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How to Request Financial Statements
from Privately Held Companies
By Michael C. Dennis MBA, CBF

Convincing a privately held customer to share financial information can be difficult. While no technique works every time, here are some ideas to help you get financial information more often:

  • Make your request to the CFO or Controller, not the A/P clerk

  • Your request should sound strictly routine

  • If the customer is concerned about confidentiality, address this issue head on

  • If the customer believes confidentiality remains a problem, offer to sign a non disclosure agreement

  • If the debtor will not send you a copy of their financial records, ask if you can review them at their place of business

  • If your contact will not send the Balance Sheet and Income Statement and Cash Flow Statement, ask if one or more of these reports can be sent to you

  • Explain that you are looking for a reason to extend the customer the amount of credit they need, not an excuse not to do so

Unfortunately, it is sometimes necessary to issue an ultimatum to customers to either share financial information or be denied the credit limit they require. Credit professionals know to use this leverage only as a last resort.

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