Making the step from credit controller to credit manager

Credit teams play an important role in many organisations and are tasked with ensuring that all payments are received on time and in full.

There are numerous types of credit staff as they could be working for a third party collection agency or debt purchasing company to collect debts from businesses or individuals. Other credit staff work within a company's finance department and ensure that any late payments from suppliers and customers are chased and paid.

Anyone entering the sector will become credit controllers but companies will offer opportunities to rise through the ranks. This promotes career progression to employees and shows them what they need to do to develop. Credit controllers can move on to become supervisors and then eventually managers.

Making the progression can take years to achieve but there is a clear career path with credit controllers who have ambitions to become managers. Employers will tend to encourage their staff to go for an internal promotion as it rules out the need for them to look outside the company for a replacement.

As with all management positions, candidates will be expected to show a level of leadership which will show to employers that they are capable of handling a team of their peers. Making the step up can be a challenge but one that is achievable with the right skills and aptitude for the role.

So what can credit controllers do to make that step up and eventually become a credit manager? Here is a guide to achieving that promotion.

What are employers looking for?

When recruiting for a management position, employers will always be on the lookout for team members that can demonstrate a level of leadership and authority. The skills and knowledge required for the job should already have been gathered during a candidate's career either as a credit controller or supervisor.

However, when it comes to a management position, employers want something more.

Candidates will be expected to control a team of their peers while carrying some of the more demanding jobs involved within a company's credit department. When promoted to this role a candidate will be tasked with checking customers' credit ratings with banks and credit reference agencies and then be able to make a decision on whether or not to offer credit.

They will also work on insolvency or bankruptcy cases which see them liaise with other creditors. This can range from arranging for goods to be recovered by bailiffs or dealing with liquidators if it's decided that a company's assets are being sold off.

Credit managers can either work in commercial or consumer credit which can see them working with business customers or the public. Both of these areas require specialist sets of skills and employers will be looking to see how candidates can adapt to the demands posed by each different sector.

It is not just academic skills and experience as employers will be assessing the personal qualities candidates display. For a job as demanding as credit manager, employers will want their staff to have an ability to lead and motivate a team, have good organisational skills and have good business and commercial awareness.

What a candidate needs to achieve a management role

Their experience of working in credit controller and credit supervisor roles will give candidates thorough know-how of what is expected from these type of jobs. Over a number of years people will be able to build up skills such as re-negotiating repayment plans if customers are in financial difficulties and tracing missing debtors.

Controller roles tend to be entry level positions so making the step up to management requires much more. Companies will offer opportunities for career progression and a credit manager role may seem like a natural move for many controllers and supervisors.

As previously mentioned, the ability to both lead and motivate a team is absolutely essential. Employers will want to have a trusted manager who will ensure their group of staff is running efficiently while still motivated in their day-to-day lives.

Having a confident and assertive manner is crucial in this sense as it will highlight to employees that the candidate can be authoritative in a management position.