Credit controllers are employed by firms to handle all the liaison and administrative duties arising from hire-purchase transactions. In this way the hire-purchase system can be managed on an organized basis and the interests of both buyer and seller can be protected.
Over the years, buying on credit has become a customary way of doing business. Customers use credit extensively to buy houses, cars, large domestic appliances and many other goods and services. The vast majority of business purchases, such as raw materials used in manufacturing and merchandise to be sold in retail stores, are also bought on credit so that businesses do not have to tie up their cash in inventories.
Credit controllers are responsible for opening accounts for prospective customers in accordance with the company’s credit-policy by investigating the credit-worthiness of prospective buyers, drawing up the hire-purchase contracts, and collecting the deposits and payments. They sometimes have the financial authority to accept or reject credit applications. In extending credit to a business the credit controller reviews financial reports submitted by the applicant, interviews representatives of the business, and reviews credit reports to determine the records of the firm in repaying debts.
When extending credit to individuals, the credit controller relies on personal interviews, credit bureaus and banks. Although it is not necessarily the duty of the credit controller to formulate the hire-purchase contract (it is usually the task of executive level credit managers in cooperation with other top managers to formulate company credit policy), he/she must be able to interpret the legal terms and requirements to clients. In some large organisations, the credit controller may be responsible for establishing a credit policy. He/she must also ensure that both parties sign the contract correctly.
Credit controllers have to check all accounts monthly and contact customers who are unable or refuse to pay their debts. They do this through writing, telephoning or personal contact. If these attempts fail, they may refer the account to a collection agency or assign an attorney to take legal action.
Key skills in this job are to be a good communicator, with a tactful manner, able to keep calm under pressure, be assertive, have good number skills and the ability to explain financial matters clearly.