CMA President’s Blog: Core skills that drive high-performance credit departments, by Mike Mitchell

CMA’s Mission: Make a difference in credit department performance by helping credit professionals maximize cash flow and manage credit risk.

I am always playing around with CMA’s mission statement. While it is seems impossible to fully capture everything that CMA does to support credit professionals and their teams, the above mission statement is true if not fully comprehensive. One of the ways that CMA can make difference and help credit professionals perform at a higher level is through education and training. For years we have offered credit education on the entire range of credit-related topics in a variety of different formats (seminars, webinars, in-person and online classes, summits, and conferences). In an effort to keep up with the changing (and increasing) demands of the credit function, we surveyed our Board of Directors to find out what core knowledge and skills are required for hiring, performance evaluation, and advancement within the credit department.

What we found was pain.

A dozen in-depth interviews uncovered a dozen core skills that are valued by most of their credit departments. CMA has traditionally focused on providing “education,” meaning general knowledge, on credit topics. The Association has not focused on “training,” which is the practical application of that knowledge to daily credit operations. Training has been left up to the member company to offer. A few Directors we talked with have in-house training resources (often referred to as the Company University), and a few others have support from their human resources departments, but the vast majority of member companies make all credit-specific training the sole responsibility of the credit department management. The pain comes from the often significant time, resources, and expertise that is required to take on that responsibility. Time, resources, and expertise that an already overburdened credit department does not have.

At CMA, we are in the process of trying to ease that pain by developing convenient, cost-effective, standardized training programs that can be used to train credit department personnel at all levels of experience and responsibility. Your volunteer leaders on the Board have given us a really good start, but we want to hear from all of our members about what core skills your company and your credit department values and believes will drive high performance and great results. Please take a few minutes to answer our brief one-page survey so that we can include your input in our program design.

Click here to access the survey.

Thanks in advance for your help.

2 Replies to “CMA President’s Blog: Core skills that drive high-performance credit departments, by Mike Mitchell”

  1. It’s been my experience (and frustration) that many people that I’ve worked with know how to do their jobs but don’t necessarily understand WHY they are doing the things.

    I absolutely agree that training or, the practical application of that knowledge to daily credit operations, is essential to the success of any credit manager. I would welcome the opportunity for advanced training offered through CMA.

  2. Maya – great point! Understanding how credit and collections fits into the entire business, and the business fits into the industry, and how the industry views your own firm and its products, are key.

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