How Do I Go into Credit Management?

Helen Akers
Helen Akers
Businessman with a briefcase
Businessman with a briefcase

Breaking into the credit management field requires at least the equivalent of a U.S. bachelor's degree in accounting, finance, or business administration. Since the industry has several different types of jobs, a combination of direct experience in accounts receivable, ability to manage account funds, and proven communication skills may turn out to be more important than educational credentials. In some countries, professional certification is required for credit management jobs. Recent graduates can often obtain entry-level positions by contacting professional recruiting companies, networking through professional organizations and researching job openings.

Aspiring credit managers and accounts receivables clerks typically obtain a college degree in accounting or finance. Courses in business management are helpful since they expose students to topics such as organizational behavior, strategic management theory, and marketing principles. In addition to a four-year degree, a Master's in Business Administration (MBA) can open up additional employment opportunities. Some employers and positions require or prefer candidates with advanced degrees that develop analytical, strategic decision making, and financial skills.

Prior to graduation, those who wish to pursue a career in credit management can benefit from obtaining internships that develop customer service, accounting, and computer skills. As credit and financial managers are often held accountable for ensuring a company receives its payments according to schedule, strong negotiation and persuasive communication skills are necessary. Experience with accounting and billing practices gives aspiring credit managers the ability to practice techniques learned in the classroom and demonstrates potential ability to future employers.

Launching a career in credit management after obtaining a degree requires individuals to be competitive and strategic. Since jobs in financial management are often lucrative and require a high degree of skill, employers can afford to be selective. While an advanced degree and practical experience help, so does a diverse and planned job search. Using a variety of sources, including professional acquaintances, online job boards, headhunters, employment services, job fairs, local newspaper ads, and events hosted by professional organizations is important.

Some areas and employers require that credit management professionals obtain certification. This usually involves taking additional courses beyond a regular degree program that focus on financial techniques, money management, ethics, and government regulations that determine how an accounts receivable job is performed. A few schools, particularly those that focus on the development of vocational skills, may offer certification classes in conjunction with their standard business degree curriculum. Once the required coursework has been completed, candidates for certification must usually take and pass a standardized exam.

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      Businessman with a briefcase