The role of credit is ever changing. What credit professionals handle on a daily, weekly, monthly basis is challenging and can sometimes feel overwhelming. The requests from your customers, internally and externally, require you to reprioritize at any minute of the day. What happens when the requests outweigh the resources available? How do you handle the workload? What steps have you taken to help balance your day?
I recognize that every company is different, what is a priority at one may not be a priority at another. As the workload changes, have you taken a moment to rank your tasks by importance? Are there tasks that you do as a matter of course “it’s always been done this way”, that are no longer really required. Have you asked those who you are supporting, if the action is still necessary? Eliminating redundant or outdated activities will easily add time to your day.
A challenge that I face with regularity is keeping up with technology. Our customers ask us to support any number of different platforms for billing services and customer research. Having the time and knowledge to provide excellent customer satisfaction is important, so I engage weekly with our IT group. They have strong technical skills and have helped us out of a bind in a number of cases. They too lack resources but I have found a good relationship has been mutually beneficial.
Sometimes there are those special projects that seem to come out of nowhere. What about those projects that have been on your to-do list since last summer? I have found resources outside the credit department to be extremely helpful depending on the project. I have engaged sales support and front office staff to assist in getting the job done. They welcome the new experience and opportunity to be involved. They become part of the credit department extended family. Who knows, they might bloom into the newest credit team member.
Streamlining your main activities and prioritizing; partnering with other departments; and developing resources outside of your specific team will help in balancing the ebbs and flows of the credit dept. Can you too find hidden gems in your organization?
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