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Sep 01 2019
The Wonderful Power of And
Stephanie Johnson, CCE, Gritton & Associates

I truly believe that one of the most powerful, and often undervalued, words in the English language is AND. Too often we view things as either/or rather than AND. Black or white. Tall or short. Fat or thin. Dead or alive. Sure, there are some things that are truly either/or. Although, a zebra would argue that you can be black AND white. AND is a conjunction word to connect things together, joining ideas and separate things as a unified object.

When it comes to credit and collections, let us remember the AND. We are business partners with the rest of our organization AND our customers. We know that for a sale to take place the customer must receive the items AND pay for them; otherwise it is just charity. A customer can not be credit worthy AND still be sold to.

The first time I heard the phrase "credit vs. sales" I was floored. I had a salesperson say it to me shortly after taking over the credit department. I had denied open credit to a company he had quoted a rather large project to. Rather than have a conversation with me about what sales alternatives could be worked out, I was told that he viewed my job simply as "preventing him from doing his." Wait, what? My job is to protect the company AND make sales a reality. Sadly, in my job I often have to say no to a customer who wants to set up terms with our organization. It is a fact of being a credit manager. But it is never my intention to prevent any sale from taking place. I am sure it is never your intention either. In fact, if you wake up one morning and say to yourself, "Today I cannot wait to deny credit to a customer, I hope I get that chance!" you probably should look for a new line of work. (In my humble opinion.)

Credit managers often have to be creative in their approach to approving sales. Cash on delivery, cash on order, joint check agreements, job accounts, preliminary notices, and credit trade line terms are all ways of making a sale AND protecting the company from bad debts or filing liens.

As credit managers we need to get to YES. Be a dynamic duo with the sales team. After all, it is not Laurel or Hardy, Batman or Robin, Fish or Chips, Rock or Roll. Laurel AND Hardy, Batman AND Robin, Fish AND Chips, Rock AND Roll!! Don't let your department be credit vs sales. Create a corporate culture of credit AND sales.