ABL-Help Software Updated 1998 to 2018…



In The Beginning:

What started as a glossary of definitions sometime in 1998  for my students, quickly expanded.  After 6 months of messing around with HLP file generators that used RTF documents, the first release came out in December of 1998.  It started with about 450 glossary words and about 42 ineligible collateral items for receivables and inventory.  We used Visual Basic to make a menubar and then took screen images of every menubar option and linked them.  It looked like a real menubar and it worked (HTML5 before it’s time).

The Village Comes:

But then the e-mails started to come in.  “Hey Joe, what about…” and the lists grew.  My friends at IBM inspired me to add the fishbone diagrams.  E-mails came in from all over the world and the list of ineligible items got bigger and bigger. We added audit insights for workpapers and recently we expanded into fraud alerts, alternative calculations, confirmation finders and other advanced fishbone diagrams (Pro version). It has slowed down in recent years, but it keeps growing and we’ve got 190+ ineligible links now.

Copyright Office Acceptance:

We had to argue with the US Copyright office on the filing of the electronic document as an HLP file and we presented our argument by asking “How come Microsoft can file Form TX and cover their Help files?”   Our Help File document (like millions of others) were made of code, text and images to form a multimedia presentation and the “text” was all code.  Management at the US Copyright office heard our argument loud and clear and changed the copyright form based on our presentations and the lack of solid guidance to clearly cover multimedia presentations.  Yeah, that was us and everyone was nice about it!

Just-In-Time ABL Training:

The ABL-Help file is now installed on more computers than any ABL software product in the world.  Thousands of copies and that includes installs at most of the larger institutions too.  It is considered an “essential” training tool by many back-office departments and new field examiners like the portable nature of having the program with them as they travel.  When Clear Choice Seminars, Inc. was hosting 10-12 cities per year, it was an essential tool to skip the basics and move onto more important analytics.  Of course the ABL-Help file got more and more information over the years and that let us cut out much of the basic stuff from the Intermediate ABL Audit course.


Update at least annually? – ABSOLUTELY!  The file format has changed too.  We switched from .HLP files to .CHM help files and that lead to better control, HTML formatting and the use of JS libraries for the menubars and popups.  We’ve upgraded the software used to make ABL-Help perhaps 5 times along the way and we’ve updated the compiler and installer every year.  The program and installer are also code-signed (COMODO) so that you know it comes from us.

In 2011, we switched to an EXE format so that we could give away a free version and then sell two enhanced version.  Our students (www.ccsiweb.com and www.abltrain.com) and software users (www.finsoft.net) get the more advanced versions.  ABL-Help Pro comes with the Fraud Prevention course on ABLTrain.

All proceeds go to charities!


The three versions are:

  1. ABL-Help Free
  2. ABL-Help Classic (about $19.00 USD or included with most ABL-Train courses)
  3. ABL-Help Pro  (about $49.00 USD or included with ABLTrain’s Fraud Prevention seminar course)

Future of ABL-Help Training Materials?

Where will it go next?  A lot of that is up to you.  We get great ideas for ineligible items from all over the world.  We have an opportunity to take it in new directions that will add value to the users.  Looks like we’re just getting started when I think about the possibilities.  [Joe]  ABLTrain Icon

Copyright © 2013 Clear Choice Seminars, Inc.  All Rights Reserved

Welcome to ABLTrain… “What a long strange trip it’s been”

ABLTrain On-Line Training Seminars for Asset Based Lending Education

The web-based asset based lending training seminar project started out perhaps 10 years ago with a software package named Digital Trainer and that product was just not capable of delivering reliable on-line training.  But our affiliation with Team Adobe let us keep on the developers to get the features that we needed to make this possible and so, about 7 years ago the journey began.  Having spent about 20 years doing ABL Field Exams and traveling around the world doing advanced (live) ABL training seminars with Clear Choice Seminars, Inc., while also starting a software company (FinSoft, LLC) along the way, provided the know-how and resources to make this possible.

Originally named the “Yellow Brick Road project” (YBR for short), the plan was deep and filled with complex tasks, things to learn and complete.  The idea of an on-line training catalog was there from the start and we had no time constraints to deal with, so the journey began with an outline of ideas, things to buy, and things to learn.  Yeah, we met a cast of colorful characters along the way, but really good characters.

The YBR plan was HUGE and big projects are something that we have always enjoyed (about 1,000,000 lines of code in our software products), on-line training for asset based lending was clearly going to have challenges.  YBR went exactly as planned, but it took more time than we had anticiapted because of technological problems.  Not one problem and not in one area; all areas were a challenge and hundreds of issues had to be resolved to make this possible.  If you could only see the pages of checklists or know how many times we dealt with small issues that stopped us dead in our tracks.  Fortunately, you don’t need to know about any of that and you can follow the comments made by The Wizard of Oz himself, “Ignore the man behind the curtain.”

We have lots of ideas for additional courses and training materials to come.  Consider the catalog of 14 courses to be the start.

Next?  New, never done before, just what you were looking for… of course! ABLTrain Icon

Check out what we have at:





Copyright © 2012 Clear Choice Seminars, Inc.  All Rights Reserved