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Is a career in credit control right for you?

Debt collection and credit control might not initially appear the most glamorous positions to work in, but they can offer great rewards and are an excellent fit for those looking to use their financial knowledge and problem-solving skills.

Credit control professionals ensure the accounts and financial side of any operation runs smoothly, and are highly valued employees and essential to a business. For those looking to use their business acumen, logical mindset and affinity for finances and numbers, a career in credit control could be the perfect fit.

What skills or experience do I need to work in credit control?

For many entry-level jobs you won’t need a specific or formal qualification. Transferrable experience or a strong aptitude for the skills involved will establish you as an excellent candidate. Many employers will look favourably at:

  • Good GCSE results, especially in maths or ICT,
  • Previous experience in bookkeeping or accounts,
  • Previous experience in handling difficult clients and communicating well,
  • Proven results of achieving targets or working towards key performance indicators (KPIs).

While past employment in credit control can mark you out as a strong candidate for a role, employers will also want to see positive character traits. They might include a focused attitude, willingness to learn and good communication skills, so don’t worry if you don't have previous employment in this industry.

What progression can a career in credit control offer?

There is plenty of opportunity to progress in the credit control industry, such as promotions to roles with more responsibility like credit manager. Progression often comes after putting in hard work and getting proven results. In credit control it’s all about getting difficult clients to pay outstanding accounts, or clearing a significant amount of debt.

What does a typical day look like?

Working as a credit controller, you will be expected to liaise with clients regularly to update their accounts and chase for late payments. On a daily basis, you will be overseeing accounts to ensure their balance isn’t outstanding and will work towards clearing any aged debt and will chase up late payments.

There will be regular interaction with clients, so you should feel comfortable communicating with different types of people, because you will often come across difficult clients or those with challenging circumstances that prevent them from settling their accounts.

It’s common to be faced with clients who are withholding payment completely, so you will need to have a calm and methodical approach. Often you will be set a weekly or monthly financial target to work towards and you must be focused on meeting this goal.

Pursuing a career in credit control

If a career in credit control sounds like a good match for your skills, then the next step is to apply. In your application it’s important to make it clear why you would be a good fit for the role and what you can bring to the position. A credit control position requires someone who can keep calm whilst dealing with difficult clients, as well as having excellent communication skills. It’s also a positive if you are comfortable working towards targets or KPIs. For those with a focused mindset and talent for finances or numbers, a career in credit control can be both rewarding and satisfying.

Niamh Spence has written this article for Portfolio Credit Control, a group of specialist recruiters with credit control vacancies throughout the UK. Get in touch if you’re interested in a career in finance or looking to recruit talented candidates for your business.

Niamh Spence