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How to become a credit manager before you're 30

Are you a credit control professional ready to take the step to manager?

What experience will I need?

As a credit control manager, you will be making decisions which impact the success of the business, such as approving new clients, helping to maintain steady cash flow and building important client relationships.

It is vital to show that you can gain a thorough understanding of the company you work for and how it operates, and that you can be trusted to make important decisions.

This means being able to demonstrate:

• successful business partnerships that you have developed

• relationships with senior staff you have established

• ability to advise senior staff and to help shape and manage credit control policy and agreements.

Credit control managers need to be able to manage the interests of different stakeholders, both within the company and externally. Therefore, confidence, the ability to make decisions and a personable attitude are therefore attributes for a manager, alongside a detailed understanding of the business.

Do I need a degree to be a credit control manager?

There is less emphasis on academic and professional qualifications in credit control compared to some professions. While having a degree certainly won’t harm your chances of reaching a credit manager position it isn’t essential.

While experience is considered the most important factor by many employers, credit professionals looking to stand out may want to consider CICM (Chartered Institute of Credit Management), a recognised industry qualification. Obtaining this qualification can help make you more credible in the eyes of employers helping you to progress into a more senior role within credit control.

Am I comfortable with technology?

Technology is increasingly playing an important role in managing cash flow. Credit professionals who can display an understanding of relevant or new technologies, and have the ability to pick up new system software easily are now seen as being increasingly valuable to credit control teams. If you’re naturally comfortable with technologies this can be an advantage.

Big or small company experience?

If the credit control function in your business is small, internal career progression can be difficult. In many cases, taking the step into a management role may mean moving to a new employer.

Having a large company on your CV is often seen as impressive and therefore it’s important to be mindful of where you gain experience throughout your career.

Having experience with a large, multinational business demonstrates that you can work with a wide range of different stakeholders and senior staff within the company.

However, that's not to say that small companies can’t offer important and valuable opportunities such as, more exposure within your team, the chance to work on senior projects as well as a closer relationship to senior staff.

The important thing is to be able to articulate on your CV or in an interview how that experience has helped you to develop. 

How important is industry experience?

It is important to consider the industry you want to work in, as this can make it difficult to change sectors.

For example, if you have worked in credit control in the media industry for several years it can be challenging to move into a credit control role within a law firm.

Being a credit control manager is not just about chasing money. It’s about understanding the company and making decisions that will directly benefit the business and therefore the more experience you have within one sector the you more valuable you are to companies within that industry.

Credit control – a growing profession

In recent years, credit control has become a growing priority to companies. Businesses are focused on creating solid credit control teams which they can rely on to take a proactive approach to maintaining a strong cash flow.

This means that new opportunities are appearing for junior credit control professionals to build solid career paths into management positions. This also means that credit control professionals are increasingly in demand at junior and management level.

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