Math, Artificial Intelligence and Data – A Whole New World

Math - Machine Learning

Traditionally, a love for math used to be associated with someone you would call a ‘nerd’, however, technologically revelations have proven math to be a fundamental concept in the 21st century. In our data-driven world, companies and corporations are all using math, formulas and computations to ensure optimal efficiency. Without the use of math, there would no artificial intelligence (AI) and no computer science, we would be stuck in a world of slower and more mistake-prone business. Math, AI and automation provide solutions to time-consuming and complex problems where humans would be much less efficient in resolving. So what is the connection between math and AI?

How and where is Math used in Artificial Intelligence?  
Some of the fundamental topics that math holds for machine learning are:

  • Linear Algebra
  • Calculus
  • Probability
  • Optimisation
    • Heuristics
    • Iterative Methods

These areas of math each contain a multitude of further, and much needed, topics to fully understand machine learning. We may not realise, but every day we face examples of AI where math has contributed highly towards. From the most menial of examples such as sending certain emails to spam or, on the other end of the spectrum, self-driving cars, AI and machine learning is all around us.

“The need for remedial math seems widespread enough that even a simple Google search for ‘calculus and artificial intelligence’ turns up a bunch of blogs and additional courses on how to understand the math underlying these assignments.” Forbes, 2019

Math - AI - Data

A few years ago, Apple’s Siri and Tesla’s self-driving cars were something unthinkable or impossible to have. Today, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence are unlocking capabilities everywhere around the world; businesses are learning to use new technologies to create intelligent products, personalised experiences, and smarter business functions. What are some examples of artificial intelligence in business?

Business AI
The world is becoming faster, smarter, more complex and more efficient, and we owe a big part of this to artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities, which all derives from math. Let’s have a look into the everyday AI applications that is commonplace for businesses:

  1. Spam filters,
  2. Personal Assistants (Siri/Cortana/Google),
  3. Automated online chat responses,
  4. Automated insights – used from collated data from a company
  5. Smart searches – according to an individual’s history
  6. Product recommendations,
  7. Fraud detection,
  8. Personalised news feeds,
  9. Language recognition,
  10. Ad targeting.

These are only a few applications of AI that we experience in our day-to-day routines. The evolution and application of math to AI has been an incredible phenomenon and it continues to enhance every day. So the main question is:

Are you using Machine Learning or Artificial Intelligence to add value to your business?

Here at Cedar Rose we have used both Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence to help us process, translate, transliterate, organise, standardise and analyse large amounts of data. It is our love of mathematics, our close attention to detail and our drive to be the best that keep us ahead of the game.
Finally, for Nerds everywhere now is our time to shine!

Have you seen our latest article on fraud?

Written By Angelique Assaf, Data Strategist

Sourced Image: Freepik

 

*** The sole purpose of the article above is to generate public discussion, it has no intention to constitute legal advice. ***

Guide to doing Business in the Middle East – Tips, Tricks and More

guide to MENA

Cedar Rose has been active in the Middle East now for over 20 years, instigating business, gathering data and setting-up one of our offices in Lebanon. This article aims to provide an in-depth guide of how you can enact business in the same region. The Middle East is a vast region which has been, in recent years, both highly prosperous and sometimes unpredictably risky, but opportunities abound for those prepared with the right information. More and more companies each day are looking to this region for new business. However, it is not advisable to dive in without knowing how deep the water is. It is important to learn the facts, to understand the issues that can arise and to be prepared.

Let’s get down to business
It is no secret that extracting data and information from the Middle East is no easy task – there is a widespread culture of privacy. From factors such as decentralised data sources, free zone jurisdictions, language obstacles and a lack of advanced technology; there are hefty barriers that need to be worked around in order to have access to the right kind of information and statistical data to be successful in the region. Although the Middle East is a developing and dynamic hub for investments, it necessary to prepare yourself with the right knowledge that can optimise your decision-making for the better. This region has always attracted foreign business – partly due to low taxation – and relies heavily on imports because of a lack of diversity in local raw materials. So, opportunities abound, but what do you need to know to instigate business within the Middle East? Follow this step-by-step guide that may help you mitigate risks.

1. Know the Country

The Middle East spans over numerous territories and nations collectively. These countries, in order of population size, traditionally include Egypt, Iran, Turkey, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Syria, Jordan, United Arab Emirates, Israel, Lebanon, Palestine, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain. In some definitions, the small island of Cyprus is also included. The political situation within the region can be volatile and there are often extreme tensions, if not wars between one or more countries, civil wars between factions or formidable tribal disagreements as well as equally strong alliances. It may be wise to have a guide with you whilst you navigate around a country, to help you get to where you need to be. Judging the region as a whole is naïve as there are vast differences between economies and infrastructure, as well as GDP from country to country. Qatar, for example, has a GDP per capita in advance of $70,000 whereas in Yemen it is less than $600, so studying the particular market of interest is wise.

2. Know the Language

The Middle East is, perhaps, the most linguistically diverse region on the planet with more than 60 languages spoken, some of which include Arabic, Greek, Turkish, Hebrew and Kurdish. Therefore, instigating business may raise language barriers which would require expert translators in order to mitigate the risk of misinformation. However, language barriers shouldn’t stop you from a great potential business opportunity, so it would be wise to do your due diligence on the area you wish to enact business and find solutions to any potential language restrictions. Overall, English and/or French are widely spoken as second languages by locals within most countries of the Middle East and due to the large population of foreign nationals working and residing in the region; English has become widely accepted as the predominant business language. Arabic is widely spoken, but the dialects vary enormously from country to country so whilst the written language is the same, the spoken language may be difficult to understand, between one country and another.

3. Know the Technology

Depending on where your company originates from, there is a high possibility that there will be technological differences. Although the Middle East has recently seen a technological uproar, there are many nations in the region that still lack ‘common’ technologies. Whether it is automated border control systems on entry of a country or the requirement for manual submissions (in person) of tax documentation, it is important to understand what to expect. Not all countries in the region have VoIP, fast, reliable internet or even 24 hour electricity, whilst others are leaps ahead.Limitations in technology can halt business and be a major blockade for any success; therefore, it is important to assess the situation before diving in.

4. Know the Culture

Cultural differences may be a big factor in whether you land that deal, merge with that company or complete that agreement that you so desperately need. For example, understanding the difference in working weeks, it’s common for western countries to work a traditional Monday-Friday, 9am – 5pm. However, this is usually not the case for the Middle East, so it is necessary for communication and transparency to understand your client’s working culture. Many companies in the region do not work Friday or Saturday, but they do work on Sundays. Others may close for lunch from 1pm to 3pm or have different summer and winter hours. Many government departments do not open at all in the afternoons.

Additionally, religion plays a big part in this region with certain holidays or customs that different nations respect; it will be beneficial to pre-emptively know what these are so you do not get caught up in confusion. Communication is one of the biggest factors in business, having strong connections and transparency can help with business. However, customs may vary in the Middle East, from greetings to hospitality expectations, understanding this may help your business perform better in certain regions. Face-to-face visits require a lot more preparation in order to successfully navigate your business in the Middle East; moreover, visits ‘in person’ are highly appreciated throughout this region.

5. Know the Corruption Landscape

Corruption exists in all countries in some form or other, but you only need to glance at the map on Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index to see that the Middle East has a very high perceived level of corruption. Corrupt practices are commonplace in many countries and it is wise to use a reputable and highly recommended accountant and auditor to help keep your company on the right side of the law when conducting day to day business. So as not to tarnish your company’s reputation by trading or partnering with known or perceived offenders – and these may well be accountants, lawyers, highly successful business people or government officials – it is always wise to conduct reputational due diligence.

Regional Experts – Cedar Rose
In order to utilise what the Middle East has to offer it is smart to use a company that has experience within the region and the know-how that can generate opportunities and guide your business to success.

Cedar Rose has been in operation in the Middle East for over 20 years, established originally in the UK and now residing in Cyprus and Lebanon and can guide you to success. Whether you need company credit reports or more in-depth due diligence or reputational investigations, Cedar Rose can provide high quality data and reports that can help you instigate business. Our experience and knowledge will help you mitigate risks within the region and our “boots on the ground” approach can guide you in the right direction.

The Middle East offers a myriad of opportunities for great business, but it may require stepping out of your comfort zone to a complete new region and culture.

Check out www.cedar-rose.com today and see how you can utilise our services for the Middle East or give us a call on +357 25 346630 to discuss your particular requirements.

Enjoy our guide? Why not have a look at the importance of company credit reports 

Written By Jack Evangelides, Marketing Assistant

 

*** The sole purpose of the article above is to generate public discussion, it has no intention to constitute legal advice. ***

Importance of Business Credit – What you should Know

Importance of BCR

Business credit is often a much overlooked concept; however, its importance is not to be underestimated. Especially for small to medium enterprises (SMEs), acknowledging your business credit may just be the lifeline you need for the long-term. As an SME, your cash-flow is of the utmost importance, thus, in order to acquire competitive business loan rates and terms from potential suppliers, having a good business credit score is fundamental.

What is a Business Credit Score?
Your business credit score is an indication of your business’s potential reliability in terms of meeting its financial obligations. It is essentially a guide to how trustworthy, robust and successful you are to instigate business with. Whether you’re getting a loan or companies are extending credit to you, your credit score could be the deciding factor of a positive or negative outcome. Your score is made up of a variety of factors; here are a few of the main aspects that could affect your rating:

  1. Country of incorporation
  2. Date of incorporation
  3. Legal Form
  4. Shareholders/Owners
  5. Activity
  6. Capital (if required)
  7. Payment History
  8. Company Size
  9. External Risk Factors
  10. Length of Credit History
  11. Public Records (Bankruptcies & Judgements)
  12. Turnover
  13. Business Growth
  14. Profit/Loss
  15. Sector
  16. Trade References

These factors are pivotal to having either a positive or negative business credit score. It is also important to note that there are different industry standards which may vary your business credit score, depending on the region you are working in.

Why do you need a Business Credit Score?
There are a multitude of reasons to why you need a business credit score, however, we can focus on a few main points:

  1. Financing

Whether you are a SME or a large business, at some point, you may need a source of financing via a loan or line of credit. However, receiving finance may be difficult if you do not have a business credit score or you have a very low score because of a lack of data on your company being available.

     2. Legitimacy

If you want to do business, especially with larger companies, it is not uncommon for them to screen potential partners and vendors. How do they do this? By checking their business credit, looking for any potential risks and, furthermore, this can all be done in secret.

      3. Sustainability

This factor is especially relevant for SMEs in the sense that separating your personal and business finances can help your company in the long term. If you keep these two separate you will find it easier to track business expenses, make it easier to manage your taxes and filter out any interest differentiation between business and personal. The importance of business credit reports is not to be overlooked and this factor of easier accounting plays an essential role. Additionally, if you do not separate your business credit line from your personal credit line you may be subject to add-on implications. This means that if you are relying on only personal credit to support your business and your business becomes at risk, your personal credit score will be negatively impacted.

How can you check your Business Credit Score?
There are online credit agencies that will conduct fresh and detailed reports on your company and, consequently, provide you with a report. Depending on how much you want to pay, you could download a report on your company, or order a fresh investigation. The company may contact you for more information if they don’t have enough to make a detailed credit analysis or if they wish to verify that the information they do have is still up to date.

The more information you provide to credit reference agencies, the more robust the credit scoring will be – though credible agencies will always verify the information you provide so do make sure to be honest. If you purchase a report on your company and see that the information contained therein is incorrect, you can ask that information be corrected and/or brought up to date.

Why not search for your company now on www.cedar-rose.com and see what information we hold? You can download a database credit report for as little as €19 or if you don’t find your company listed, contact orders@cedar-rose.com to request a fresh investigation or complete our questionnaire to submit your company data for a free analysis.

While you’re here make sure to check out the importance of company credit reports 

Written By Jack Evangelides, Marketing Assistant

 

*** The sole purpose of the article above is to generate public discussion, it has no intention to constitute legal advice. ***

ClearVue Technologies to make a Positive Statement in the Middle East

ClearVue Energy - Cedar Rose

The Middle East is progressing into a region of clean and renewable energy. The concern for a healthier environment and, consequently, a healthier planet, is refreshing to witness. ClearVue, an Australian public listed company, is one of the companies that is providing a cleaner industry within the region. Through their ground breaking product, photo-voltaic solar panels, ClearVue aspire to provide smart-building-material to the heights of the Middle East. Their patented technology allows visible light to pass through a pane of glass, while the invisible wavelengths of light are deflected to the edges of the glass where they are converted into electricity. This offers a huge market potential for the visionary company and can benefit the region for years to come. Newer technologies and innovations are constantly being developed and ClearVue have perfectly designed their product to suit the sunny landscapes of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

A Global Turning Point
The world has, arguably, formed a global consensus concerning the issue of the environment. There is a strong desire for cleaner sources of energy, renewable energies and healthier means of industrial operations. ClearVue is one of many companies that have taken the initiative to focus their processes on developing technologies to benefit the environment. What better place to implement these new initiatives than the Middle East, a vast region of scorching heat to fuel their technology.

Currently, ClearVue is expected to formalise a distribution license and have a formal deal in writing within two months. The company has currently signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with UAE based Grasfol General Trading in order to attain exclusive distribution rights within the UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar. Additionally, the deal also includes non-exclusive distribution rights in Saudi Arabia. ClearVue has portrayed its vision and product effectiveness throughout the US and European markets, now it is taking the Middle East by storm.

“This MoU represents a great opportunity for ClearVue to break into the Middle Eastern region,” – Victor Rosenberg, executive chairman of ClearVue Technologies.

This aesthetically efficient product has paved the way forward for future initiatives concerning cleaner forms of energy. Already planning for the long-term, the companies envisage using the glass to become a virtual power supplier in the region. The room for growth amongst this ideology is potentially limitless.

A Real Niche
ClearVue have hit the nail on the head, so to speak, with the market that they are moving in to. Although exporting to new markets will always involve an element of risk, Cedar Rose can help navigate companies safely through the Middle East. With over 20 years’ experience providing Credit reports, Monitoring and Due Diligence in the region; we know the ins and outs that can save your business time and money.

To find out more, contact orders@cedar-rose.com.

Read up on other companies that are benefiting the environment here.

Written By Jack Evangelides, Marketing Assistant

Sourced Image: Phys

*** The sole purpose of the article above is to generate public discussion, it has no intention to constitute legal advice. ***

ExCred International 2019: Look out for Cedar Rose

Excred International - Excred - Cedar rose

Cedar Rose is proud to be one of the partners sponsoring the 2019 ExCred International conference from February 26th at the Hilton, London Tower Bridge. This monumental event will be show casing the brightest and most innovative ideas from around the globe. Through workshops, professional speakers and networking, ExCred provides the perfect environment for you to grow your business name, reputation and overall image. This credit specialised event focuses on the key aspects of the business and finance industries. Cedar Rose will be hosting our own showcase at the ExCred exhibition filled with insights into the business intelligence sector and in-depth knowledge from our credit reporting experiences. We are delighted to be one of the partners of such an event and look forward to sharing our years of expertise.

The History
ExCred is the leading conference for the Export Credit Agency (ECA) and private insurance sectors. It provides an annual meeting point for an estimate of 600 attendees per annum from 37 different countries. The conference aims to develop business relationships and bring together a multitude of views and opinions from all corners of the globe. For the past 28 years ExCred has been successfully in operation and acts as the leading annual forum for the international trade and insurance industry.

Come and Meet Us!
We are lucky enough to be participating in this exhibition and will have our own booth where everyone is welcome to stop by and meet our CEO, Antoun Massaad; Head of Credit Reporting, Cynthia Gebeily and Data Strategist, Angelique Assaf. We will be demonstrating a little of what we do via a video that will run on a TV screen in the booth as well as demonstrating our online capabilities. We hope to hear from delegates what they really want from their future business intelligence partner and we will be free to answer any and all questions. You won’t want to miss our booth as we will also be offering the chance for one lucky individual to win £100 to spend on any service that Cedar Rose provides. Just drop your business card in a bowl at the booth and that individual, chosen at random, will earn the £100 Cedar Rose credit. We look forward to meeting you.

Check out what else we’re up to while we’re in London such as a round table debate.

Written By Jack Evangelides, Marketing Executive

*** The sole purpose of the article above is to generate public discussion, it has no intention to constitute legal advice. ***

Debating for the Greater Good – Cedar Rose & CCR Interactive Round Table

round table debate - Cedar Rose

On the 28th of February 2019 Cedar Rose will be debating the topic of ‘Fears Credit Managers may have about trading into the MENA region and whether those fears are well founded’. Cedar Rose will be in association with CCR Magazine for the debate that will be held at Eight Members Club, London. This informed deliberation will highlight and invite frequently asked questions and concerns for those who instigate business throughout the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). The Cedar Rose attendees will consist of CEO Antoun Massaad, Head of Credit Reporting Cynthia Gebeily and Data Strategist Angelique Assaf. This expert team will conduct the upcoming professional debate and hope to inform others of their own experiences within MENA as well as learning more about the issues exporters and creditors face in their daily roles.

 Knowledge is Power
This long-awaited debate may be a significant turning point for many investors, exporters and importers who have, or will, contemplate the instigation of business throughout the MENA region. The best in business are constantly looking for newer means to expand and grow their companies, looking for the emerging markets, the potential goldmines and the prospects that MENA may hold. However, the political landscape is ever-changing throughout MENA, with trade tariffs, wars and other socio-political issues. Therefore, it is pivotal to conduct business in MENA the correct way, the knowledgeable way.

Cedar Rose has over 20 years of experience and expertise in this region and we hope to impart knowledge over how it is possible to trade whilst mitigating risks in MENA. Debating over such a topic can allow us to bring forth our own understandings and practices from the last 20+ years, to help others see what we see and, in turn, utilise the knowledge we wish to convey. Through debating, we hope to come to a positive understanding for all those involved. We look forward to the deliberation, to share our insights on the region and to be working with CCR Magazine.

If you want to participate in the debate, contact nicole.konstantinou@cedar-rose.com for more information.

Check out our newsroom for relevant articles concerning business intelligence.

Written By Jack Evangelides, Marketing Assistant

*** The sole purpose of the article above is to generate public discussion, it has no intention to constitute legal advice. ***

Trade Rate: Join the Global Action for Prompt Payments 

How often have you been left frustrated by late payments? Wouldn’t it be great if you’d have known in advance and been financially prepared? Would you even trade with a prospect that you already know doesn’t adhere to agreed payment terms? 

Cedar Rose – who have been providing credit reports on MENA companies for 21 years – is introducing the Trade Rate scheme, so business owners and credit managers can anonymously share their collective voice.

In the business world, time is of the essence, but Cedar Rose believes that allowing companies to rate their customers’ payment performance is both fundamental and lacking within the credit sector. We are delighted to announce the release of our newest innovative service – Cedar Rose Trade Rate. With this introduction, we invite anyone who finds their customer listed on our website to rate their payment experience at any time. Through our new easy-to-use online rating tool at www.cedar-rose.com you can now create informed ratings in less than two minutes with the greater benefit of providing reliable data for others to access.

This initiative aims to provide a more efficient and robust credit reporting service. Cedar Rose will use this information to help others make the safest decision possible. Once verified and approved by our team of analysts, average ratings will be displayed anonymously in our company credit reports for anyone to purchase online. By joining forces, business people around the world can help each other to make better informed choices about whether or not to extend credit and on which terms.

Using a simple star scoring system you rate your customer from 1 to 5 stars depending on whether their invoices were paid on time:

 

 

 

 


You can decide whether or not to add more details and a comment in the Advanced Rating form, choosing to remain anonymous if preferred.

This new and innovative scheme provides an extra level of security when conducting business. Cedar Rose hopes to stamp out the late payment culture and, at the same time, increase the amount of information available in order for businesses to make robust and informed judgements.

Stay tuned in to our newsroom for follow up articles on the latest initiatives, brought to you by Cedar Rose.

Written by Christina Massaad, Managing Director

*** The sole purpose of the article above is to generate public discussion, it has no intention to constitute legal advice. ***

Business and Office Supplies Credit Forum

office supplies

A major industry sector forum is allowing members to access and share the knowledge that they need to be successful, says Laurie Beagle from Forums International. Are you a supplier of, or do you know somebody in this industry sector that you can pass this information on to? If so, the Business and Office Supplies Credit Forum could be for you.

  • Office supplies and consumables
  • Office furniture
  • Facilities supply and workwear
  • Computers and IT supplies
  • Mailroom and workplace solutions
  • Personal protection equipment
  • Security equipment and services
  • Managed printing
  • Facilities management
  • Copiers
  • Other business and office supplies

This forum has been developed with our partners Acumen, Experian and Moreton Smith. Membership is open to all credit and finance professionals in the industry sectors.

The Difference
Our forums are different because they are learning experiences where the agenda items are dictated by the members. They are not lecture based, but interactive workshop and discussion based. The sessions are on a 50:50 basis: 50% is led by a subject-matter expert, whilst the other 50% is where the attendees can share their experiences.

You will never be intentionally sold to. Our forums provide opportunities for credit and finance professionals to meet and discuss key trading issues in their industry sectors. Also, to share experiences and challenges and most importantly, discuss innovation and how they have secured success.

Objectives
The objectives are for our members to:

  • Gain tools and techniques to help them face new and existing business challenges
  • Increase and enhance personal skills levels
  • Help to improve their team’s productivity and results
  • Gather information and intelligence to avoid successful fraud attacks and incurring bad debts
  • Network with their peers
  • Develop new and best practices

What our members say
“I received personal mentoring which helped me gain promotion in my career”

“I always take away something new from each meeting, which I can then put into practice back in my business”

“Good value for my investment in time and costs”

“Quality speakers, good venues, informative and enjoyable sessions”

“We use forum attendance as part of learning and development for our team members”

“Excellent networking opportunities and the chance to develop new contacts”

“Through forum membership my team and I have gained a valuable insight into the core values and principles of our closest peers in the industry. We have shared our own experiences and drawn from the knowledge of other members to help guide our decision making”

Membership
Prospective members are invited to attend their first meeting free of charge and without obligation, to assess the benefits of membership for themselves. Members are responsible for their accomodation and travel costs where required.

Next Meeting
Date: Tuesday 17th July 2018
Venue: Moore Stephens, Birmingham
If you wish to join, quote CCR1 to receive and exclusive 10% annual subscription discount.

Want more articles like this? Then you’re in luck, visit our newsroom for the latest and greatest articles, covering a variety of topics from office supplies to fraud and cyber security.

 

Written by Forums International

Sourced Image: awardwallet.com

 

*** The sole purpose of the article above is to generate public discussion, it has no intention to constitute legal advice. ***

The Sad Story of the Bad Credit Score

Cedar Rose - Sad Story of the Bad Credit Score

There are times in business with bad credit where you face a brick wall situation. You have an enthusiastic and interested customer who wants to place a huge order with you and a supplier who, after months of hard negotiations, has given you a fantastic discount. Your eyeballs have dollar signs in them as you are already planning your next beach vacation with the profits you are about to make. But then, there’s a hitch… bad credit.

The Story of Bad Credit

The supplier decides to take out export credit insurance to cover himself just in case anything happens to the goods on their way to you, or war breaks out in your country, or you go bankrupt before the delivery or you simply refuse to pay. As you are in another country, it is wise of him to do this – he’s never met you face to face, he doesn’t know if you have good or bad credit, your circumstances and what a nice trustworthy and honourable person you are.

If he had purchased a credit report on you from a reputable supplier he perhaps could have made the decision without taking out insurance, but he is a sensible man, it is a large contract and he doesn’t like to take risks. Neither do insurance companies. That’s why, whenever they extend cover to one of their clients, they do buy a credit report on the buyer (that’s you) to establish good or bad credit scores. So in this case, they use a tried and trusted local supplier of credit reports but they ask the agency not to disclose their name or the reason they are investigating you, in case this tips you off to give false information. The credit reporting agency conducts thorough research and then calls your company to verify that you are trading and to gain some additional information. They then ask you for financial statements and this makes you angry, because “Who do they think they are to be asking such intrusive questions about my company? It is none of their business!” And you hang up on them.

The credit reporting agency compile a report on your company giving the little information they were able to obtain from official sources and their extensive additional research. But, there is no financial information at all publicly available for companies in your country unless they are listed on the stock exchange, which yours is not, so all the figures they give are estimated. The lack of information leads them to give your company a low score (indicating high risk) and they are unable to recommend high amounts of credit. Certainly not enough to cover this shipment of goods.

In the best case scenario, the export credit insurers are very concerned about this and increase the premium to their customer, who is your supplier. He adds this on to the price of the goods he will send to you and you get upset with him for increasing the price at the last minute – the relationship falls apart, by this time your customer has gone elsewhere.

In the worse case scenario, the export credit insurer refuses to insure the credit amount needed, due to a lack of information and the high risk indicated on the credit report. The supplier won’t take the risk of sending the goods without insurance. By the time you find another supplier, your customer has gone elsewhere.

So, what is the moral of this sad story?

  • If you receive a call from a credit reporting or business intelligence agency that you have never heard of, ask them for their website address, look them up, check their privacy policy and even call them back if you prefer before giving out your information. But do be co-operative – it really is in your interest if your business works on a credit line with any suppliers.
  • Giving financial statements to a credit reporting agency will help them to build a really useful profile of your company which will lead to a much more accurate credit score. Even the key financial information such as annual revenue and net profits would be really helpful. The more information they have to hand, the lower the risk for the supplier.
  • Even if you are not currently importing anything, a credit reporting agency may still investigate your company to keep your file up to date. Then, if you do need to obtain credit from a supplier in the future, the process will be much easier and faster for you – and I can recommend Cyprus as a great place for that beach vacation.


Written by Christina Massaad, Managing Director

Sourced image: LinkedIn

*** The sole purpose of the article above is to generate public discussion, it has no intention to constitute legal advice. ***

Due diligence often comes hand in hand with credit score reviews, check out our latest on Due Diligence in the Middle East Made Easy

 

 

Credit Reports – What’s the Point?

Credit Score

Strange question, you may think, from the Managing Director of a Business Intelligence agency widely known amongst other things for its credit reporting in the MENA region! But, I have to admit, it is a question I have asked myself with regards to inclusion in our client on-boarding procedures. Should we order or create a credit report for every new client? After all, how do we know if it is going to be worth spending around €100 to find out more about our new customer or prospect when we don’t know yet how much they are likely to spend with us? Will it be a waste of money? I’m sure it is a question many Credit Managers, Sales Managers and business owners ask themselves too.

Well, here’s my conclusion…

  1. It takes around an hour of a fully trained, experienced and qualified Business Researcher’s time to compile a credit report on a company, provided that the researcher is given the correct contact information to begin with. If not, it could take considerably longer. They usually need to speak the client’s first language fluently in order to conduct a thorough investigation. And then, an Analyst will check the information collated and provide a credit opinion based on years of experience doing the same (if your credit report provider is a reputable one). Alternatively, a highly complex scorecard will be used to calculate the credit opinion automatically based on a multitude of data fields. Unfortunately, I have neither the language skills nor the time to do this myself for every new client.
  2. An established credit reference agency will probably already have some information in their database on the subject company, giving historical background to the facts they uncover. They will be able to see whether this is a growing company in terms of employees and turnover, production capacity, ownership of assets, etc or perhaps they will notice a decline. This information will all be included in the report. It could take me a very long time to find the historical information on a company – even their own employees or management might not have it to hand and their credit file may be the only place this data is recorded.
  3. A good credit reference agency will also link data on the subject company to other companies and people they are connected to. Perhaps they are part of a large well established group of companies, or affiliated to or owned by companies or people that you wouldn’t perhaps want your company to be associated with. These facts are important to know if you are extending large amounts of credit. The client isn’t going to provide you with negative information about them, their shareholders or the groups they belong to, but the credit report could.
  4. A useful credit report will also provide the registered name of the company as well as alternative trade names that the company uses – so you can be sure that you are trading with a legally registered entity, knowing exactly what it is called at the Commercial Register – in the native language too if the agency is really proficient. This information would be crucial should any future litigation be necessary. One thing you should always do as part of your on-boarding process is to ask your clients for a copy of their Certificate of Incorporation, so that you have this information to hand on their file. In some countries obtaining this information from the official sources can be costly too and a reputable agency will check the registration status of the company as the basis of their investigation – this is all included in that circa €100 price tag.
  5. A credit report will also give you an indication of the size of your new client. Are they a small sole proprietorship with one or two employees – or a huge organisation with factories, workshops and offices throughout the country? This will help you to know how much effort your sales team should put into re-selling to the client and which of your products could be the most useful to them – but of course is also crucial in setting your own in-house credit limits. After all, no matter what the credit report says your client is capable of paying, you should only ever extend enough credit that your company can afford to risk waiting for.
  6. The best agencies will contact the trade references too, to see if they can obtain payment information such as whether the client adhered to the agreed terms and which method they used to make payment. This is important especially in regions like the Middle East and North Africa where there is very little financial data available due to a lack of mandatory financial filing laws.
  7. Specialised credit reporting agencies often report on the same customer for several clients, so they can inform you if something has changed since you last purchased a report and provide you with an update through company monitoring if something changes in the company’s credit record.

So, what’s the point of credit reports?

Having (at least) the correct contact details of my client including the name in the local language, registration name and numbers, trading names, PO Box address, legal status, registered capital, ownership details, management information, trading and filing history, former names, trade references, bank name and address, number of years established, number of employees, turnover, affiliations, trading activities and the UKSIC or NACE code for them, import/export activities, registered debts or bankruptcies, the brands they sell, certifications they hold, a brief about the country risk, an indication of whether they are growing, declining or steady and the informed credit opinion of a specialist.

Okay, I convinced myself. It would be €100 well spent. And if I’m prepared to wait a week or two, it could even cost much less.

Oh, and by the way, Cedar Rose now offers monitoring as an addition to our credit reporting services so our clients are sent an updated report if something changes to their customer’s credit files during the year. Contact Nicole Konstantinou or email orders@cedar-rose.com if you would like to know more (and did you know we won the Export and International Category Credit Excellence Award?!). Just saying…

If you need (somehow) more convincing on the importance of credit reports, then make sure to check out this article.

Written by Christina Massaad, Managing Director

*** The sole purpose of the article above is to generate public discussion, it has no intention to constitute legal advice. ***

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