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The Finance director's perspective

Q&A
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As well as the insight provided by our credit leader contributors, we also gained expert opinions from leading finance directors from across the UK. Below you can read their view on what it takes to be a good credit manager.

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Finance Directors Interviews


Jc Schoeman - Director, Finance
Bill to Cash Operations (International)
Verizon Enterprise Solutions

How big is your credit team?

We have a Bill-to-Cash team of c.270.

What qualities and skills do you look for in a good credit manager?

Proven people management skills, ability to adapt to continuous change and implement change.

Do you involve your credit team in business decisions?

Yes, we involve and seek advice from our credit teams on new deals and orders to ensure credit worthiness and to ensure we can support agreements operationally.

How do you see the relationship between the functions of credit management and sales?

Need to support each other to be successful –alignment on what needs to be delivered before agreements – need customer facing and back-office to support each other.

What do you see as the biggest challenge credit teams face (other than cash) e.g. technology, skills gaps?

Staying relevant – continuously evolve skills – adopting latest technologies.

With this in mind, what if any training do you provide for your credit department?

Each employee has a development plan – formal and informal training programme.

Finally what would be your top tip for a credit professional to impress an FD?

Understand how department impacts on company performance & objectives.


Andrew Parris
Director of Shared Services
Lafarge Tarmac

How big is your credit team?

The Order to Cash Senior Manager has a team of three dedicated Credit Managers and one Credit/Collections Manager reporting to him, along with an Accounts Receivable Manager. The hybrid Credit/Collections Manager role exists as a consequence of a recent acquisition, not fully integrated into the Order to Cash process and the team reporting to this person consists of 8 roles. The Accounts Receivable Team consists of 33 roles, mainly collections but also query management and reporting.

What qualities and skills do you look for in a good credit manager?

Excellent stakeholder management skills; highest integrity; superb communications skills; detailed appreciation of credit policy, practices & procedures; detailed understanding of credit insurance; excellence commercial awareness.

Do you involve your credit team in business decisions?

Yes, insofar as the trading limits with customers is concerned.

How do you see the relationship between the functions of credit management and sales?

These relationships are critical to the success of the credit management and sales teams in equal measure. Sales teams are generally incentivised to ‘do more business’ and the credit management team are there to help make sure that the business we do is valuable.

What do you see as the biggest challenge credit teams face (other than cash) e.g. technology, skills gaps?

Using multiple ledgers (we operate across 4 different ERPs); Working with (relatively) un-sophisticated customers (some of whom have no accounting software) as well as multinationals (some of whom rely almost exclusively on EDI); Commercial/Business understanding and their impact on credit decisions and cash collections; Managing the "tension" between the agenda/objectives of customers, sales teams and themselves; Resolving problems and improving processes.

With this in mind, what if any training do you provide for your credit department?

Process improvement training (LEAN/Six Sigma); ERP systems training; customer liaison/service training.

Finally what would be your top tip for a credit professional to impress an FD?

Understand the business issues and how they impact on your role/objectives; Be able to convert complexity (eg intricacies of credit insurance) into simple to understand principles/language.


Chris Stamper
UK Finance Director
Hays

How big is your credit team?

I manage a team of c.70 people.

What qualities and skills do you look for in a good credit manager?

Leadership – people management. This includes being motivational and being good with target setting. Focus on your development and have excellent commercial awareness to foresee worthy business decisions.

Do you involve your credit team in business decisions?

Yes, supply decisions, new supply, and withdrawal of supply.

How do you see the relationship between the functions of credit management and sales?

This relationship between sales and credit teams are important for the operational business.

What do you see as the biggest challenge credit teams face (other than cash) e.g. technology, skills gaps?

One of the main challenges for recruiters is finding the number right people with the up-to-date skills who are ready to embrace the effective use of technology.

With this in mind, what if any training do you provide for your credit department?

We offer support towards the ICM qualifications, we also have a range of in house soft skills and management programs.

Finally what would be your top tip for a credit professional to impress an FD?

To impress your FD, I would advise aspiring credit managers to be on top of numbers. Learn how o effectively manage the team and demonstrate leadership skills, and have good commercial awareness.

Credit leaders insights

To read more interviews with credit management professionals click here.