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A certain Uncertainty – by Philip King FCICM

20 December 2018

We’re approaching the end of a year that has been turbulent and challenging in many ways. We can now look forward to the approach of the new year with some certainty. 2019 will be equally, if not more, turbulent and challenging. Many, including – I fear- those charged with leading us through the coming months, have little idea what lies ahead and what to do about whatever it is we’re faced with!

I was asked by a government official at the start of this week what advice I would offer credit professionals about dealing with Brexit. I could have cited the need to deal with the impact of currency fluctuations, cross-border collections and enforcement difficulties, delays in product shipments resulting in supply and invoice delays and the negative cashflow effect, or any of a number of different things but I didn’t. My advice is that we have to be prepared to face whatever is thrown at us and deal with it. That’s what we do.

Debbie Nolan, our recently elected Vice-Chair reminded me last week that she was in my class for the ICM qualification at Watford College in the 1980s. I remember sharing with students then that credit professionals have to deal with a range of factors, many of which are outside their control. From company sales strategies that seem to fly in the face of sensible risk management, to the sudden insolvency of a major customer, to the market uncertainty caused by political or environmental factors, and so much more. Nothing has changed. Dealing with uncertainty and the unexpected is part of the job. That’s what we do.

While the world is in turmoil around us, we have to continue making good credit decisions, we have to find ways to do business that we need but might prefer not to have, we have to make sure cash keeps flowing to keep our businesses in business. That’s what we do.

Thank you to the team at CICM HQ that has worked so hard and delivered so much, thank you to those who read my ramblings through the year, thank you to our Corporate Partners who support us and work with us, thank you to our members who promote credit management and the CICM, thank you to our branches who deliver such effective programmes, and thank you to those I should have thanked but will remember just after this blog gets published.

I hope you have a peaceful, restful and enjoyable Christmas that allows you to recharge the batteries and start 2019 with renewed vigour and enthusiasm. For the CICM we’ve been working hard in recent weeks making sure that we’re ready for a new year when we’ll continue promoting the importance of credit management, driving best practice in credit management, and supporting credit professionals throughout their careers. That’s what we do.


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