If only ________________ (insert job title or name) understood that _______ (insert credit wisdom here)."
Has that phrase ever slipped from your lips at work? Credit is a tough and challenging job! You probably wear multiple hats and have numerous irons in the fire. You get caught between customers, sales and management and it can be frustrating. So, how do you get management, sales, customers and others to trust and value your knowledge and experience and to take you seriously? Become more credible and influential.
Increase your credibility by learning everything you can about your job and company. Take classes, attend seminars, read books and read newsletters, search online, network with other credit professionals, find a mentor, go back to school, obtain a NACM Professional Certification. Know your job inside and out. Learn everything you can about your company's products and services. Learn, understand, practice and don't take shortcuts. As you increase your knowledge and abilities, you will have a positive impact on those you work with. It will show by improved performance and bottom line results.
Larry Brooks, Credit Manager, ARUP Laboratories, has a 4 year degree and is a CPA and had many years of experience. Larry states that when he achieved the NACM Certified Credit Executive (CCE) designation, co-workers viewed him differently. They saw him as a true credit professional and sought his advice.
Develop a "whatever it takes" attitude. Show that you care and appreciate your job and co-workers. Contribute and communicate what you learn and observe with others. Do everything in your job with excellence. Don't pretend to be perfect, none of us are. Make it ok to learn from mistakes. Listen (more than talk) to those you work with, find common ground, and be available. By helping others you help yourself. Be a team player and contribute, it's more disposition than position. A team is much more effective than a group of individuals. Have written goals and objectives, without them you have no direction or strategy.
Be truthful. Stand for what is right and do what is right; not what is popular or gets the spotlight. Rather than competing with others, put others ahead of you. A team is much more than a group of individuals. Don't play office politics, avoid gossip and stay away from petty arguments. Know when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em in disputes.
Whether it's management, co-workers or sales, communicate your knowledge and competence to those around and above you. Lighten the load of management and make them look good! You are more likely to be supported if you add value to management and to the company. Expand the vision of others by demonstrating and communicating insights from the credit department's practical experiences.
I believe in credit superheroes - they may not go faster than a speeding bullet, but they protect company assets by maximizing sales opportunities while minimizing the risk of losses.
Credit can absolutely have a positive influence on your company. It's been said that credit management is both an art and a science. Besides knowledge and experience, it requires vision, intuition, and the ability to weigh risk and reward and build relationships.