In the world of finance & accounting (F&A), the role of a credit control professional is both crucial and challenging. Recovering unpaid money from customers and chasing late payments are no easy feat. Additionally, credit control professionals need to achieve great collections and long-lasting accounts receivable (AR) results.
A great credit control professional will assess risks, build healthy relationships with customers, and focus on maintaining a good cash flow at all times. So, what does it take to become a high-performing credit control specialist? We’ve compiled a list of ten qualities that a finance manager should look for in a credit control professional.
1) Excellent communication skills: The ability to gauge conversations, make quick yet accurate judgments about customers, lend a sympathetic ear when needed, and guide conversations to the required conclusion are a few of the skills a good credit controller should possess. Additionally, it’s important to have impeccable negotiation skills and the ability to strike a rapport with a variety of customers.
2) Confidence, Charisma & Persistence: It can be challenging to pursue customers repeatedly in order to collect your dues. In such situations, it’s vital that a professional is confident of their abilities, persistent with difficult customers, and charismatic during customer interactions. At the end of the day, the relationship your business shares with its customers can impact long-term growth.
3) Staying calm under pressure: Chasing customers for payments can lead to upsetting and even aggressive interactions. There can be instances where the customer might shout, question, or even accuse a professional of making a mistake. It’s vital that such situations are dealt with in a calm yet authoritative manner. It’s also prudent that both parties agree on a solution that is mutually beneficial.
4) Superb numeracy skills: Credit control professionals need to deal with cold, hard figures on a daily basis. Therefore, it’s crucial that they are good with numbers. Strong numeric ability is required when seeking information about customer accounts, answering customer queries, processing payments, explaining credit terms, and negotiating payment plans.
5) Financial Literacy: Finance can be a complex subject to grasp. When dealing with hundreds of customer accounts, credit control professionals must have a good understanding of both the accounts payable and accounts receivable processes. This can enable better decision-making and effective collections.
6) Adaptability, Approachability, and Flexibility: When dealing with several customers, a professional should be willing to learn and adapt to everchanging situations/scenarios. Tact, diplomacy, and empathy are key skills that can help build positive customer relationships. Furthermore, being approachable allows customers to be more open and willing to negotiate payment terms, communicate any difficulty in making payments, and settle invoices on time.
7) Industry expertise: Different industry sectors work in different ways – credit control for the student accommodation industry is very different from AR & credit control for a recruitment agency. High-performing credit control specialists take the time to understand the nitty-gritty of specific industries and module their approach as per their learnings.
8) Diligence: Dealing with finances requires impeccable attention to detail. Credit control professionals should strive to be organized and methodical with their work. Accuracy is a must as misjudgments and miscalculations can hurt customer relationships or cause of financial loss. It’s also essential to have a strong grasp of the sales ledger and keep meticulous records of all customer interactions.
9) Good instincts: Along with good judgment, credit control professionals should also possess a strong intuition. This can enable them to make better decisions and know exactly when they should either apply pressure or take a step back when interacting with customers. A combination of good judgment and strong intuition can help crack even the toughest of customers and bring in payments that have been long overdue.
10) Introspection: Any good professional is always evolving and seeking continuous growth in their role. Regular introspection allows professionals to assess their skills, decide on areas that need improvement, seek guidance/feedback, and gain more knowledge.
Setting up a high-performing credit control department
Credit control involves a lot more than just chasing customers for payments. Good credit control requires strong relationship-building, creating rapports based on trust and mutual respect, navigating difficult conversations, answering queries, and assessing risk. In order to succeed in this role, professionals must be authoritative, knowledgeable, and calm.
QX is a UK-based finance and accounting outsourcing service provider with rich experience in streamlining credit control for our clients. We use the right mix of process optimization and technology to significantly improve our clients’ credit control KPIs. Get in touch with our experts for personalized advice on how to transform your credit control function.