Being a Qualified Member of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting entails many benefits. Of course, the most visible one is that it elevates your reputation as a top-notch translator. However, the ITI offers other advantages which sometimes are taken for granted and not fully appreciated.
One of those benefits is the ability to access a huge database of basically all companies registered in the UK and assess their credit-worthiness. In order to access that repository of information, your company would need to buy a subscription, which would be expensive. However, as an ITI member you gain free access.
I must admit I rarely access their database, but today I had a nice opportunity to try it out. A UK-based company posted a job offer on ProZ, to which I felt inclined to reply, but first I checked their Blueboard rating just to find out that, after having written several positive comments over the years, at least three translators had reported difficulties receiving payments from the company. As it looked suspicious, I proceeded to check their credit-worthiness.
And I was right to find it suspicious. I searched for the company name and got a full report which showed how hard it could have been to receive payment from them. To begin with, their credit score was 6/100 — yes, 6 out of 100. According to the website, any credit score below 30 means "Caution - high risk."
Surprised by such a result, I proceeded to check all the details that made up that horrendous credit score. Turns out the company had fallen to 6 from 31 in their latest assessment. That 31 mark, whilst not really high, would put them as offering "moderate risk." The year before, their score had been at 48. You don't need to be a number-crunching master to find out they are in a free fall.
The reasons? According to the website, the company's credit limit had fallen 100% in comparison to the previous suggested credit limit, the company had undergone recent changes in its directorships, the company is not part of a group, the company has changed its registered address recently, and the company has changed its registered name recently.
Needless to say I did not even look again at the job offer on ProZ. I just wish more people would join the ITI to take advantage of this great credit analysis scheme.