Involving Stakeholders Part 2/2
In the first of this blog series, we looked at the role of credit management within organisations, and how attitudes to this critical function need to change if a business is to thrive. In this second piece, it’s time to talk specifics regarding personnel.
Step out of the credit management shadow
For credit management to add real value throughout a business, you need to turn your attention to the specific spokespeople that need to be engaged with the function. The easiest mistake that many people make is to assume that stakeholders only covers those that have a monetary stake in the business. In actual fact, a stakeholder in this instance should be defined as anyone that has an ongoing interest or concern with the well being of the organisation – giving you a far larger pool of people to positively engage with.
Let’s get specific
Of course, widening the pool to this degree can make the task of identifying who to bring into the fold a daunting task. As a good starting point, there are four main internal teams that need to be engaged:
Senior Management: The executive team are at the highest level of organisational management for the business. Therefore, a good understanding of how payments works and entwines with the rest of the business is vital.
IT: For most employees, their daily tasks rely on IT, so they are a good team to get onside early on. When looking to make changes to accounts and payments, their expertise can help you to implement these and also identify why issues are arising.
Logistics and quality: In a credit management role, this relationship may not seem obvious at first. However, if clients don’t receive correct deliveries on time and in good condition, this gives them an excellent excuse to delay or withhold payment.
Sales: A traditionally strained relationship, but for the forward-thinking payments team this should be one of the tightest stakeholder relationships they have. Involve sales in the decision-making process and help them understand what you are trying to accomplish.
The customer is king
As much as you need to engage those within your organisation, it should go without saying that your customers are the most important stakeholders in your organisation. They drive the fundamental metrics that matter to investors, and therefore it is vital that they are also involved in the decision-making process if the payments process is to change.
By reaching out to customers to ask them about payments and how to make both their life and your own easier, the barriers between you are broken down. You will no longer be seen simply as the team that chase them for money, and you will have a sense of them as more than just a late invoice. From anything from whole scale research to a quick phone call, engaging with customers as stakeholders will help them to understand your payments terms and allow you to provide a better, more rewarding service in turn.
So what’s at stake?
One of the most commonly encountered problems that face businesses that are looking to put in place change is the way in which they are siloed. This is one of the driving forces behind why a wider stakeholder team need to be engaged with payments – a multi-departmental approach can make the difference between success and failure.
Stakeholders need to know the problems facing other departments. Only then can they either contribute to solving this, or realise what they are doing that has caused the initial issue. For example, the credit management team could be doing everything by the book but still failing to get invoices paid on time. But, if customers aren’t paying because products aren’t being delivered to specification, then a solution needs to involve stakeholders from the quality and logistics teams. Unless stakeholders from these different teams communicate, then this siloing and the issues it brings will continue.
Credit management as the heart of everything
It can often be difficult to convince others of the value of credit management. It can seem a burden on the rest of the organisation – until you help them realise that a business with too many outstanding invoices won’t be around much longer.
Involving stakeholders from across the business and your customer base can draw attention to the vital role of the payments team. Ensuring you have the technology to quantify and showcase this value is a point that shouldn’t be overlooked too, and is vital in a modern and forward-thinking business.
In short, get other people involved in the process, work collaboratively to identify and solve issues from across the business, and position credit management at the heart of everything your organisation does. Credit where credit’s due.
Get in touch today!
OnGuard credit management software has been designed to simplify and streamline the work of credit management teams, and our tools can help you involve the necessary stakeholders and maximise results. To find out more about OnGuard and how it can make you and your customers feel good, contact us today on +31 (0)294 25 6666 or firstname.lastname@example.org.