Also known as debt collection agents, credit controllers play an important role in helping entrepreneurs run profitable businesses. These professionals use their knowledge of credit management to recover debts owed to a business. This career is ideal for individuals who possess good mathematical skills and have a passion for financial matters.
The primary duties of credit controllers usually vary by job level. Those in supervisory or senior positions often handle complex matters, such as negotiating financial disputes with clients while those in entry-level positions perform the following tasks:
- Open new credit accounts for new clients and record their personal and financial information
- Manage debtors' accounts- this involves identifying their needs and handling late payments
- Communicate with debtors through email and phone calls to inform them of outstanding balances
- Resolve minor client complaints, such as undelivered or inaccurate invoices
- Reconcile credit accounts at the end of the month
- May recommend or authorise bad debts to be written off
- Report major problems with debtors to senior credit controllers.
Education and Training
The educational requirements for becoming a credit controller usually vary by the size of a company. For example, small enterprises such as retail outlets and convenience stores prefer individuals with at least an associate degree in accounting while medium-sized to large companies such as investment banks and chain stores hire bachelor’s degree holders. Therefore, you need to complete the following steps to qualify for employment;
- Earn an associate degree or bachelor’s degree in credit management, debt collection, accounting or financial support services
- Pursue a CPA (Certified Public Accountant) certification. Although not essential, most employers give preference to credit controllers with CPA.
In the United States, schools that offer the most competent associate degrees in finance-related courses include;
- Albany Technical College, Albany, GA
- Boston University, Boston, MA
- Broome Community College, Binghamton, NY
- Camden County College, Blackwood, NJ
For a bachelor’s degree, consider the following:
- University of Texas, Austin, TX
- University of Illinois, Champaign, IL
- University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN
- Brigham University, Provo, UT
Effective credit controllers often have the following abilities:
- Effective communication skills to respond to clients’ questions clearly and precisely
- Good interpersonal skills to establish and maintain positive relationships with debtors
- Excellent arithmetic skills to make compute financial calculation accurately
- Detail oriented to detect inaccuracies or inconsistencies in invoices and other financial documents
- Strong organisational skills to file several documents and retrieve them when required.
Remuneration and Job Growth
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports all bill and account collectors, including credit controllers, earned a median annual pay of $32,480 in May 2013. The least earning credit controllers got $21,850 and the highest earning got $48,640 annually. The bureau also estimates the U.S. economy will create approximately 58,200 new jobs between 2012 and 2022, representing a 15 percent job growth.
Career Growth Opportunities
Although most newly-hired credit controllers undergo on-the-job training to transition to their duties smoothly, those who pursue continuing education courses stand a higher chance of securing a promotion. For instance, earning a master’s degree in finance can help you land a credit controlling job in multinational firms.
Credit controllers can work in any organisation, as long it deals with clients. Nonetheless, the top employers include:
- Business support services
- Credit intermediation firms
- Offices of physicians
- Cable and subscription programming providers
- Manufacturing firms
U.S. News: Accounting Rankings
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Bill and Account Collectors