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As we entered into 2020, it was already widely recognised that in the previous decade (moving out of the banking crisis) professionals in Credit Management had been far more in demand and highly respected than towards the beginning of the Millennium. Cash collection has always played a major part in the rejuvenation of individual businesses as well as market confidence. The importance of effective cash flow is/was recognised as key to being able to re-invest in a growth market.
In my opinion, the pandemic has done nothing but reaffirm these trends and beliefs on a global scale. Although many of the industries and specialisms we recruit in-to had become extremely quiet, Credit professionals were and are still 100% in-demand. The move to home-working has proven that Credit Management can operate brilliantly from any location or setting. We have continued to recruit temporary and permanent candidates for our clients throughout lockdown. Cash flow is often the number one priority for survival during challenging times.
Credit Control requires many specialist skills. It's not just about collecting cash from late paying customers. Good Credit Control is multi-faceted, but in essence it is about managing risk and strong customer service.
Often the most successful Credit Control teams are whose which are “in Control”. Those afforded trust, freedom and an ability to drive Credit Policy internally whilst balancing commercial risk factors vs. customer relations are the teams which are usually most successful . Teams that had focused on developing internal and external stakeholder relations have benefited hugely in the early stages of the pandemic, as they have been able to have sensible conversations regarding processes, payment plans and credit terms in order to ensure cash flow has been maintained.
Credit Control requires the need for processes and policies to be in place to get through client’s approval systems when it comes to invoicing and payment. It can be hard enough getting paid on time without queries arising combined with pandemic related complications . With many companies only having one payment run per month this often results in a business having to wait over 60 days before payment is received.
I have nothing but respect for my many contacts and placed candidates in Credit and Collections Teams who have worked remotely from their base offices throughout lockdown this year. We should praise those key workers in Credit who have kept on top of processes and have played a key part in keeping businesses afloat during these tough last 6 months – even when the sun was out and beach-goers were under scrutiny. Credit Controllers kept calm and carried on.
Moving into Q4 2020 and the winter months, the outlook is unclear on what the future holds for many. However, what is clear is that Credit Management will increasingly become an even more important function this year. Whether your debtors are in consumer or B2B markets we can look back at the recession that followed the banking crisis of 2008 and feel optimistic in the knowledge that we will get through this and that fair and effective Credit Control is a crucial cog in the wheel of every business during testing times.
Written by James Adey