james-adey, credit-control, Credit Control...
For 14 years before moving into recruitment I worked as a Credit Controller. 5 years on, I look back on my former career with fond memories. Particularly as I now help Credit Controllers to further their careers and enhance their potential.
Working in Credit Control made me goal driven, heightened my communication skills and negotiation ability, built my commercial acumen and ultimately my understanding of how sales-led business operate. It also bought me a lot of life-long friends.
Below I offer insight to what a career in Credit Control could mean for you:
Job for life
A career in Credit Control, Receivables and Debt Recovery can offer great rewards, not only from a personal satisfaction and financial viewpoint, but in terms of job stability and career growth too.
Almost every commercial business has debt owed at some point. Often millions of pounds worth of debt. As a result almost every company needs to ensure that their debts are paid. Quickly and on time.
As a result, when you work in Credit Control you can work in any industry and I truly believe you will have a job for life. Debt is never going to go away and in times of economic uncertainty Credit Controllers play an even more important role to the lifeblood of a business.
Highly valued Risk Mitigators
It is very easy to see a direct correlation with work you do as a Credit Controller and a company’s financial situation. Credit professionals ensure the cashflow operations of a business run smoothly, and are highly valued employees who play an essential, lead-part in the success of a business.
Partnering with Sales, Customers, wider Finance Teams and Customer Services. The ability to build rapport is key at all levels.
A career in credit allows professionals to utilise a blend of business acumen, people skills, adaptability, communication skills, problem solving and business partnering with affinity for finances and numbers.
Ensuring that you only offer or extend credit to customers and clients who are able to pay on time – minimising the risk of being stung by bad debt.
Two key elements of good credit control are identifying and assessing risk, and setting terms and conditions to protect the business you are working for.
For many junior level Credit Control jobs you won’t need necessarily need formal qualifications, although if you have registered to study with the Chartered Institute of Credit Management (CICM) it will show how serious you are about a career in Credit. This is a recognised, certifiable qualification which will only skyrocket your career potential, as well as your ability to apply theory gained as part of your studies - in practical situations as part of your daily job.
For the majority of Credit Professionals, practical experience and technical knowledge gained on the job carries just as much significance as qualified certification. Being able to demonstrate you are a focused individual, with strong skills of persuasion, the ability to build rapport and a positive outlook will also be key. Often Credit Control interviews will be competency based, so having examples to draw on past experience demonstrating the required skills will help you secure your next job.
Strong career path
There are plenty of opportunities to progress within the industry. Through Senior Credit Controller, Team Leader, Supervisor and ultimately Credit Manager. Being able to motivate and mentor both large and small teams of Credit Controllers, Billing, Cash Allocations and Sales Ledger staff.
As cash flow can be so key for organisations these roles have become even more pivotal and Heads of Credit will often have to contribute to Board Packs and present at Board level. Progression is normally not only linked to personal attributes and people skills, but also a track record of reducing DSO, clearing significant amounts of debt and making progress with difficult clients.
Outside of the management route, some will choose to move into risk or analytical roles and wider transactional Finance Management – again positions which are highly regarded within business.
Varied and challenging day job
Very rarely are two days the same in the world of Credit. There are of course standard tasks that you have to complete on a daily, weekly, monthly and annual basis. As with all roles in finance there are cyclical demands and reporting phases. However, because you will deal with such a wide variety of clients and more importantly different stakeholders, the role will always present new and differing scenarios or challenges which need to be overcome in order to reach your goal.
It is common to be faced with challenging clients that withhold or will try to delay payment for a variety of different reasons and securing those aged or high value invoice payments will leave you with great job satisfaction. You will constantly be working towards targets, which in my opinion directly impacts your firms profitability.
The path to riches
Good Credit Control is essentially ‘good planning’. If you pro-actively build relationships with stakeholders, research diligently, always follow processes and plan ahead, you’ll be in a strong position and on the right path to riches.
In an era where cash is king, and debt is commonplace, an effective Credit Controller is worth their weight in gold.
If a firm’s Salespeople have the Midas touch, having a strong team of effective, motivated Credit Controllers supporting the Sales pipeline is the best way to minimise risk and maximise rewards.
Click here to browse through our latest Credit Control vacancies.
Written by James Adey