Driving the Future of Credit Management- guest blog by Laurie Beagle FCICM, Managing Director at Forums International Ltd
23 July 2020
I believe that credit professionals have the enviable task of contributing, in a big way, to the future prosperity of the companies they work for. Yes, we will still have all the normal tasks to perform such as getting the cash in etc. etc. But we are also in the Driving Seat when it comes to helping our businesses recover from the weeks of lockdown and little business flow.
We now should be thinking outside the box as to how we can support the sales and make those deals happen.
I have come up with a list of what I see as the Top 10 ways we as a profession can “Drive the Future”
This is not an exhaustive list and I am sure you will be able to think of more. But as I said let us start thinking outside the box.
1. Contact all your major customers
a. See how they are
b. See what you can do to help them.
c. As you cannot visit where appropriate have a Zoom call
d. Engage with the salesperson
2. Have you been giving some customers a payment holiday?
a. Review the strategy
b. See how you can bring them back onto the normal payment platform
3. What is your Risk Appetite going forward?
a. Are you prepared to extend payment terms?
b. Are you prepared to increase credit limits?
c. What timescales should you apply
4. If you are Credit Insured have your insurers been reducing cover?
a. How does this affect trading with your customer base?
b. Are you prepared to self-insure and take the risk yourselves to bridge the gap?
c. Can the Government guarantee scheme help you?
5. Making the Deal Happen
a. What can you do to say yes to that order?
b. Can you use security, payment plans, guarantees etc?
c. Get sales onside to support you even if the answer is no.
6. Some of your customers will be potential casualties in the short to medium term
a. Look at how you can reduce the debt
b. Can you take back unsold goods?
c. Stopping the supply going forward may only bring them down earlier
d. Are you prepared to agree a payment plan?
e. If appropriate arrange for them to speak to a restructuring expert.
7. Cash is King
a. Revisit your collection procedures
b. Do they need to be changed or updated?
c. The courts are not working
d. Have you considered employing a Debt Collection Agency in the short term?
8. While you have been away
a. While you and your team have been working from home have you had to adapt your procedures?
b. Now you are back (or will be soon) do you go back to the old ways of working?
c. Or do you revisit the procedures and bring them up to date?
d. Can you simplify the ways of working and increase productivity?
e. What can you automate?
9. Working from home
a. Did working from home, work for you and your team?
b. Are you able to bring everybody back into the office safely and use social distancing?
c. Have you considered that working from home for part of the week may be an incredibly good and popular option?
d. Was there anything you did for the first time while at home that will now improve your working environment?
10. Your people
a. People thrive on being part of a team and the interaction between the team members so working from home has had a negative impact on some
b. Watch out for the signs: Emotional, Behavioural and Physical
c. Understand what practical steps managers can take to support the mental health of staff
I hope the above will give you some food for thought and lead towards a positive outlook for the future.
Laurie Beagle FCICM