What’s New is New Again

ABLTrain On-Line Training Seminars for Asset Based Lending Education

ABLTrain 2.0

Sometime in 2005, we got cookin’ to brew up self-paced on-line Asset Based Lending Training Seminar Courses and it took a short seven (7) years until November 2012 to launch the catalog of 14 courses.  Not a cheap or easy business to build and maintain and we talked about that journey in the first BLOG on this site.

Since 2012 we used student feedback and got the rework done in batches such as retake workflows for quizzes and other feedback to students.  We have National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) approval for CPE credits too.  Our corporate-wide plans also expanded to offer both our standard Courses and Customized Courses to train entire departments and have a supervisor track the progress.  Overall, we did A+ work on Generation 1 and 1.1 of the ABLTrain products.  But now, it is time for 2.0 to take over.


Time and technology are always new and in the past few years we have seen the slow death of the Adobe Flash technology, now replaced with what is known as HTML5.  While HTML5 runs on all devices (phones, tablets, PC, MAC), that meant reworking almost 130 lessons and over 500 pre-quizz assessments and other Flash items that can’t convert to HTML5.  Our learning management system also changed and we’ve moved along with the newest technology for secure and speedy delivery of the Courses.  All good stuff to evolve into.

Starting this week, www.ABLTrain.com (a product of Clear Choice Seminars, Inc.) is updated to HTML5, hosted on a state-of-the-art learning management system and ready to deliver ABL Training Seminar Courses for the best ABL learning experiences in the business. The web-based delivery is all scalable to your device screen size and devices (phones, tablets, PC, MAC) and we’re NASBA Quality Assurance Service certified to promote higher standards of delivery. We’ll be expanding our offerings in 2018 and 2019. Enhancing the best choice for individual or departmental training and new again!

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Copyright © 2018 Clear Choice Seminars, Inc.  All Rights Reserved Images licensed from Fotolia.com, Joe Caplan and NounProject

Training Time for Asset Based Lending

Parking Meter Expired

Training Course Fantasy:

In a perfect world, you could get together with some of the best people in the business and they would all happen to be great teachers and they would all possess excellent course development skills  and they would all have keen presentation development skills too.

In a perfect world, the length of time to teach students would be unlimited.  Courses would not be limited to 8 hours, 16 hours, 20 hours, Etc., they would actually be complete.  It used to be this way in Public Accounting at places like the former Arthur Andersen and the Bank of New York Credit Training program were legendary for depth of study.  The annual International Factoring Association  Conference delivers training in spades with a combination of panels, expert speakers and discussion formats.  But those are exceptions for live training.

In a perfect world, the students would not be side-tracked with office work, phone calls, text messages, e-mails and mindless YouTube videos to distract them.  There would not be distractions that are detractors from the learning process.

In a perfect world the courses would not require travel time and expenses and the cost of the course would be about $20.00 per hour.

In a perfect world, the people that you invested in with the training would not leave and take the brain-trust with them.  They would stay and not port your training dollars to the next employer.

In the perfect  world, the courses would include some cases, some quizzes, some testing to make the students accountable with a passing grade or passing completeness procedure.  Employers would know that some standards were met.

In a perfect world, the time needed to train people completely would be spent and there would not be compromises to get as much training in as possible in 1 or 2 or 2.5 days, rather it would be based on completeness, not time.

If we could stare into space and dream away these limitations they could be eliminated in a virtual sense.

Training Seminar Reality:

Deep in concentration

Of course the education of our workers (and ourselves) comes in many forms.  On-the-job training with a good coach goes a long way towards our goals.  Seminars, courses, conventions, Etc. come in many forms, but the actual education gained is not always what it could be.  Travel, interruptions from the office, e-mails, text messages and distractions take away the focus from a lot of students.

Seasoned veterans with lots of experience are not necessarily the best course development people and they often lack training delivery experience.  Take a look at the ongoing public school argument about not giving teachers bullet-proof tenure.  Some of them can’t teach, even with ten plus years of experience.

Some of the courses are thrown together with basic bullet-points and simple examples.  In some cases the instructors are walk-on “volunteers” that have not seen the materials before or they are not pleased with the course materials.  How often do they think or even note in class that they have better examples in the office or would present it another way?

rality check ahead sign

But the above items are not as bad as the worst thing of all… TIME.  The time for any training course is limited.  Years ago, one of the field examination schools was five days (actually 4.5 days) and now it is three days.  The course was adjusted to make it take less time, allegedly focusing on more important materials while maintaining the revenue stream for the presenting organization, but decreasing costs to the presenter and those traveling.  The ability to complete case studies, quizzes and other testing measures is not possible with time-crammed courses.  When you cut-out materials to fit a time schedule of 2.5 days, 3.5 days, Etc., you don’t have time for cases and testing, you lose some slower students and you skip some important stuff.

Most of the courses finish half-way through day 2 or 3 because people want to travel and get to the airport.  So once again, the materials are cut-down to make it fit a time limit created for profit, not for education purposes.  Should education (seminars, courses, conventions, whatever) be based on make-it fit the time?

Why Compromise?:

It seems that you need to compromise.  Really, it seems that way, but you don’t need to.


Clear Choice Seminars and ABLTrain have developed e-Learning courses that are complete and take the time needed to get it done right.  In many instances we spent more than one day on a single slide or single case during the course development.  ABLTrain took seven years to release because we did it right and we’re still tweaking and revising things to make the materials and course selections even broader.  Courses are NASBA certified too.

There are no compromises in the time needed to complete the courses, the materials are outstanding, the instruction is as good as it gets (video and detailed click-through slides).  ABLTrain’s on-line self-paced training courses have testing to create accountability.  Prices allow for one person or the entire staff to be trained and you can train several people with ABLTrain for what one course costs with other methods.  Retention is very high too, with quizzes and cases all along the way.   These on-line and self-paced e-Learning methods reduce the normal office interruptions and distractions because students resume exactly where they left off.  ABLTrain Icon


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

Images licensed from Fotolia.com

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