Taken from the blog of Sandy Ortins, AAP, APRP, NCP, Vice President, Education, NEACH.
Education is critical to professional development. Personally, I know that when I earned my Accredited ACH Professional (AAP) qualification, I feel like it launched my career. Accreditation brings so much opportunity to advance knowledge and be the go-to person for your financial institution.
That’s just one reason I’m so enthusiastic about others getting accredited and hopefully feeling similarly; but I’m supportive of all education efforts that advance knowledge of our industry. Because it’s changing every day, and it can seem difficult to stay on top of all of it.
Our education programs aim to cover each step in the life of a payment. How does it go through a financial institution? Are we tracking every aspect of a payment, and reaching every person who needs to know about a certain payment channel?
Education based on the life of a payment can mean things like training for retail tellers. But it also might mean new employee education. Or core operations: How to do exceptions or check returns. Or training on risk management to show what check or wire fraud looks like.
Back in May, our PMC conference organized sessions into four tracks—Faster Payments, Risk and Fraud, Operations and Quality, and Compliance. Now we’re working with speakers from that conference to provide additional for-credit education opportunities that follow these tracks.
For example, Check Fraud 101 and Check Fraud 201, which grew out of the “Forgery! Counterfeit” session at PMC (part of the Risk and Fraud track). These sessions review various types of check fraud and discuss how to identify the characteristics that could indicate that a check is fraudulent. Or BSA: What’s Hot in Payments, which came out of the “BSA Updates” session (part of the Compliance track). This explores how BSA impacts payments, particularly in areas where expectations are misunderstood or vague, including hot topics, examiner focus, and third-parties.
These sessions fit into the theme of Compliance Month, which takes place throughout July; it’s a time when we aim to strengthen compliance awareness within our membership.
Other education opportunities have also been inspired by PMC, including:
- Creating a Culture of Cybersecurity Continuity: Learn how your organization can align people, processes, and technology to carry out your cybersecurity strategy.
- Regulation E-Mythbusters: We'll explore best practices and common techniques used for both Card and ACH investigations, which can help recover losses.
- Expanding ACH: Get insights on timely payments topics including recent changes to the Same-Day ACH Rule, faster payments, and industry initiatives.
- ECI, RCC: Are Checks Paper Anymore? Understand Electronic Commerce Indicators (ECIs) and differentiate among all the “not-paper” checks.
- Short, Short Version of the Green Book: The federal government’s rules are found in the Code of Federal Regulations (31 CFR 210), known as the Green Book; this session focuses on the key issues in processing federal government payments.
What about the annual conferences?
If you haven’t been to either PMC or Innovating Payments, I have to say: You’re missing out. And while I think both conferences are of equal value, what they concentrate on does differ.
PMC focuses on the trends we’re seeing in our industry and what you can do about them. It’s more fact-based than solution-based. It’s more of an overview and less technically oriented.
Innovating Payments focuses on the technology: Everyone is looking for ways to improve the payments system and become more electronic. Honestly, it’s mind-blowing to me. Like Star Wars stuff. Definitely the future of our business.
This year’s Innovating Payments conference will be held at the Hilton Boston Airport October 9-10, and is already shaping up to be the best one yet.
Why is this so important?
There’s just so much going on in our industry. Being accredited allows you to be more knowledgeable. You don’t just take a test and be done with it—yes, there’s a test, but then you have to put effort into staying accredited.
Of course, you don’t need a test to prove you know things. But it’s like a feather in your cap.
Even if you don’t pursue accreditation, it’s critical to keep up with what’s happening in our industry. Things change quickly: Don’t get left behind. You may need the credits, or you may not—but you also need the expertise that comes from ongoing learning.
Ideally, you’ll learn because you’re interested in our industry and excited about where it’s heading. I know I am.