Clear Choice Seminars, Inc. Asset Based Lending ABL Audit Training Seminars

"Learn What You've Been Missing"

What level should students be at for the Intermediate ABL Auditing class?

We prefer students to be have at least 6 months of real audit experience or account officer experience.  Skill levels for each course are also stated in our marketing materials.  We don't offer a beginner's course that is taught publicly, but we do offer an introductory examination school that can be taught at your location for newer hires with less experience.

What is your schedule for next Spring / Fall / Winter?

We are no longer hosting courses in major cities.  Most of our courses are now on-line with  The live courses are still available at your location for in-house training.

Do I need a computer for the classes?

For you do.  For the live classes, it depends on the course, but Intermediate / Advanced ABL Auditing requires a computer for day one for the DATA analysis portion.  After that, only a calculator.  The Intermediate Course uses instructor led discussions and case studies.  The DATA Course (now day one of Intermediate ABL) and the Cash Flow courses require a PC and Excel.

Can the courses be taught at our location?

Absolutely, we routinely teach at major lending institutions.

How small are the classes?

We never want to teach classes as large as some of the other national providers.   We stress quality and not quantity.  To promote individual attention and class participation, the classes are limited to 15 students, less than half of what other courses allow.  One seminar promoter is using the words "small classes," in their literature, they mean 35-40 people (please ask them).

Do the courses qualify for CPE?

YES, Clear Choice Seminars, Inc. is NASBA approved and is listed on the national Registry of CPE Sponsors.  Please see the Policies page.

We checked around and talked to some people that took other courses and your course.  We were impressed with what we were hearing about your courses.  What would you say the key differences are?

That is a lot to answer.  First, we are original and creative.  We don't copy other people (although it seems that they copy us and our materials in some cases).  We [instructors] all have passion for ABL, but some instructors are more passionate than others.  I would say that Joe is highly passionate about ABL.  The biggest difference might be the original materials.  Clear Choice Seminars spent almost one year writing Intermediate ABL Audit.  That is no quick compile of data and slides, it was research and due care.  Our competition spends about 1/10th the time that we do on preparation of materials.  Some of our slides take more than 10 hours to prepare (yes, just one slide) and some of our cases about the same.  We have outstanding materials.  The ABL-Help industry reference is another piece that we alone offer.  It includes some of our reference materials, but mostly things that you can learn on your own and there are hundreds of hours invested into the materials and the technology.  Another area is rewrites of older materials.  We change things as needed and update the materials all of the time.  This keeps it current and fresh.  We also update our presentation software, slides, delivery methods and overall look as the technology changes.

What makes Intermediate ABL different than a beginners course?

There are dozens of key differences, but here are a few:  Our course is intermediate to advanced.  Beginners are learning the business and learning the language of the business.  Can those basic skills and tests find fraud and problems?   Sometimes yes and sometimes no, but I wouldn't trust a new deal for $25,000M to a new hire, unless I could afford the hit.  Intermediate ABL helps students to gain the skills to assess when more testing is needed and how to document findings to prove or disprove a hypothesis on the existence of a collateral or credit threat.  The so called "industry standard" ABL procedures for turnover, dilution, reconciliations, etc. are designed to catalogue business trends, but an assessment is usually done by the Senior Auditors, Audit Manager and Credit Officers.  We know (and you probably do too) that it takes 2-3 years to become expert enough to get AR stats done quickly.  We show people how to get the numbers faster, read the numbers, get numbers summarized into analysis more quickly and make sense out of the trends to diagnose situations that don't make sense.   Our students are smart and have common sense; we show them what makes sense and that makes it easier to spot fraud and other situations that are threatening from a collateral or business standpoint.  We discourage beginners from taking Intermediate ABL because the "industry standards" are learned in the first 6 months and beginners need to develop the hands-on street smart accounting and technical skills to move to the diagnostic phase.  Joe has a saying:  "It's like rock and roll, you can read about it, but you've got to hear it to understand it."  Intermediate and Senior examiners often handle new business, work-outs and complex deals that require experience and skills to master, we accelerate that process.  Intermediate ABL Auditing also includes other areas such as dealing with computers on the road, professional skills, legal concerns, work-out situations, hidden offsets, and skills that are needed to step through to more senior levels of the ABL profession.  Finally, the course is updated after each class for new ideas, emerging issues, better examples, etc. and because it is taught so frequently, it is constantly improving with age.

What other course are you working on?

We are always working on something new, but don't disclose that information until the release of the course.

We hear great things about Intermediate ABL Auditing, who's the instructor?

Joe Caplan started in ABL in 1985 and has been in the ABL business as an auditor, back-office administrator, software developer and seminar instructor (all ABL related!) ever since.  He has been noted as one of the leading authorities on ABL auditing techniques and computer based reports, often writing and speaking on the two subjects.  Up until 2003, her routinely handled 25-30 field examinations per year, helping him to stay current and he has personally completed over 550 ABL Examinations.  He still gets into the field a few times per year.  As a CPA and the Managing Director of FinSoft, LLC, his deep knowledge of ABL auditing and hands-on computer programming skills have helped to develop the most complete ABL auditing package ever created.  Don't take our word for it, hear what students are saying about the class.

What is ABL-Help, I keep hearing that I should get it?

In late 1998, we introduced ABL-Help as a Windows .HLP file, later converted to HTML Help and then an executable program.  The concept grew from a class in Chicago where some of the students were professional educators and they suggested a glossary of terms and other reference materials.  Since we did not teach a beginners course at that time and we have lots of experience with Windows Help files, it was a logical "fit" to put the glossary and resources into a Windows Help file.  In brief, the concept of ABL-Help was to provide reference materials that are covered in the classes and that are basic enough to be not covered in the classes.  That grew and grew over the years to become more of a reference of ineligibles, formulas and turnover diagnostics.  We started with (I seem to recall), 42 ineligible items.  Students, friends and professional associates contributed the rest of the ineligibles and it continues to grow each year (now at 185 ineligible items).  That file now includes hundreds of hours of work, explanations and diagnostics for turnover, math formulas, ineligibles, a glossary, basic audit risks and more.  A newer version, introduced for 2012 and named ABL-Help Pro includes fraud alert topics,  more formulas and additional resources for underwriting.  We modernized the interface to create an EXE program that can be licensed per user.  All proceeds go to charities.  Learn more at

Do you update ABL Help?

Yes we do.  ABL-Help was updated 5 times in 1999 (its first year) and 5 times in 2000, 4 times in 2001, 3 times in 2002, 2 times in 2003, 2 timed in 2004 and 2 times in 2005, 3 times in 2006, 2 times in 2007, once in 2008, once in 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012.  The file was renamed to ABL-Help 2000 on 12/15/99 and the name is updated for the current year, with a decimal signifying the release number for that year.  We have gotten lots of ideas and implement them as time permits.  ABL-Help Classic or ABL-Help Pro are included in most of our courses.  Once we have your e-mail and general information for our mailing list, we send out updates with our on-line newsletters.  To leverage some new technology, the ABL-Help file became ABL-Help Free, ABL-Help Classic and ABL-Help Pro in 2012.  See for more details.

Does Joe Caplan own and run FinSoft (AssetWriter and AssetReader)?

Yes.   However, for integrity, FinSoft's products are never used, marketed or sold in the courses (except of course for the seminars on Using AssetWriter or Using AssetReader, taught to new users of those products).   ABL course examples may include spreadsheet examples, generally with Excel and simple workpaper examples that illustrate complex concepts.

We hear that the Intermediate ABL Auditing class is "Hi-Tech," what's that mean?

We consider our courses to be state-of the art and the DATA course was indeed ground breaking for the industry.  The courses have been using multimedia training concepts (projectors, animation, sound, etc.) since Windows 3.1 and 386 computers.  We're on our 8th generation of training software, third projector, fourth travel bag and sixth computer.  Unfortunately for us, this has meant large amounts of time and capital reinvestment for course development, course programming, instructor training, and troubleshooting experience.  Fortunately we're connected with a bleeding edge technology company to bring it all together and make it look easy on the road.  Hi-tech, no (probably words from a no-tech competitor).

Joe, What's the worst thing that ever happened to you on the road while training?

Two memorable moments:  First Story:  I had a class of 13 in Dallas and I got delayed in Houston due to mechanical problems.  I missed the flight to Dallas and got to the Hotel at @1:00am.  Got up at 4:00am to catch a 6:10am flight to Dallas, leaving me with only 50 minutes to make the 8:00 am start.  My cab driver was familiar with the back streets and we "zoomed" to the Doubletree at Lincoln Center.  I left a message at the hotel.  When I arrived, I was the second person there because everyone else was stuck in traffic!  Second story:  Airport security in Boston copped my projector cable at security by accident and I was teaching a class the next day at Disneyworld in Florida.  We simply followed the lesson plan until FedEx delivered a new cable the next day by 10:00am ($130.00 with freight).  One more story:  I was in Los Angeles to present a lunch speech on "Audit Technology" to the California Finance Association and my hard drive went down.  I was there a day early and had time to get a new hard drive: I installed all 8 programs needed for the presentation (a real Boy Scout to have all backups handy!) and stayed up until 4:00 am getting it to go.  I arrived at the luncheon site by 8:00 am and continued to get it going until 11:30 am.  It went flawlessly.  "Don't worry" and "Stay Calm" are the motto's of the trainer.  We know of a lending training provider that had a sprinkler system go off at a [high priced] hotel, but we know they responded professionally and continued with the course.

Joe, what would or does your business screen saver say?

"Get the Spectators off the Field!"  This has always been my favorite business saying.
"You can stand me up at the gates of hell -- but I won't back down"  (Tom Petty)  This the attitude.
Since 09/11/2001 "Enjoy what you have while you're striving for what you want"

How often are the classes updated?

See the How Current Page link

Why Asset Based Lending?

"Because it's the Greatest Profession on Earth."


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