Monday, October 2, 2017

Credit Controllers - The Unsung Heroes

Written by Govindraj Muthyalu CPA, CIA, CISA

Have you ever heard a school or college kid saying “I want to be a Credit Controller”?  I am sure you have not.  However, you must have heard kids saying they want to become a Doctor, Engineer, Pilot, Teacher, Journalist, Astronaut, Accountant, Lawyer, Banker etc., but not a Credit Controller. Even though kids do not aim to be Credit Controllers, it is surprising to note  that there are hundreds and thousands of Credit Controllers across the world who are adding lot of value to their organizations.  

Most of the newly-hired credit controllers undergo on-the-job training to transition to their duties smoothly.  Credit Controllers are primarily responsible for collecting the debts and improving the cash flow of the company.  Credit Controllers’ role starts after a sales person brings a customer’s Purchase Order and ends after they collect the money from the customer.  It is said that “A Sale is a Gift until You Collect the Money”. In a way, Credit Controllers ensure that the sale does not become a gift by collecting the money from the customers.  Credit Controllers also work for debt collection agencies where they are responsible to meet set cash and debtor targets on a daily basis.

Though Credit Controllers contribute a lot to the company, they do not get the kind of recognition that sales, marketing, finance, and other departments get. On several occasions, people within and outside the organization dislike Credit Controllers for doing their job sincerely.

Credit Controllers and Sales Persons

Credit Controllers regularly liaise with sales department to resolve credit issues smoothly. However, sometimes there are situations when they decide not to offer credit to a customer. In such situations, the sales department thinks that Credit Controllers are creating road blocks because of which they are unable to achieve their sales targets and earn their sales commission.

Credit Controllers and CFO / FM

Many a times the CFOs / FMs feel that Credit Controllers are not doing enough to collect the overdue invoices, even though the delay in payment of invoices by customers may be because of issues like incorrect invoicing, proof of delivery, credit notes, or any other dispute which is not related to credit department. Credit Controllers are always under pressure from CFOs/FMs to collect their debts faster and reduce the DSO (Days Sales Outstanding).

Credit Controllers and CEO / Owner

Sometimes the CEO / Owner overrules the credit advice of Credit Controllers and offers credit to non-credit worthy customers because of  business considerations. In such cases, it is little frustrating for Credit Controllers to follow-up and collect the debts of customers to whom they had decided not to offer credit in the first place. 

Credit Controllers and Customers

Credit Controllers are supposed to be regularly in touch with customers and resolve all issues related to invoices and ensure that the money owed to their company is collected.  But sometimes there are situations when he/she has to put the customers’ account on credit hold if the customers default payment or customer’s credit situation changes.  In such situations the customers dislike the credit controllers even though they are doing their job as per company’s policy.


Credit Controllers are the Unsung Heroes of the company. They always put company’s interest above everything else, even at the cost of becoming bad people in front of others.  Day in and Day out, they think of collecting the debts of the company and doing whatever they can to ensure that the debt does not go bad. They are as much concerned about the liquidity of the company as CFO, FM, CEO and Owner are. All their decisions, like denying credit to a customer, giving credit advice to the CEO / Owner, chasing a customer for payment, are all in the best interest of the company.

I feel that, all the people within the company especially the Sales persons, CFO, FM, CEO, and owner should appreciate Credit Controller’s role and respect their decisions. After all, they are also working in the best interest of the company, and doing their best to protect the company from going bust by collecting the debts of the company.

About Govindraj Muthyalu:

Govindraj is a CPA, CIA, CISA and has more than 25 years of finance, accounting, auditing, and IT experience.  He has worked as a controller and a CFO of many multi-million dollar companies. He is a Gold Winner under the category "Executive of the Year - Computer Software" at International Business Awards 2016 held at Rome, Italy, and a Bronze Winner under the category "Executive of the Year - Cloud Computing / SaaS / Internet" at Golden Bridge Awards 2016 held at San Francisco.  He has lot of experience in designing systems / processes, and implementing ERP packages in various industries.  He is the CEO of Cashpundit Inc., a startup that he founded to help businesses manage their collections and cash flows.