As a credit manager, I am not sure there is any time of the year that is “slow” for me, especially not year-end. There is always an account that needs attention, money needing to be collected, training that needs to occur, etc. However, as we roll into the last quarter of the year, I will take a few moments to identify some action items to ensure that we will meet our goals for the year.
I know that 80% of our receivables base is made up of 20% of our customers. I will review these accounts for any special items that could delay our payments coming in as they need to. I will check with the sales team to see if their purchases will be ramping up for the end of the year so that the credit limit is in place. I might make a customer visit to strengthen the relationship with my Company, expressing my appreciation for their continued support and to verify payment expectations for the year end.
It is house-cleaning time, or better yet account-cleaning time, my team and I will spend some time to ensure that our account disputes are being resolved for the year end. We will scrub and clear as many disputes as we possibly can. We will engage the sales team early in the quarter to give them plenty of time to address the issue. I might even pull one credit analyst to spearhead this activity, and let them focus on only this activity.
I also take time throughout the last quarter to remind my team how important they are to me. They have worked hard all year and I am asking them to make the push to close the year strong. I want to keep them motivated and happy; I might take them out to lunch, for a cocktail after hours, or maybe let them leave an hour early on a Friday to miss the traffic. I appreciate their efforts and recognize that as a team we are successful. The recognition really is all year long but the last quarter can be more stressful than the others.
The year end is coming, sooner than we all probably would like. It is a good time to reflect on areas of opportunity, and lead the team to the finish line! What are some of the opportunities you look to as the end of the year approaches?
Melissa Kobus, CCE, is the Credit Management Association Chairman and Regional Credit Manager for Anixter Inc., based in Anaheim, CA. She can be reached at 714-695-2219, or firstname.lastname@example.org