Credit management is a term used to identify accounting functions usually conducted under the umbrella of Accounts Receivables. Essentially, this collection of processes involves qualifying the extension of credit to a customer, monitors the reception and logging of payments on outstanding invoices, the initiation of collection procedures, and the resolution of disputes or queries regarding charges on a customer invoice. When functioning efficiently, credit management serves as an excellent way for the business to remain financially stable.
The process of credit management begins with accurately assessing the credit-worthiness of the customer base. This is particularly important if the company chooses to extend some type of credit line or revolving credit to certain customers. Properly managing credit calls for setting specific criteria that a customer must meet before receiving this type of credit arrangement. As part of the evaluation process, credit management also calls for determining the total credit line that will be extended to a given customer.
Several factors are used as part of the credit management process to evaluate and qualify a customer for the receipt of some form of commercial credit. This includes gathering data on the potential customer’s current financial condition, including the current credit score. The current ratio between income and outstanding financial obligations will also be taken into consideration. Competent management seeks to not only protect the vendor from possible losses, but also protect the customer from creating more debt obligations that cannot be settled in a timely manner.
After establishing the credit limit for a customer, credit management focuses on providing the client with accurate and timely statements or invoices. The invoices must be delivered to the customer in a reasonable amount of time before the due date, thus providing the customer with a reasonable period to comply with the purchase terms. The period between delivery of the invoice and the due date should also allow enough time for the customer to review the invoice and contact the vendor if there are any questions or concerns about a line item on the invoice. This allows all parties concerned time to review the question and come to some type of resolution.
When the process of credit management functions efficiently, everyone involved benefits from the effort. The vendor has a reasonable amount of assurance that invoices issued to a client will be paid within terms, or that regular minimum payments will be received on credit account balances. Customers have the opportunity to build a strong rapport with the vendor and thus create a solid credit reference.