One of the biggest issues in an industry that deals with high-cost items, is nonpayment by clients. A default can be devastating, if not fatal, to a company that operates with narrow margins. To combat that, a gentleman by the name of J.A. McCloy formed an organization that collects and shares financial information on jewelry companies in 1884. That organization is the Jewelers Board of Trade (JBT).
JBT is a not-for-profit, member-owned association. It provides commercial credit information, collections, marketing services, and data on thousands of retail, wholesale and manufacturing jewelers in North America – Canada and the US.
The role it plays in the North American jewelry market is of great importance, as it helps companies do business in a financially healthy environment. To that end, it offers information that allows companies to assess credit risks before they engage with a jewelry company. This information is provided to JBT members.
As such, JBT promotes the welfare of its members and the jewelry industry overall by obtaining and delivering accurate and reliable credit information, effective collection services, and education related to these matters.
Currently, JBT is the only jewelry-specific credit and collection agency in the world. The global standing of the organization is driven by its more than 2,000 members, which not only collect information, but also share their own information with it, creating a robust and updated database on the financial standings of jewelry manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers and other service providers from all over the world.
Company information is constantly updated, and some firms upload their accounts monthly. This data allows JBT to process over two million trade-payment references every year from accounts receivable aging data shared confidentially.
The result is a credit rating. All JBT-listed accounts receive a descriptive rating that may include a Capital Rating or an Other Condition Code and a Payment Score component. To qualify for a payment score, trade references must be from companies listed with JBT and a sufficient number of current responses must be on file.
JBT members have access to more than 27,000 credit reports available worldwide and once a year receive a copy of the Red Book, which lists all North American jewelry and jewelry-related firms in North America, with their contact details and credit history. It informs members on companies who have had frequent inquiries, recent news and events, relocations, discontinuances, rating changes, new names and bankruptcy updates within the week.
Another important service the jewelry credit organization provides is education. Many jewelry companies are small operations built by people with great love for diamonds, gems, design, and jewelry, but who may need help with aspects of running a business. JBT helps these companies learn to understand financial documents, budgeting, inventory control, and more. Part of this educational service includes financial educational webinars it produced with Accounting for Jewelers.
JBT also helps jewelers recover past due payments. Its certified collectors, certified by the Commercial Collection Agencies of America, are available to assist JBT members that need help collecting overdue accounts. Over the years, these services have helped the jewelry industry recover tens of millions of dollars that would have otherwise been lost and out of the jewelry industry.
Finally, JBT is a leading source of information on newly listed companies, bankruptcies, rating changes, and business discontinuances. Once a quarter, JBT publishes a report that lists all the changes in the number of companies in North America, broken down by country (United States and Canada), type of business, and type of change (bankruptcy, closure, merger, opening, and more). This report is joined by annual state of the industry reports that discuss changes in the industry.