Covering Business Credit Logo Home   About Us   Services   Credit Articles   Q&A   Contact  

  Business Credit Articles  

Credit Management Articles
All Articles •  Home

An Ounce of Prevention...
Sound Credit Decisions and Systematic Re-evaluation
By Michael C. Dennis, MBA, CBF

The most dynamic, persistent and professional collection process will have little chance of success if the original decision to extend credit to a customer was flawed. Therefore, a well-managed credit department must dedicate the appropriate amount time, energy, effort and resources to making certain the initial decision to extend credit is sound, and

The best time to control risk is before an open account is established for an applicant. Another important control point is when orders pending are placed on hold because the account is over its credit limit, or past due or both.

Most credit managers are required to release orders to marginal accounts in order for their employer to optimize sales and profits. All open account sales involve some risk. Sales to marginal accounts clearly involve relatively high risk of payment default or payment delinquency, and it is inevitable that bad debt losses will occur sooner or later. No matter how carefully the credit manager screens applicants before credit is extended and no matter how diligent the company's collection effort might be, a certain number of customers will be either unwilling or unable to pay invoices. Therefore, it is not an exaggeration to state the problem this way: "Bad debt losses are an inevitable cost to creditor companies of offering open account credit terms to customers.

Note: In some cases, conditions beyond the customer's control result in its inability to pay its bills. For example, if a customer's place of business is destroyed by flood or fire, it is unlikely that it will be able to pay its bills on time -- no matter how much the customer may want to do so and no matter how creditworthy the debtor company was prior to the disaster. In most cases, businesses fail because of changing market conditions combined with management's inability to respond quickly and appropriately to these challenges. In isolated cases, losses result from deliberate efforts on the part of the debtor to defraud its unsecured trade creditors... but fortunately these incidents are the rare exception rather than the rule.

© 2001 All Rights Reserved

Share |

Business Credit Articles
Send to a Friend
Ask A Credit Question
Questions & Answers
Business Credit News
Your Privacy
Site Map