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How would you define the DNA of a credit manager?
This is not the easiest of questions to answer, partly because the role of a credit manager varies considerably from one organisation to the next, and their responsibilities can be very different.
But there are certainly common ‘threads’ that run through the character, personality and professionalism of those members of the Chartered Institute of Credit Management (CICM) that would set them apart, and the skills and attributes that they demonstrate.
The best credit managers are those who can communicate clearly, who are able to motivate themselves and their teams, and have an appetite for delivering results that are recognised by their peers in senior management. They will harness the knowledge and expertise of their profession, and use this knowledge not simply to keep the cash flowing through the business, but also to enable new business and turn an opportunity into a closed deal.
Credit management should never be seen or dismissed as a ‘back office’ function. There is a clear trend that shows that the role of credit managers is expanding (from order to cash) and that the credit management team contributes to the success of a business at every level, not just tactically but also strategically. As a discipline, credit management has grown and continues to grow in stature, as demonstrated by the ICM’s recent elevation to Chartered status. Members know that ‘standing still’ is not an option, and are positively embracing CPD and similar schemes to ensure continual learning and development.
The best credit managers are attracted to those firms that support the development of both individuals and teams, which recognise the ambitions and aspirations of their people, and reward and remunerate accordingly. Credit managers, as with all employees, need to know that their contribution is understood, and that their skills and expertise are being used to good effect.
The outlook for credit managers is an exciting one. Today perhaps more than ever, the importance of keeping the cash flowing is widely promoted, by business leaders and government. But it is a challenging time too, and an opportunity to build on the recognition afforded by the Royal Charter to demonstrate their true value and worth.
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