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Oct 01 2017
Working in Credit - The Importance of Having a Consistent Supervisor
Kelsey Tebbs, Wheeler Machinery

Can you remember the last time a customer became frustrated with you during a phone call? Did that phone call change your mood? How about the last time your supervisor criticized or humiliated you over a credit decision you made because they were simply having a bad day? Working in credit is not always sunshine and rainbows. Sometimes we have to say "no" to a customer or to a salesman. Regardless of who it is, a no is still that, a no. And, not too many of us truly like hearing the word no, which can ultimately trigger certain emotions. 

As Credit Managers, we are trained to base our decisions on the facts. The majority of granting credit has some sort of basis on whether credit is granted or not, a credit policy. My company in particular has what we call our "Credit Score Sheet." It helps us determine whether a customer should be granted credit based off their credit history only. Regardless of the credit score sheet, sometimes a credit manager just gets a bad feeling. Some people can be too pushy, or past history of a delinquent account may be remembered. In our case we have been told to trust our gut on customers. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. My team and I are lucky. We have one of the most consistent supervisors I have worked for since I started in the workforce 16 years ago. 

Consistency may be the last thing you would want from your leadership over the credit department. But, in all actuality, it is the best possible quality to have in a credit department. Consistency creates confidence in employees. It also increases the levels of comfort and understanding which ultimately leads to higher levels of productivity. The benefits are not just for the employees. A supervisor who is consistent has the ability to create accountability of others within their company. It also allows for measurement in the long term. 

Companies today are all about "company culture," what are the benefits? How can we do better as a whole? What will engage our employees to be better? The first place to start is with leadership. Are your managers and supervisors consistent in their daily duties, their actions, and their words? Managers should put themselves in their employees' shoes. Are they getting credit where credit is deserved or are all of their ideas getting thrown out the window because of a manager's disagreement? When an employee comes with a problem or a mistake, do you blow up on them just because your day hasn't been the most stellar? Are you actually listening when they talk or do you only hear someone complaining? A supervisor's mood creates an atmosphere for everyone who comes around. It can also determine the type of working relationship you have with your team. Your credibility in this instance will likely make or break you. Positive workplace decisions stem from rational and reliable behavior. Consistent and rational decisions help you stand out as a dependable and trustworthy supervisor. Your employees will love to work with you and for you. 

Communication in the credit world is key. Being able to communicate openly and honestly with your supervisor about why you made a decision regarding a customer is one thing. Having your Credit Supervisor back you up on your decision when you receive push back from a customer, salesman, or anyone else is a completely different experience. Your supervisor is then showing they trust you to do your job, that they are confident your decision was made with the best interests of the company in mind. A supervisor who consistently stands behind you proves that they are willing to jump right down in the trenches beside you so that your decision isn't able to get steam-rolled by someone who doesn't agree. There may be discussions behind closed doors on how you could improve, or a different way to approach a problem, but the end result is having someone who leads you to success.


"A boss focuses on work; a leader focuses on people"