How modern technology is changing the face of credit management in todays business world.
When I was a lad I went to the cinema and watched sci-fi films where robots were very much in evidence. Later I’m sure we all saw ‘Batteries not required’, perhaps not robots, but very friendly aliens. Then there were the droids R2D2 and C3PO in Star Wars, Johnny 5 in Short Circuit, and perhaps Darth Vader, more machine than man.
We were at one of our SAP User Group meetings recently and one of the members advised that they had lots of robots. There were many in the warehouse but also some in the Credit and Finance team. One that caught my attention was Spartacus, who took credit applications from the web, fax, email and paper sources, and loaded the details into their SAP system. That is what I call cool.
This week at our Business and Office Supplies Credit Forum, Adrian Bolt from Lyreco led an interesting discussion on the future of credit management. The view was that we can choose three routes for the future:
- Expand the digital activities of the credit department
- Introduce new tools
- Contribute to the digital customer experience
In my view, best outcomes will be increasingly achieved by a combination of all three. This discussion also led to consideration of what skills will be needed in the future. The credit manager will need to be more social medis aware, also the traditional Credit team roles may change, as they will need to be more technically skilled.
In my view, as we use more systems to handle the small account volume, cash applications, reporting, e-billing, portals, online payments and so on. I hope that credit skills will increase to create credit and commercial experts who manage and make the business happen and add to the company’s profitability.
We also discussed the customer: a key part of the equation. The customer’s experience, whether dealing with sales, logistics, administration, or credit needs to be A1. A comment was made that, even if we have the best product, deliver it on time and in one piece, but then cannot invoice it correctly, it will not be paid, and that dispute reflects on the rest of the company.
Customer dispute management is a recurring agenda item across all out forums, which surprises me. Why, with good systems and root cause analysis do invoice queries keep growing? One member, from another forum, advised that they had £10m in queries on their books – but why?
I will take the final paragraph from Adrian’s presentation, “The credit manager of the future may have more of a technical background than a finance profile.” I hope that you have seen the information regarding the all new CCRInteractive on 11th October. I look forwad to seeing you at the Forums International round-tables. Wishing you all a very happy Summer.
Forums for September and October
6th September – Business and Office Supplies Credit Forum – London
13th – 14th September – International Telecoms Risk Forum – TATA Communications – Montreal
25th September – Export/International Credit Forum – Moore Stephens – London
9th October – Credit Professionals Forum – Bracknell
10th October – SAP User Group – McBrides – Manchester
16th October – Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Credit Forum – Stratford Upon Avon
17th October – Senior Credit Management Forum – Stratford Upon Avon
18th October – IT Distributors and Resellers Forum – Stratford Upon Avon
24th October – Fraud and Cybercrime Forum – London