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17th October 2017
By David Thomas
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After starting out as a Sales Ledger Clerk and eventually joining Twentieth Century Fox in 2008, I have managed to make a good career in Credit Management, and today I am Executive Director of Credit and the global process owner to the international divisions of Fox International. Based in London and reporting up to Fox’s head office in Los Angeles, my small team and I track 125 Countries across EMEA, APAC & LATAM, working with 40 subsidiaries and 109 licensees that distribute filmed entertainment products. We are responsible for managing services out of four international Shared Service Centres and are travelling anywhere from Russia to Australia. Last year the three of us clocked up about 200,000 air miles.
Why is Credit Management Important?
Getting a customer to pay in a timely fashion is essential to staying in business, and the head of credit is the professional tasked with managing what is usually the largest asset on a company’s balance sheet. These benefits can easily total millions in profit and tens of millions of cash flow in a year in a large Corporation like Twentieth Century Fox. There is little point making exciting new movies and television unless we can ensure that the billed revenue converts into cash, as cash is the lifeblood of any company. Every dollar of a company’s revenue becomes a receivable to manage and collect. The benefits of effectively managing the receivables asset are:
• Increased cash flow
• Higher credit sales and margins
• Reduced bad debt loss
• Lower administrative cost in the entire revenue cycle
• Decreased deductions and concessions losses
• Enhanced customer service
• Reduced administrative burden on sales force
The Modern Credit Manager
They pro-actively and positively provide input to many departments, functions, and procedures to improve business flow and customer service, as well as focusing on their primary role in ‘delivering the cash.’ Their remit, of course, varies by organisation and industry but is increasingly strategic, given that large corporations have strategies for either non-payment to help their bottom line profit, or at least significantly delaying payment causing the supplier to finance them at no cost.
The credit manager owns the sales ledger function, including assessing risk on new accounts and accounts overtrading, raising invoices in a timely and accurate manner, speedy cash posting and proper allocation of that cash, agreeing to invoice formats with larger customers, and ensuring sales teams are inputting data accurately to prevent invoice queries. Knowing what to do when customers can’t or won’t pay, for instance using a reputable debt collection agency to take over the recovery task (perhaps before it is too late).
Credit managers need to be a professional “jack of all trades.” The responsibility of a Credit Executive is to own the end to end process and needs to have a vision on how the pieces of the process all come together, where the integration points are, and how to improve performance over time. Having all the horses pulling the carriage in the same direction creates the opportunity for high quality performance. Utilizing tools and services that help manage every dollar.
Finally…. some credit-related movie titles from Fox:
Twentieth Century Fox International is an American entertainment company that provides various forms of filmed entertainment (Cinema, Home Entertainment, and Television) controlled by the American media conglomerate 21st Century Fox and is currently one of the world’s largest media conglomerates.
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