the candidate previous supervisors, sometimes valuable information can be gleaned from an innocent conversation.

   Another cost-effective method of picking a rock star receivable clerk is to have short-listed candidates take a credit and collection personality profile questionnaire. These tests have the ability to help you discern candidates with a higher probability of long term job success. If you do not want to maintain a subscription to access these profiles, then you may want to purchase a block of tests from a local credit management firm.

About the author - Brad Lohner is a 32 year veteran of the domestic and international credit and collection industry with headquarters in Edmonton and a branch office in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Cash flow is the lifeblood of Edmonton business. At the PCR Group of Companies, We Protect Your Corporate Heartbeat®. The PCR Group provides expertise in the Order-To-Cash cycle beginning with credit approvals, through to receivable management and finally credit and collections and liens.

Brad Lohner
President & CEO 
Direct: +1-780-643-2169 


Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Commercial Collection Agencies in Canada

Profit from an option you may not have considered.

   Commercial debt recovery in Canada is alive and well. Like our U.S. cousins, there are contingency lawyers and collection agencies; however the number of contingency law firms from which to choose, are much fewer than the U.S. market. If your law practice or commercial collection agency regularly receives Canadian claims, it becomes critical that you partner with a supplier that can provide the following:

  • Reports to all seven Canadian credit bureaus
  • Provides 24/7 on-line access for instant reports
  • USD clients trust account to avoid currency exchange problems
  • Full professional liability insurance 
  • Capable of working in all Canadian provinces & territories
  • Innovative solutions like Pre-judgement garnishes/Seizures and Mechanics or Construction Liens. 
  • Fully compliant with Canadian Laws

   Generally there are two reasons why a company doesn't pay its bills. It’s either a dispute of some nature or it is a cash flow problem. In either circumstance your clients will want you to act quickly; however filing a suit isn't always the answer and doesn't guarantee payment.

   More and more American and International law firms, commercial collection agencies, and creditors are submitting claims to Canadian Commercial agencies prior to considering legal action. A collection agency only receives payment if it collects. The agency does not have the ability to earn a fee from the provision of hourly legal services and therefore are highly motivated to liquidate claims quickly for the highest possible amount.

   The collection agency will make the determination very quickly if the reason for non-payment is a legitimate dispute or cash flow problem and will obtain all the necessary searches to confirm if legal action will result in a high probability of recovery or turn a bad situation even worse for your client. A professional Canadian collection agency understands your needs for timely and through reporting so you and your client can make sound business decisions. Choosing an agency can be a daunting task. Look for the agencies industry affiliation and certifications. Does the agency owner actively participate in industry conferences? Do they specialize in commercial debt collection? Are they able to supply references in your clients industry and do they understand your clients business?

   Unless you are 100% comfortable picking a Canadian commercial debt collection provider, we recommend equally splitting your forwarded accounts to at least two vetted suppliers and let the results and service speak for itself.

About the author: Brad Lohner is a 32 year veteran of the Canadian collection industry. He owns a commercial agency and lien filing firm, each capable of providing service Canada-wide.

For more information look him up on LinkedIn