Strategy in Credit Management

Credit management strategy The accounts receivable are usually around 25% of total assets of businesses, although this ratio depends strongly on the sector (trade, industry, services…).

It is therefore very significant for many businesses and very consumer of financial resources without being remunerated. It can be considered as a permanent financial weight for companies.

Accounts receivable are an amount of money at risk. This risk has to be managed so that financial resources of your company scattered among your customers (bills issued but not paid yet) do not create bad debts with negative consequences for your business.

What challenges for which Credit Management strategy?

We can identify four main risks associated with receivables:
  • risk of losses and provisions for bad debts,
  • risk about working capital requirement and cash flow,
  • risk of depreciation of value due to inflation,
  • risk of excessive consumption of financial resources with result an incapacity to make investments for your business.
It is more difficult to determine the opportunities of receivables:
  • it is often a business requirement to grant a payment term to your customers. By this way you found the activity of your client. This is precisely what he is requesting even if he does not formulate this need in these terms,
  • ability to discount your receivables to get cash faster compare to the due date of your invoices.

What is the strategy?

It can be defined as following: "The strategy is the definition of coherent actions involved in a logical sequence to achieve one or several goals." ».

The strategy has a long term objective.

So, you need to define your credit management strategy and answer to the questions: why do you want to do this and how you’ll do it.

It depends mainly on your business' financial structure and profitability, the weight of your receivables and your business overall strategy.
Credit Management strategy shall be fully insert into your company's business plan. It should be determined by financial constraints your business plan imposes to you.
In fact, the choices you have to take on the management of your accounts receivables have an impact on the profitability of your business and on its working capital and investment capacity.
Your strategy should be specified by a goal that you define by asking yourself the right questions:
  • what are the basic needs of your business?
  • is it to improve profitability or reduce your working capital requirement?
  • improving working capital in order to ease your cash flow or financing investments?
  • what are the types of customers and their creditworthiness?
  • what are the payment conditions on the market?
Your strategy in Credit Management will be the output of this objective.
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Some examples of strategies of Credit Management

Objective Strategy Method Advantages Disavantages
Improve its investment capacity minimize the receivables
  • negotiate payment terms reductions with your customers against discount
  • discount your receivables (factoring, discount of bills of exchange)
  • agressive collection of your receivable
  • negociate down payments
massive reduction of working capital and increase of your investment capacity cost and profitabilty impact
Maximize profitability secure your receivables
  • limitation of risk of default
  • low cost
  • high working capital
  • negative commercial impact
Develop its sales Flexibility towards customers
  • grant long payment terms
  • no request of guarantees or down payments
  • flexible collection process
contribute to the sales development at short term
  • high risk of unpaids and high working capital
  • loss a credibility if collection is too flexible with customers


Obviously these objectives described here drastically have to be balanced. You have to define the direction you want to take and how far you go into your strategy.

For example a sales increase goal may include a defined risk level of a maximum amount of outstanding credit risks or the establishment of a credit insurance type excess of loss in order to prevent high losses due to unpaids.
Define a clear strategy is essential to properly manage its accounts receivable.

This implies that a deep analysis is conducted with sufficient perspective.

It concerns the whole quote to cash process. Therefore, it is not limited to credit management / finance departments but concerns all actors in the company. All (sales managers, customer care...) must be aware of the rules coming from this strategy.
The processes established as a result must also be scalable according to the situation. For example, the application of late payment penalties, in addition to their theoretically mandatory nature, makes even more sense in an inflationary period.

How to achieve your goals?

A word of advice: be ambitious because the quality of receivables management very often reflects the quality of your company's organization. Profitability, cash flow, quality, customer satisfaction, ... are all key points that can be improved from the management of late payments and other aspects of credit management.

In order to be effective on all of these subjects, it is essential to set up appropriate tools that are consistent with your strategy. For example (non-exhaustive list):
  • clear contractual conditions regarding the standard payment terms granted to customers,

  • a credit limit management process with validation workflow based on relevant credit analysis,

  • a credit management procedure indicating the practices to be applied at each stage of the sales process,

  • a credit insurance contract to better prevent and cure customer risk,

  • a solution providing financial information on its customers,

  • a dedicated software to optimize accounts receivables management and implement your credit management, cash collection and dispute management processes,

  • a specialized partner to deal with unpaid bills and litigation.

  • ...

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S. - 15/01/2022
Thanks for an introduction. Would really appreciate a info graphics instead of examples that would be vivid picture.

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