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Does anyone have a good Commercial Credit Application for North America? Do you have a good alternative to Dun and Bradstreet for research?

Answers

Anonymous
(Consulting CFO and Business Operations Advisor) |

Anon,

My credit app is no different than the hundreds out there. However, I'm guessing that you're targeting smaller companies?

In that case the best research (imho), and reflected on my app is:
-3 trade references.
-Bank letter ref average cash position.
-Cert of good standing from their State.

I take a dim view of D&B data. I have always been asked over the past 25 years to update my company data, and correct their errors. The price was always ridiculous, the data that they did have on our company completely flawed, so I just held my nose and told them to go away, trusting that everyone else in the world realized how bad all the data was. And...from that perspective, I don't use their data because I've never seen it be accurate. Save your money, and pick up the phone.

By the way, my sales team has paid for Hoover's in the past, and I have used that. The data seems way more accurate.

Keith

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
Company: SBAConsulting.com
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, SBAConsulting.com) |

Keith (Annon (VP Finance)) you are spot on about D&B. Hoover is D&B, but comes from public filings, so while it may be more accurate, its only as accurate as the filings (I love rehashing Enron).

As far as asking them for 3 trades - I'll give you my three buddies who will lie, cheat and steal for me, as I for them. I find that a waste of time writing and reading.

Instead of 3 trades, make friends in other companies (maybe also in your industry) and see who uses them and what, if any, issues surround them (good or bad). You'll get a lot better results.

Letter from Bank - great idea.

Cert of good standing with the state, IMHO worthless. Maybe they just paid the annual filing fee or filed their Income Taxes, but lied through their teeth.

Chris Holtzer
Title: Senior Manager - Strategic Analysis
Company: Sargento
(Senior Manager - Strategic Analysis, Sargento) |

Good advice. Credit groups like NACM (National Association of Credit Managers) provides the opportunity and tools to have good information from other's in your business sector on your customers. It isn't cheap to be member or to attend meetings, but it is far better than tools like D&B. By the time D&B knows a company is going down, it is too late to manage your exposure.

Anonymous
(Senior Manager - Strategic Analysis) |

I utilize a handful of tools for credit reviews. I'll list below, and why.

In the interest of full disclosure, I spent a good part of last year getting my company away from D&B. Their value proposition just doesn't hold up anymore. Their costs had increased more than double inflation every year, as far back as I could track. We had a substantial "all-you-can-eat" buffet style contract with D&B. All of the solutions below add up to a fraction of what we were paying for D&B. I strongly feel D&B along with many others provide great metrics, but not analysis. I am sure D&B would disagree with me, but if I don't know how/why a score is developed, the score is of no use. Again, not a bad tool, but not useful analysis, in my opinion.

ANALYSIS:
CreditnTell (http://www.creditntell.com/) : This is hands down, my favorite tool for getting true analysis, and not just metrics. They don't report on all my customers, but they cover several of the large companies I am most concerned about. It may depend heavily on your market, but their general market reporting as well as company specific analysis has always been spectacular. Pricing is competitive for the market...way below D&B, but also a totally different type of tool.

METRICS:

Cortera (http://www.cortera.com/) : This was really the replacement for us, over D&B. They provide similar services to what D&B offered, except they lack the international profile information. This is a trade ar based service. D&B would link in financials, which Cortera does not (will address below). Cortera provides nice pretty analysis, that can be passed up the food chain without need to clean up and explain. It is pretty self explanatory. This is a piece meal tool. You pay for what you use. Reports are ~$6 each.

Experian (http://www.experian.com/) : This we use to build out a more robust AR Trade reporting tool. It is used to compliment Cortera. They seem to have better tracking on our small customers, Cortera is better on the larger.

Edgar (http://www.sec.gov/edgar/searchedgar/companysearch.html) : Finally, if the companies you are reviewing are publicly traded, this is the gold standard. Most services you pay for (including D&B), are pulling from here. It is free! You can see every public filing to the SEC in detail. You will need to spend some time reading the reports, but this is my go to for public companies.

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