John Lord Joins AICDP As Legal Counsel

John Lord Joins AICDP As Legal Counsel

AICDP is delighted to announce that John Lord has joined us as Legal Counsel and will be supporting AICDP and our members and will be attending events in 2023.

John is Head of Business Legal Services at Horwich Farrelly, a commercially focussed Dispute Resolution Partner and Head of Business Legal Services. We are delighted to welcome John to our ranks.

We have talked before about “getting out of the bunker” and already this year the Credit community has shown that 2023 is the year of change. We have a wealth of events and webinars planned to support the community. We have a strong Executive Committee in place to drive our planned activities and we hope you can join us.

Bill Dunlop, President of AICDP said: “I have personally known John for a number of years and always appreciated his open and pragmatic approach. I am delighted to welcome John to the AICDP Executive Committee and look forward to seeing how John can support our members going forward.

To find out more about AICDP, please visit – https://www.aicdp.global

Beating the Winter Blues

Beating the Winter Blues


Some people traverse winter effortlessly . . . this is for those who have problems navigating their way to the joys of spring. I’m writing here about the mild lows and depression, the Winter Blues, accompanying the onset of winter. Seasonal Affective Disorder – SAD is a more acute depression requiring a strategic approach. If you think you experience the latter, it will be of benefit to read more about it and, possibly, seek professional help.

Most people experience a rise in energy and lifting of spirits on a sunny spring day: waking up, jumping out of bed, eager to engage with the world. Spring heralds returning light, the lack of it having such a marked effect on energy levels, mood and outlook over the winter months.

We receive less light over the short days of winter, affecting us in various ways: lower energy, alteration in mood, listlessness, lack of focus, mild depression. There are tactics which will help with these symptoms, ameliorating the worst effects.

Sleep

Sleep is invaluable at any time as the prime way we restore our energy, reset our brains, process our experience and restore our systems. In winter, sleep is even more useful, it sets us up ready to grow and thrive in the year to come. Go to bed earlier, get enough sleep, you wake feeling rested, more positive, with energy to face the day. Use winter as a bed- hibernation. Make your sleeping as comfortable and restful as you can. Don’t look at screens (screens simulating paper on eReaders are the exception) after you have gone to bed.

Adjust to the winter circadian rhythm, the physical, mental and behavioural changes which
follow a 24-hour cycle, the natural pace of life dictated by shorter days. Generally in the
house, do not watch too much television, look at screens or over-stimulate with artificial light.

Activity

Activity staves off depression. Go outside every day, if only to look at the sky. Better would be a walk. Get as much natural light as possible on short winter days. This gives real benefit, it elevates your state of well-being. Whether you are inside or outside, move. It’s good for your physical and mental health to invest more energy in movement in winter because you are less inclined, less willing, less arsed to do so. Force yourself, you’ll be doing yourself a favour.

Depression

Depression developed in humans over millennia as a way of coping with less activity, shortages of food and long periods inside the cave (other dwellings were available) over winter. Less energy expended meant less food required. Depression was a way to attain low levels of energy output, a kind of human hibernation. Sleep and rest are healthy things to be doing in winter. Some depression in winter is entirely natural, recognising it as such will help:

resisting something enables it to persist, accepting something enables it to dissipate. ‘I feel down!’ ‘That’s OK, it’s winter, that’s natural.’ This kind of self-talking helps.

Rather than:

‘I feel down! I hate winter! It’s raining again. It’s worse every year! I wish I lived in Antigua. I haven’t got enough time or money for a holiday. I hate my life! I’m going to have a drink.’ This kind of self-talking will make it a problem, make it worse, make it persist.

Winter is what it is, accept it. It has a shorter reign than most rulers.

Cognitive Awareness

There are things you can do mentally, ways in which you can frame your thinking, which will keep your mood higher and minimise the negative effects of living in the northern hemisphere during the darker months.

It seems to be easier, and faster, going into winter than coming out of it. The real down periods, for most, seem to be after Christmas and New Year. Count the weeks down to the winter solstice on 21 st December, the shortest, darkest day of the year in the northern hemisphere. Set the 21 st , in your mind, as the end of the natural year and the 22 nd as the beginning of the new one. After the solstice, it gets lighter by about two minutes a day, 15 minutes a week, until the clocks go forward again at the end of March. By the third week of January the evenings are beginning to be noticeably lighter. After this, every week is an increased advance into spring. In addition, the mornings will gradually be becoming lighter earlier.

Doing this will help you to conceptualise the worst period for Winter Blues as only three
weeks long . . . bearable.

Some Other Thoughts

Think of what you enjoy doing, what makes you feel good: do those things in winter. Make winter the season when you take the time to do enjoyable things and really look after yourself.

When you think about the weather, change your parameters. Stop describing it, even in your head, as good or bad weather, think of it instead as variable, interesting, always changing. There is as much variation in winter weather as there is in summer weather, take time to observe it more objectively. Stop being a victim of weather, that is, do not let what the weather is doing determine what your moods are doing. In other words, on this one let your cognitive take charge of your affective: let your rational mind inform your feelings.

Stop thinking about alternatives: where you would rather be, where you would rather live, what you would rather be doing. Whatifery is for losers. If you would rather be doing something else somewhere else, put your energy into making it happen. Otherwise, tell your mind to shut up.

Remind yourself that we are all an integral part of the great cycle of the planet, a part of the natural world. All living things, plants, animals, trees, have fallow periods during which they conserve, recoup and rebuild their strength. No life is always On. Slow, Pause and Stop are also necessary, and healthy, settings.

These days, apart from the far north and the far south, winter is a third of the year at most and much milder than it used to be. Slow down, accept it, learn to enjoy it . . . and then make the very most you can of spring, summer and autumn.

The only weather that matters is the weather inside your head.

Nick Kell
AICDP – Behavioural Dynamics Director

Enrollment for the Diploma and International Diploma in Credit Management for September 17th 2022 has now begun

Enrollment for the Diploma and International Diploma in Credit Management for September 17th 2022 has now begun

In order to get more information or enrol please click HERE. Over the past twenty years, ICMT have been delivering top quality education in Credit Management, and hundreds of students have been through the program and many are now enjoying top Credit Management jobs as a result. If you would like to join them and get the weight of an Internationally recognised qualification behind you, you should complete your International Diploma in Credit Management to achieve your full potential and boost your career in credit management.

The four subjects are:

Credit Management – where you will learn the best practices in managing credit from start to finish.
Credit Collections – where you will learn to become a great collector/ communicator.
Credit Risk Assessment  – where you will learn to read and understand financial accounts from a credit perspective and make better decisions.
International Credit Management or Law – The Irish Legal System – where you will learn the fundamentals to increase your understanding.

The term runs from September to December with exams in January. The second term runs from February to May with exams at the end of May. On successful completion you will receive your Diploma in Credit Management awarded by Irish Credit Management Training (ICMT) and Certified by AICDP – The Association of International Credit Directors and Professionals and CMII, The Credit Management Institute of Ireland.  Irish Credit Management Training are the No 1 credit training provider in Ireland for the past twenty years, working with Credit professionals to progress their credit careers to team leaders, supervisors, managers, and Directors. The Credit and Collections industry is facing huge challenges and it’s more important than ever to be qualified in your chosen field.

Who should enrol on this course?

Anyone responsible for the credit function looking to perform at a higher level, excel and get better financial results.  The course is designed for individuals working in Credit Management with full time jobs, careers and other commitments. It fits around your busy schedule enabling you to get a valuable qualification that can integrate into your daily life.  Click HERE for more information on the course.

What do past students say about the training course?

Ciara O’Brien
​”Excellent courses which I would highly recommend. The Diploma & Advanced Diploma course covers all aspects and increases ones level of understanding in the areas of accountancy ( important areas for me were looking at the analysis of trial balance & being taught the skills to balance the balance sheet) to law, advanced law and credit management & improving ones collection skills). ‘’

Natalie Casey
“Best decision I made regarding my career. The Diploma in Credit Management is an excellent course with great support even with a young family, the lecturers are very approachable and understanding.  ‘’

Louise Kelly
‘’I enrolled in the Credit Management course as I had just become a credit controller and wanted as much help as possible. I found absolutely every tool I needed to do my job within this course and more. I don’t think I would still be a credit controller today if it weren’t for this course.’’ 

Click HERE for more information on the course.

By having your Diploma or International Diploma in Credit Management, you are sending out a strong message to the world that you are committed to a career in credit and you are going to succeed. The next term begins on the 17th September 2022 with an online induction and introduction to our tutors.  You study at home with lots of help support and advice.

 

Evolution of Products to Support Credit and Collection Operations

Evolution of Products to Support Credit and Collection Operations

Having worked in this sphere for more than fifty years I have been close to this critical evolution, I have witnessed literally hundreds of presentations on “brave new products”. Some have been good, some bad and some indifferent. However, there have been precious few that I immediately viewed as “Game Changers” and as this writing is the product of my personal experience and exposure there is no suggestion by me that the product was unique or first to the market. Also, the quality of the presentations and presenter was critical and getting the right messages across in terms of benefits, cost and challenges must be eloquently articulated. To achieve that the presenter must be completely knowledgeable of their product, the market they are operating within and what will deliver clear benefit to the prospective client. There is a corresponding duty falling on the recipient
to be professionally and commercially alert.

Considering all the above my nominations as “Game Changers” would be as follows:

Collection Workbench

In the early 1990’s I was given a presentation by a gentleman called Mike Wilstrop of a company called The Beaver Corporation (later to change its name when entering the US for reasons that I can
remember but choose not to include to you) Mike fulfilled all the duties of the presenter in admirable fashion and as I recall succeeded in making the presentation entertaining by taking a mallet to a desktop and destroying it. The product being promoted was a collection workbench, which for me was a second-generation product in that until that point information technology was a simple electronic sales ledger. The Collection workbench looked to automate the day-to-day activity of collection specialists. Its advanced calendar and call scheduling driven by an accurate database and teamed with an effective query management system had efficiency written all over it. The costing was reasonable, and it was not too difficult to turn efficiency savings into a reasonable return on investment.

Electronic Invoicing

The second presentation that was an eye opener was from Lee Allen of Netsend in the early 2000’s and was more widely around electronic documentation, but for us was focused on invoicing via the sales ledger. The system itself was speedy, efficient and cost effective but there were two absolutely usp’s. Firstly, at a stroke it completely killed off the age-old problem of invoices being unavailable to the client; either accidentally or deliberately. Given how many collection calls required the collectors to go through the pain staking process of accessing, sending and confirming delivery of invoices disappeared over night, therefore contributed massively to positive cash flow and unnecessary administrative effort was saved. The 2nd compelling reason was that with many product enhancements in support of credit and collections it was proving difficult to quantify in
financial terms the efficiency savings. With electronic invoicing there was an easy direct comparison between costs of post versus the electronic system. Therefore, preparing a compelling return on investment argument was a simple no-brainer.

Fast Financing

Around the same time, I had been introduced to a company called E-Credit.com who were already providing products in the collection workbench and credit risk assessment areas. They had at the time developed a system called Fast Financing whereby an electronic order would be received and within the product the order would be referred to a fast-financing section that went through a high to low list of lenders down to sub-prime lenders until it was automatically accepted. This system was far sighted, and the benefits could have been immense. It was also expensive, but regrettably while trying to get it accepted significant changes occurred within the company that I was working for at the time, and this vendor meant the project never reached fruition. I believe the organisation is still in existence but as I believe I was to be the first client. I remain unsure if it was viably
launched.

Managed A/R

Over the last couple of years, I have been pleasantly surprised again by Mr Allen of Netsend but now is off Corcentric (the latter having subsequent purchased the former) and Lee is the senior Vice President responsible for introduction of Managed A/R into the EMEA market. To call Managed A/R a simple product would be a gross understatement. In my mind, it is the creation of a multi-faceted partnership between Corcentric and the client involving an integrate blend of Invoice discounting to a specific DSO without recourse, BPO and the creation of key process control to release cash to the business. Managed A/R is an already proven product in the U.S market and EMEA roll-out is already proceeding well and it should be a priority of every forward thinking credit professional to understand its’ capabilities and evaluate its application to their current portfolio.

I would welcome your thoughts on the Evolution of Products to Support Credit and Collection Operations as we prepare solutions for the future, please email me bill.dunlop@aicdp.global or call me 07764 842904

Reshaping the Future of Credit – 25th January 2022 – 1pm

Reshaping the Future of Credit – 25th January 2022 – 1pm

Now Online – Reshaping the Future of Credit – 25th January 2022 – 1pm

AICDP has taken the decision to transition our event planned for the 25th January at Eight Club in London to a virtual meeting after listening to our members and will now be held on Zoom.

We hope you can join us as we explore reshaping the future in Credit. We will be hearing from Senior Global Credit Professionals and we are absolutely delighted to be joined by our fabulous guest speakers Markus Kuger, Mark Whitely & Simon Marshall.

Agenda:

  • 1pm – Arrival & Networking – Online
  • Economic update 2022 – Markus Kuger
  • The Potential Impact of Insolvencies in 2022 and the Fallout Within the Insurance Market – Mark Whitely
  • Co-pilot’s “Essence of Credit Risk” Events Programme – Simon Marshall
  • 3.30pm Networking opportunity – Online

Please Note: This event is strictly for Practising Credit Professionals only. If you are a Supplier / Vendor then please email info@aicdp.global before booking a ticket

Minding Your P’s & P’s

Minding Your P’s & P’s

The Importance of understanding Credit Philosophy and the relationship with Policy and Process

Much is spoken and written about the importance of Credit Policy and Process, but much less of the importance of Credit Philosophy. This is surprising, since defining and understanding of an organisations philosophy is (or should be) at the very heart of the establishment and effective operation of any credit function. Indeed, the formation of Policy and the adopting of Process and Procedures should be a linear progression after the establishment of The Philosophy. Therefore, The Policy should be the manifestation of the Philosophy and Process should be the execution of Policy on a day to day basis.

How the Philosophy is Defined and by whom

Credit Management is not responsible for developing but should be major influence in its’ evolution. This is the sole prerogative of the business leaders. Most organisations are Sales led, some are Finance led and occasionally some are product led. The leaders or drivers are the custodians of the Philosophy and should be encouraged to be so by Credit Management. The basic definition of Credit Philosophy is:

“How does the Organisation feel about its’ customers and how does it want them to be treated”

This incredibly simple statement belies its’ significance and the depth of considerations that it
implies.

  • It is the responsibility of Credit Management to Educate the business leaders and organisation as a whole in the evolution of the Philosophy
  • It requires to be recognised that the Philosophy may differ significantly between different Organisations

  • It requires to be recognised that Philosophy may differ from time to time within one Organisation in client approach. Examples of this would be market penetration, product launch, sales campaigns or Cash Flow Planning

Once the Philosophy is in place with variations recognised it is the responsibility of Credit Management to keep the whole organisation abreast of the Philosophy and either write or amend the Credit Policy to be completely in line with the Philosophy.

Why is it critical that this concept is understood and the approach adopted?

One of the classic mistakes that can be made by newly appointed or qualified Credit Managers is that, in their enthusiasm to apply their new skills and cement their position is to either write or rewrite The Credit Policy of the Organisation. Undoubtedly, this document will be well written and contain all the salient elements that amount to effective operational controls that should lead to tight Collection and Risk Management. However, no matter how well-crafted this document might be, if the question of Philosophy has not been first addressed, it will at some time in the future put the Credit Manager into direct conflict with the business leaders. When it comes to a disagreement
on Credit Terms offered, the extent of The Credit Line or Credit Stop, the Policy will be viewed as that of the Credit Manager and not the Organisation as a whole. Given that Credit and Collection is a support function to the business, this is not situation you want to find yourself in.

How to get the Business Leaders to buy into this process

When the question first is raised on the writing or updating of Credit Policy the Credit Manager MUST formally ask the business leaders to clearly articulate the Philosophy of the enterprise in relation to Credit and Collection. Almost invariably they will ask what is meant by the question. The stock answer to this is:

“How does the Organisation feel about its’ customers and how does it want them to be treated”

This will likely result in a request for further clarification or guidance and The Credit Manager must be ready to guide the business leaders in this regard. At this point there are a couple of questions that The Credit Manager will find useful to ask:

  • Do we expect our customers to abide by their contractual obligations at all times?
  • Do we want all of our customers to be treated fairly and equitably?

These are powerful questions and also leading in the sense that there is only one reasonable answer. When asked in isolation, at the formation of the Philosophy they will answer, yes. This answer will not be necessarily replicated in the heat of an operational argument when they are asked to support a policy that was not written by them and to which the feel no ownership.

At this point the business leaders will, as guided by the Credit Manager, will fashion The Philosophy and the Credit Manager will be able to Write or Amend the Policy within its’ image.

Now that the critical first step has been taken and the Credit Philosophy has been imbedded as the cornerstone of Operational Credit Management the stage is set for Credit Management to take responsibility for the creation of the Credit Policy

For the new or existing Credit Manager it is time to utilise their talent, skills, experience, education and training to create the policy that is appropriate for the enterprise that they represent. As with the Philosophy we still require to adopt a disciplined, structured and thoughtful course that follows some critical principles

  • The finished policy needs to be the Manifestation of the Philosophy at its’ inception and within any future changes. Having been instrumental in the creation of the Philosophy the Business Drivers have to equally identify with the created Policy to reflect shared ownership
  • The Policy should be a reflection of the areas within the influence of Credit and Collection that are used to control the function
  • The policy needs to articulate these areas at the highest level but not down to day to day
    activity. The structure of the Credit and Collection organisation will determine what these areas are. Clearly if the governance is being applied to Collection and Risk management organisation there will be differences if these activities are organised separately. Whether policy is being written for a centralised or decentralised function; again may necessitate differences.
  •  In terms of the volume of written word required in support of this activity these should be few but precise. Therefore, Philosophy should be contained within one to two pages and Policy within three to four pages

The larger volume of words will be contained within the third part of this endeavour. That is the creation of the Process and Procedures Manual that will be what governs the Credit and Collection Operations on a day to Day basis.

The Process and Procedure Manual (sometimes referred to as WOW (Ways of Working) should be a logical follow on from the policy and represent how the policy is executed on a day to day basis by the people working within Credit and Risk Management Functions.

At this point the writer will indulge himself a little and share with the reader some personal views as to how “process” and “process engineering” has somehow evolved from being the junior partner and servant of the Philosophy and Policy to not being the means to an end but the end in itself.

Some readers may find this an extremely confrontational statement and it is absolutely meant to beso. For most of my professional career I have been a Credit Manager at various levels in different International organisations. At one point when the organisation I worked for was taken over by another I was offered my previous role within the enlarged organisation. However, my title was to change from Credit Manager to Process Owner. I immediately declined the offer with the job titledescribed as such on the basis that Credit and Collection is not a process but rather a Profession and/or capability. My rationale is that in order to be considered as a process, all parts of the activity
require to be totally within the control of the enterprise hosting that process. When it comes particularly to Collection and indeed Risk Assessment the science fades and becomes an art. That art is persuasion; that persuasion is to make a third party comply to their contractual obligations and our expectations. Compliance remains as the customers’ gift and can in no way be considered as a
part of our process.

This is not to say process is not important, in fact it is the third and critical element of consideration in this paper and in reality should carry the greatest volume of detail but Process is the servant of Policy and Policy is the practical expression of Philosophy.

Over the years I’ve sat through numerous process engineering sessions and although they bored me rigid I do not decry their necessity. I therefore developed a personal acid test for process development.

  • The hierarchy of Philosophy, Policy and Process should always be adhered to.

  • Processes should always be as simple as possible to use and understand.

  • The output of the process is more important than the process itself.

  • The process when used should make the person who is applying the process working life easier, not more difficult

Interested members should contact Bill for further details – please email info@aicdp.global

Bill Dunlop