Its interest is undeniable and can be easily quantified thanks to numerous indicators: DSO, late payment rate, average time to resolve disputes, recovery rate, loss rate, etc.
Financial controllers and CFO are delighted with these KPIs because, as guarantors of their company's financial performance, they can only note and welcome the credit manager's extremely operational role in their optimization.
If the interest of credit management is no longer in question, what about the meaning? Meaning, which each of us seeks throughout our lives and particularly in our professional lives.
Meaning, a notion that is essential to fulfillment as soon as primary needs are satisfied.
Particularly today, in an anxious world facing the massive and serious danger of climate change.
The Coronavirus epidemic has led to many professional questions. And in particular, that of the meaning of work. Many employees today express a desire to reconcile meaning and work.
This quest for meaning is becoming increasingly important for each new generation.
What a change between the desire for social and material success of generation X (born between 1960 and 1980), which is mainly sensitive to the amount of its bank account, and generations Y and then Z, which place humanistic and climatic meaning at the heart of their professional life, even if it means boycotting polluting companies, even if they pay well.
We might as well say it right away, those who, in today's competitive economic world, evaluate themselves solely by turnover or the valuation of their business, have already lost the game.
They are outdated, obsolete and will not be able to meet the demands of tomorrow's market. More than an organizational or structural change, it is another paradigm that drives the younger generations and that is already impacting today's world.
A company is evaluated at least as much on its societal and environmental impact as on its balance sheet:
- Societal through its beneficial effect on its employees, customers and partners;
- Environmental by controlling its carbon footprint and contributing in various ways to the fight against global warming.
The challenge for a company is not only to be profitable, but above all to be a useful actor contributing to the smooth running of the world.
So what about credit management? Beyond the figures and KPIs, what is its meaning, if any?
Does it only serve to make shareholders richer or does it go beyond that?
Does it meet the new challenges?
Does this function allow us to find a sense of professional fulfillment?
The answer is definitely yes!
What other function allows one to sustain the commercial relationship and increase customer satisfaction, to improve the cash flow and profitability of one's company, to optimize the internal processes and the efficiency of one's organization?
The credit manager's action is fundamentally beneficial for his company, his employees and his business partners. The societal impact is therefore extremely positive.
Through his action, the credit manager reduces the working capital requirement and increases the investment capacity of his company, i.e. its capacity to transform itself.
Faced with global warming and the new green requirements of the market, the survival of each company as well as that of the human race is at stake. Although a field player, operational in the micro-economy, the credit manager accelerates the circulation of money at the macro-economic level. Money is only of interest if it circulates and the faster it circulates, the faster the economic world moves and changes.
"Believe you can change the world". If this maxim, used and abused in particular by a large American company to motivate its credulous employees, seems quite exaggerated, the fact remains that in his place and to his extent, the credit manager has a role to play in the face of the challenges of our time.
Just like our temporarily contract on earth, our individual impact on the course of events remains necessarily modest, it is in human nature and in the order of things.
But if what we do individually is insignificant on the scale of the world, it remains essential to its smooth running.
It is up to everyone to fully play their role.