Collecting Cash - Why Credit Controllers Are Today's Unsung Business "Superheroes!"

01 February 2012

If you're a regular cinemagoer, you've probably noticed that over the past few years barely a month has gone by without the release of a new movie about a caped crusader with special powers. My guess is that the recent popularity of superhero movies has a lot to do with the current economic climate. In difficult times, it’s easy to see the appeal of the hero who swoops in to save the day.

Superman. Batman. Spiderman. Credit Controller. Wait: Credit controller?

All right, so Hollywood hasn't actually made a movie about a superhero credit controller yet. However, it should!

Turning sales into cash collected is a job, which, in the current climate, requires heroic levels of dedication and tenacity. And, like Superman in his secret identity as Clark Kent, credit controllers tend not to get recognition for the amazing feats they perform.

The perception of a credit controller as someone who just makes the phone call chasing payment is far from the whole picture. Yes, a credit controller will spend a considerable amount of time on the phone. But that's just the start of what a credit controller does.

Credit controllers usually have their own set of customer accounts to manage, and over time, they get to know these companies or individuals, learning which accounts are likely to be problematic, and which strategies for securing payment work best for each. The credit controller performs a vital role in resolving problems that are holding up payment. He or she can also serve as a key point of contact between the customer and the organisation, directing genuine queries and issues to the right person or department to be resolved.

Where a customer is experiencing real problems, the credit controller is often best placed to notice the warning signs and sound the alarm. If it becomes necessary to take legal action, the credit controller's comprehensive records of all communication with the customer will be key to the case. The credit controller may deal directly with and instruct collection agencies or solicitors.

In the property sector, landlords are under enormous pressure to generate returns from heavily leveraged assets. However, for tenants facing the toughest trading environment in decades, levels of rent and service charges, which were affordable in better times, can start to feel unmanageable. The credit controller's role is pivotal where these competing demands clash.

It is a much less glamorous job than fighting super villains, but it requires superhuman abilities. An effective credit controller will possess levels of determination and diligence beyond ordinary mortals.

The good news is that it's easier to find a credit controller than it is to find Superman or Batman. Landlords who use professional managing agents can call on the skills and experience of credit controllers who are used to dealing with the challenges of the role.

Hollywood hasn't made a blockbuster about a superhero credit controller. As far as many landlords are concerned, an effective credit controller is more valuable than a whole legion of superheroes!

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