The True Cost of Hiring Good Credit Professionals, by Michael C. Dennis

A friend of mine was told by a headhunter that she was overqualified for a position.  What does it mean?  Usually, it is code for: (a) you are too expensive or (b) you are too old.  If we give the hiring company the benefit of the doubt, we are left only with (a).

In my experience as a consultant, many companies fail to understand the potential costs of a bad hiring decision in credit management, which include but are not limited to:

•         Higher bad debt write offs [not risk averse enough]
•         Missed sales opportunities [too risk averse]
•         Higher DSO and A/R carrying costs [inadequate follow up, or poor negotiating skills]
•         Damaged goodwill [with customers, and internal customers such as Sales]

There is an old saying:  If you think it is expensive to hire a credit professional, wait until you hire an amateur.

Michael is the author of the Encyclopedia of Credit (, a free, fast, internet resource for credit and collection professionals.  He is a consultant, and the author of “Credit and Collection Forms and Procedures Manual” as well as a frequent instructor at CMA-sponsored educational events.  He can be contacted at 949-584-9685.


Survey Finds East South Central and West South Central Regions Most Optimistic About Financial Hiring

MENLO PARK, CA — Employers are expected to remain cautious about adding accounting and finance professionals in the third quarter, according to the Robert Half International Financial Hiring IndexFive percent of chief financial officers (CFOs) expect to hire full-time employees during the third quarter while 8 percent anticipate personnel reductions. The majority of respondents (85 percent) say they plan to maintain their current staff levels.

The Robert Half International Financial Hiring Index is based on telephone interviews with more than 1,400 CFOs across the United States. It was conducted by an independent research firm and developed by Robert Half International, the world’s first and largest staffing services firm specializing in accounting and finance. Robert Half has been tracking financial hiring activity in the United States since 1992.

“Many companies remain hesitant to commit to adding staff until they are certain of an economic recovery,” said Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of Robert Half International. “In the meantime, most firms are working with their current teams to manage key initiatives, with some employers also bringing in project professionals to assist with rising workloads and support full-time personnel.”

Financial executives continue to report difficulty finding highly skilled professionals for certain functional areas. Twenty-six percent of CFOs said accounting positions, such as senior and staff accountant posts, are the most difficult to fill. Twenty-three percent said they experience the greatest challenges when hiring for audit roles.

Accounting and Finance Hiring — By Region 
While the overall outlook remains conservative, the highest degree of optimism was expressed by executives in the East South Central and West South Central states. A net 2 percent of CFOs in each region anticipate adding full-time accounting and finance professionals in the third quarter.“Growth among the healthcare and hospitality sectors in some areas within the East South Central states is boosting hiring activity in the region,” Messmer noted. “In the West South Central, employers seek mid-career professionals who have a proven work history and are flexible and skilled enough to manage a range of accounting projects.”

Robert Half commissioned additional interviews with CFOs in more than 40 major metropolitan areas to provide snapshots of financial hiring trends in these markets. The local results are available at

Accounting and Finance Hiring — By Industry 
In nearly every industry, CFOs surveyed said they expect to maintain current staffing levels.About the Robert Half International Financial Hiring Index
First published in 1992, the Robert Half International Financial Hiring Index was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on more than 1,400 telephone interviews with CFOs from a random sample of U.S. companies with 20 or more employees. For the study to be statistically representative and ensure that businesses from all segments were represented, the sample was stratified by geographic region and employee size. The results were then weighted to reflect the proper proportions of employee size within each region.