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Credit management is the process of controlling and collecting payments from customers. This is the function within a bank or company to control credit policies that will improve revenues and reduce financial risks. A credit manager is a person employed by an organization to manage the credit department and make decisions concerning credit limits, acceptable levels of risk and terms of payment to their customers. In companies, the role of Credit manager is variable in its scope. Credit managers are responsible for:
- Controlling bad debt exposure and expenses, through the direct management of credit terms on the company's ledgers.
- Maintaining strong cash flows through efficient collections. The efficiency of cash flow is measured using various methods, most common of which is Days Sales Outstanding (DSO).
- Ensuring an adequate Allowance for Doubtful Accounts is kept by the company.
- Monitoring the Accounts Receivable portfolio for trends and warning signs.
- Enforcing the "stop list" of supply of goods and services to customers.
- Determine credit ceilings.
- Setting credit-rating criteria.
- Setting and ensuring compliance with a corporate credit policy.
- Obtaining security interests where necessary. Common examples of this could be PPSA's, letters of credit or personal guarantees.
- Initiating legal or other recovery actions against customers who are delinquent.
Credit managers tend to fall into one of two groups due to the differing specialty legal and jurisdictional knowledge required:
- Commercial Credit Managers
- Consumer Credit Managers
Companies which sell to both markets will require a Credit manager familiar with both aspects of Credit management.
Credit managers in Australia obtain memberships from the Australian Institute of Credit Management (AICM). Qualifications and continuing education can also be obtained from here.
Credit professionals in Canada can obtain the official designation, Certified Credit Professional - CCP (formerly known as the Fellow Credit Institute — FCI), from the Credit Institute of Canada. This designation is slowly becoming a requirement of most corporations when choosing which individual to hire to manage their credit department.
Credit managers operating within the United Kingdom can obtain accreditation from the Institute of Credit Management.
Construction Credit Management
Construction Credit Management is considered an area of specialty as it encompasses some specific skill sets:
1) Strong knowledge of security and lien law within your province, state or territory
2) The ability to understand how money moves thru the construction pyramid
3) People skills that go beyond traditional credit management in that the Credit Manager may be required to deal with Managerial and non-managerial staff of both the white and blue collar variety
4) A basic knowledge of Construction and the willingness to make site visits if needed.