Credit Management March 2020

credit

The CICM magazine for consumer and commercial credit professionals

CREDIT MANAGEMENT

CM

MARCH 2020 £12.50

THE CICM MAGAZINE FOR CONSUMER AND

COMMERCIAL CREDIT PROFESSIONALS

INSIDE

Winners of the

CICM British

Credit Awards

2020

Treading softly

Ways to reduce your

carbon footprint

Are customers engaging

with new digital

communications? Page 12

Sean Feast speaks to

Jo Kettner of Company

Watch. Page 17


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20

TREADING CAREFULLY

Brian Murnane

MARCH 2020

www.cicm.com

CONTENTS

12

DIGITALLY YOURS

Sean Feast FCICM

xx

LEAD ARTICLE

Tim Vine

12 – Digitally Yours

Artificial Intelligence, chatbots and new

web platforms are at the heart of digital

communications, but are customers

engaged?

17 – Watching Brief

Jo Kettner speaks to Sean Feast about

the challenges of Companies House

data.

20 – Treading Carefully

Exclusive look at how we can reduce

our carbon footprint as companies and

as individuals.

23 – Powering Down

Is the energy sector showing signs of

slowing?

23

POWERING DOWN

Tim Vine

53

FUNNY OLD WORLD

Sean Feast FCICM

24 – Present and Correct

Top tips on delivering a stand-out

presentation.

28 – Spanish Fly

The UK is not going to hell in a

handcart. Apparently.

32 – Game Changers

New Year new job?

53 – It’s a Funny Old World…

A look at the more absurd side of life.

54 – People Power

Part one in a new series on creating

a successful credit management

department.

Publisher

Chartered Institute of Credit Management

The Water Mill, Station Road, South Luffenham

OAKHAM, LE15 8NB

Telephone: 01780 722900

Email: editorial@cicm.com

Website: www.cicm.com

CMM: www.creditmanagement.org.uk

CICM GOVERNANCE

President Stephen Baister FCICM / Chief Executive Philip King FCICM CdipAF MBA (until 29 February 2020)

Interim Chief Executive Sue Chapple FCICM (from 1 March 2020).

Executive Board Pete Whitmore FCICM – Chair / Debbie Nolan FCICM(Grad) – Vice Chair

Glen Bullivant FCICM – Treasurer / Larry Coltman FCICM, Victoria Herd FCICM(Grad), Bryony Pettifor FCICM(Grad)

Advisory Council Sarah Aldridge FCICM(Grad) / Laurie Beagle FCICM / Glen Bullivant FCICM / Lauren Carter FCICM /

Larry Coltman FCICM / Victoria Herd FCICM(Grad) / Philip Holbrough MCICM / Laural Jefferies FCICM Diana Keeling FCICM /

Martin Kirby FCICM / Christelle Milojkovic FCICM / Julie-Anne Moody-Webster FCICM(Grad) / Debbie Nolan FCICM(Grad) /

Ute Ogholoh MCICM / Bryony Pettifor FCICM(Grad) / Allan Poole MCICM / Phil Rice FCICM / Chris Sanders FCICM /

Paul Taylor MCICM / Pete Whitmore FCICM.

View our digital version online at www.cicm.com. Log on to the Members’

area, and click on the tab labelled ‘Credit Management magazine’

Credit Management is distributed to the entire UK and international CICM

membership, as well as additional subscribers

Reproduction in whole or part is forbidden without specific permission. Opinions expressed in this magazine do

not, unless stated, reflect those of the Chartered Institute of Credit Management. The Editor reserves the right to

abbreviate letters if necessary. The Institute is registered as a charity. The mark ‘Credit Management’ is a registered

trade mark of the Chartered Institute of Credit Management.

Any articles published relating to English law will differ from laws in Scotland and Wales.

Managing Editor

Sean Feast FCICM

Deputy Editor

Iona Yadallee

Art Editor

Andrew Morris

Telephone: 01780 722910

Email: andrew.morris@cicm.com

Editorial Team

Rob Howard and Imogen Hart

Advertising

Russell Bass

Telephone: 020 3603 7937

Email: russell@cabbells.uk.

Printers

Stephens & George Print Group

2020 subscriptions

UK: £112 per annum

International: £145 per annum

Single copies: £12.50

ISSN 0265-2099

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / March 2020 / PAGE 3


EDITOR’S COLUMN

Taking a more positive approach

to tackling climate change

Sean Feast FCICM

Managing Editor

THERE’S an awful lot of

stuff in the press and social

media at the moment about

the environment. Leaving

aside the slightly disturbing

Swedish schoolgirl telling me

it’s all my parent’s fault that we’re currently

in a bit of a pickle, I am not a climate change

denier, although I did once think that

carbon dating was Tinder for old people.

I’d love to be more of an environmental

enthusiast, but am rather fed up with trying

to guess which plastics are/are not recyclable

and which colour bin they therefore relate

to, and why food waste which used to go

in the garden waste bin now has its own

tiny plastic caddy. (The maggots still find

a route in however hard you try.) I console

myself that if I do as I am told, and everyone

else does the same, it must surely make a

difference. I guess it was the same with

Dave Brailsford of British Cycling fame,

who recognised how the cumulative effect

of tiny improvements added up to a goldwinning

performance for his team.

At the risk of sounding grumpy (President

Baister picked me up on this at the CICM

British Credit Awards – a quite magnificent

evening), I wish the doom-sayers would be

less apocalyptic, and more encouraging. The

more you tell me we’re all going to die, the

more inclined I am to shrug my shoulders

and go to the pub. But if you focused on the

success stories and were much clearer in

telling us how we can help, the more likely

I am to leave my pint of IPA to one side for

one moment and pay attention.

To that end I am delighted with the

article by Brian Murnane of Carbon Action

on page 54. OK so Brian is a little scary to

start with about the causes and impact of

global warming, and that there is no silver

bullet, but I like his advice on how we, as

businesses and as individuals, can play our

part. He explains the perils of ‘Greenwash’,

and what ‘offsetting’ really means and

how you go about it. I also like what he

says about how reducing carbon draws in

different parts of the business, and benefits

from a multi-disciplinary approach.

I might not follow all of his advice –

everyone knows what I think of London

cyclists – but much of what he says is good,

sound common sense.

I’d love to be more of an

environmental enthusiast, but

am rather fed up with trying to

guess which plastics are/are not

recyclable and which colour bin

they therefore relate to.

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / March 2020 / PAGE 4


Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / March 2020 / PAGE 5


CMNEWS

A round-up of news stories from the

world of consumer and commercial credit.

Written by – Sean Feast FCICM

Defence businesses highlighted

for failing to pay suppliers on time

ELEVEN firms – including several

big names within the military,

aerospace and defence sectors

– have been suspended from the

Prompt Payment Code for failing to pay

suppliers on time.

BAE Systems (Operations) Limited,

Leonardo MW Limited, and Smiths

Detection are among those who have

failed to honour their Code commitment

to pay 95 percent of all supplier invoices

within 60 days. The Code is administered

by the Chartered Institute of Credit

Management (CICM) on behalf of the

Department for Business, Energy and

Industrial Strategy (BEIS). Signatories

pledge to uphold its best practice for

payment standards to end the culture of

late payment.

Shell U.K. Limited and Bottomline

Technologies Limited are also on the list,

and both failed to engage with the CICM

within the deadline set and submit action

plans towards achieving compliance.

Fourteen businesses have been

re-instated to the Code since the last

announcement in November 2019, which

CICM Chief Executive Philip King FCICM

says proves the effectiveness of the

PPC in positively changing payment

behaviours. “All 14 businesses have

demonstrated a substantial improvement

in payment performance that warrants

re-instatement to the Code. Since the

policy was changed in 2019 to begin

naming those who had failed to honour

their Code commitments, 55 businesses

have been suspended and 26 re-instated.”

Philip King, who chairs the Prompt

Payment Code’s Compliance Board, and

was recently appointed to the role of

interim Small Business Commissioner,

added: “We will continue to challenge

signatories to the Code if the obligatory

Payment Practice Reporting data

suggests that their practices are not

compliant. We are encouraged by those

who have already submitted action plans

to achieve future compliance, and we are

working closely with those businesses to

support a better payment culture.”

Businesses suspended in

January 2020 and no action

plan received within the

deadline:

• Bottomline Technologies Limited

• Shell U.K. Limited

Businesses suspended in

January 2020 and action plan

received

• BAE Systems (Military Air)

Overseas Limited

• BAE Systems (Operations)

Limited

• Cereform Limited

• F M Conway Limited

• Leonardo MW Limited

• Macdonald Humfrey (Automation)

Limited

• Rhodar Limited

• Sita Information Networking

Computing UK Limited

• Smiths Detection

Small Business Minister Kelly Tolhurst

said that with a growing number of

businesses signing up to the Code, the

Government is helping to change the

culture of late payments: “It’s encouraging

to see businesses reinstated after

improving their practices, but we’ll

continue to clamp down on late payment

to support small businesses that are

exploited by their larger partners.”

Businesses re-instated

to the Code since the

last announcement in

November 2019.

• British Sugar Plc

• Balfour Beatty Group Limited

• Engie Services Limited

• Ferrovial Agroman (UK) Limited

• Fujitsu Services Limited

• John Sisk & Son Limited

• Kier Construction Limited

• Kier Infrastructure and Overseas

Limited

• Galliford Try Plc

• Laing O’Rourke

• Persimmon Homes Limited

• Smith & Nephew UK Limited

• T.J. Smith & Nephew Limited

• Vodafone Limited

‘‘We will continue to

challenge signatories to

the Code if the obligatory

Payment Practice Reporting

data suggests that their

practices are not compliant.’’

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / March 2020 / PAGE 6


Profit margins tumble for food

suppliers amidst currency volatility

SMALL food and drink producers

are being urged to enhance

their risk mitigation processes

in a sector dominated by everdecreasing

margins.

The Food Market Monitor by Atradius

suggests that with more than 45 percent

of food consumed in the UK imported,

exchange rate volatility and its impact

on the cost of commodities and food

items remains a key issue facing many

British food producers and processors

who are reliant on imports.

Being predominantly SME, both the

meat and fruit and vegetable subsectors

are particularly susceptible to currency

fluctuation. Atradius warns that the

added risk for many SMEs is often a

lack of resource to effectively manage

risk mitigation with forward contracts

and currency hedging. While sterling

has seen a recent rebound, any positive

effect is likely to be limited as many

businesses are bound by contracted

prices agreed at lower sterling exchange

rates.

Looking at a wider picture, the

Market Monitor highlights value added

growth in the British food and beverages

sector is forecast to have grown 2.5

percent in 2019, with a further 1.6

percent expansion in 2020. However,

input costs for food businesses remain

high with any opportunity to pass on

price increases to retailers limited.

To trade successfully,

access to reliable

information alongside

forward planning

are key to effective

risk mitigation.

Consolidation in the retail segment

and the increasing market success of

discounters, which puts traditional

retailers and pricing under pressure,

weigh heavily all along the supply chain.

The Market Monitor goes on to warn

that profit margins of British food

businesses deteriorated in 2019, and the

trend is expected to continue in 2020.

Despite an increase in real incomes,

UK consumers remain price sensitive.

In 2019, food producers and processors

have continued to pursue mergers and

acquisitions in order to increase leverage

in price negotiations with major retailers

as well as to diversify the offering.

Looking at payment behaviours,

Atradius reports payments in the British

food sector take between 45 to 60 days

with some larger players pushing the

supply chain on even longer terms,

adding cash-flow challenges for many

smaller food businesses. Due to an

inability to absorb higher input costs

and increased pressure on margins,

the number of payment delays and

level of insolvencies increased in 2019

and Atradius economists expect this

negative trend to continue this year with

an eight percent rise in failures.

Darren Power, Regional Manager at

Atradius’ Northern Hub, says that while

exchange rate fluctuation has always

been a risk in international trade, the

last three years have seen more volatility

in Sterling: “To trade successfully,

access to reliable information alongside

forward planning are key to effective

risk mitigation. Therefore, all businesses

must ensure they equip themselves

with the insights, tools and resources

to stand them in good stead and ensure

they trade with protection from risk.

Atradius supports customers to mitigate

risk from the outset, developing robust

trade relationships to maximise the

opportunities for growth.”

Charity claims half of debtors seeking help are destitute

NEW research from StepChange Debt

Charity, suggests that more than half (52

percent) of clients seeking its help meet the

official definition of destitute, having gone

without two or more basic essentials in the

past month, and more than a quarter (27

percent) having recently visited a food bank.

The charity says that its research, entitled

Problem debt and the social security system,

shows why it is vital that the Government

should take urgent steps to reform the

design flaws within the current system to

stop a bad situation from becoming worse.

Perhaps of equal concern, one in ten (10

percent) of those surveyed have used a loan

shark as a result of a problem linked to

social security, and almost half (43 percent)

rely on some form of credit to buy essentials.

Common causes of problems include

delays and errors, unaffordable deductions

from benefits to repay debt and design

features of Universal Credit including the

five-week wait and unpredictable swings

in payments. National polling shows that

25 percent of those receiving Universal

Credit are in problem debt, three times the

rate among the general population (eight

percent) and not far off double the rate of

those on legacy benefits (14 percent).

Head of Policy at StepChange, Peter Tutton

argues that the social security system

should support financial resilience and

recovery from problem debt, but that the

present system too often undermines rather

than supports these aims: “We already knew

that too many people are experiencing

hardship and misery through problems with

the Universal Credit system. What is new is

the evidence of exactly how Universal Credit

actively worsens debt problems, more so

than the legacy benefits system.

“Sending people into the arms of loan

sharks, and making a debt situation worse

at the very time when people most need

help, cannot possibly be what social security

is for. There is an urgent need to rethink

the way that Universal Credit and legacy

benefits can help people recover from

financial difficulties instead of making those

problems worse.” The charity highlights

that debt collection practices through the

social security system would not meet basic

regulatory standards required of consumer

credit and collections firms.

There is an urgent

need to rethink the

way that Universal

Credit and legacy

benefits can help

people recover from

financial difficulties.

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / March 2020 / PAGE 7


NEWS

IN BRIEF

Global CFO

PHILLIPS & Cohen, a specialty

receivable management company, has

appointed Linda Fonner as Global Chief

Financial Officer. Linda is described

as having significant experience

overseeing multi-jurisdictional financial

planning, strategy, risk and control

initiatives for major corporations.

Prior to her joining Phillips & Cohen

Associates, Linda held a variety of

global leadership roles with leading

chemicals & plant provider, Atotech, and

formerly with pharmaceuticals giant,

Bristol-Myers Squibb.

Fully bagged

CREDIT Management is continuing

to do its bit for sustainability and

the environment. Members will have

noticed that their copy of this illustrious

tome now comes in a fully recyclable

paper-based bag in preference to

polythene. But perhaps they weren’t

aware that we already use vegetablebased

inks and papers sourced from

well-managed, sustainable forests.

With our condiments

LINK Group has agreed to acquire

Pepper European Servicing, an endto-end

loan servicing and asset

management business focusing

on the residential and commercial

segments. The business is said to have

longstanding customer relationships

in the UK, Ireland, Spain, Greece,

and Cyprus. Link claims the deal

will deliver immediate scale for

Link Group’s Banking and Credit

Management (BCM) division in existing

and new jurisdictions. The acquisition

is subject to regulatory approvals and is

expected to be completed in the second

half of 2020.

CICM

Essentials

TO stay up-to-date with all that

is happening at the CICM – from

qualifications to training, and

membership to events – see the

weekly e-newsletter CICM Essentials.

LABOUR PEER

INTRODUCES

NEW BILL TO END

LATE PAYMENT

LORD Mendelsohn is campaigning

to see a new, 30-day limit on the

payment of invoices, backed

up by large fines for the most

persistent late payers.

The Labour Peer claims that after

decades of inaction by successive

governments, his new Small Business

Commissioner and Late Payments Bill

contains a package of measures to

finally relieve the cashflow squeeze on

small businesses that is dragging down

UK growth, investment and productivity.

“Late payment is crippling small

businesses while the UK economy is

crying out for investment,” he says.

“By failing to tackle late payment we

are starving our small businesses of

the capacity to act. The recent huge

escalation in outstanding payments

shows that decades of promoting

‘culture change’ has only made things

worse. This Bill will tackle the issue

once and for all with a package of

measures that is operable, impactful and

measurable”.

Measures within the bill include: a

30-day limit on all payments, matching

the requirement on public bodies;

new powers for the Small Business

Commissioner to impose large fines

on the worst offenders; and making

payment of statutory interest and

compensation automatic, removing the

need for suppliers to claim it from their

customers, which rarely happens in

practice.

The Bill will also seek to expand

the remit of the Small Business

Commissioner to include the

construction sector and public bodies,

where the Peer claims some of the worst

Hoist Finance claims

‘first’ in customer digital

communications

HOIST Finance UK is one of the first

in the debt collections sector to use

Rich Communications Service (RCS), a

new messaging technology replacing

SMS on Android smart phones that

provides customers with a two-way

conversational and transactional

interaction with which to better

manage their debt and their interaction

with Hoist Finance.

Already popular in the retail sector,

RCS is said to enable Hoist Finance

to better engage with its customers

via automated chatbots to propose

settlement offers, issue payment

reminders, and other conversational

communications using a channel with

which many customers are becoming

familiar and prefer to use.

Peter Mounsey, Group Head

of Digital for Hoist Finance, says

RCS complements the company’s

commitment to provide a full digital

customer experience. “Services that

were once only available through the

call centre or self-service portal can

now be delivered through RCS, giving

customers the choice in how they wish

to engage with us in a way that is most

convenient to them.

“For many of our customers who

have originated their loans in a digital

environment we believe we need to

maintain and further enhance that

experience for them with our Digital

by Default strategy. The ability for

a customer to self-serve in both our

portal and through our messaging

channels leads to some customers

engaging who would not normally

do so.” Customers who engage with

Hoist Finance through RCS can make

immediate payments, for example,

if prompted to do so via a payment

arrears notice. Similarly, Hoist Finance

is able to ‘push’ offers, such as early

settlement, if it will achieve the best

outcome for the customer.

The omni-channel chatbot has

been developed in partnership with

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / March 2020 / PAGE 8


‘‘The recent huge escalation in

outstanding payments shows

that decades of promoting ‘culture

change’ has only made things

worse’’ – LORD MENDELSOHN

payment practices exist.

Phil Hall, Head of Public Affairs

and Public Policy at the Association

of Accounting Technicians, says that

despite lots of noise from Government

there has been nothing but more

bureaucracy, tinkering and an emphasis

on voluntary measures: “There is no

reason why any business should be

paying its suppliers in more than 30

days and the Small Business

Commissioner must have powers to

impose fines on persistent late payers.

We very much welcome the measures

being proposed by Lord Mendelsohn and

hope other politicians, from all parties,

back this important Private Members

Bill.”

Sue Chapple FCICM, Interim Chief

Executive of the Chartered Institute of

Credit Management (CICM), however,

warned of unintended consequences:

“Whereas there is no doubt that 30-day

payment terms would be preferable in

the vast majority of cases, certainty

of payment is just as important as is

best-practice credit management. A

mandatory term is only as good as the

credit management practices behind

it, especially in avoiding disputes and

payment delays.

“It is also important that the payment

terms of those providing perishable

goods, who might ordinarily be

paid in seven days or less,

do not find themselves

penalised by businesses

who see 30-days as an

opportunity to increase

payment terms whilst

still conforming to an

industry mandate.”

“Services that were once only available through the call

centre or self-service portal can now be delivered through

RCS, giving customers the choice in how they wish to

engage with us in a way that is most convenient to them’’

Esendex, a global technology provider of

multichannel messaging solutions.

To complement the release of the RCS

messaging channel, Hoist Finance has also

deployed a chatbot enabled Web Chat. Hoist

says this is the first phase of providing

conversational chatbot technology behind

all omni-channels to support customers

24 hours a day, seven days a week. This AI

powered chatbot uses the latest Natural

Language Processing (NLP) and Natural

Language Understanding (NLU) technology

and is provided by Norwegian Fintech

company Boost AI.

“Analysis of the content of our inbound

calls and existing two-way omni–channel

interactions have highlighted that a

significant percentage of our customer

conversations are information-only requests.

It has therefore been a natural part of our

Digital Strategy to find ways to automate

this. This both provides a quick and efficient

service to the customer as well as allowing

our agents time to be more focused on the

more complex customer interaction and

needs,” Peter concludes.

See our feature on page 14.

>NEWS

IN BRIEF

Just So

JUST, the enforcement market

integrator, has appointed Shahram

Sharghy as its in-house barrister as

it continues to take on and challenge

a number of industry issues,

including the confusion of who is

responsible for the VAT on High Court

enforcement fees. Shahram has been

retained to represent the company in

its attempts to create a step-change

in the amount of people that use

High Court enforcement as a safe and

accessible means of getting justice.

Shahram has 20 years of experience

and expertise in this area of law and

is described as being the forefront

of some of the most pioneering

developments concerning High

Court Enforcement. His work often

encompasses significant and complex

matters of statutory construction and

commercial dealings between debtors,

creditors and High Court Enforcement

Officers.

Lantern Shines

LANTERN Debt Recovery Services has

achieved a ‘Gold’ award from customer

experience experts, Investor in

Customers (IIC). In achieving the Gold

standard for the first time, Lantern

increased its net promoter score

(NPS) by 35 percent compared to the

previous Silver assessment. Denise

Crossley, CEO of Lantern, believes

it is a testament to the favourable

perception Lantern enjoys with its

customers: “I’ve always believed that,

even in the world of debt recovery,

and even when you’re dealing with

the most vulnerable of customers,

it’s still possible to build a successful

business by being empathetic, honest

and relatable.”

Senior appointment

ALDERMORE has appointed Tim

Boag as its new Group Managing

Director of Business Finance. Tim

has been working on an interim

basis at Aldermore, since June last

year with overall responsibility for

Invoice Finance, Asset Finance and

Commercial Real Estate. Tim joined

Aldermore after fulfilling a variety

of roles with RBS and NatWest. Most

recently he was Managing Director in

Corporate and Commercial Coverage.

He was previously on the

management Board of

Lombard Asset Finance and

was a Director on the Board

of the Business Growth

Fund (BGF), a company

established to invest directly

in SMEs.

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / March 2020 / PAGE 9


IVAs on the rise as corporate

insolvency rates cause concern

THE number of Individual Voluntary

Arrangements (IVAs) arranged in

2019 continued to rise, but so did the

proportion of IVAs failing in their first

year.

These are the disturbing findings of the

latest report from the Insolvency Service,

prompting the debt advice charity StepChange

to warn that the failure rates should be ringing

alarm bells within the wider credit market

and that the bar needs to be raised on future

regulation.

Peter Tutton, StepChange Head of policy,

research and public affairs, says the IVA

market is not doing enough to protect people

from the harm that can result when an IVA

fails: “Our concern is that the regulatory

system is not sufficiently robust to ensure

that the pursuit of profit does not trump good

practice, especially in terms of referral fees

and lead generation. Further work is needed

to ensure that the risk of IVAs failing is

minimised.” The total number of IVAs arranged

in 2019 was 77,973, up from 70,796 in 2018.

The proportion of IVAs that failed within their

first year rose from a recent low of 4.1 percent

in 2013 to 8.4 percent in 2019, the highest

proportion since 2002.

Elsewhere, Duncan Swift, President of

insolvency and restructuring trade body R3,

says that the rate of corporate insolvencies,

which have risen by 6.8 percent (between 2018

and 2019), have reached their highest level

since 2013:

“These latest figures are a reflection of

anaemic economic growth throughout 2019. A

number of factors have fed into this: political

uncertainty, particularly around Brexit, has

held back business decisions and investment,

but weaker consumer confidence and sectorspecific

issues can’t be discounted either.”

Duncan says that some sectors have been

hit harder than others, although difficulties

are increasing across the board: “The

construction sector struggled, traditional

retailers were hit by declining footfall and the

continued growth of online shopping, and the

manufacturing sector had a worse year than

2018,” he explains. “Brexit-inspired stockpiling

in 2019 may have added to disruption.”

Excluding one-off ‘bulk insolvency events’,

there were 17,196 corporate insolvencies

in 2019. Seasonally adjusted corporate

insolvencies fell by 1.8 percent in Q4 2019

compared to Q3 2019 but rose by 8.1 percent

compared to Q4 2018.

“Every quarter in 2019 saw more corporate

insolvencies than the corresponding quarter

in the previous four years,” he continues.

“In terms of the latest figures, the number

of administrations, a procedure designed to

support business restructure and rescue, have

increased by 24 percent compared to 2018, and

are at their highest since 2013.

“However, liquidations have been rising,

too. For some businesses at the moment,

rescue isn’t possible, although insolvency

practitioners will be doing their best. It’s not

an easy climate for doing business out there.”

Looking ahead, Duncan believes that

one additional factor which may affect

insolvency numbers in Q1 and Q2 2020 is

the Government’s plan to make HMRC a

‘preferential creditor’ in insolvencies from

April – an issue covered in last month’s Credit

Management: “This will benefit HMRC at the

expense of lenders, customers, and suppliers,

and will hurt business lending,” Duncan

says. “Some businesses could be pushed into

insolvency due to a reduction in their lending

facilities.

“These insolvency figures should be a

wake-up call to any director of a company

which is finding it hard going at the moment.

Anyone in this position should look to take

objective advice from a qualified, professional

source, to decide the best path forward – and

the earlier this is done, the better.”

“This will

benefit HMRC

at the expense

of lenders,

customers,

and suppliers,

and will hurt

business

lending”

Research shows importance of CRA data

NEW research from the CICM, in

association with the ACCA, shows that

credit reference agencies remain the

first port of call for credit managers in

assessing the risk of doing business with

a potential customer.

Companies House data and

knowledge/insight from internal

teams are also important, as are credit

insurers and customer visits, and all

impact the decision-making process.

In terms of specific factors influencing

a decision, a CRA ‘score’ again tops the

list, alongside the strength of the balance

sheet and confidence in the customer’s

management and business strategy.

Internal pressure from within one’s own

business is also a factor.

‘‘Staying closer to your customer has

never been more important,” says Philip

King, CICM Chief Executive. “Today it

is not just about the balance sheet or

credit score, although both are clearly

important. Today it is about not just

being aware of the risks, or avoiding

them, but how those risks can be

managed.”

Perhaps surprisingly, investment in

new technology to manage risk was far

from universal.

Preliminary findings of the research

were presented at the CICM Think Tank

last month, and comprised feedback

from more than 100 credit management

professionals from businesses of all

sizes.

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / March 2020 / PAGE 10


INSOLVENCY SPECIAL

NOISES OFF

Are creditors’ voices really being listened

to in insolvency cases?

AUTHOR – David Kerr FCICM

David Kerr FCICM

SO, Brexit is ‘done’! Whatever

our views may have been

on the in/out decision, there

is some consensus I think

around the idea that the

leave vote was in part at

least the result of some voters feeling

that their voices had not previously been

heard sufficiently. There is something to

be learned from that perhaps in other

spheres.

In the credit world, there could

reasonably be a similar sense of

disenfranchisement over issues such as

the return of government preferential

status – relegating the standing of other

ordinary creditors in the insolvency

pecking order. Creditors’ representations

were largely ignored by the Treasury, and

so we will see the new priority coming

into effect this April. Trade and other

non-governmental creditors can expect to

receive smaller dividends in those cases

where there are sufficient funds to make

any level of return.

The failure to take into account

creditors’ views was certainly not a

consequence of any shortcomings on the

part of the Institute to make the case for

a re-think. CICM’s representations were

in the mix as they always are on these

issues, with Philip King FCICM taking a

close personal interest and leading on

consultation submissions to government.

That, happily, gives me an opportunity to

extend my personal best wishes to Philip

as he moves on. Thank you, Philip, for

all you have done for CICM; you will be a

tough act to follow!

PRE-PACK SCRUTINY

Looking forward, there is some indication

that creditors’ views on another

contentious insolvency issue have been

taken on board by the government’s

Insolvency Service. Pre-pack sales by

administrators to connected parties

(such as former directors etc) have

been looked at before, with a number

of recommendations having been

implemented to increase transparency

and accountability in those cases. One

such measure was the introduction

of the Pre-Pack Pool (PPP) to provide

independent scrutiny of sales to

Pre-packs will not

be outlawed, but

we could see some

further efforts

aimed at reassuring

creditors in the

connected party

cases.

connected persons and some assurance to

creditors that the deals were reasonable

(or not, as the case may be) in all the

circumstances. Actually, in most cases

where the PPP was engaged, it found

no reason to challenge the transactions.

Unfortunately, as this has been a

voluntary step taken by prospective

purchasers, the referral rate has been

disappointing, and the Service is

reviewing the position again to decide

what further legislative or other steps it

should take to address lingering concerns.

Pre-packs will not be outlawed,

but we could see some further efforts

aimed at reassuring creditors in the

connected party cases. In this respect

perhaps it could be argued that creditors’

representations over recent years have

been heard. One measure hotly tipped

for review is the voluntary nature of the

referrals to the PPP, with the possibility

of some sort of compulsion, though this

presupposes that creditors want more

reports to read and that a PPP or similar

opinion on a pre-pack deal will influence

suppliers’ approach to future trading

with the new company. There is a risk

that the costs of executing a pre-pack

rescue will increase for no tangible gain,

other than maybe the ‘satisfaction’ from

the oversight regulator’s point of view

in seeing practitioners and purchasers

jump over some newly created hurdles.

Whatever the Service decides, we can

expect an announcement shortly.

REGULATION OPPORTUNITY

On regulation of IPs more generally,

creditors will have an opportunity this

year to make their voices heard through

a consultation. Last year the Service

issued a call for evidence, and CICM

amongst others responded to a series of

questions about the effectiveness of the

current regime, which has been largely

unaltered since licensing first came into

force in late 1986. However, whilst the

legislation around authorisation has not

changed a great deal, the practicalities of

delivery certainly have, with considerable

rationalisation in the sector amongst

regulators.

That can bring advantages in terms

of fewer regulators and the potential for

greater consistency in terms of delivery

of the key regulatory functions, such as

monitoring and complaints handling. The

effectiveness of the regulation of IPs is the

domain of the Service, so in one sense it

is reviewing (with some public input) its

own performance over the years. There

are some who might take issue with the

robustness of its oversight, for example

regarding the time taken in complaints

processes, so it was interesting to see the

Service floating the idea that it could be

the single regulator of IPs.

Importantly, all stakeholders will have

a further opportunity to make their voices

heard when the Service consults on its

proposals. It is one that creditors should

take, individually as well as through

CICM and its officers. We may be losing

our King, but the Technical Committee

and Philip’s successor will ensure that

creditors’ view are heard loud and clear!

David Kerr FCICM is an insolvency

practitioner with extensive regulatory

experience and a member of the CICM

Technical Committee.

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / March 2020 / PAGE 11


CONSUMER COLLECTIONS

DIGITALLY

YOURS

Artificial Intelligence, chatbots and new web platforms

are at the heart of digital communications, but are

customers engaged?

AUTHOR – Sean Feast FCICM

DIGITAL communication is more

important than ever within

the collections and recoveries

sector where customer

engagement is at a premium.

Whether you believe that

technology has changed our habits or the other

way around, the facts are compelling: 79 percent

of adults in the UK now own a smartphone. We

spend on average two hours and 34 minutes per

day online. More than 70 percent of mobile

connections are on 4G meaning we connect

wherever and whenever we want.

Customer contact is no longer a matter

of loading a dialler and spinning numbers,

endlessly carpet bombing a mass of

uninspiring plain text letters. To connect with

customers today, businesses need to deliver

an experience, not just a contact. This means

delivering meaningful, engaging content that

feels personal and, more importantly, solves

a problem with as little customer effort as

possible. Digital communications can satisfy

all of these needs due to the flexibility of being

able to create personal and dynamic content

across multiple channels and devices.

Martin O’Donnell, Director of Debtstream,

says that a consumer’s desire to engage with a

company hasn’t changed, but the way they prefer

to communicate has: “Writing letters and calling

from home phones has become somewhat of a

rarity, with consumers preferring instead to

write an email or use social media channels to

connect with a brand. Recent surveys suggest

only one in ten customers use a phone to

contact a company, therefore, businesses need

to provide digital options if they want to engage

with their customer base.”

CONSUMER BEHAVIOURS

Martin Roseweir FCICM, Managing Director of

AIC (UK), agrees, and says there are two very

different reasons for the drive towards digital.

First and foremost, it’s the changing consumer

behaviours: “Customers are used to getting

things immediately and in the palm of their

hands,” he says. “They want to talk to you now

but not actually speak to you and they want to

make a payment without having to go through

“Customers

are used to

getting things

immediately and

in the palm of

their hands, they

want to talk to

you now but not

actually speak

to you and they

want to make a

payment without

having to go

through endless

questions.

endless questions. They want to manage their

accounts on their terms and when they want,

including out of hours and at weekends.”

David Sheridan FCICM, Operations Director

at ARC Europe, has witnessed a rapid increase

in digital engagement, and says it is coming at

a time when he is seeing a decline in outbound

dialling levels: “I personally believe that there

is a general trend of people to not answer

unknown calls, people prefer the ‘professional’

distance that digital channels can offer in

dealing with organisations. These channels are

also convenient to them, providing accessible

service options that suit their schedule and this

also means organisations benefit in not having

to staff a 24/7 call centre to support their use. It’s

a substantial win/win.”

The other really positive gain from digital

engagement, David says, is the increased level of

data and insight around customer engagement

and their journey through the digital channels.

This, he says, is something you cannot do

with physical letters: “You don’t know how

many customers read the letters and you don’t

necessarily know how many customers call in

as a result,” he explains.

“It’s a different story with digital channels.

You can instantly understand channel

experience across multiple measures, the

read rate, the response rate, the drop rate, the

payment rate – so many measures and you can

also generate a huge amount of behavioural

insight from your website with the power of

Google Analytics. Collection firms should be

paying close attention to online experiences

outside of the sector to see how the best digital

companies engage and promote better customer

experiences. In short, this increased insight is

helping us better understand our customer’s

preferences and allowing us to evolve and

improve their experience with us.”

NO PANACEA

Another who sees digital communications

as enhancing the customer experience is

Eddie Nott, Managing Director, Intrum UK,

although he says that technology isn’t a panacea:

“While technology is an important part of our

business – and we have introduced chatbots,

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / March 2020 / PAGE 12


CONSUMER COLLECTIONS

AUTHOR – Sean Feast FCICM

speech analytics, real-time surveys and

online engagement options – we believe

listening to customers is always the best

way to connect with them and understand

the barriers to engagement.”

This listening approach, Eddie says,

includes ‘objective’ and ‘subjective’

methods: “Statistically significant data

such as Investors in Customers surveys

are invaluable in gauging the experience

our customers have with us and areas

we can improve,” he continues. “These

surveys aren’t specific to the collections

space so offer us a way of measuring our

service against all business types.

“We also find that face-to-face

customer focus groups elicit very detailed

feedback that can be used to target

specific segments and types of customers.

For example, customers who were

previously hard to engage share their

views on how we can reassure others in

the same circumstances. That qualitative

information is analysed at a senior level

and has a significant impact on the way

we approach our business.”

In short, Eddie says, he sees technology

as enhancing the service Intrum offers

at a human level: “Speech analytics,

chatbots and virtual assistance play a

role, but they are part of the picture of

customer engagement, not the answer in

themselves.”

Denise Crossley FCICM, Chief

Executive of Lantern, agrees: “The truth

is that every business uses technology in

the hope of improving customer services

and making communication easier,” she

says. “Therefore, although it is important

to use digital communications to engage

with customers, what is more critical is to

know if the communication is improving

services, what to communicate and when

to communicate as well as over which

channel the communication should

be sent in order to keep the customer

engaged.”

FIRST TO MARKET

Steve Murray MCICM, CEO, Ardent

Credit Services, has a very similar view:

“Technology is of course important,

but just because you ‘can’ do something

doesn’t always mean you ‘should’. There

has been a clamour within the collections

industry to be first to market with certain

digital communications tools, chatbots,

Apps etc and that is understandable

– indeed, Ardent has a well-advanced

technology roadmap itself with significant

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / March 2020 / PAGE 13

ongoing investment. Collections agencies

need to be able to communicate with

their customers using the appropriate

channels, and that includes smartphones,

tablets, and via the web. But not everyone

owns a smartphone and not everyone has

access to a computer.”

Steve also says that not every customer

in debt is of an age where they feel

comfortable interacting online; some

still prefer to speak to an operator or

even communicate by mail: “What is

actually more important than any single

communications channel or platform,”

he says, “is having a range of different

channels to address your different

audience types and communicating with

your customers in a way that makes

them feel comfortable and protected.

A successful customer engagement

strategy will take all of these methods of

communication into account, of which

digital is just one.”

Peter Wallwork MCICM, Chief

Executive of the Credit Services

Association, agrees: “The vital importance

of any communication between a

customer and a debt collection agency

is that it must be appropriate and

proportionate,” he explains. “Whereas

continues on page 14 >


CONSUMER COLLECTIONS

AUTHOR – Sean Feast FCICM

some customers will undoubtedly be more

comfortable communicating online, others

will not. Some may see it as an intrusion

into their privacy; others that an online

conversation is not to be trusted and presents

some sort of risk. Some may not even possess

a phone or a computer. One size rarely fits all

and this is especially true in collections.

“What we don’t want to see happening

is a customer being sent down a path they

would not want to go down,” he continues.

“Companies that only present their customers

with a digital option may not be giving those

customers the options desired by the Financial

Conduct Authority.”

Notwithstanding Peter’s note of caution,

most debt collection agencies have been

actively pursuing new innovations and

technology in the digital space.

RICH COMMUNICATIONS

Hoist Finance, for example, has claimed a

‘first’ in using Rich Communications Service

(RCS) – a new messaging technology (replacing

SMS on Android smart phones) that provides

customers with a two-way conversational and

transactional interaction with which to better

manage their debt and their interaction with

the agency.

Already popular in the retail sector, RCS is

enabling Hoist Finance to better engage with its

customers via automated chatbots to propose

settlement offers, issue payment reminders,

and other conversational communications

using a channel with which many customers

are becoming familiar and prefer to use.

Peter Mounsey, Hoist Finance’s Group

Head of Digital, says the early adoption of RCS

complements the company’s commitment to

provide a full digital customer experience:

“Services that were once only available through

the call centre or self-service portal can now

be delivered through RCS, giving customers

the choice in how they wish to engage with us

in a way that is most convenient to them,” he

says.

“In the retail environment, customers take

it for granted that they can interact in this way

and they expect us to offer similar solutions.

Furthermore, the ability for a customer to

self-serve in both our portal and through our

messaging channels leads to some customers

engaging who would not normally do so. For

many of our customers who have originated

their loans in a digital environment we believe

we need to maintain and further enhance

that experience for them with our Digital by

Default strategy.”

ARC Europe, meanwhile, has focused much

of its attention in recent months on re-visiting

its website: “We want to ensure our agents have

the tools and systems to do their jobs easily

and efficiently and that the communication

methods we use with customers provides

them with the flexibility and options that they

need to easily deal with the nudge to action

we have issued,” says David Sheridan. “Our

recent focus has been on our website where we

have made a substantial investment to enable

customers to manage their account online and

we have enhanced a number of existing digital

channels on the back of customer and staff

feedback.

“Looking at the next 12 months, we are

also planning to upgrade our communication

platform that will bring all of our digital/

telephony channels onto one platform that will

help us deliver better efficiencies in managing

customer contact regardless of channel.”

MULTI-CHANNEL

At AIC, Martin Roseweir says that over the last

two years, the business has gained traction in

both its Multi-channel and Digital capabilities

and roadmap: “The implementation of our

new dialler has allowed us to consolidate our

voice, email and text messaging and Payment

IVR into the one platform with Web chat and

video calling on the roadmap,” he explains. “In

addition, we have started our journey towards

a ‘Virtual Collections Agent’, an online portal

where customers can self-serve 24 hours a

day and complete a journey to resolve their

debt situation without what can be seen as

a difficult step to picking up a phone to a

stranger. We plan to allow the customer to

engage with this medium and take the same

journey as they would over the phone.”

Like ARC Europe, AIC has also spent time

revisiting its website design and functionality:

“Our customer facing website went under

some upgrades a year or so ago and we are

well on the way to stage two which is a total

revamp of the site to improve even further the

customer journey and the level of information

that they can get online at their own pace and

in their own time. Chatbots to answer their

questions will be a key expectation as we move

forward in its development.”

DebtStream has drawn upon the

experience of its founders to bridge the gap

that it says currently exists between digital

communication and the debt recovery space:

“Our experience has found that customers

in financial difficulty have been reluctant

to engage through the traditional call centre

channels, therefore, we created DebtStream

to deliver a digital experience that provides

the same level of personalisation and support

that a customer would normally expect when

dealing with an agent,” Martin O’Donnell

explains. “Through our portal every customer

will receive a personalised and bespoke

journey.”

The DebtStream portal has been designed

to be fluid and highly configurable meaning

that it can deliver highly personalised online

experiences: “This level of flexibility also

“Speech analytics,

chatbots and

virtual assistance

play a role, but

they are part

of the picture

of customer

engagement, not

the answer in

themselves.”

“Companies that

only present their

customers with

a digital option

may not be giving

those customers

the options

desired by the

Financial Conduct

Authority.”

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / March 2020 / PAGE 14


CONSUMER COLLECTIONS

AUTHOR – Sean Feast FCICM

provides companies with the ability

to deliver their business strategies directly

to the customer, reacting to real time events

or changes in customer behaviour,”

Martin adds.

At Lantern, Denise Crossley and her

team have also recently implemented a

new IVR system which allows customers

to pay direct over the phone without

speaking to an agent: “Although this might

sound like ‘old news’ to companies who

implemented this technology as much as

two decades ago, most organisations with

an established IVR miss the opportunity

to analyse customer engagement and

behaviours,” she says. “By reviewing the

change in customer behaviour when

not dealing directly with agents it allows

us to review the IVR journey for the

customer, making it easier to use and

more responsive.”

It is not just the IVR customer journey

that Lantern is analysing however:

“Throughout 2020 we will review all

our channels allowing us to provide

the best possible experience for our

customers whether their preference is to

be contacted via phone, webchat, SMS or

email. This constant analysis will ensure

all our channels will be simple and

easy to use, providing the best possible

customer journey and outcome. We are

also introducing improved analytics

to enhance quality and compliance in

our telephony channel. The richness

of the data will enhance our customer

proposition further and will improve

colleague training.”

MEASURING SUCCESS

Measuring the success of digital

communication and acting upon the

findings is an interesting challenge, as

is analysing the nature of engagement.

Peter Mounsey of Hoist Finance says

that an analysis of the content of Hoist’s

inbound calls and existing two-way

omni–channel interactions has

highlighted that a significant percentage

of its customer conversations are

information-only requests: “It has

therefore been a natural part of our Digital

Strategy to find ways to automate this,” he

explains. “This both provides a quick and

efficient service to the customer, as well

as allowing our agents time to be more

focused on the more complex customer

interaction and needs.”

Within the first month of being

launched in the UK, the Hoist Finance

chatbot helped customers complete

enquiries in 65 percent of cases without

requiring any agent intervention. “The

chatbot provides the customer with

answers to a range of questions including

help on accessing and logging-on to

the Hoist Finance self-serve portal,”

Peter adds. “Any chats that cannot be

successfully handled are automatically

routed to the appropriate agent during

contact call centre operating hours.”

Martin Roseweir says AIC also closely

monitors the engagement with customers

across all of its platforms: “We monitor

what web pages they visit, and whether

they get stuck or fail to continue at certain

points in the journey. We also track what

medium the customers respond to from

using unique identifiers for calls, text,

emails and both manual and digital

letters. This helps us drive the right

communication method on each of our

clients; it’s not an exact science but we

have seen success where we measured

the client engagement on one portfolio

and it led us to completely change how

we interacted with them, which drove

increased performance.”

So how does Martin reach those who

seem the most reluctant to engage? “By

trying different channels, and measuring

what works,” he says. “Gone are the days

where the customers who didn’t answer

the phone or respond to a letter (if they

even opened it) fell into a black hole of a

cycle of dialler calls and letters through

the door. An email or text now allows

them to choose when they respond and

how they respond. Giving them as many

options to allow them to choose how

we communicate is for me the best way

to engage customers that may not want

those traditional methods. You can’t

drive people to digital that don’t want to

go there. You have to give them a choice

and let them decide. Ultimately, on their

terms, customers will engage more and

stay engaged.”

RELUCTANT CUSTOMERS

By the very nature of the collections

industry, says Martin O’Donnell, agencies

are often dealing with customers who

don’t want to engage through traditional

contact channels: “We found that by

providing customers with other digital

contact options we experienced higher

levels of engagement,” he says.

“Our experience has shown that the

most powerful customer engagement

comes from building trust between a

business and their customers. Trust can be

built by consistent and relevant ongoing

interactions and messaging which should

always have a clear purpose.”

Online analytics tools are an essential

part of building an effective digital

solution: “Measuring page to goal

conversation rates, page stickiness metrics

and failure metrics like inbound call

volumes can all help to provide a valuable

assessment of customer experience,”

Martin continues. “Use of tools like

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / March 2020 / PAGE 15

continues on page 16 >


CONSUMER COLLECTIONS

AUTHOR – Sean Feast FCICM

“Within the

collections

space we need

to deliver the

most compelling

experience,

better than any

interactions the

consumer has had

before because

we are selling the

hardest product.”

hotjar allow us to see exactly how a

customer interacts with our web portal,

where they flow easily and any potential points

of friction that need to be improved.”

Martin also believes customers have a base

level of customer service expectation when they

interact with any company: “When engaging

with a customer within the collections and

recoveries space it is even more important to

make the interactions as easy and compelling

as possible. We need to deliver an ease of

engagement and seamless journeys that are

aligned with the best products they deal with

in their day-to-day life.”

ARC Europe has end-to-end management

information and analytical tools that helps

it understand customer navigation through

their journey with the agency: “This helps us

assess and target elements of the journey that

for some reason have low take up for deeper

assessment and testing,” says David Sheridan.

“This insight can range from page load times

on our website (are they too high?) to a recent

email campaign and the response rate in great

detail.

“We also complement the detailed

channel level MI with Customer Survey data

(Net Promoter Score approach) that targets

feedback from all customers regardless of their

experience with us to rate that experience and

provide commentary. This broader insight

enables us to keep abreast of the general

experience of our customer base (good or bad)

and helps us target any issues that can arise for

a variety of reasons.”

PERSISTENT DRIVE

David says that this combined insight leads

to a persistent drive to improve customer

engagement levels: “Fine tweaking channel

experiences bit by bit on their own doesn’t

necessarily amount to huge increases

in engagement levels, but overall they

do contribute to improving the level of

engagement. In our business we have seen a

near doubling of customer engagement levels

through digital channels in the past 12 months

alone and it has not required a substantial

increase in resources to support this increase.”

But is the collections industry learning

lessons from other industries when it comes to

customer service, or could it be said that other

industries could learn from the agencies?

David Sheridan: “The Collections Industry,

I believe, struggled initially to buy into the

customer service mind-set and lagged behind

the latest trends in customer service as it didn’t

qualify itself as that type of sector. This has

undoubtedly changed in recent years, helped

greatly by the increased awareness within

the industry of the powerful and supportive

role that Collection Agents do day in, day

out helping people understand their options

in dealing with debt and in many cases

signposting customers to Debt Advice and

other supportive organisations.

“Today the industry embraces Net Promoter

Score, the commitment to meet the standards

set by Investors in Customer assessments and

has, I feel, bought into the need to meet service

standards that customers expect to see in their

daily transactions with other organisations.

Consumers are more informed and they have

high expectations so it is important that firms

pay attention to what is going on outside the

Collection bubble. Customer engagement

habits are changing and paying attention to

these is essential as what is a new norm in

customer engagement habits with main stream

service providers will be an expected norm

from Collection firms! Firms who don’t have an

eye to what’s going on outside their own sector

are going to struggle to recognise and adapt

their business to these new/emerging trends.”

Martin O’Donnell agrees that the industry

was initially slow in coming forward: “The

collections industry has historically been slow

to adopt new technology and until recently

didn’t focus too heavily on providing good

customer service,” he says. “It is clear if you

don’t make life easy for your customers, they

won’t engage with you. That being said, the

quicker and more efficient you make your

journeys, the more value your customers will

deliver.”

Customer service is important across all

industries regardless of the product, Martin

says: “Within the collections space we need

to deliver the most compelling experience,

better than any interactions the consumer has

had before because we are selling the hardest

product.”

Martin Roseweir agrees, and says AIC has

been fortunate in being able to take learnings

from the other clients it has in the customer

service space: “For a number of years now

we have grown our experience in customer

service and other non-collection activities

and used that experience to influence how we

approach collection campaigns” he explains.

“Whether that be in the customer interaction

and how they want to engage or, in our nonvoice

communications that we see having a

significant impact on customer behaviour, we

are continually challenging our practices and

evolving our strategies.”

Denise Crossley also concurs: “We have

great ambitions in 2020 and in order for these

to be realised we will need a single-minded

approach to customer service and engagement.

As an organisation we feel it is vital that all

employees are given the support and training

they need in order to unlock their potential

and give them the tools to recognise ways of

improving service, reducing risk and reducing

costs.”

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / March 2020 / PAGE 16


INTERVIEW

WATCHING

BRIEF

Sean Feast talks to Jo Kettner of

Company Watch about Eastern Europe,

the challenges of Companies House data

and the wise words of Dumbledore.

IN many ways Jo Kettner is a frustrated

academic. Indeed, she might have

continued with her passion for

learning, had the harsh realities of

money and the need to earn a living

not entered the frame. Both, however,

tempted her back to a business where she

started out as an intern, and is now its Chief

Executive!

Born in Leigh-on-Sea in Essex, her mother

worked in a bank and her father for the Local

Government in adult education. Some of her

earliest memories involve being ‘volunteered’

with her sister to help their father with

packaging and distributing course brochures

and managing enrolment forms and payments:

“My father was very particular,” she laughs.

“There was his way and the wrong way.”

At the local grammar school she excelled,

achieving a full-sweep of ‘A’s at A-level in

history, music, maths and further maths. By

way of careers advice, she briefly explored

becoming a professional musician, having

gained a Grade 8 in the Oboe and spent time

at the Royal College of Music. She also briefly

explored the possibility of becoming a vet: “I’m

not very good with mess,” she laughs, “and

putting my hand inside an animal would not

have been me!”

In the event, she won a place to read history

at Clare College Cambridge, just at the point

they introduced tuition fees: “My parents had

set aside some money for both of us to get

married, but in the end it was all spent on

our fees. It’s funny looking back and thinking

how our parents’ expectations have changed

over the years, and how we were very much

encouraged to go to university. My sister went

to Oxford, but I went to the better University,”

she jokes.

AMAZING LECTURES

Jo thoroughly enjoyed life at university and her

course: “We had some amazing lecturers, and

every week would have contact time where we

would discuss our essays or other work with

an expert in a one-to-one tutorial. One of our

visiting lecturers was David Starkey, and it was

amazing to see him perform in person.”

Graduating with a BA and subsequently an

MA (Cantab), Jo’s dissertation focused on law

and order in the Conservative Party in the

1950s and 60s. She then went to the University

of London to study for a PhD at the School of

Slavonic and East European Studies, having

been fascinated by the history of the former

Iron Curtain: “I was nine when the Berlin

Wall came down and also remember Nicolae

Ceausescu, the former President of Romania,

being shot. To be a serious historian you need

to be able to read source documents in their

original language, so I studied Russian until a

chance conversation with a linguist led me to

learn Romanian.

“I spent a year there and wrote a thesis on

‘nation building’, showing how Romania had

been one of the big winners from the Treaty

of Versailles, how they had sought to build a

capital city (The Paris of the East) within an

ostensibly peasant nation, and how it had

subsequently squandered it all. Ceausescu had

wanted to build a new capital in his own image.”

Jo’s time in Romania was not without its

challenges. Corruption was mainstream: “You

got good at being charming,” she explains. “I

went back there in 2007 with my now husband,

and since we were in a British car we were often

stopped by the Romanian police who were

always shocked when I spoke back to them in

their own language.”

MUSICAL TALENT

It was Jo’s musical talent, however, that could

be said to be the source for her current role.

While still at school she played in an orchestra

with Malcolm Hiscock, one of the founders

of Company Watch: “He knew me more as a

mathematician and asked me to help with some

research work. Later, when I came back from

Romania, I applied for a Junior Fellowship,

and while I loved academia, it was just not

financially viable. I started to learn Czech but

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / March 2020 / PAGE 17

continues on page 18 >


INTERVIEW

AUTHOR – Sean Feast FCICM

couldn’t see where I was going to be in

five years’ time. I was then invited to work

at Company Watch again and have not

looked back since. It has actually been my

only really proper job!”

Company Watch, a credit reference

agency, had been founded in 1998 by

Malcolm Hiscock, Guenter Steinitz, Denis

Baker and Lance French, and backed

by the credit insurer, Atradius. An MBO

in 2011 followed by a further buyout in

2015 left Denis and Lance, with Denis as

CEO, and Jo as his deputy. Where Jo says

the business differs from other credit

reference agencies is in its focus on

analysis: “We are not a mass market CRA

and describe ourselves as an analytics

company rather than a data company,”

she says.

Underlining its business, and Jo’s claim,

is its bespoke ‘H’ Score: “People want to

know what the underlying risks are of

extending credit to another business,” she

explains, “and for that they need to know

the detail about a company’s health. The

original Z-Score, on which the H-Score is

loosely based, was derived by analysing

around 60 manufacturing companies.

The H-Score is a more ‘turbo charged’

version in that it analyses thousands of

businesses and compares those that failed

with those that didn’t. Identifying the key

characteristics in each is what makes it

such a powerful predictor of risks.

“There are those companies for whom

a simple check is enough and ticks a box.

Then there are others who want to really

dig beneath the score and understand

why a company is either ‘strong’ or ‘weak’.

They want to be able to interrogate the

data and interact with it. We don’t just

show them a score; we explain how we

have arrived at that score and the many

components behind it. The reasons can

often be complex, but we help make it

simple for them to understand.”

RECENT INNOVATIONS

One of the more recent innovations,

has been the addition of ‘text’ to the

scoring process: “Using machine

learning to put text through a similar

discriminant analysis process has added

a new dimension to our ability to predict

financial risk,” she says. “The problem

for a firm like ours, which has always

been committed to transparency, is the

inherent ‘black box’ nature of machine

learning models. They tend to give very

accurate results, but at the expense

of transparency and ‘explainability’.

We’ve worked really hard on trying to

contextualise the frequency of words

relative to the population of documents

as a whole, to give some indication of

what the models have discovered in the

documents that could be a warning sign.”

Among the multiple sources used

throughout the credit reference industry

is data from Companies House. The

accuracy, relevance and validity of such

data, however, has been much called

into question in recent times, prompting

passionate debate from certain quarters.

Jo has been one who has not been afraid

to raise her head above the parapet:

“Consumers need to be aware of its

limitations,” she says.

Among the many plans being discussed

is for Companies House to oblige company

directors to verify their identity when

filing accounts, and certainly Jo thinks

this is the right direction to take.

“We’ve spent a great deal of time

developing a matching algorithm to link

individuals who might have multiple

director IDs at Companies House. If

Companies House are able to implement

the proposal to make all individuals

identify themselves, and have a unique

identifier, this would go a long way to

helping consumers of Companies House

data protect themselves from serial

‘phoenix’ directors who can be very

difficult to trace.”

A proposal that was in the ‘greener’

part of the Government Consultation

which ran between May and August 2019,

involved sharing and linking data between

government departments. Jo is broadly in

favour of this but points to some more

fundamental questions that need to be

addressed before this can deliver on its

promises: “One of the big issues we face

in the information industry is that of

identity resolution and the ability to match

companies across different datasets.

In theory, every company has a unique

identifying number – its registration

number at Companies House, but if this is

not actually verified at the point at which

a company is included in another official

dataset then it quickly becomes a much

less valuable piece of information.

“Companies House is the only official

public record of Limited companies in

By way of careers advice, she briefly explored

becoming a professional musician, having gained

a Grade 8 in the Oboe and spent time at the Royal

College of Music.

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / March 2020 / PAGE 18


INTERVIEW

AUTHOR – Sean Feast FCICM

the UK, so if a business isn’t there, then

it suggests there is a problem. Conversely,

if your name does appear, then you do

exist. The challenge then is how can we

compare a limited company at Companies

House with other sources (such as HMRC

or VAT data) to verify the business (and

its accounts) are genuine, when internal

government sources tend to rely on

Corporation Tax number (rather than

Companies House registration number)

as the identity spine?”

All legitimate businesses with a

turnover above £85,000, Jo says, have a

VAT footprint. One would also expect

legitimate businesses to have a certain

number of employees based on the size

of their turnover and balance sheet.

Information on employee numbers

contained in monthly payroll reports,

coupled with VAT registration information

could start to address the criticism that

is often levelled at CRAs – that their

information is historical and out of date.

In a world where we are used to instantly

available information, it is surely time

that official data on businesses kept up

with the pace.

“It’s a complex jigsaw and there

will always be loopholes, but some

loopholes could easily be closed,” she

continues. “One of the major issues

with Companies House data is that it

is publicly available – so in theory the

very source of data that is being used

to verify company information is freely

available to anyone on the internet. One

of the ways we could prevent fraud is

by using non-published data sets as

well as published data. Corporation Tax,

for example, is not publicly available, but

if we could link a company’s Corporation

Tax number to the Companies House

registration number, then this would help

enormously, and we still need to engage

with government to make our case.”

GOVERNMENT RELUCTANCE

Part of the reluctance from government

and others to make more information

available is centred around control. Jo does

not pretend that Company Watch, and

indeed all CRAs, do not have a commercial

interest, but more accurate scores

ultimately support a more successful

economy: “The implications to the wider

economy are significant,” she says, “and

could have far-reaching consequences.

It will make the procurement of larger

scale infrastructure projects less risky

and more accurate and support the

supply chain in longer-term contracts by

enabling firms to make better-informed

business decisions.” Company Watch

is a business that does not rest on its

laurels. The latest innovation is never

far away. Most recently it has created the

ability not only to turn ‘flat’ Companies

House data into ‘searchable’ text, but also

enable credit managers to search those

documents for virtually any information

they need. They are also actively looking

at developing country risk scoring for

businesses operating outside of the UK

to give further context to the decisionmaking

process, and how Open Banking

will impact the B2B space.

As a Corporate Partner to the Chartered

Institute of Credit Management, Jo is a

keen supporter of the CICM, and

particularly the CICM Think Tank:

“There have been some fascinating

presentations,” she says, “and the Think

Tank is probably the CICM’s best kept

secret!” Away from Company Watch,

Jo is the current chairman of BIPA –

the Business Information Providers

Association – an association united in its

desire to make the quality of information

better. Outside of work, she loves

travelling (she has recently returned from

Zapallar in Chile) and is a busy mum to

two young children: “They say when your

children are young the days are long, but

the years go by quickly,” she laughs.

So, what advice might she offer them

in the future? Remembering her younger

self, she is not sure that she would have

taken kindly to wise words dispensed

from a 39-year-old woman. With that

in mind she demurs from giving any

serious advice and recalls a quote from

Dumbledore, one of the key characters

in the Harry Potter series: “Youth cannot

know how age thinks and feels. But old

men are guilty if they forget what it was

to be young.”

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / March 2020 / PAGE 19


OPINION

TREADING

CAREFULLY

Practical advice for managing your

carbon footprint.

AUTHOR – Brian Murnane

GLOBAl warming is an existential

threat to life as we know it. The

term, used interchangeably

with Climate Change, is the

process by which the average

temperature of the earth is

increasing. Global warming creates problems

on a myriad of levels, many of which are not

well understood by business, government or

society in general.

Those of us in business are hard wired to

see a problem as an opportunity: so it should

be with Global Warming. Much of it can be

solved in ways that are also economically and

commercially beneficial. The key is to identify

the ‘win win’ opportunities in the new dynamic

that it creates: those who adapt better will aid

their own survival and growth, more than those

that don’t.

So what are the causes of Global Warming,

and what can companies do to rise to its

challenges?

THE CAUSES

The earth’s temperature changes naturally as a

result of Milankovitch cycles. These cycles are

caused by changes in the earth’s orbit around

the sun, (eccentricity), its precession (wobble),

and the tilt of its axis (obliquity). Each of these

have a different effect on how much of the sun’s

energy reaches the earth and when the strongest

sunlight occurs. Temperature is also affected by

the changes in the composition of gases in the

atmosphere and vegetation on the earth.

However, these natural cycles are slow

moving. The last interglacial period (the

Eemian) occurred over 100,000 years ago. The

current stage in the Milankovitch cycle should

see the earth gradually cooling. Instead, it is

rapidly warming. The reason is anthropogenic

(man-made) emissions of Greenhouse Gases

(GHG’s). Worryingly, a 10,000-year downward

trend has abruptly changed in the last 50 years.

Global warming in simple terms equals the

difference between the energy radiated from the

sun to the earth – and the energy radiated back

from the earth into space. GHG’s accumulate

in the atmosphere to form a blanket that

hinders this natural phenomenon. Radiation

from the sun travels in short wavelengths, that

penetrate the GHG Blanket. Energy from the

earth however, travels in longer wavelengths,

that do not all pierce the blanket. The trapped

energy raises the earth’s average temperature -

and does this unequally across the globe. This

throws the planetary system out of equilibrium

formed over millions of years of evolution – with

profound consequences. Those consequences

are increasingly evident: more extreme weather

events, drought, flooding, sea level rise, over

rapid change to marine and other ecosystems

threatening food security, and many others.

NO SILVER BULLET

Given the scale and complexity of the problem,

there is no apparent silver bullet to solve it.

The solution looks more like silver buck shot:

survival needs a toolbox with a broad array of

solutions. Understanding what governments are

doing and the potential for clean technologies

to assist – is the subject of another article. For

now, I’d like to focus on what business can do

to play its part.

• Understand the danger of ‘Greenwash’ –

the term used for unsubstantiated claims of

carbon efficiency, often found in marketing

statements. Not only is greenwash dishonest –

but it is reckless in how it creates a false sense

of security, channelling resources into

solutions that are not helping. Instead, be

sceptical, ask to see the science behind

the claims. The more companies put their

environmental efforts transparently on their

web sites (the science, not the marketing

speak), the better the world will be. Consumers

are increasingly rewarding transparency as

they learn to filter fake news.

• Seek third-party Verification – In GHG

Accounting, Verification is akin to auditing in

financial accounting. Large companies with

mandatory carbon accounting requirements

are required to have the GHG inventory

verified. The only verifiable system for

GHG Accounting is the ISO 14064 series of

standards: usage of this is a good indication

of a company’s carbon credentials. The vast

majority of companies however only report

voluntarily, if at all. In effect, companies can

then make whatever self-serving statement

they wish – and many do.

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / March 2020 / PAGE 20


OPINION

AUTHOR – Brian Murnane

The independent footprint report

always creates trust when companies

can say – ‘here is where we are and

here is what we are doing’.

• Have a carbon footprint – or GHG Inventory

Quantification, done professionally. While one

can download a free or cheap app to compile

this, they do not provide the judgement

necessary for a business challenged by more

complex ownership structures, boundary

issues, treatment of leased assets, using

appropriate emission factors for the activity

and geography etc. A proper GHG inventory

is very affordable and not only provides

accuracy, but is also the solid foundation on

which subsequent improvement efforts and

capex, are based. The independent footprint

report always creates trust when companies

can say – ‘here is where we are and here is

what we are doing’. As with anything else,

build on solid foundations.

• Build a roadmap of what to do – the footprint

should highlight opportunities to improve –

stimulating a cost benefit analysis and eventual

resource allocation. For companies wishing to

become ‘carbon neutral’, the footprint is the

first step also. Achieving neutrality involves

three basic steps: measure your emissions,

reduce what you can, then ‘offset’ the rest. An

offset is matching the emission of carbon in

one place, with an emission reduction created

elsewhere. Offset credits can be purchased

from reputable suppliers, who approve the

projects that generate them and ensure they

are retired when you buy them. A sample offset

project might be a new forestry project, a clean

energy power plant, rewetted peatlands that

sequester CO2 or other ‘clean’ technologies

that displace dirtier legacy technologies. An

example of an unreputable credit would be

one where the same credit not retired after it is

sold but is sold to multiple buyers. This is how

the world gets fooled. Verification is crucial.

• Become carbon literate – Carbon accounting

and reduction draws on many business

disciplines and as such, benefit from a

multidisciplinary approach. Consider

Brian Murnane

The key is to

identify the ‘win

win’ opportunities

in the new

dynamic that it

creates: those

who adapt better

will aid their

own survival and

growth, more than

those that don’t.

attending a course from a reputable provider

– and send your Finance, Engineering/

Environmental, and CSR people to learn

together. It tends to reshape company values

in a positive and practical way. While there

are some online courses in the field, the

instructor led courses are better as they tend

to lead to idea sharing across industries,

driving progress more efficiently.

So much for what a business should be doing at

a macro level, but what can a business and its

employees be doing at a more operational and

personal level? At the operational level, there

are many practical choices a business can make,

namely:

• Use electricity from renewable sources –

this won’t lower emissions in the short term,

but will clean up the electric grid in the longer

term by creating preferential demand for

clean power.

• Employee commuting: encourage cycling

and car-pooling if possible. It is also worth

considering a scheme to allow more flexible

work at home options – even one day per week.

This is a good ‘win win’ example: companies

doing this for emissions reason also found this

to be great for employee retention as well.

• Fly less – consider a sail and rail company

policy where feasible.

• Eat as low as possible on the food chain

as you can – and eat in season. Try more

locally grown root crops in winter and fewer

strawberries from the other side of the world.

ie as close to production as is feasible. Every

item has a supply chain with its own carbon

footprint. By eating local produce, growing

your own, reducing your meat consumption,

your diet will be healthier, and your emissions

will be lower.

• Plant trees – the most efficient way to reduce

atmospheric CO2.

Brian Murnane is the Group Business

Development Manager at Carbon Action,

part of the Chris Mee Group, an EH&S Group

based in Ireland. He is an expert in Carbon

Management and Carbon Trading on global

markets. Info@carbonaction.co.uk

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / March 2020 / PAGE 21


THE FUTURE

WORLD OF

WORK IS NOW

Request our latest

What Workers Want Report

Hays Credit Management would like to

congratulate all nominees, finalists and

winners at the British Credit Awards 2020.

Automation has the potential to transform the credit

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employers prepare for and capitalise on the opportunities

offered by greater automation in the workplace?

The Hays What Workers Want Credit Management Report

provides insights into how digital transformation and

automation is impacting jobs, tasks and skills within credit

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of the successful implementation of these technologies.

Request your copy of the report to find out how you can

prepare for increased automation in the workplace and

realise the most from your workforce today.

Register your interest and be one of the first to

receive our report at hays.co.uk/credit-report

hays.co.uk/credit-report

© Copyright Hays plc 2020. HAYS, the Corporate and Sector H devices, Recruiting experts worldwide, the HAYS Recruiting experts worldwide logo and Powering the world of work are trademarks of Hays plc.

The Corporate and Sector H devices are original designs protected by registration in many countries.All rights are reserved.

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / March 2020 / PAGE 22


SECTOR FOCUS

POWERING DOWN

Is the energy sector showing signs

of slowing down?

AUTHOR – Tim Vine

THE UK energy sector

has undergone considerable

change in recent years. As

demand for environmentally

friendly alternatives grow in

popularity, and businesses

face greater scrutiny and hardship thanks

to the economic uncertainty caused by

Brexit, the sector dominated by the ‘Big Six’

is showing signs of pressure.

The growing demand for renewable

energy and environmentally conscious

providers means that the energy sector has

seen explosive growth; Dun & Bradstreet’s

data has shown that the number of

businesses in this sector increased by 36

percent between October 2016 and October

2019, from 10,222 to 13,911.

However, as regulators increasingly

scrutinise energy companies to ensure

prices are affordable and competitive, risk

across the sector may be set to worsen in

2020.

INCREASING LIQUIDATIONS

Where the sector has seen the number of

providers greatly expand, there has also

been a significant growth in liquidations.

Breeze Energy ceased trading in December,

making it the ninth energy supplier to

collapse in 2019 alone, and the fifteenth

in two years. Even worse, the number of

liquidations has increased from 26 in 2016

to 39 in 2019.

What’s more, the industry is undergoing

drastic change with smaller energy

companies struggling to adapt to external

pressures and finding themselves on the

periphery of liquidation. As the Office of

Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem) said

last year, the growth in the number of

suppliers means that it now expects there

to be a period of consolidation as providers

exit the market or merge.

Complicating the market conditions

further is fossil fuel consumption, which

has reached an all-time low. Meanwhile,

Ofgem has cracked down on the price

of energy in the UK, meaning it is a

difficult space for companies to thrive in.

This matches data from the Purchasing

Managers’ Index, which showed that the

services sector as a whole contracted

throughout 2019, with new order inflow

declining and jobs being cut.

Finally, following the analysis of selected

payment information, prompt payment

performance in the sector appears to be

below the UK average, with 39 percent of

payments analysed being made on time.

This indicates that the sector is struggling

to pay partners and suppliers, partly due to

the unreliability of customer payments and

the difficulty of being able to accurately

measure energy consumption.

SWITCHING ON

In December, Ofgem announced plans

to limit the profits of energy providers in

order to push them towards investing in

carbon-neutral technology, and consumers

more broadly are turning to providers that

continue to invest in new, environmentally

friendly methods while keeping down the

cost of their energy bills.

What this means for the market is

that smaller providers may continue to

struggle to remain competitive while also

making these investments, speeding the

consolidation of the market and ensuring

that the ‘Big Six’ retain their positions as

the UKs largest providers.

As new competitors continue to enter

the market at pace, and technological

innovation inspires enhanced products

and services, energy suppliers need to

adapt quickly in order to retain customers

and customers’ trust. However, the

capabilities needed to adapt for the

future market – such as being customercentric,

innovative, digitally advanced

and operationally excellent – are not those

traditionally associated with the utilities

sector. With an unstable global economy,

and the complications of a post-Brexit

world, it will be a crunch year for the sector

as it looks to shake off the business failures

that have marred it over the past two years.

Tim Vine is European Head of Finance

Solutions at Dun & Bradstreet.

Tim Vine

As new competitors continue to enter the

market at pace, and technological innovation

inspires enhanced products and services,

energy suppliers need to adapt quickly in order

to retain customers and customers’ trust.

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / March 2020 / PAGE 23


PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT

PRESENT AND

CORRECT

In the first in a new series, we

consider how to create the perfect

presentation.

AUTHOR – Clive Hawkins

THERE are times throughout

your career when you are asked

to present to an audience. When

this happens, how do you feel –

excited, proud, eager to share

your knowledge? I suspect not.

Mention the term ‘public speaking’ and

there is a strong chance it will be accompanied

by a discernible shudder and viewed as a

frightening prospect. This is a common

reaction and there is even a name for the

fear of public speaking, Glossophobia. It is

estimated that up to 75 percent of us share this

phobia – when I mention this in my training

programmes, many delegates often question

why this figure it is not higher.

The ability to be a confident public speaker

is a necessary business skill. It enables you to

communicate effectively and reinforces your

reputation as a business expert. So, what can

be done to address the situation if you see

yourself positioned in the ’75 percent’ group

and need help?

PRODUCT OF NATURE

It is easy to assume that a good public speaker

is a product of nature but that’s not the case.

Of course, there are those that relish standing

before their peers and can hold an audience

but they're definitely in the minority.

I believe public speaking is a skill that

can most definitely be taught, whatever the

degree of trepidation. However, you need to

review, refresh and rehearse your presentation

approach every time to ensure the delivery

meets your audience’s needs. We can all relate

to presenters struggling to hold our attention

on the podium and lacking clarity on what they

are seeking to convey, and our yearning for the

last slide to appear before we can quickly exit

for the coffee machine.

GOLDEN RULES

Teaching people the techniques to

communicate effectively relies on following

some golden rules – rules which if followed

help build confidence and turn you into an

effective public speaker. So what are they?

• Know your audience. When crafting your

presentation, focus on the audience profile

and what topics are going to interest them. The

more appropriate the content, the greater your

audience will relate to what you are saying.

• Know your material. Nothing switches off

an audience more than a presenter who cannot

engage effectively. This often starts with a

lack of preparation; not having rehearsed

their content delivery or spending enough

time on making someone else’s presentation

their own. This leads to a poor presentation;

needing to continually refer to speaking notes,

looking at slides on the screen for long periods

of time as if it were a ‘magic eye’, and frequent

‘ums’ and ‘ers’ in the delivery. The more you

know your material, the more confident you

will be and the more likely you will deliver a

powerful presentation for your audience.

• Know your delivery. Decide on the key

points you want an audience to take away and

use these to structure your presentation. Tell a

story to link these points together and combine

with a powerful opening and strong summary,

as audiences are more likely to be engaged by

a compelling narrative than just hard facts.

You also need to consider how you will deliver

your presentation. A good public speaker will

consciously alter their tone of voice, use hand

and arm movement selectively and command

the podium in a positive and enthusiastic way

whilst appearing as natural as possible.

The more you can anticipate your

audiences’ requirements, are able to recite

the presentation in your sleep and can deliver

your key points in an engaging way, the more

you will see the difference between a public

speaking experience you love, and one that

you dread.

Clive Hawkins is a Senior Associate at Spoken

Word Communications, a global media, crisis

communications, and presentation training

company.clive@spokenwordgroup.co.uk

www.spokenwordgroup.com

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / March 2020 / PAGE 24


PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT

AUTHOR – Clive Hawkins

The ability to be a confident

public speaker is a necessary

business skill. It enables you to

communicate effectively and

reinforces your reputation as a

business expert.

Clive Hawkins

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / March 2020 / PAGE 25


APPOINTMENTS

APPOINTMENT

CHIEF EXECUTIVE

Chartered Institute of Credit Management

The Chartered Institute of Credit Management is looking

for a strategic CHIEF EXECUTIVE to play a crucial role

in providing leadership to the organisation on the next

stage of its exciting journey.

Founded in 1939, and having achieved chartered

status and established itself as the professional body

for the increasingly important credit profession, the

Trustees are seeking a dynamic and experienced

leader and ambassador to continue to develop the

institute’s standing and image, and plan and implement

improvements to its financial and commercial

performance.

To be successful you will need to have the necessary

gravitas to represent the CICM and wider credit

industry in relationships at the highest level with all

major stakeholders. Your excellent intuition and likely

background as an experienced credit professional and

CICM member, will ensure you can help the organisation

establish and recognise the ongoing and future needs

of its members, both meeting and exceeding those

needs. You will lead the team to develop infrastructure

and resources that will enable delivery of the Institute’s

mission, vision and values as well as sustainable growth

for the future of the organisation.

This is a full-time role, though in certain circumstances a

part-time appointment may be considered.

Please outline in a letter of no more than 500 words

how you meet these requirements and what you would

bring to the role of Chief Executive if appointed. Letters

should be submitted to humanresources@cicm.com by

17:00 on Friday 27 March 2020.

Elections 2020

Advancing the credit profession NOMINATIONS ARE NOW OPEN

The Advisory Council influences the future direction of the Institute.

Its members reflect the diverse range of skills and experience amongst the

Institute’s membership, and bring valuable expertise and knowledge.

Being a member of the Advisory Council is your opportunity to:

• Share your knowledge and expertise to help the CICM advance the credit profession.

• Assist in steering the strategy and future direction of the Institute.

• Contribute to raising the profile of the largest recognised professional body in the

world for the credit management community.

There are 23 Advisory Council positions now open for nomination representing our

11 regions and the trade, consumer, international and credit services sectors.

Visit www.cicm.com/elections-2020/ or email elections@cicm.com

to find out more – nominations close 2 April 2020.

ADVANCING THE CREDIT PROFESSION

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / March 2020 / PAGE 26


OPINION

Silver Service

Insolvency among silver surfers is on an

alarming upward trend.

AUTHOR – Stuart Lewis

THE industry has been full

of insolvency data recently,

and analysing the data

reveals some interesting –

and disturbing – trends. It

shows, for example that the

number of women aged 65 and over who

have fallen into an insolvency situation

has increased from 1,109 in 2008 to 2,082 in

2018 – an increase of 88 percent in a decade.

The insolvency rate of this group

increased from 0.02 percent to 0.04

percent in the same time period – the

biggest increase across all age groups.

Insolvencies amongst men aged 65 and

above also increased by 29 percent in the

years between 2008 and 2018.

Whilst the number of insolvencies

amongst women increased significantly in

every age group between 2008 and 2018, the

jump was biggest amongst the over 65s (88

percent) followed by women aged between

45-54 (69 percent) and the over 55s more

generally (69 percent). So what does it all

mean?

CAUSE FOR CONCERN

The rapidly increasing rate of insolvency

amongst all women is cause for concern

but is particularly concerning amongst

women over 55, many of whom are already

at higher risk of finding themselves in a

financially precarious position: the over

55s are more likely to be made redundant,

to be in long term unemployment and to

face age discrimination in the recruitment

process when applying for jobs.

Women in their 50s and 60s are

also more likely to have taken time out

of the workplace and to have caring

responsibilities, whether for elder relatives,

partners or grandchildren. Add to this,

the wide gulf in private pension savings

between men and women - due to 40 years

of a historical gender pay gap – and it’s no

surprise to see why insolvencies amongst

women over 65 are rising faster than other

groups.

In contrast, insolvencies amongst

men did not increase across the board in

the same way. The only increases were

amongst men aged 65 and above (29

percent), 18-24 year olds (34 percent) and

25-34 year olds (three percent) whereas

across all other male age groups, the

number of insolvencies dropped. In 2008,

the insolvency rate of men aged over 55

was double the rate of women (0.12 percent

versus 0.06 percent). By 2018, this gap

narrowed considerably with the insolvency

rate of women aged over 55 increasing

to 0.08 percent whilst the rate for men

dropped to 0.10 percent.

Across all age groups, the overall

insolvency rate of women has rapidly

overtaken the rate amongst men between

2008 and 2018. In 2008 the male insolvency

rate was 56 percent higher than that of

women but by 2018, this had completely

reversed with the female rate of insolvency

14 percent higher than that of men.

Mark Sands, Chair of the Personal

Insolvency Committee at R3, the insolvency

trade body, says that the over-65s have a set

of unique challenges which include living

on fixed pension incomes with barely any

returns on savings: “When you’re in this

situation, it’s no surprise that you might be

more vulnerable to financial shocks. You

just don’t have as much flexibility,” he says.

“Also, more people are reaching

retirement with unpaid debts, and if

their retirement income and savings are

insufficient to service or repay those debts,

they are then faced with stark choices

and many people then find that a formal

insolvency process is the best solution for

them. Anyone finding themselves in that

situation should take advice from a suitably

qualified independent advisor.”

So what should be done about it?

We’d like to see more holistic support

being provided and focused around

later life re-training, encouraging all-age

apprenticeships and common place age

diversity policies aimed at supporting

this often overlooked, but talented and

hardworking group of individuals.

Stuart Lewis is Founder of Rest Less, a

jobs, volunteering and advice site for

the over 50s.

“When you’re in this

situation, it’s no surprise

that you might be more

vulnerable to financial

shocks.”

Stuart Lewis

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / March 2020 / PAGE 27


VIEW FROM THE SEA FRONT

Spanish Fly

Despite some EU gloating, it appears that we are

perhaps not going to hell in a handcart.

PLAYING tennis against an

Argentinian guy the other

day, I was on the receiving

end of a particularly

vicious forehand drive.

HA! shouted my glowering

opponent. ‘Put that in your out-of-the-EU

pipe and smoke it!!’.

Commendable English I thought, even

as my shoulders began to droop in the

face of my impending defeat. Masterly

command of the colloquial idiom. Dix

points, whatever that it is in Spanish.

Beaming across the net as we shook

hands following the inevitable stuffing,

my opponent, George, a 40-something

property developer, followed through

with the chop to the back of the knee:

‘So, that was for the Falklands…and now

once again your little island is fighting

on its own – how does it feel,’ he added,

breaking into the well-known Dylan tune,

‘to be don your owwww-nnnnnnnnn, no

direction hoo-oooomeee.’

George, who you by now will have

gathered is not just fiercely accomplished

in tennis combat, but a multi linguist

with a facility for crafty humour that we

Brits appear to have left behind around

three years ago. I like George. He’s a very

successful business guy, pragmatic and

with the kind of international perspective

that comes easy to the highly educated

progeny of ‘good’ south American

families. I can forgive him for being an

annoyingly good tennis player. He is also

good looking. The swine.

Whenever I travel abroad – fairly

frequently – I’m aware of the UK being

something of a cause for mirth. It’s a

now familiar refrain. Why are you so

fragmented? Why do you lot loathe each

other so much? What happened to your

legendary sense of national unity, the

bulldog spirit? You know the kind of thing.

Deep societal fissures are not unique

to the UK of course. Ideologies have

fractured societies for centuries. Think of

East and West Germany, only reconciled

in 1989, of north and south Korea, of Hong

Kong and the Chinese mainland, of Greek

and Turkish Cypriots…the list is long

and all carry stories of dreadful anguish

and familial horrors. But let’s look at the

positives.

A few months into 2020, as the first

shoots of spring begin to appear, there

now appear to be several indicators that

we are not after all going to go to Hell in a

handcart. Our economy is strengthening,

the UK property market is showing real

signs of a much-needed resurgence,

and we have nigh on full employment.

It just needs our train system to work,

and things could be genuinely rosy once

again, perhaps not pre-crash levels this

year, but by 2021, I for one would not bet

against it.

New long-term infrastructural projects

are being planned, with the promise of

enormous investment, both domestically

and overseas. We may have been

something of a voyeuristic basket case

to our European neighbours in recent

years, but you know what – things are

looking pretty good.

LITTLE BRITAIN

On a recent trip to the Costa del Sol –

or Costa Del Boy Crime as the local ex

pat wags call it – there is a distinctly

upbeat mood following several years of

wondering whether to get the heck out of

Dodge.

Enjoying his morning pint (yes, it

was just 9:00 local time, but ‘the rules

don’t apply out here, Dave, know wot I

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / March 2020 / PAGE 28


VIEW FROM THE SEA FRONT

AUTHOR – David Andrews

mean…’) recently retired roofing contractor

Michael looked out across a glassy Med and

pronounced that life, post-effing Brexit, is not

bad at all.

‘Geezers all saying that’s it, we might as well

turn the lights out now, well, they was wrong,

wasn’t they?’

‘I mean,’ he said, pausing to take a long glug

of a rather appealing pint of San Miguel, ‘the

lefties was all saying that we are all going to be

f***ed, that our economy would collapse, that

the banks would be stopping giving credit, that

our pensions would not be paid……what the

f**k was all that abaht? Eh?’

As the light of the warm Spanish sun danced

around the moistened – now perilously near

empty - pinto glass, Michael gave a broad grin,

uttered a low-level belch, and signaled to a

chirpy waiter for ‘another one of your finest

please Manuel….’

Michael, like so many of the expat

community in Little Britain, as the Costa del

Sol is also referred to by sun blushed local

exports, may well have breathed an inward

sigh of relief. While many of the prejudices

and pre-conceived resentments towards our

erstwhile membership of the EU are no doubt

still harbored by many who prefer the southern

European daily sunshine to the intemperate

Why are you so

fragmented?

Why do you lot

loathe each other

so much? What

happened to your

legendary sense of

national unity, the

bulldog spirit?

greyness of our own shores, this post Brexit

idyll now looks to be remarkably untroubled. It

is as if it never happened.

GOING IT ALONE

In other news...more and more people are

going it alone, and with the prospect of a

strengthening economy, a keener interest in

entrepreneurial venture is bound to follow,

as sure as night follows day. Recent ONS data

reveals that there are around 4.8 million selfemployed

workers in the UK. Apparently the

most common reason to go it alone is freedom

from the 9 to 5 routine and the opportunity to

make a lot more money than as a grunt on the

payroll.

But while it is commendable to want to

jettison the Mother Ship, most of us need

a regular income. Bills must be paid; food

needs to be put on the table. Yet the scourge

of late payment continues. It’s irksome. When

companies withhold payment, there is no

excuse. Cash flow? Get out of here. Spread the

love. Play the game.

Then we can all go forth and prosper, to

misquote some bloke with pointy ears.

David Andrews is freelance writer

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / March 2020 / PAGE 29


What can credit

managers expect

in 2020?

Over the last year, we’ve spoken at

length about the evolution of the role of

the finance professional. This process

looks set to continue as we move into

2020 and new technology makes steady

progress. So, with that in mind, what

will become of finance professionals in

2020 and what technologies and trends

should credit managers look out for?

AN INCREASE IN AUTOMATION

Looking ahead to the coming year, developments

in artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML)

and robotic process automation (RPA) mean that

routine administrative tasks will be automated.

So, while people are still essential, they will

undertake more nuanced tasks, rather than roles

robots can do perfectly 24 hours a day, seven

days a week. This increase in automation will go

hand in hand with personal interaction becoming

a higher priority, driven by customer demand.

Therefore, finance professionals will need to

harness their communication skills and focus on

improving relationship management.

THE EMERGENCE OF NEW JOB ROLES

There has been some concern that the increasing

use of technology will lead to job losses.

However, what we predict in 2020 is the creation

of new roles as human workers move into more

value-adding roles. This will result in finance

professionals working alongside the tech in order

to make more intelligent, informed decisions.

Subsequently, finance professionals will also

need to refine their analytical skills. This will also

improve risk management as human workers will

be able to monitor the risk of investment capital.

In turn, businesses can take more calculated

risks and increase the number of clients they

are able to take on. However, we could also

see a skills shortage in 2020, as demand from

employers increases while the availability of

workers with these abilities stagnates.

A FOCUS ON QUALITY

In the next year, we’ll see a bigger emphasis

placed on providing high-quality experiences

as businesses and finance teams realise just

delivering a product isn’t enough. This is spurred

by finance professionals having more time to focus

on personal and powerful human interactions –

something which is always valued by customers.

Additionally, we may begin to see a greater focus

on social responsibility within finance, particularly

towards debtors.

The use of technology like, for example, Onguard’s

CreditManager, facilitates a more layered and

complex approach to dunning procedures. Thus

credit managers can take various steps before

sending the debtor to a collection agency, rather

than doing so immediately. As a result, finance

teams can take a more human and considerate

approach to collecting debts. In turn, we may also

see collections and bailiff agencies also taking their

social responsibility more seriously. This will result

in them taking better care of their debtors and

adhering to the rules that protect them.

2020 will be the year businesses gain the

confidence to take the leap and adopt new AI,

ML and RPA. The role of the finance professional

will continue to evolve in line with this. As a

result, we will see these technologies become a

lot more pervasive in the next year. The positive

impact of this will be felt not only by the finance

department, who are able to dedicate more time

to value-adding tasks and exceptions, but also

customers. As these technologies become more

commonplace in 2020, customers will benefit from

more quality and personal human interaction with

finance teams, in which debts are handled more

compassionately and effectively.

For more articles and content,

visit www.onguard.com/media

WE RECOMMEND OUR WHITEPAPER ON

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Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / March 2020 / PAGE 30


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Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / March 2020 / PAGE 31


CAREERS ADVICE

Game Changers

The start of a new year is a chance to take

a fresh look at how you think about work.

AUTHOR – Karen Young

MANY people use the

beginning of the year

as an opportunity to

reflect on their career

and set a direction for

the year ahead. While

many may have started in new jobs, those

who returned to their existing jobs may

need renewed motivation. Here are my

suggestions on how to refresh the way

you think about work to set yourself up

for success this year, as well as what your

options are if you are craving a bigger

career change.

PAUSE AND REFLECT

You should take time to reflect when you’re

looking to refresh the way you think about

your career ahead of you. Reflection is vital

in helping you recognise your strengths

and highlight your weaknesses, which in

turn helps you make smarter decisions

for the future. Areas to reflect on might

include whether you met your personal

objectives, new skills or qualifications you

might have gained, responsibilities you

took on or relationships you developed

with internal and external stakeholders.

By taking the time to reflect on what you

have achieved so far, you will hopefully

feel re-energised to progress further this

year and beyond. Don’t forget to balance

your achievements with identifying

areas of growth, as this can also provide

motivation to refresh how you approach

your work.

DUST OFF YOUR CAREER PLAN

Once you’ve taken the time to reflect,

addressing your current career plan is

a good next step to take. Print off your

career objectives and take a view as to

whether they are still relevant to your

skills, responsibilities and interests. You

might decide that you need to be more

proactive about sticking to them – or

maybe it’s time to set some new ones that

better reflect your role and direction you

wish your career to take.

If you decide to revise your objectives

(or create new ones from scratch), make

sure to sit down with your manager so

you are both on the same page about your

development. Hopefully having a clear

sense of what you need to do to get to

the next step in your career gives you the

motivation you need to make a strong start

to the year.

FIND A MENTOR

If you’re struggling to refresh the way

you think about work by yourself, enlist

the help of a mentor. A mentor will help

you see the bigger picture of your role

and be more objective about your career

journey. Continue to seek support from

your boss or manager but consider that

their guidance often stems from more of

an organisational perspective.

Your mentor could be someone in your

network whom you admire and look up

to as a trusted advisor. They will likely

be more experienced and have a great

network. Perhaps start with an informal

coffee to chat about your career goals and

then follow up with regular check-ins to

track your progress. (And don’t forget to

check out the CICM’s Mentor Hub.)

TAKE CONTROL

Keeping your skills and knowledge up to

date is incredibly rewarding and might

be the missing ingredient to refreshing

how you think about work. Upskilling

has never been more important than it is

currently, as credit functions are investing

in new technology more than they ever

have before. Keeping both your technical

and soft skills up-to-date will help you

make the best use of new technology

entering the workplace and ensure

successful progression through changing

times.

There are a variety of ways you can

take ownership of your learning, whether

it be through formal training programmes

offered by your employer, listening to

career podcasts, attending events or

watching online bite-sized resources.

Focus on absorbing as much as you can

and applying this to your work.

A final point to end on is the importance

of being transparent about what you need

from your career. If, after considering the

above, you are still in need of a career

change, have an honest conversation with

your manager and let them know that you

are no longer fulfilled by your role. They

might be able to suggest alternative options

for you to continue your development.

This could be a chance to get involved

with projects or change management

programmes as organisations go through

digital transformation for example. This

could also give you the direction you

need to look for new internal or external

opportunities.

Karen Young is a Director at

Hays Credit Management.

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / March 2020 / PAGE 32


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Supplement special

The CICM

British Credit

Awards

2020

ADVANCING THE CREDIT PROFESSION


The CICM

British Credit

Awards

2020

Advancing the

credit profession

Philip King FCICM

Chief Executive of the CICM

FOR more than 80 years now, the Chartered

Institute of Credit Management has

been committed to advancing the credit

profession, empowering our members with

the tools and qualifications they need to

progress their own careers, and help their

employers better manage their cash.

We have always been guided by the

key principles of driving best practice in

credit management and helping businesses

to grow. We are today a professional

community of many thousands, recognised

within Government, the media, and key

business organisations and partners as a

positive force for good, helping to support

an economy that is the platform for future

growth and prosperity.

In this pre-Brexit world, the CICM is not

only focused on promoting the importance

of credit management to businesses and

Government. We are also committed to

promoting credit management to individuals

as a career, and then supporting those

individuals with essential qualifications and

learning as their careers progress. We are,

fundamentally, a membership body, and

we never lose sight of that fact. We have a

key duty to ensure our members receive the

credit and recognition for the vital role that

they perform.

Recognition comes in many forms, not

least in Awards such as these. The CICM

UK British Credit Awards seek to recognise

individuals and companies that demonstrate

the very highest standards of excellence

and were voted for by a distinguished panel

of judges. So whether you were a winner,

highly commended, or simply made the

short-list, you can be proud of what you have

achieved.

Judging Panel 2020:

Dr Stephen Baister FCICM, CICM President and Chair of

the Judging Panel

Amir Ali FCICM, Chair, Civil Court Users Association

Brian Morgan FCICM, Business Growth and Partner

Director, Rimilia

Bryony Pettifor FCICM (Grad), Director EMEA - Credit &

Collections, Anixter Ltd

Colin Sanders MCICM, Senior Business Executive, UK,

OnGuard

Emma Lovell, Chief Executive Officer, R3: Association of

Business Recovery Professionals

Glenn Collins, Head of Technical Advisory, ACCA

Justin Arandjelovic, Head of Operations - Western

Europe, Atradius Collections

Karen Young, Director, Hays Credit Management

Leanne Chesterman, Sales & Debtors Service Manager,

BAE Systems Plc

Lynette Fegan FCICM, Head of Income Shared Services,

HSCNI

Matt McQuillan, Managing Director - UK, C2FO

Matthew Davies, Director, Invoice Finance and Asset

Based Lending, UK Finance

Maura Adams MCICM, Head of Finance Operations,

Nuffield Health

Michelle Atkinson, Head of Income, United Utilities

Nick King FCICM, Director, Credit Management and

Collections, Europe Region, Agility

Nigel Fields FCICM.

Pete Whitmore FCICM, Head of Credit Services, EMEA,

Westcon Group European Operations Ltd

Philip Roberts FCICM, Partner, Clarke Willmott LLP

Sean Feast FCICM, Managing Editor of

Credit Management magazine.

Stephen Wainwright, Partner, Poppleton and

Appleby LLP

Stephen Watson MCICM, Senior Manager of Collections,

EDF Energy

Steve Coppard, Deputy Director -

Government Debt Management Function,

Cabinet Office

Headline Sponsor:

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Drinks Reception Sponsor:

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www.cicmbritishcreditawards.com

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / March 2020 / PAGE 36


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Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / March 2020 / PAGE 37


The CICM

British Credit

Awards

2020

Consumer Team of the Year

Winner

United Utilities

Water Ltd

Judges' comment: The judges’

commented that this was a forwardthinking

approach to helping

customers who go above and beyond.

Finalists:

Imperial College London and

Smarterbuys Store

Presenter: Debbie Nolan FCICM, CICM Vice Chair

Collector of award: United Utilities Water Ltd

Shared Service Provider of the Year

Winner

Brakes

(Brake Bros

Limited)

Sponsored by

PALADIN

Judges' comment: The judges

believed the winner demonstrated

excellent collaboration across its

credit and sales teams.

Highly Commended:

Essentra Shared Service Centre Nottingham

Finalists:

Adecco UK&I, Aggregate Industries UK Ltd,

RS Components

Presenter: Steve Fox, Director, Paladin

Collector of award: Brakes (Brake Bros Limited)

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / March 2020 / PAGE 38


To find out more contact us:

T: 020 7043 3300 E: info@companywatch.net www.companywatch.net

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / March 2020 / PAGE 39


The CICM

British Credit

Awards

2020

B2B/Consumer Supplier of the Year

Winner

Flint Bishop LLP

Judges' comment: The judges

described the winner as having an

innovation completely on point with

the latest changes in the market that

saves costs and time while delivering

the right outcomes for all parties.

Finalists:

Cedar Rose Int. Services Ltd, CoCredo Ltd,

Credit Assist, Dun & Bradstreet, IncomeMax,

Lovetts Solicitors and Onguard UK Ltd

Presenter: Victoria Herd FCICM(Grad), CICM Executive Board Trustee

Collector of award: Flint Bishop LLP

Best Employer of the Year

Winner

Adecco UK&I

Sponsored by

Judges' comment: The judges

described the winning company as

being a truly a great place to work.

Highly Commended:

Shoosmiths LLP

Finalists:

Aggregate Industries UK Ltd, Allianz Credit

Management, Hilti GB Ltd, Marston Holdings

and Weightmans LLP

Presenter: Natalie Ross, Director, American Express

Collector of award: Adecco UK&I

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / March 2020 / PAGE 40


Diversity and Inclusion Award

Winner

Smarterbuys

Store

Sponsored by

Judges' comment: The winner has

been described as an organisation

that ticks all the boxes in its support

of diversity and inclusion.

Finalists:

Aggregate Industries UK Ltd, DWF Law LLP

JLL and Kingston University

Presenter: Kabir Gulabkhan, UK Lead, Hays Credit Management

Collector of award: Smarterbuys Store

B2B Team of the Year

Winner

Adecco UK&I

Sponsored by

CEDAR

ROSE

R

Judges' comment: The winner has

a clear drive and passion for credit

management excellence throughout

the business and the team.

Finalists:

Aggregate Industries UK Ltd, Biffa Waste

Services Ltd, Brakes (Brake Bros Limited)

Breedon Group Plc, Genesee & Wyoming Inc.

Hilti GB Ltd, Royal Mail Group Ltd, TrustFord

and Weightmans LLP

Presenter: Antoun Massaad, CEO, Cedar Rose

Collector of award: Adecco UK&I

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / March 2020 / PAGE 41


The CICM

British Credit

Awards

2020

Debt Collection Agency of the Year

Winner

Waters & Gate

Judges' comment: The judges

believe the winner has a team that is

passionate about doing the right thing

for the customer, with a clear focus on

supporting small businesses.

Finalists:

Ascent Performance Group Limited

Flint Bishop LLP, Hilton-Baird Collection

Services and Keebles LLP

Presenter: Bryony Pettifor FCICM(Grad), CICM Vice President and Executive Board Trustee

Collector of award: Waters & Gate

Legal Provider of the Year

Winner

Ascent

Performance

Group Ltd

Sponsored by

Judges' comment: The winner has

a business that demonstrates great

results and a clear commitment

to both client and customer

satisfaction.

Finalists:

Blaser Mills Law, DWF Law LLP

Flint Bishop LLP, Keebles LLP,

Lovetts Solicitors and Shulmans LLP

Presenter: Michael Whitaker, Head of Business Development, Court Enforcement Services

Collector of award: Ascent Performance Group Ltd

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / March 2020 / PAGE 42


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Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / March 2020 / PAGE 43


The CICM

British Credit

Awards

2020

Innovation & Technology Award

Winner

United Utilities

Water Ltd

Judges' comment: The judges saw that

there was a clear understanding of

the issues leading to the solution. All

parties were involved in a successful

‘go live’ and continued development

plan.

Finalists:

Aggregate Industries UK Ltd,

Brakes (Brake Bros Ltd), Breedon Group Plc

Company Watch Ltd, Draycir Ltd

Gazprom Energy, Graydon UK, HighRadius

Corporation and Shell Hungary Zrt

Presenter: Sean Feast FCICM, Managing Editor of Credit Management magazine.

Collector of award: United Utilities Water Ltd

Giving Back Award

Winner

Katherine Bailey

FCICM,

Valor Hospitality

Europe Ltd

Judges' comment: The judges thought

the winner was an individual who is

clearly giving back through teaching,

mentoring, volunteering

and numerous charitable events.

Highly Commended:

Mike Segall FCICM - Certsure LLP

Finalists:

Ade Oyewumi ACICM - Imperial College London

Mike Segall FCICM - Certsure LLP

Presenter: Dr Stephen Baister FCICM, CICM President

Collector of award: Katherine Bailey FCICM, Valor Hospitality Europe Ltd

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / March 2020 / PAGE 44


Rising Star of the Year

Winner

Emma Green,

Adecco UK&I

Sponsored by

Judges' comment: The winner’s

progress through the business

has been admirable, with results

achieved through hard work and

enthusiasm.

Finalists:

Christopher Hardman - Bureau Veritas

Dagmara Chrzastek ACICM - Cordant Group

Josh Wright - Gazprom Marketing & Trading

Retail Ltd

Lisa Mulrooney - Breedon Group Plc

Olivia Fantham - Aggregate Industries Ltd

Presenter: Ceinwen Wilson, Director, CWC Recruitment

Collector of award: Emma Green, Adecco UK&I

Sir Roger Cork Prize

Winner

Will Powell ACICM

Sir Roger Cork Prize, presented to

the candidate achieving the highest

aggregate CICM examination passmarks

within the calendar year 2019.

Presenter: Peter Whitmore FCICM, CICM Chair

Collector of award: Collected on behalf of Will Powell, Dr Debbie Tuckwood,

CICM’s Chief Adviser for Professional Development

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / March 2020 / PAGE 45


The CICM

British Credit

Awards

2020

Credit Professional of the Year

Winner

Elisabeth

Doppelhofer,

Adecco UK&I

Sponsored by

Judges' comment: The judges

described the winner as a role model

who achieves fantastic results for the

business and her team.

Finalists:

Amagwula Ijeoma Marilyn - NPF Microfinance Bank

Dan Hancocks MCICM - CoCredo Ltd

Dave Pepper MCICM - Aggregate Industries UK Ltd

Laural Jefferies FCICM - Fashion Edge Ltd

Lee Healey - IncomeMax

Lydia Catterall MCICM - Hilti GB Ltd

Sharon Noland MCICM - Gazprom Marketing &

Trading Retail Ltd

Presenter: Jo Kettner, CEO of Company Watch

Collector of award: Collected on behalf of Elisabeth Doppelhofer by Debbie Matthews MCICM(Grad)

and Simon Quigley from Adecco.

Outstanding Contribution to the Industry

Winner

Charles Wilson

FCICM, Chairman

of Lovetts

Solicitors

Sponsored by

Judges' comment: A man who

has done much to promote ethical

standards, the best use of technology,

and striven to improve the reputation

of the debt recovery profession.

Presenter: Charlotte Turner, Portfolio Credit Control and Philip King FCICM, CEO CICM

Collector of award: Charles Wilson FCICM, Chairman of Lovetts Solicitors

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / March 2020 / PAGE 46


PROUD SPONSORS OF THE

OUTSTANDING

CONTRIBUTION TO

THE INDUSTRY

CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL WINNERS AT THE

CICM CREDIT MANAGEMENT AWARDS 2020

Portfolio Credit Control are delighted

to have once again sponsored the CICM

Credit Management Awards. As industry

service providers we are thrilled to

show our support for the Credit sector

and the amazing professionals that have

chosen a career in Credit Control.

This year we have partnered with Croner

Reward, the experts in Pay & Benefits

benchmarking, to bring you our annual Salary

Survey. Our 2020 report is the definitive guide

on the market, solely focused on credit sector

salaries, interim pay rates combined with

further information on employee benefits,

recruitment trends and our own unique

market insight.

TO REQUEST YOUR COPY VISIT:

www.portfoliocreditcontrol.com/salary-survey

WE ARE RATED 9 OUT OF 10

LONDON | 0207 650 3199

MANCHESTER | 0161 836 9949

www.portfoliocreditcontrol.com

responses@portfoliocreditcontrol.com

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / March 2020 / PAGE xx


Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / March 2020 / PAGE 48


Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / March 2020 / PAGE 49


presents
























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AWARDING BODY

Congratulations to all of the following, who successfully

achieved Diplomas in Credit Management.

LEVEL 3 DIPLOMA IN CREDIT MANAGEMENT (ACICM)

NAME

Assen Arinkov

Amanda Bass

Gordon Blackwood

Stuart Blues

Emma Boddy-Smith

Leanne Carmichael

Toni Churms

Mark Clowes

CONGRATULATIONS

Bethany Hall-Say

Angela Hayes

Daniel Hendrick

Daniel Holmes

Ryan Horn

Elizabeth Lack

Joshua Mills

Jodie Nisbet

James Penney

Tamara Stein

Jasmin Stopford

Jamie Thornton

Natalie Turner-Morris

Elissa Young

LEVEL 3 DIPLOMA IN CREDIT & COLLECTIONS (ACICM)

NAME

Uliana Brilliantova

Lauren Cassidy

Daniel Leaning

Suzanne Ryan

Sahand Shabani

Matthew Taylor

Emma Tudor-Pratley

James Walk

CICM YORKSHIRE RIDINGS BRANCH

20/20

Credit Vision

Interactive Conference and

Annual General Meeting

10 March 2020 – 09:30 – 14:00

CICM Yorkshire Ridings are

kicking off the New Year with

their Hot Desk Tuition event

– part of their 20/20 Vision for

Credit. Four credit disciplines:

• AI in Credit Management

• Commercial Credit Risk

• Corporate Restructuring

Credit Professional Recruitment.

We have four industry experts

ready to share their experience

and offer advice/guidance on the

above in a quick fire, interactive

environment. The event is being

hosted by DWF LLP.

The Annual General Meeting for

the branch will follow lunch at

13.30.

CPD

3

Venue

DWF LLP

Bridgewater Place,

Leeds LS11 5DY.

Organiser

Book online at www.cicm.com/cicm-events

or email branches@cicm.com for more

information.

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / March 2020 / PAGE 51


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Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / March 2020 / PAGE 52


IT’S A FUNNY OLD WORLD…

NOT SO FRIENDLY

AMIGOS

An occasional look at the more absurd side of life

from the credit industry and beyond.

AS press people, we find

ourselves on the receiving

end of a large number of

press releases of various

degrees of quality. Those

that ‘announce’ news as

though they are announcing the birth

of a child are particularly irritating, as

is the over-use of words such as ‘unique’

or ‘revolutionary’. As my first editor 35

years ago once said to me, only people are

unique, Feast, and the only revolutionary

I know is Che Guevara.

A recent press release concerning

Amigo Loans has topped anything

we have received previously and is a

perfect illustration of why you should

DAFT person of the month who must

surely be regretting her recent Radio 4

interview is Ann Francke, the CEO of

the Chartered Management Institute.

Long story short, dear Ann said out loud

that employers should crack down on

sports chat in the workplace because it

excludes women and encourages laddish

behaviour. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear what

were you saying Ann and where was your

PR advisor at the time?

She said, I kid you not: ‘A lot of women,

in particular, feel left out. They don’t

follow those sports and they don’t like

either being forced to talk about them or

not being included. I have nothing against

sports enthusiasts or cricket fans – that’s

AUTHOR – Sean Feast FCICM

Leave your tackle out of it

great. But the issue is many people aren’t

cricket fans’.

She added: ‘It’s very easy for it to escalate

from VAR talk and chat to slapping each

other on the back and talking about their

conquests at the weekend. It’s a gateway

to more laddish behaviour and – if it just

goes unchecked – it’s a signal of a more

laddish culture’.

Blimey. Clearly Ann is the only person

in the country not to have registered the

huge attention given to our splendid

women’s world cup football team,

cricket team, and the massively successful

women’s rugby team? Has she not

heard any of the debate viz equal pay for

women tennis players and golfers? Does

‘A lot of women, in

particular, feel left

out. They don’t follow

those sports and they

don’t like either being

forced to talk about

them or not being

included’.

never let either your legal department

or compliance team in on the PR act.

Emblazoned across the top of said release

it says:

‘NOT FOR RELEASE, PUBLICATION OR

DISTRIBUTION, IN WHOLE OR IN PART,

IN, INTO OR FROM ANY JURISDICTION

WHERE TO DO SO WOULD CONSTITUTE

A VIOLATION OF THE RELEVANT LAWS

OF SUCH JURISDICTION’

I have absolutely no idea what it

means, but there was no way I was risking

what looked like a threat of certain death

by using a release in our news. So sorry

about that. It could have been important.

she never listen to the radio or turn on

the sport at any stage to hear and see

the multitude of female presenters and

commentators, these ladies who she

thinks are ‘excluded’ or ‘forced to talk

about sport’?

Red card Ann. Sport is not the

sole reserve of men, and not all men

enjoy sport either. (Some of them go

running or cycling for example, and

neither can be classed as ‘sport’.) Your

comments are bizarrely out of touch with

the real world. Get down to your local

park at the weekend and see how many

girls are playing football. You’ll find they

are just as passionate about sport as the

blokes.

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / March 2020 / PAGE 53


ASK THE EXPERTS

PEOPLE POWER

Developing a successful strategic

credit management department. Part One.

AUTHOR – Matt Godby MCICM (Grad)

SINCE the financial crisis in 2008, many

businesses have had less access to

the borrowing and credit required

that allows them to grow. There has

therefore been more pressure to get

paid on time, which provides the

cashflow necessary to reinvest in the business.

Studies have shown that whereas the focus on

working capital has increased sharply, this rarely

leads to significantly better results. For example,

in 2013, $1.3bn of unnecessary working capital was

still tied up in the top 2,000 companies worldwide,

partly in debtors. Researchers therefore question

whether the collections strategies of these

companies are effective.

A common mistake is that many credit

management departments still pursue a reactive

policy of jumping into action when a debt becomes

overdue or dealing with issues based on who shouts

the loudest. Such a lack of strategic direction is

both inefficient and counterproductive.

We’re all familiar with the adage ‘a sale isn’t a sale

until it’s been paid for’. A culture where departments

work in silos means that, by definition, they aren’t

necessarily working in the interests of the wider

business. All areas of a business are there to create

profit – sales exist to sell; marketing to drum up

new business; manufacturing to create the best

products. But if sales aren’t being paid for, then

these departments are wasting their time.

In order to do its job effectively, the credit

control department routinely encounters more

departments than most. A modern credit control

department should be at the heart of the business,

and it is therefore crucial for it to nurture support,

share information and build relationships with

other departments and the wider leadership team.

It is job of the credit manager to provide motivation

and clear, strategic direction to their staff. By

following a clear, consistent strategy, the credit

management department can guide business

behaviours, improve efficiencies and help develop

greater accountability both inside and outside of

the department.

Strategic credit management is a modern,

dynamic, outward thinking way of working. But

what does it actually look like? Well, let’s break this

down into a few separate parts:

Strategic credit management isn’t just a

tick list of ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts’ – it’s a cultural

shift. It requires skilled staff, effective

systems and a supportive culture.

RELATIONSHIPS

We’ve all worked in organisations where

departments often complain that they only hear

from credit control when there is a problem.

There is some truth in that. So, nurture and build

relationships with key stakeholders (people and

departments) by understanding the challenges

they face. Avoid apportioning blame, but instead

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / March 2020 / PAGE 54


ASK THE EXPERTS

AUTHOR – Matt Godby MCICM (Grad)

work together to resolve issues and conduct

route cause analysis where necessary, to

prevent them occurring in the first place.

Putting regular catchups in the diary is

always a good idea. Share the good news as

well as the bad.

PLANNING AND PEOPLE

A Gallup survey from 2018 found that only 22

percent of employees agree that their leaders

have a clear direction. Job satisfaction isn’t

always down to pay.

Planning in advance and sharing ideas

through collaborative discussions between

the credit manager and credit control staff,

means that time is managed more effectively

– and the credit manager can allocate

resource where it is most needed. When

people feel like they are a part of the process,

they are naturally more enthusiastic about

the outcome.

REPORTING

Does your business tend to produce reports

that are so complicated that only the person

who wrote them can really understand them?

Are there so many of them, that you don’t

take much notice of them anyway? If that’s

the case, then what’s the point of them?

Credit managers should only develop

reports that are meaningful, transparent and

easily understood. Doing so provides a greater

chance of buy-in from other departments.

Submitting them on time and keeping the

number of reports to a minimum ensures

they will be read. Providing information in a

consistent format allows the opportunity for

trend analysis to be undertaken on the key

areas needing improvement.

RISKS

Does your sales team sell to customers who

have no intention of paying on time? Whereas

it is inevitable that not every customer will

pay on time (we’d all be out of a job!), selling

to customers who always pay late quickly

eats into profits. And for those who don’t pay

at all, it turns into a bad debt.

Credit checking all new customers through

a credit reference agency should be standard

to all of us.

Forget about ‘standard’ payment terms

for all customers – the higher the risk, the

shorter the payment terms should be. Give

the salesperson useful information by credit

checking a prospect before they arrange the

meeting (and save time on a wasted sale). If

the risk is too high, then be prepared to say

no – remember, there is no point in selling

unless you get paid

COLLECTIONS

The most effective credit control teams are

self-motivated and target driven. They are

creative in their approach and use ledger

segmentation to focus on those customers of

the highest priority. They monitor customer

payment patterns to improve cashflow

opportunities and mitigate risk. The credit

manager drives constant improvement

through regular staff engagement, along with

a range of monitoring tools, measurements

and incentives.

POLICIES AND PROCESSES

Far too often I have seen individual credit

control staff making decisions off their

own bat, which turn out to be poor ones

despite the person’s best intentions. This can

be costly – financially, reputationally and

through a loss of staff confidence. Creating

a clear credit policy is key to departmental

engagement, as well as providing protection

to staff and the business as a whole.

A departmental ‘ways of working’

document outlines the culture and approach

the credit control department has to its

business. I’ve often left this piece of work to

my credit controllers to create themselves –

it gives them a sense of purpose and means

it becomes a living, breathing thing rather

than a piece of paper stuck on the wall.

Having a proper induction policy for

new staff means that they feel welcome,

and ensures training is relevant, consistent

and measurable. I have both extended and

discontinued induction periods, which has

only been possible through developing a

robust induction policy. Appraisals should

be target driven, collaborative and most

importantly, based on mutual honesty.

Strategic credit management isn’t just a tick

list of ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts’ – it’s a cultural shift.

It requires skilled staff, effective systems and

a supportive culture. Staff need to be open

and adaptable to change in an increasingly

technology driven environment. The credit

control department needs to be at the heart of

the organisation and possess the innovative

skills to help drive the business forward,

from a position of significant knowledge.

Credit leaders need to be highly effective

communicators, who inspire others to

achieve. They have the ability to present

sometimes complex information in a

meaningful way to the business. They make

use of the financial data at their disposal to

drive profitability and minimise the risk.

Now, many businesses out there may ask

‘but so what?’ My customers have always

generally paid on time; my staff seem happy

enough; reporting is ok; we know what

we’re doing and so don’t need policies. Sales

departments sell, credit control collects the

money. In fact, something along those lines

was put to me only the other day. My answer

is always the same. If you could increase your

cashflow and profit by being more efficient,

then why wouldn’t you?

Matt Godby MCICM (Grad), Director –

Godby Credit Management Ltd

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / March 2020 / PAGE 55


ENFORCEMENT

FREEMAN-ON

-THE-LAND

Lenders are increasingly instructing High Court

Enforcement Officers (HCEOs) to enforce Orders for

possession.

AUTHOR – Alex Hill

IF you were to ask a landlord why

lenders are using HCEOs more

often to enforce an order for

possession, the answer would

invariably be time, which equals

money to a landlord not receiving

rent. So why does the same not apply to a

lender? The answer isn’t quite as simple.

Generally, a lender will enforce the

terms of its security in respect of arrears

and normally after a long period of

working with the borrower to reduce

the defaulted sums. In the case of high

street lenders, it is not uncommon to take

several years to issue proceedings and

even longer to enforce any court order.

Whatever the public perception may be,

high street banks see repossession as a

last resort.

So why do lenders instruct HCEOs if

time not money is the factor? The latest

statistics published by the Ministry of

Justice in November 2019 show a 42

percent year-on-year increase of lender

possession claims. This continues the

trend we have seen in the four prior

quarters and a correlation with the 31

percent increase of those repossessed by

the County Court Bailiffs.

Whilst HCEOs do not publish statistics

on Writs of possession enforced, our

own data shows an increase in lender

repossessions of over 150 percent in 2019.

We are some way from the mortgage crisis

of 2008; affordability, verification and exit

strategy are just some of the factors that

lenders scrutinise in greater detail before

approving a loan. The ‘bad bank’ portfolios

of loans have largely been wound down so

the increase we are seeing is significant in

terms of the current climate.

But this increase does not explain

why lenders are increasingly utilising

enforcement through HCEOs. In fact,

all banks listed in the top 15 of UK

Finance’s largest mortgage lenders of 2018

have ‘transferred up’ as it is commonly

known. A large Building Society recently

commented that they were instructing

HCEOs for the first time in their history.

The simple reason why lenders have not

previously utilised this avenue in great

volume is governed by Section 42 of the

County Courts Act 1984. In summary,

Such enforcement

requires collaboration

with the local

authority, an

ambulance service

and as much time as

the borrower requires

to vacate the property.

only County Court Bailiffs can enforce

possession orders without the express

leave of the court. For the vast majority of

lender possession claims, this is the most

appropriate method of enforcement.

TIME AND MOTION

So, what makes a case suitable for

transfer to the High Court for

enforcement? Well, time is one answer.

A County Court eviction is scheduled

to last 15 minutes. If the occupiers are

ready and able to leave, this is usually

sufficient. However, for example, we

were instructed to take possession of a

property occupied by a paraplegic male.

Such enforcement requires collaboration

with the local authority, an ambulance

service and as much time as the borrower

requires to vacate the property. Such time

is not available in the hectic schedule of

a County Court Bailiff. Another reason

is restitution, where the occupiers have

unlawfully re-entered the property

following enforcement and the claimant

seeks restitution of the property.

Lastly and more tellingly – resistance.

We are seeing an increasing number

of borrowers resorting to disruption

through engaging persons purporting to

be freemen-of-the-land protestors. Such

practices are based on an ideology of

pseudolaw that we have seen escalate to

significant criminal damage and physical

assault. In 2019, we were instructed

by three separate lenders seeking

possession of three properties within the

same locality. Whilst there was no reason

to suspect the matters were related, the

County Court Bailiff reports and our

experience in dealing with such protestor

groups, led to carefully coordinated

enforcement across the three addresses.

We were able to prevent the freemenof-the-land

group from accessing an

arsenal of over 300 dangerous weapons

and several persons were charged with

assaulting both Police and Enforcement

Officers.

The protestors didn’t stop there

and returned to two of the properties

almost daily, harassing our security

team and attempting to access by any

means including de-tiling the roof! The

third property was left unoccupied and

we returned to evict the trespassers on

four further occasions. Whilst criminal

proceedings are ongoing, all three

properties have now been sold.

So rather than time, although we

offer more of this than the County

Court Bailiffs, it is more the experience,

resources, specially trained agents

and perseverance of HCEO groups in

handling complicated cases like these

ones that is increasingly highlighting us

as the safest and most reliable option.

Alex Hill, Property Services Director

at Andrew Wilson & Co.

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / March 2020 / PAGE 56


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NEW AND UPGRADED MEMBERS

Do you know someone who would benefit from CICM membership? Or have

you considered applying to upgrade your membership? See our website

www.cicm.com/membership-types for more details, or call us on 01780 722903

Fellow

Denise Barnett FCICM

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Helen Adam MCICM

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Maria McFarlane MCICM (Grad)

Associate

Lanslord Asumakah ACICM

Selina Braide ACICM

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Congratulations to our current members who have upgraded their membership

Upgraded member

Philip Meenan MCICM Alejandra Rodriguez MCICM Simon Taylor MCICM Jane Owens FCICM

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / March 2020 / PAGE 58


GET YOUR CREDIT CONTROL

SALARY SURVEY TODAY!

This year we have partnered with Croner

Reward, the experts in Pay &Benefits

benchmarking, to bring you our annual Salary

Survey. Our 2020 report is the definitive guide

on the market, solely focused on credit sector

salaries, interim pay rates combined with

further information on employee benefits,

recruitment trends and our own unique

market insight.

In your copy you will find salaries and

benefits for Credit professionals that we

recruit for around the UK. The roles include:

Credit Administrator

Credit Controller

Credit Supervisor

Sales Ledger Clerk

Accounts Receivable

Team Leader

Credit Risk Manager

Head of Credit

TO REQUEST YOUR COPY VISIT:

www.portfoliocreditcontrol.com/salary-survey

WE ARE RATED 9OUT OF 10

LONDON | 0207 650 3199

MANCHESTER | 0161 836 9949

www.portfoliocreditcontrol.com

recruitment@portfoliocreditcontrol.com

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / March 2020 / PAGE 57


TRADE TALK

New World Thinking

Mitigating risk, conforming with regulations and

ensuring compliance will be priorities for all business

through 2020 and the new decade.

AUTHOR – Marco Forgione

Marco Forgione

THE UK’s withdrawal from the

EU at the end of January heralds

the start of a new role for the UK

on the global stage. For the first

time in 47 years, UK negotiators

are working to frame new

trading and economic relationships. In future

our global trade will be governed by new,

mostly bilateral agreements.

The implication for all aspects of

businesses, including credit management

and customs compliance, is that the rules

may be set on a nation-by-nation basis. This

fluid environment will offer unprecedented

opportunities but will also demand greater

structure and internal process.

Last month’s CM Editor’s Column

highlighted how new processes, technologies

and training lifted Laing O’Rourke’s Prompt

Payment Code achievement from 59 percent

to 93 percent in just seven months. It is this

fleet-footed, dedication, and commitment

to continuous improvement which will be

essential in future.

Changes to existing regulatory systems,

such as customs arrangements and anti-money

laundering regulations, are already having an

impact. The global economy is having to adapt

to a new reality where sanctions are used as

strategic elements of wider trade negotiations.

There are several macroeconomic issues

which will influence future international

trade, including Russia and others’ attempts

to establish an alternative reserve currency,

the effect of crypto currencies, and the role

of blockchain. Businesses will need robust

internal processes if they are to respond to

this rapidly changing landscape.

KNOWN KNOWNS

To paraphrase Donald Rumsfeld, businesses

need to be able to adapt to known knowns,

known unknowns and unknown unknowns.

The full impact of the coronavirus, the

Australian bushfires and the trade agreement

with the EU will not be known for many

months. What is certain is that supply chains

will be disrupted, capital flows will change,

and customs regulations will alter.

Technology will be another significant

change agent. A recent study by Dun &

Bradstreet and CICM found that 87 percent

of respondents believe automation will

drive increased efficiency. As detailed in

last month’s CM, artificial intelligence is

transforming collection negotiations with the

development of AVA.

In response to the ongoing lag in the UK’s

productivity, the Bank of England and the

UK Government will have to establish new

approaches to encourage investment. Philip

King FCICM, the Interim Small Business

Commissioner, has an important role to play

in sending a clear message to Government

that MSMEs need access to finance and

the increased liquidity created by greater

compliance with the Prompt Payment Code.

Businesses will also be called on to respond

to the growing demands of the sustainability

agenda. The requirement to transform will

become even more relevant as we move

towards COP26 climate change conference in

Glasgow this November.

In summary, UK businesses have a unique

opportunity to benefit from a globally

focused, free-trade approach to international

goods and services markets. However, to reap

the rewards, companies must ensure they

have a highly skilled, informed and adaptable

workforce supported by robust processes.

Investment in training, technological

development and operational procedures will

be key to making sure trading is done free

from delays, seizing of goods, and fines or

possible imprisonment.

With all of this in mind, it is fair to say that

mitigating risk, conforming with regulations

and ensuring compliance will be priorities for

all businesses this year and throughout the

new decade.

Marco Forgione is Director General

of the Institute of Export and International

Trade

Businesses will need robust internal

processes if they are to respond to this

rapidly changing landscape.

The Recognised Standard / www.cicm.com / September 2019 / PAGE 60


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INTERNATIONAL

TRADE

Monthly round-up of the latest stories

in global trade by Andrea Kirkby.

Cryptocurrencies make a show

in international trade

IT may still be a bit early to think

about getting all your invoices paid

in Bitcoin, but cryptocurrencies are

beginning to make a showing in

international trade.

If you're trading with Venezuela, in

fact, you could be asked to pay port

fees in the local cryptocurrency, Petro,

which was launched in 2017. It's rather

controversial, though – some companies

have refused to use it and are using swap

or barter transactions instead.

For SME exporters, there's now

a crypto-based letter of credit

service provided by escaroo with its

'KeylessEscrow' account. It doesn't yet

have a corporate platform, though it's

working on it. There are others, too –

though currently, they're not regulated

and don't have major banks investing, so

they remain higher risk than standard

escrow.

Where they're going to make a big

difference, though, is in frontier markets

like Latin America and particularly

Africa, where there's a huge unbanked

population and capital controls can

make exporting a red tape filled

proposition. Mobile payments have taken

off in countries like Kenya where MPesa

has more customers than many banks

– cryptocurrencies could be the next

step forward. If the mobile payments

experience is anything to go by, crypto

could take off very fast indeed.

And in countries where the central

bank has low credibility or the currency

is weak, getting paid in Ethereum

or Bitcoin (or EOS, or Stellar, or Monero…)

might give you more certainty than

getting paid in local legal tender.

I'm not sure 2020 will be the year of

cryptocurrency – there are still some big

issues to sort out – but this is certainly

an area that corporate treasuries are

going to need to know more about as we

move into the next decade.

BREXIT UNCERTAINTY SHOWS NO SIGN OF CERTAINTY!

THE UK finally left the European Union

at the end of January. But if things go

according to plan, you won’t notice much

change until the end of 2020 as the

transitional period still applies.

Of course, that’s not any consolation to

exporters who have already lost business

because EU customers prefer to source

within the Single Market. And it still

doesn’t mean we know what the eventual

trading arrangements with the EU, or a

number of other countries where the UK

benefits from an EU trade deal, are going

to be. But it does give you a bit more time

to weatherproof your business.

The one fly in the ointment is that it’s

still possible, if negotiations break down,

that the UK could leave without a deal at

any time from now until the end of the

year. So, keeping an eye on developments

is going to be vital; and this is where

trade associations are really going to

have to step up and work hard for their

members, both lobbying for a good result,

and broadcasting information on what’s

happening.

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / March 2020 / PAGE 62


Too big to fail isn’t true

IT'S sometimes difficult to believe it,

but we’ve had a few golden years during

which corporate insolvencies kept

heading downwards all the time.

But now, Atradius sees US insolvencies

increasing at 3.9 percent, well above the

global average of 2.6 percent. Corporate

debt has risen to a record $10trn as

companies binged on cheap credit and

slowing trade could see some companies

exposed.

Meanwhile Euler Hermes says it

expects insolvencies to rise in 80 percent

of countries – with Brazil and France

notable exceptions. It's particularly

concerned that Q3 2019 saw 15 percent

increase in large corporate failures – ‘too

big to fail’ simply isn't true.

China and India, in particular, could

The funny world of insurance

I don't like the look of the figures from

the Berne Union for the second half

of 2019. A declining volume of new

commitments reflects lack of growth in

underlying trade volumes since the end

of 2018.

And while short term credit was flat,

medium and long-term export credits

fell 27 percent. That's largely due to

slackness in capital goods markets.

be places where you want to be very

careful how much credit you extend, and

to which companies; insolvencies in both

countries are expected to rise at a much

higher rate than in Western Europe.

Given that payment barometers

for many countries are in any case

showing longer payment terms, that

adds up to some very nasty exposures

for exporters who don't control their

working capital properly. Getting paid

isn't just about tightening up credit, but

it will increasingly be about nimbleness

– knowing what's happening on a daily

basis in the countries where you trade

and watching out for relevant news

about major customers. Just doing

spreadsheets isn't going to be a winning

strategy.

Lower corporate investment suggests

corporate confidence is low, and that

will feed through to lower growth in

future. On the other hand, claims rose

21 percent. Now, insurance is a funny

business and you do get blips, but I

don't like the look of claims going up

while new business goes down. It gives

me a nasty feeling that an increase in

premiums could be on the cards.

THE GULF – BOTTLENECK

OR FLASHPOINT?

STOCK markets took the assassination

of Qasem Soleimani and Iranian attacks

on US bases very seriously. So did oil

prices – up to levels last seen in April

2019. But I haven't seen any of the trade

insurers rushing out advice or de-rating

Gulf countries. And it didn't take long for

international capital markets to shrug off

the impact.

That might reflect the fact that the

whole region's been a difficult area for a

while. Expecting shipping in the Gulf to

go through trouble-free is like going on

the M25 and thinking you won't get stuck

in a traffic jam. But the events of early

January do show that global markets –

and global trade – are very much at the

mercy of political events. The US-China

standoff might have been stood down

for the time being, and we might have

avoided the third scale Gulf War, but you

can't take anything for granted.

FROM ZERO TO HERO

ADDFIELD Environmental Systems had

no export sales at all in 2012. But that's

changed dramatically. It's just exported

a medical waste incinerator to Tajikistan

– the 101st country in its export roster

– and 35 percent of its sales now come

from exports, both direct and through

international distributors.

The firm has a few suggestions for new

exporters. One is to start with the low

hanging fruit – train yourselves up on the

easiest markets. ‘Go where the money is,’

first – and go where it's easier to trade,

and barriers to trade are lowest.

Then, make sure you get the product

out there. Customers need to see it, kick

it, poke it, and generally feel confident

that they know exactly what they're

getting. To do that you'll need to invest

in a good team – distributors, contacts,

and in the case of Addfield, NGOs who in

some countries are their lead customers.

Investing in the brand through writing

detailed case studies is another key

component of success.

Banking sector falls over in Lebanon

LEBANON is currently a bad situation

getting worse. PM Hariri quit in

October, and now the banking sector

is falling over. With a huge fiscal

deficit, and banks heavily exposed to

sovereign debt, the country doesn't

have a stable foundation - and foreign

exchange shortages are now making

life difficult for import and export

trade.

Is a bailout on the cards? The

country has already been bailed out

once, in 2017, and none of the promised

economic reforms have been made.

So, it's difficult to see international

financial institutions coming in for

a second round. Meanwhile GDP per

capita is about $9,000 and economic

growth is flat or negative. No wonder

Credendo just slapped its worst

medium/long term political risk rating

on. It's a pity, because Lebanon has

one of the best developed consumer

markets in the region, with a taste for

western fashion brands and Scotch

whisky. There's also high demand for

imports from the private healthcare

and education sectors. But with the

Lebanese pound now trading on the

black market at a steep discount to the

official rate, it's difficult to see how the

country can afford to import – and if

you're exporting there you'll want to

get paid in a stable currency.

CURRENCY UK

EXCHANGE RATES VISIT CURRENCYUK.CO.UK

OR CALL 020 7738 0777

Currency UK is authorised and regulated

by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

GBP/EUR

GBP/USD

GBP/CHF

GBP/AUD

GBP/CAD

GBP/JPY

HIGH LOW TREND

1.20691 1.17139 Up

1.32056 1.28546 Down

1.28193 1.25348 Flat

1.97443 1.89105 Up

1.74787 1.69649 Flat

144.52200 141.00378 Flat

This data was taken on 21st February and refers to the

month previous to/leading up to 21st February 2020.

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / March 2020 / PAGE 63


PAYMENT TRENDS

Local Heroes

The latest monthly B2B payment performance

statistics show signs of regional improvements.

FOLLOWING on from a number of

increases across the board, the

latest payment statistics do at least

show some better performances,

particularly at a regional level. The

average Days Beyond Terms (DBT)

figures across regions reduced by 0.2 days, while

sectors increased by 0.6 days.

SECTOR SPOTLIGHT

Despite the overall increase to payment terms, 10

of the 22 sectors monitored did make reductions

and deserve to be acknowledged. The Business

from Home sector saw the biggest improvement,

reducing its DBT by 5.3 days. Health & Social (-3.9

days), Entertainment (-3.4 days) and Hospitality

(-3.4 days) also performed well.

However, a number of sectors have struggled,

and in some cases struggled badly. It has been

particularly tough for the Energy Supply sector,

with its DBT increasing by an alarming 7.7 days.

Similarly moving in the wrong direction is the

Mining and Quarrying sector, an increase of 6.1

days means it is now the worst performing sector

with an overall DBT of 23.2 days. Transportation

and Storage (+5 days), International Bodies (+4.7

days) and Water & Waste (+3.3 days) also struggled.

REGIONAL SPOTLIGHT

The regional standings show some signs

of improvement, with seven of the 11

regions making reductions to payment terms.

After languishing at the bottom of the table

for a number of months, Northern Ireland is

moving in the right direction again, reducing

its DBT by 4.9 days and making it the most

improved region.

In terms of the best performing region,

Wales and the South West are now level at

the top, each with an overall DBT of 11.4 days

following reductions of 2.1 days and 1.5 days

respectively. Elsewhere, South East (-2.6 days),

London (-1.6 days) and East Midlands (-0.7

days) also made improvements.

At the opposite end of the standings, East

Anglia has slipped to the worst performing

region following a further increase of 1.1

days, leaving its overall DBT at 18 days. It

was also a hugely disappointing month for

Scotland, sliding down the rankings following

a whopping increase of 6.9 days to its payment

terms.

The Business from

Home sector saw the

biggest improvement,

reducing its DBT by 5.3

days.

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / March 2020 / PAGE 64


PAYMENT TRENDS

Data supplied by Creditsafe Group

Top Five Prompter Payers

Region Jan 20 Change from Dec 19

South West 11.4 -1.5

Wales 11.4 -2.1

South East 11.7 -2.6

London 13.6 -1.6

West Midlands 13.6 0

Getting Better

Business from Home -5.3

Health & Social -3.9

Entertainment -3.4

Hospitality -3.4

Dormant -3.3

Real Estate -2.2

Professional and Scientific -2.1

Other Service -2

Wholesale and retail trades -1.2

Top Five Prompter Payers

Sector Dec 19 Change from Nov 19

Hospitality 8.6 -3.4

Entertainment 8.8 -3.4

Health & Social 8.8 -3.9

Education 9 0.4

Wholesale and retail trade 12 -1.2

Bottom Five Poorest Payers

Sector Dec 19 Change from Nov 19

Mining and Quarrying 23.2 6.1

International Bodies 19.5 4.7

Water & Waste 18.7 3.3

Energy Supply 18.3 7.7

Business Admin & Support 17.8 2.9

Bottom Five Poorest Payers

Region Jan 20 Change from Dec 19

East Anglia 18 1.1

Scotland 16.6 6.9

Northern Ireland 15.6 -4.9

East Midlands 15 -0.7

North West 14.8 1.6

Getting Worse

Energy Supply 7.7

Mining and Quarrying 6.1

Public Administration 5.6

Transportation and Storage 5

International Bodies 4.7

Water & Waste 3.3

Business Admin & Support 2.9

Construction 2.2

Financial and Insurance 1.5

Manufacturing 1.5

Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing 1

Education 0.4

SCOTLAND

6.9 DBT

Region

Getting Better – Getting Worse

-4.9

-2.6

-2.1

-1.6

-1.5

0

0.7

6.9

1.6

1.3

1.1

Northern Ireland

South East

Wales

London

South West

West Midlands

East Midlands

Scotland

North West

Yorkshire and Humberside

East Anglia

NORTHERN

IRELAND

-4.9 DBT

SOUTH

WEST

-1.5 DBT

WALES

-2.1 DBT

NORTH

WEST

1.6 DBT

WEST

MIDLANDS

0 DBT

YORKSHIRE &

HUMBERSIDE

1.3 DBT

EAST

MIDLANDS

0.7 DBT EAST

ANGLIA

1.1 DBT

LONDON

-1.6 DBT

SOUTH

EAST

-2.6 DBT

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / March 2020 / PAGE 65


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We have been promoting the importance of credit management, influencing government policy and

regulation and supporting credit professionals through their careers since 1939. It is our reason for

being, and our passion for expertise in the credit and collections profession is second to none.

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BRANCH NEWS

Spring Clean Your Finances

CICM Sheffield and district branch

SHEFFIELD & District Branch

members and guests arrived

for the AGM to enjoy a light

supper and time to network

before the meeting began.

The committee welcomed Phil

Holbrough, Chair of Yorkshire Ridings

Branch and Regional Representative.

Branch Secretary Myron Fedak opened

the AGM, Branch Treasurer Graham

Browes presented his financial report

and Branch Chair Paula Uttley covered

events. Once the formalities of the AGM

were concluded, the was floor handed

to Martyn Gregory and Aaron Alcock of

2plan wealth management.

Who would have thought that a

presentation covering pensions, taxation

and death could have been so entertaining!

THE Branch’s AGM, held at FRP Advisory

LLP in Brentwood, opened with FRP

Director Martin Weller’s insightful

snapshot of the present insolvency world,

which sparked lively discussions. He

explained that CVAs continue to have a

low rate of success with many failing to

reach their targeted solution to turn their

business around.

The April reintroduction of the crown

preference, when HMRC will rank

behind fixed charge holders and ordinary

preferential creditors (employees) but

ahead of floating charge holders and

unsecured creditors, will potentially have

an impact on the level of recoveries that

can be achieved by any creditors ranking

behind HMRC. Credit managers will be

intrigued as to how this plays out in the

coming year! Martin also talked about the

increasing power of Companies House,

the clamp down on loan charge schemes,

and IR35 changes.

Branch committee member Katherine

Bailey, standing in as a speaker, gave an

Martyn and Aaron guided us through

the quagmire of pensions explaining just

what we should be thinking about and,

more importantly, when. They also

covered wider investment options and

answered many questions from the

floor throughout. The presentation was

extremely informative, delivered in plain

English and most enjoyable – raising plenty

of laughter from the audience. Following

their main presentation, Martyn and Aaron

were available for one-to-one surgeries

for even more individual questions.Many

thanks to Martyn Gregory and Aaron

Alcock of 2plan wealth management and

to all attending members and guests for

making the evening a great success.

Author: Paula Uttley MCICM(Grad),

Branch Chair.

First in Line

East of England branch

update on the mentorship programme,

the knowledge hub, the apprenticeship

scheme, tutoring, and the training

partnerships with CICM.

Chairman Atul Vadher reported on

another good year, including the Branch

events in central London, Chelmsford and

Norwich. Atul highlighted the success

of the London conference in November,

which was held in conjunction with

the Kent Branch. Atul says it was the

highest-attended Branch event in the

entire country, with excellent feedback

on the venue, content and speakers. Atul

thanked Goodman Masson for hosting and

sponsoring, and thanked the speakers,

and Cforia for sponsoring the business

card draw.

Denise Bassingthwaighte’s Treasurer’s

report, given by Vice Chairman Richard

Brown FCICM in her absence, advised

a healthy bank balance thanks to the

generosity of sponsors Goodman Masson,

Hays, Valor Hospitality Europe and FRP

Advisory LLP.

An 11-strong Branch Committee was

elected to include Liam Hastings and Mark

Maynard – who took over as Treasurer from

the retiring Denise Bassingthwaighte. Atul

thanked Denise for her support over many

years, as well as the rest of the committee.

Carol Baker gave an update and sought

views on possible events and locations

in 2020. After much discussion the

Committee took away a number of ideas

for consideration.

Authors: Richard Brown FCICM and

Lyn Commons

WE WANT YOUR NEWS!

Get in touch with Andrew Morris by emailing andrew.morris@cicm.com

with your branch news and event reports. Please only send up to 400 words

and any images need to be high resolution to be printable, so 1MB plus.

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / March 2020 / PAGE 67


HR MATTERS

WRITER’S BLOCK

Work-related blogging, employee checking,

and the right to holidaying abroad

AUTHOR – Gareth Edwards

THE European Court of

Human Rights (ECHR) has

confirmed that an employer

violated an employee’s right

to freedom of expression

when dismissing him for

publishing personal blog posts in relation

to his work.

Mr Herbai, a Hungarian bank employee,

published blog posts on his personal

HR management website. The website

described him as an HR management

expert at a large bank. However, it did

not mention the bank’s name. The bank

dismissed Herbai as it considered that

in posting he had damaged its economic

interests and breached its confidentiality

standards. Herbai argued that his dismissal

breached his freedom of expression rights

under Article 10.

The ECHR balanced the employee's

rights to freedom of expression against

the bank’s rights to protect its business

interests and identified four key elements

for assessment:

- nature of the speech, that freedom of

speech protects comments on a public

matter and also comments made to a

specific group;

- motives of the author, that there was

no question of personal grievance or

antagonism behind the blog posts;

- damage caused to the employer, that none

was highlighted;

- and the severity of the sanction imposed,

that Herbai had been dismissed without a

lesser sanction being considered.

The ECHR found that the employer

did not demonstrate a justification for

restricting Herbai’s right to freedom of

expression and therefore had violated his

rights under Article 10.

This case is a reminder that the right to

freedom of expression is a relevant factor

when considering the legality of any action

taken against an employee. In essence,

restricting an employee’s right to freedom

of expression must be necessary and

proportionate; employers should ensure

they have sufficient evidence to justify

their actions.

CHECKING OUT

Badara v Pulse Healthcare Limited has

shown that employers cannot rely on the

Home Office’s Employer Checking Service

(ECS) right to work check when making

decisions about an employee's immigration

status.

Pulse Healthcare mistakenly believed

that Mr Badara’s right to work in the UK

expired on the expiry of his residence card

issued to him as the family member of an

EEA national. Under EU law, however, it

continues automatically.

The employer submitted ECS requests

for confirmation of Badara’s right to work

in the UK, but the responses came back

as negative. The employer relied on those

responses in maintaining its decision to

stop giving Badara work and pay.

The employer had a clause in its contract

which stated that employees had to produce

evidence of their eligibility to work in the

UK. The Employment Appeal Tribunal

stated that relying on this clause could

amount to an unauthorised deduction

from wages and indirect discrimination

and remitted those claims to the tribunal

for reconsideration.

Badara was a self-employed contractor

who was subsequently found by the

tribunal to have been an employee. If he

had been engaged as an employee from the

outset, the employer may have been able

to dismiss him for ‘some other substantial

reason’ if he had failed to cooperate with

their reasonable requests to establish his

right to work. However, they would need

to have acted reasonably during such

a process, which might include being

prepared to accept alternative evidence of

his immigration status.

Employers should conduct their

own investigations into an employee’s

immigration status. This should occur

even if the documentation produced is not

sufficient to provide them with a ‘statutory

excuse’ under the prevention of illegal

working legislation.

ANNUAL LEAVE

Following TSN v Hyvinvointialan employers

are not required to allow an employee to

carry over all of their annual leave if they

have been unable to take it due to sickness

absence.

In the case, the European Court of

Justice said that, where an employee has

been off sick and unable to take their

holiday, employers are only required

to allow employees to carry over the

minimum holiday entitlement under the

Working Time Directive. This minimum

holiday requirement is currently four

weeks per year.

UK law provides a more generous

minimum annual leave allowance of 5.6

weeks (28 days including bank holidays).

The judgment confirms that EU nations are

able to apply their own laws to annual leave

granted beyond the minimum required by

the Working Time Directive, which is 1.6

weeks for the UK.

Therefore, unless there is a contractual

arrangement that states otherwise, there

is no right for employees to carry over any

more than four weeks of statutory holiday.

This is not a change in the domestic

position, as the same decision was reached

in the UK Employment Appeal Tribunal in

the 2012 case Sood Enterprises Ltd v Healy.

Gareth Edwards is a partner in the

employment team at

VWV. gedwards@vwv.co.uk

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / March 2020 / PAGE 68


• International and UK Collections

• Procure to Pay Recovery and Reconciliation

• International and UK Debt Litigation

• Shared Service Consultancy

Paladin Commercial would like to congratulate:

Brakes (Brake Bros Limited)

as winners of

Shared Service Provider of the Year

At the CICM British Credit Awards 2020

www.paladincommercial.co.uk

Contact: sales@paladincommercial.co.uk


TAKE CONTROL OF

YOUR CREDIT CAREER

CREDIT COLLECTIONS MANAGER

Stevenage, £40,000-£55,000 + bonus + benefits

A progressive and innovative organisation based in Stevenage

is recruiting for a credit and collections manager. In this newly

created role, you will take a lead on the mission of improving

the debt strategy and collection process to enhance cashflow.

You will have experience working within financial services,

banking, leasing or property and business to consumer collections.

Ref: 3767459

Contact Charlotte Clarke on 01923 205286 or

email charlotte.clarke@hays.com

CREDIT MANAGER

Birmingham, £35,000-£40,000 + annual bonus

A large global business that has its shared service centre in

Birmingham city is looking for an experienced credit professional

to manage a team of credit controllers and cash allocation

administrators. The successful candidate will have the drive

and resilience to manage change and improve behaviours.

Ref: 3736576

Contact Peter Kidd on 07387 157254 or

email peter.kidd@hays.com

REVENUE CONTROLLER

London, £42,000 + bonus

A top 30 international law firm based in London is looking

for a revenue controller to join its team. In your new role, you

will be responsible for producing reports, analysis of billable

time and reviewing and updating WIP provisions. You will be

a highly motivated individual with excellent interpersonal,

time management and organisation skills.

Ref: 3759228

Contact Joe Morris on 020 3465 0020 or

email joe.morris@hays.com

CREDIT CONTROLLER

Richmond upon Thames, £27,000 + benefits

A unique opportunity is available for an innovative and

experienced credit controller to join a vibrant and growing events

company. You will be organised, proactive and a driven credit

controller that can build and develop a new operation within the

events sector. This is a fantastic opportunity where you can achieve

results and be rewarded accordingly. Ref: 3720445

Contact Mark Ordona on 020 8247 4042 or

email mark.ordona@hays.com

hays.co.uk/creditcontrol

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / March 2020 / PAGE xx


CREDIT CONTROLLER

Central Reading, £25,000 + flexible benefits

A leading national top 60 law firm with over 300 fee earners

and multiple offices located round the UK is looking for a credit

controller on a six month contract. You will have previous legal

experience, be well organised with a methodical approach and

ability to prioritise. You will also have excellent communication

skills and be a reliable and adaptable team player with the ability

to work well under pressure. Ref: 3750904

Contact Molly Nobbs on 01189 070321 or

email molly.nobbs@hays.com

CREDIT CONTROL ADMINISTRATOR

Kettering, £19,000

A fast-growing IT based company is looking for a credit control

administrator. You will report into the Credit Manager and support

the credit control team with administrative duties. Other duties will

include processing invoices, raising sales orders and updating the

database with client information. This is a fantastic opportunity to

kickstart your career in credit control. Ref: 3765014

Contact Alex Smith on 01604 621733 or

email alex.smith@hays.com

This is just a small selection of the many opportunities we

have available for credit professionals. To find out more visit

us online or contact Kabir Gulabkhan, Hays Credit Management

UK Lead on 020 3465 0020

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / March 2020 / PAGE xx


INTRODUCING OUR

CORPORATE PARTNERS

For further information and to discuss the opportunities of entering into a

Corporate Partnership with the CICM, please contact corporatepartners@cicm.com

Hays Credit Management is a national specialist

division dedicated exclusively to the recruitment of

credit management and receivables professionals,

at all levels, in the public and private sectors. As

the CICM’s only Premium Corporate Partner, we

are best placed to help all clients’ and candidates’

recruitment needs as well providing guidance on

CV writing, career advice, salary bench-marking,

marketing of vacancies, advertising and campaign

led recruitment, competency-based interviewing,

career and recruitment trends.

T: 07834 260029

E: karen.young@hays.com

W: www.hays.co.uk/creditcontrol

The Company Watch platform provides risk analysis

and data modelling tools to organisations around

the world that rely on our ability to accurately predict

their exposure to financial risk. Our H-Score®

predicted 92 percent of quoted company insolvencies

and our TextScore® accuracy rate was 93

percent. Our scores are trusted by credit professionals

within banks, corporates, investment houses

and public sector bodies because, unlike other credit

reference agencies, we are transparent and flexible

in our approach.

T: +44 (0)20 7043 3300

E: info@companywatch.net

W: www.companywatch.net

HighRadius is a Fintech enterprise Software-as-a-Service

(SaaS) company. Its Integrated Receivables platform

reduces cycle times in the Order to Cash process through

automation of receivables and payments across credit,

e-invoicing and payment processing, cash allocation,

dispute resolution and collections. Powered by the RivanaTM

Artificial Intelligence Engine and Freeda Digital

Assistant for Order to Cash teams, HighRadius enables

more than 450 organisations to leverage machine

learning to predict future outcomes and automate routine

labour intensive tasks.

T: +44 7399 406889

E: gwyn.roberts@highradius.com

W: www.highradius.com

Forums International has been running Credit and

Industry Forums since 1991 covering a range of

industry sectors and international trading. Attendance

is for credit professionals of all levels. Our forums

are not just meetings but communities which

aim to prepare our members for the challenges

ahead. Attending for the first time is free for you to

gauge the benefits and meet the members and we

only have pre-approved Partners, so you will never

intentionally be sold to.

Chris Sanders Consulting (Sanders Consulting

Associates) has three areas of activity providing

credit management leadership and performance

improvement, international working capital

improvement consulting assignments and

managing the CICMQ Best Practice Accreditation

programme on behalf of the CICM. Plans for

2019 include international client assignments in

India, China, USA, Middle East and the ongoing

development of the CICMQ Programme.

Key IVR provide a suite of products to assist companies

across Europe with credit management. The

service gives the end-user the means to make a

payment when and how they choose. Key IVR also

provides a state-of-the-art outbound platform delivering

automated messages by voice and SMS. In a

credit management environment, these services are

used to cost-effectively contact debtors and connect

them back into a contact centre or automated

payment line.

T: +44 (0)1246 555055

E: info@forumsinternational.co.uk

W: www.forumsinternational.co.uk

T: +44(0)7747 761641

E: chris@chrissandersconsulting.com

W: www.chrissandersconsulting.com

T: +44 (0) 1302 513 000

E: sales@keyivr

W: www.keyivr.co.uk

American Express® is a globally recognised

provider of business payment solutions, providing

flexible capabilities to help companies drive

growth. These solutions support buyers and

suppliers across the supply chain with working

capital and cashflow.

By creating an additional lever to help support

supplier/client relationships American Express is

proud to be an innovator in the business payments

space.

T: +44 (0)1273 696933

W: www.americanexpress.com

Operating across seven UK offices, Menzies LLP is

an accountancy firm delivering traditional services

combined with strategic commercial thinking. Our

services include: advisory, audit, corporate and

personal tax, corporate finance, forensic accounting,

outsourcing, wealth management and business

recovery – the latter of which includes our specialist

offering developed specifically for creditors. For

more information on this, or to see how the Menzies

Creditor Services team can assist you, please

visit: www.menzies.co.uk/creditor-services.

T: +44 (0)2073 875 868 - London

T: +44 (0)2920 495 444 - Cardiff

W: menzies.co.uk/creditor-services

Building on our mature and hugely successful

product and world class support service, we are

re-imagining our risk awareness module in 2019 to

allow for hugely flexible automated worklists and

advanced visibility of areas of risk. Alongside full

integration with all credit scoring agencies (e.g.

Creditsafe), this makes Credica a single port-of-call

for analysis and automation. Impressive results

and ROI are inevitable for our customers that also

have an active input into our product development

and evolution.

T: 01235 856400

E: info@credica.co.uk

W: www.credica.co.uk

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / March 2020 / PAGE 72


Each of our Corporate Partners is carefully selected for

their commitment to the profession, best practice in the

Credit Industry and the quality of services they provide.

We are delighted to showcase them here.

THEY'RE WAITING TO TALK TO YOU...

With 130+ years of experience, Graydon is a leading

provider of business information, analytics, insights

and solutions. Graydon helps its customers to make

fast, accurate decisions, enabling them to minimise

risk and identify fraud as well as optimise opportunities

with their commercial relationships. Graydon

uses 130+ international databases and the information

of 90+ million companies. Graydon has offices in

London, Cardiff, Amsterdam and Antwerp. Since 2016,

Graydon has been part of Atradius, one of the world’s

largest credit insurance companies.

T: +44 (0)208 515 1400

E: customerservices@graydon.co.uk

W: www.graydon.co.uk

The Atradius Collections business model is to support

businesses and their recoveries. We are seeing a

deterioration and increase in unpaid invoices placing

pressures on cashflow for those businesses. Brexit is

causing uncertainty and we are seeing a significant

impact on the UK economy with an increase in

insolvencies, now also impacting the continent and

spreading. Our geographical presence is expanding

and with a single IT platform across the globe we can

provide greater efficiencies and effectiveness to our

clients to recover their unpaid invoices.

T: +44 (0)2920 824700

W: www.atradiuscollections.com/uk/

Shoosmiths’ highly experienced team will work

closely with credit teams to recover commercial

debts as quickly and cost effectively as possible.

We have an in depth knowledge of all areas of debt

recovery, including:

• Pre-litigation services to effect early recovery and

keep costs down • Litigation service • Insolvency

• Post-litigation services including enforcement

As a client of Shoosmiths, you will find us quick to

relate to your goals, and adept at advising you on the

most effective way of achieving them.

T: 03700 86 3000

E: paula.swain@shoosmiths.co.uk

W: www.shoosmiths.co.uk

Dun & Bradstreet Finance Solutions enable modern

finance leaders and credit professionals to improve

business performance through more effective risk

management, identification of growth opportunities,

and better integration of data and insights

across the business. Powered by our Data Cloud,

our solutions provide access to the world’s most

comprehensive commercial data and insights

supplying a continually updated view of business

relationships that help finance and credit teams

stay ahead of market shifts and customer changes.

T: (0800) 001-234

W: www.dnb.co.uk

Improve cash flow, cash collection and prevent late

payment with Corrivo from Data Interconnect.

Corrivo, intelligent invoice to cash automation

highlights where accounts receivable teams should

focus their effort for best results. Easy-to-learn,

Invoicing, Collection and Dispute modules get collection

teams up and running fast. Minimal IT input required.

Real-time dashboards, reporting and self-service

customer portals, improve customer communication

and satisfaction scores. Cost-effective, flexible Corrivo,

super-charges your cash collection effort.

T: +44 (0)1367 245777

E: sales@datainterconnect.co.uk

W: www.datainterconnect.com

Serrala optimizes the Universe of Payments for

organisations seeking efficient cash visibility

and secure financial processes. As an SAP

Partner, Serrala supports over 3,500 companies

worldwide. With more than 30 years of experience

and thousands of successful customer projects,

including solutions for the entire order-to-cash

process, Serrala provides credit managers and

receivables professionals with the solutions they

need to successfully protect their business against

credit risk exposure and bad debt loss.

T: +44 118 207 0450

E: contact@serrala.com

W: www.serrala.com

Tinubu Square is a trusted source of trade credit

intelligence for credit insurers and for corporate

customers. The company’s B2B Credit Risk

Intelligence solutions include the Tinubu Risk

Management Center, a cloud-based SaaS platform;

the Tinubu Credit Intelligence service and the

Tinubu Risk Analyst advisory service. Over 250

companies rely on Tinubu Square to protect their

greatest assets: customer receivables.

T: +44 (0)207 469 2577 /

E: uksales@tinubu.com

W: www.tinubu.com.

C2FO turns receivables into cashflow and payables

into income, uniquely connecting buyers and

suppliers to allow discounts in exchange for

early payment of approved invoices. Suppliers

access additional liquidity sources by accelerating

payments from buyers when required in just two

clicks, at a rate that works for them. Buyers, often

corporates with global supply chains, benefit from

the C2FO solution by improving gross margin while

strengthening the financial health of supply chains

through ethical business practices.

T: 07799 692193

E: anna.donadelli@c2fo.com

W: www.c2fo.com

Esker’s Accounts Receivable (AR) solution removes

the all-too-common obstacles preventing today’s

businesses from collecting receivables in a timely

manner. From invoice delivery to cash application,

Esker automates each step. Esker's automated AR

system powered by TermSync helps companies

modernise without replacing their core billing and

collections processes. By simply automating what

should be automated, customers get the post-sale

experience they deserve and your team gets the

tools they need.

T: +44 (0)1332 548176

E: sam.townsend@esker.co.uk

W: www.esker.co.uk

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / March 2020 / PAGE 73


INTRODUCING OUR

CORPORATE

PARTNERS

Onguard is a specialist in credit management

software and a market leader in innovative solutions

for Order to Cash. Our integrated platform ensures

an optimal connection of all processes in the Order

to Cash chain and allows sharing of critical data. Our

intelligent tools can seamlessly interconnect and

offer overview and control of the payment process,

as well as contribute to a sustainable customer relationship.

The Onguard platform is successfully used

for successful credit management in more than 50

countries.

T: +31 (0)88 256 66 66

E: ruurd.bakker@onguard.com

W: www.onguard.com

Don't miss out

on the exciting

upcoming events

in 2020

Workshops

Round

Table Events

CICM On Tour

Bottomline Technologies (NASDAQ: EPAY) helps

businesses pay and get paid. Businesses and banks

rely on Bottomline for domestic and international

payments, effective cash management tools, automated

workflows for payment processing and bill review

and state of the art fraud detection, behavioural

analytics and regulatory compliance. Every day, we

help our customers by making complex business

payments simple, secure and seamless.

T: 0870 081 8250

E: emea-info@bottomline.com

W: www.bottomline.com/uk

CICM Best Practice

Webinars

Shared Services Forum UK Limited

Shared Services Forum UK is a not-for-profit

membership organisation. with one vision, to form

the largest community of people from the business

world and facilitate a platform for them to work

together to mutual benefits. Benefits include; networking

with like-minded professionals in Shared

Services. The criteria is a willingness to engage in

our lively community and help shape our growth

and development.

T: 07864 652518

E: forum.manager@sharedservicesforumuk.com

W: www.sharedservicesforumuk.com

Just another great

reason to be a member

See full programme at

www.cicm.com/events

www.cicm.com | +44 (0)1780 722902

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / March 2020 / PAGE 74


www.cicm.com

‘‘

CICM offered the

prospect of qualifications,

but as soon as I became

a member, loads of other

opportunities came to

light that I hadn’t initially

realised were available.

Molly Kane

ACICM

The value

of CICM

membership

Molly Kane ACICM

Senior Credit Controller Executive

Oxford University

Read more about her story and join your

credit community by visiting:

www.cicm.com/value-of-cicm-membership/

info@cicm.com

www.cicm.com

01780 722900

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / March 2020 / PAGE 75


$

Advancing

Careers

Advancing

Best Practice

Advancing

Connections

Advancing

Skills

Advancing

Thinking

Advancing

Business

ADVANCING THE

CREDIT PROFESSION

01780 722900 | www.cicm.com


CICM MEMBER

EXCLUSIVE

Your CICM lapel badge

demonstrates your commitment to

professionalism and best practice

TAKE PRIDE IN

WEARING YOUR BADGE

If you haven’t received your badge

contact: cicmmembership@cicm.com

CREDIT WEEK:

KENT BUSINESS FINANCE CONFERENCE

Business Finance

Conference

17 March 2020 – 9:00 –16:30

CPD

5

IN the beautiful setting of The

Grand in Folkestone, looking over

to France, the CICM Kent Branch

is reaching out to local businesses

in East Kent and inviting them

to attend a full day conference

on Business Finance and Credit

Management.

One of the main aims of this

branch is to promote the CICM

and credit as a profession, and we

are looking to engage more with

SMEs and to connect with finance

and credit control personnel

within these businesses. As well

as explaining about the CICM, the

benefits of membership and the

qualifications.

The conference will close with

a Q & A session with all the

speakers, inviting attendees to ask

questions and raise issues and

concerns they may have about

credit management, cashflow and

business finance.

The day will also provide ample

opportunity for networking,

conversation, education and a

great lunch, plus a big-prize raffle

draw.

The cost to attend is £25 per

person with all proceeds being

donated to a local charity, and

bookings can be made now direct

on our website www.cicm.com

Venue

The Grand, The Leas

Folkstone, Kent

CT20 2XL

Organiser

Book online at www.cicm.com/cicm-events

or email branches@cicm.com for more

information.

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / March 2020 / PAGE 77


WHAT'S ON

We are inviting all members to bring a colleague to a CICM membership event,

free of charge. Book online on our website www.cicm.com/cicm-events

CICM EVENTS

9 March

CICM Wessex Branch

Southampton

Annual General Meeting

Book online at www.cicm.com/cicm-events or

email events@cicm.com for more information.

Venue: Hays Southampton, 3rd Floor, Mountbatten

House, Grosvenor Square, Southampton SO15 2JU

United Kingdom

10 March

CICM Yorkshire Ridings Branch

Leeds

20/20 Credit Vision – Interactive Conference and

Annual General Meeting

Book online at www.cicm.com/cicm-events or

email events@cicm.com for more information.

Venue: DWF Leeds, Bridgewater Place, Water Lane,

Leeds, LS11 5DY

CPD

3

16-20 March

The largest gathering of credit professionals in

Europe, covering the entire industry.

London

CICM Supporting Credit Week 2020

This year Credit Week is even bigger with more

events to get involved with, meaning there is

always something for everyone. From guest

speakers and bespoke workshops to dinners

and awards ceremonies, Credit Week is the must

attend event in 2020.

Book online at www.cicm.com/cicm-events or

email events@cicm.com for more information.

Venue: Various London Locations

10 March

CICM North East Branch

Newcastle upon Tyne

Credit Managers’ Forum – Spring 2020

Book online at www.cicm.com/cicm-events or

email events@cicm.com for more information.

Venue: Sage (UK) Limited

North Park, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE13 9AA

United Kingdom

CPD

2

10 March

CICM Sussex & Surrey Branch

New Malden

Annual General Meeting

Book online at www.cicm.com/cicm-events or

email events@cicm.com for more information.

Venue: Hays New Malden

Ground Floor, Hays House, 40-44 Coombe Rd,

New Malden, KT3 4QF

17 March

CICM Thames Valley Branch

Slough

Annual General Meeting

Book online at www.cicm.com/cicm-events or

email events@cicm.com for more information.

Venue: Equinix 2 Buckingham Avenue, Slough,

United Kingdom

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / March 2020 / PAGE 78


More reasons to be a member

Make connections and keep up-to-date

with our exclusive events.

19 March

CICM Bristol & West Branch

Bristol

Annual General Meeting and Wine Tasting

Book online at www.cicm.com/cicm-events or

email events@cicm.com for more information.

Venue: Avery’s Wine Cellars

9 Culver Street, Bristol, BS1 5LD

19 March

CICM North West Branch

Manchester

Annual General Meeting

Book online at www.cicm.com/cicm-events or

email events@cicm.com for more information.

Venue: Hays Recruitment 4th Floor, City Tower,

New York Street, Manchester, M1 4BT

CPD

2

12 March

Let’s Talk Credit

London

Credit Risk Forum – BPF Polymer Distributors

and Compounders

For further details contact

brent.cumming@letstalkcredit.co.uk

23 March

CICM London Branch

London

Annual General Meeting

Book online at www.cicm.com/cicm-events or

email events@cicm.com for more information.

Venue: Irwin Mitchell Solicitors 40 Holborn

Viaduct, Holburn, London EC1N 2PZ

24 March

CICM North East Branch

Newcastle Upon Tyne

Annual General Meeting

Book online at www.cicm.com/cicm-events or

email events@cicm.com for more information.

Venue: Muckle LLP Time Central, 32 Gallowgate,

Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE1 4BF

19 March

Forums International

London

Best Practice Forum

Book online at www.cicm.com/cicm-events or

email events@cicm.com for more information.

Venue: Experian 80 Victoria Street, 6th Floor,

Cardinal Place, London, SW1E 5JL

OTHER INDUSTRY EVENTS

4-5 March

ICTF – 2 day webinar –

Online

Fundamentals of Export Letters of Credit

Book online at www.cicm.com/cicm-events or

email events@cicm.com for more information.

Time: 11:00 ET

Duration: 90 minutes each day

12-13 March

Forums International

Spain

International Telecoms Risk Forum

Book online at www.cicm.com/cicm-events or

email events@cicm.com for more information.

Venue: Telefonica Avenida de Bruselas 20 Piso 1,

Madrid 28108, Spain

12 March

Let’s Talk Credit

London

Credit Risk Forum – FMCG Ireland

(Food, drink, tobacco)

For further details contact

brent.cumming@letstalkcredit.co.uk

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / March 2020 / PAGE 79


Cr£ditWho?

CICM Directory of Services

COLLECTIONS

INTERNATIONAL COLLECTIONS

COLLECTIONS LEGAL

Controlaccount Plc

Address: Compass House, Waterside, Hanbury Road,

Bromsgrove, Worcestershire B60 4FD

T: 01527 549 522

E: sales@controlaccount.com

W: www.controlaccount.com

Controlaccount Plc provides an efficient, effective and ethical

commercial debt recovery service focused on improving business

cash flow whilst preserving customer relationships and established

reputations. Working with leading brand names in the UK and

internationally, we deliver a bespoke service to our clients. We offer

a no collect, no fee service without any contractual ties in. Where

applicable, we can utilise the Late Payment of Commercial Debts

Act (2013) to help you redress the cost of collection. Our clients

also benefit from our in-house international trace and legal counsel

departments and have complete transparency and up to the minute

information on any accounts placed with us for recovery through our

online debt management system, ClientWeb.

INTERNATIONAL COLLECTIONS

Baker Ing International Limited

Office 7, 35-37 Ludgate Hill, London. EC4M 7JN

Contact: Lisa Baker-Reynolds

Email: lisa@bakering.global

Website: https://www.bakering.global/contact/

Tel: 07717 020659

Baker Ing International is a dedicated team of Credit industry

experience that, combined, covers time served in most industries.

The team is wholly comprised of working Credit Manager’s across

the Globe with a minimum threshold of ten years working experience

within Credit Management. The team offers a comprehensive

service to clients - International Debt Recovery, Credit Control, Legal

Services & more

Our mission is to help companies improve the cost and efficiency

of their Credit Management processes in order to limit the risks

associated with extending credit and trading around the globe.

How can we help you - call Lisa Baker Reynolds on

+44(0)7717 020659 or email lisa@bakering.global

COLLECTIONS LEGAL

Lovetts Solicitors

Lovetts, Bramley House, The Guildway,

Old Portsmouth Road,

Guildford, Surrey, GU3 1LR

T: 01483 347001

E: info@lovetts.co.uk

W: www.lovetts.co.uk

With more than 25yrs experience in UK & international business debt

collection and recovery, Lovetts Solicitors collects £40m+ every year

on behalf of our clients. Services include:

• Letters Before Action (LBA) from £1.50 + VAT (successful in 86%

of cases)

• Advice and dispute resolution

• Legal proceedings and enforcement

• 24/7 access to your cases via our in-house software solution,

CaseManager

Don’t just take our word for it, here’s some recent customer feedback:

“All our service expectations have been exceeded. The online

system is particularly useful and extremely easy to use. Lovetts has a

recognisable brand that generates successful results.”

Atradius Collections Ltd

3 Harbour Drive,

Capital Waterside, Cardiff, CF10 4WZ

Phone: +44 (0)29 20824397

Mobile: +44 (0)7767 865821

E-mail:yvette.gray@atradius.com

Website: atradiuscollections.com

Atradius Collections Ltd is an established specialist in business

to business collections. As the collections division of the Atradius

Crédito y Caución, we have a strong position sharing history,

knowledge and reputation.

Annually handling more than 110,000 cases and recovering over

a billion EUROs in collections at any one time, we deliver when

it comes to collecting outstanding debts. With over 90 years’

experience, we have an in-depth understanding of the importance of

maintaining customer relationships whilst efficiently and effectively

collecting monies owed.

The individual nature of our clients’ customer relationships is

reflected in the customer focus we provide, structuring our service

to meet your specific needs. We work closely with clients to provide

them with a collection strategy that echoes their business character,

trading patterns and budget.

For further information contact Yvette Gray Country Director, UK

and Ireland.

Premium Collections Limited

3 Caidan House, Canal Road

Timperley, Cheshire. WA14 1TD

T: +44 (0)161 962 4695

E: paul.daine@premiumcollections.co.uk

W: www.premiumcollections.co.uk

For all your credit management requirements Premium Collections

has the solution to suit you. Operating on a national and international

basis we can tailor a package of products and services to meet your

requirements.

Services include B2B collections, B2C collections, international

collections, absconder tracing, asset repossessions, status reporting

and litigation support.

Managed from our offices in Manchester, Harrogate and Dublin our

network of 55 partners cover the World.

Contact Paul Daine FCICM on +44 (0)161 962 4695 or

paul.daine@premiumcollections.co.uk

www.premiumcollections.co.uk

Blaser Mills Law

40 Oxford Road,

High Wycombe,

Buckinghamshire. HP11 2EE

T: 01494 478660

E: Jackie Ray jar@blasermills.co.uk

W: www.blasermills.co.uk

A full-service firm, Blaser Mills Law’s experienced Commercial

Recoveries team offer pre-legal collections, debt recovery,

litigation, dispute resolution and insolvency. The team includes

CICM qualified staff, recommended in both Legal 500 and

Chambers & Partners legal directories.

Offices in High Wycombe, Amersham, Rickmansworth, London

and Silverstone

Keebles

Capitol House, Russell Street, Leeds LS1 5SP

T: 0113 399 3482

E: charise.marsden@keebles.com

W: www.keebles.com

Keebles debt recovery team was named “Legal Team of the Year”

at the 2019 CICM British Credit Awards.

According to our clients “Keebles stand head and shoulders above

others in the industry. A team that understands their client’s

business and know exactly how to speedily maximise recovery.

Professional, can do attitude runs through the team which is not

seen in many other practices.”

We offer a service with no hidden costs, giving you certainty and

peace of mind.

• ‘No recovery, no fee’ for pre-legal work.

• Fixed fees for issuing court proceedings and pursuing claims to

judgment and enforcement.

• Success rate in excess of 80%.

• 24 hour turnaround on instructions.

• Real-time online access to your cases to review progress.

CONSULTANCY

Sanders Consulting Associates Ltd

T: +44(0)1525 720226

E: enquiries@chrissandersconsulting.com

W: www.chrissandersconsulting.com

Sanders Consulting is an independent niche consulting firm

specialising in leadership and performance improvement in all aspects

of the order to cash process. Chris Sanders FCICM, the principal, is

well known in the industry with a wealth of experience in operational

credit management, billing, change and business process improvement.

A sought after speaker with cross industry international experience in

the business-to-business and business-to-consumer markets, his

innovative and enthusiastic approach delivers pragmatic people and

process lead solutions and significant working capital improvements to

clients. Sanders Consulting are proud to manage CICMQ on behalf of

and under the supervision of the CICM.

COURT ENFORCEMENT SERVICES

Court Enforcement Services

Wayne Whitford – Director

M: +44 (0)7834 748 183 T : +44 (0)1992 663 399

E : wayne@courtenforcementservices.co.uk

W: www.courtenforcementservices.co.uk

High Court Enforcement that will Empower You!

We help law firms and in-house debt recovery and legal teams to

enforce CCJs by transferring them up to the High Court. Setting us

apart in the industry, our unique and Award Winning Field Agent App

helps to provide information in real time and transparency, empowering

our clients when they work with us.

• Free Transfer up process of CCJ’s to High Court

• Exceptional Recovery Rates

• Individual Client Attention and Tailored Solutions

• Real Time Client Access to Cases

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / March 2020 / PAGE 80


FOR ADVERTISING INFORMATION OPTIONS AND PRICING CONTACT

russell@cabbells.uk 0203 603 7937

CREDIT INFORMATION

CREDIT INFORMATION

CREDIT MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE

CoCredo

Missenden Abbey, Great Missenden, Bucks, HP16 0BD

T: 01494 790600

E: customerservice@cocredo.com

W: www.cocredo.co.uk

CoCredo’s award winning credit reporting and monitoring systems have

helped to protect over £27 billion of turnover on behalf of our customers.

Our company data is updated continually throughout the day and access

to the online portal is available 365 days a year 24/7.

At CoCredo we aggregate data from a range of leading providers in

the UK and across the globe so that our customers can view the best

available data in an easy to read report. We offer customers XML

Integration and D.N.A Portfolio Management as well as an industry-first

Dual Report, comparing two leading providers opinions in one report.

Graydon UK

66 College Road, 2nd Floor, Hygeia Building, Harrow,

Middlesex, HA1 1BE

T: +44 (0)208 515 1400

E: customerservices@graydon.co.uk

W: www.graydon.co.uk

With 130+ years of experience, Graydon is a leading provider of

business information, analytics, insights and solutions. Graydon

helps its customers to make fast, accurate decisions, enabling them

to minimise risk and identify fraud as well as optimise opportunities

with their commercial relationships. Graydon uses 130+ international

databases and the information of 90+ million companies. Graydon

has offices in London, Cardiff, Amsterdam and Antwerp. Since 2016,

Graydon has been part of Atradius, one of the world’s largest credit

insurance companies.

Tinubu Square UK

Holland House, 4 Bury Street,

London EC3A 5AW

T: +44 (0)207 469 2577 /

E: uksales@tinubu.com

W: www.tinubu.com

Founded in 2000, Tinubu Square is a software vendor, enabler of the

Credit Insurance, Surety and Trade Finance digital transformation.

Tinubu Square enables organizations across the world to significantly

reduce their exposure to risk and their financial, operational and technical

costs with best-in-class technology solutions and services. Tinubu

Square provides SaaS solutions and services to different businesses

including credit insurers, receivables financing organizations and

multinational corporations.

Tinubu Square has built an ecosystem of customers in over 20 countries

worldwide and has a global presence with offices in Paris, London, New

York, Montreal and Singapore.

CREDIT INFORMATION

THE ONLY AML RESOURCE YOU NEED

SmartSearch

SmartSearch, Harman House,

Station Road,Guiseley, Leeds, LS20 8BX

T: +44 (0)113 238 7660

E: info@smartsearchuk.com W: www.smartsearchuk.com

KYC, AML and CDD all rely on a combination of deep data with broad

coverage, highly automated flexible technology with an innovative

and intuitive customer interface. Key features include automatic

Worldwide Sanction & PEP checking, Daily Monitoring, Automated

Enhanced Due Diligence and pro-active customer management.

Choose SmartSearch as your benchmark.

CEDAR

ROSE

R

Cedar Rose

3, Georgiou Katsonotou Street,3036, Limassol, Cyprus

E: info@cedar-rose.com T: +357 25346630

W: www.cedar-rose.com

Cedar Rose has been globally recognised as the expert for

credit reports, due diligence and data for the Middle East

and North African countries since 1997. We now cover over

170 countries with the same high quality, expert analysis

and attention to detail we are well-known and trusted for.

Making best use of artificial intelligence and technology, Cedar

Rose has won several awards including Credit Excellence

& European Business Awards. Our website is a one-stopshop

for your business intelligence solutions. We are the

ultimate source; with competitive prices and friendly customer

service - whether you need one or one thousand reports.

Company Watch

Centurion House, 37 Jewry Street,

LONDON. EC3N 2ER

T: +44 (0)20 7043 3300

E: info@companywatch.net

W: www.companywatch.net

Organisations around the world rely on Company Watch’s industryleading

financial analytics to drive their credit risk processes. Our

financial risk modelling and ability to map medium to long-term risk as

well as short-term credit risk set us apart from other credit reference

agencies.

Quality and rigour run through everything we do, from our unique

method of assessing corporate financial health via our H-Score®, to

developing analytics on our customers’ in-house data.

With the H-Score® predicting almost 90 percent of corporate

insolvencies in advance, it is the risk management tool of choice,

providing actionable intelligence in an uncertain world.

CREDIT MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE

ONGUARD

T: +31 (0)88 256 66 66

E: ruurd.bakker@onguard.com

W: www.onguard.com

Onguard is specialist in credit management software and market

leader in innovative solutions for order to cash. Our integrated

platform ensures an optimal connection of all processes in the order

to cash chain and allows sharing of critical data.

Intelligent tools that can seamlessly be interconnected and offer

overview and control of the payment process, as well as contribute to

a sustainable customer relationship.

In more than 50 countries the Onguard platform is successfully used

for successful credit management.

Credica Ltd

Building 168, Maxell Avenue, Harwell Oxford, Oxon. OX11 0QT

T: 01235 856400E: info@credica.co.uk W: www.credica.co.uk

Our highly configurable and extremely cost effective Collections and

Query Management System has been designed with 3 goals in mind:

• To improve your cashflow • To reduce your cost to collect

• To provide meaningful analysis of your business

Evolving over 15 years and driven by the input of 1000s of Credit

Professionals across the UK and Europe, our system is successfully

providing significant and measurable benefits for our diverse portfolio

of clients.

We would love to hear from you if you feel you would benefit from our

‘no nonsense’ and human approach to computer software.

Data Interconnect Ltd

Units 45-50

Shrivenham Hundred Business Park

Majors Road, Watchfield

Swindon, SN6 8TZ

T: +44 (0)1367 245777

E: sales@datainterconnect.co.uk

W: www.datainterconnect.com

Data Interconnect provides Intelligent Invoice to Cash Automation.

Corrivo Billing, Collection and Dispute modules seamlessly integrate

for a rich, end-to-end A/R user experience. Branded customer

portals, real-time dashboards, advanced reporting, available in 15

languages as standard; are some of the reason why global brands

choose Data Interconnect.

HighRadius

T: +44 7399 406889

E: gwyn.roberts@highradius.com

W: www.highradius.com

HighRadius is the leading provider of Integrated Receivables

solutions for automating receivables and payment functions such

as credit, collections, cash allocation, deductions and eBilling.

The Integrated Receivables suite is delivered as a software-as-aservice

(SaaS). HighRadius also offers SAP-certified Accelerators

for SAP S/4HANA Finance Receivables Management, enabling

large enterprises to maximize the value of their SAP investments.

HighRadius Integrated Receivables solutions have a proven track

record of reducing days sales outstanding (DSO), bad-debt and

increasing operation efficiency, enabling companies to achieve an

ROI in less than a year.

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / March 2020 / PAGE 81

continues on page 82 >


Cr£ditWho?

CICM Directory of Services

FOR ADVERTISING INFORMATION

OPTIONS AND PRICING CONTACT

russell@cabbells.uk 0203 603 7937

CREDIT MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE

DATA AND ANALYTICS

INSOLVENCY

ESKER

Sam Townsend Head of Marketing

Northern Europe Esker Ltd.

T: +44 (0)1332 548176 M: +44 (0)791 2772 302

W: www.esker.co.uk LinkedIn: Esker – Northern Europe

Twitter: @EskerNEurope Esker.blog

Esker’s Accounts Receivable (AR) solution removes the all-toocommon

obstacles preventing today’s businesses from collecting

receivables in a timely manner. From invoice delivery to cash

application, Esker automates each step. Esker's automated AR

system powered by TermSync helps companies modernise without

replacing their core billing and collections processes. By simply

automating what should be automated, customers get the post-sale

experience they deserve and your team gets the tools they need.

C2FO

C2FO Ltd

105 Victoria Steet

SW1E 6QT

T: 07799 692193

E: anna.donadelli@c2fo.com

W: www.c2fo.com

C2FO turns receivables into cashflow and payables into income,

uniquely connecting buyers and suppliers to allow discounts in

exchange for early payment of approved invoices. Suppliers access

additional liquidity sources by accelerating payments from buyers

when required in just two clicks, at a rate that works for them.

Buyers, often corporates with global supply chains, benefit from the

C2FO solution by improving gross margin while strengthening the

financial health of supply chains through ethical business practices.

Menzies

T: +44 (0)2073 875 868 - London

T: +44 (0)2920 495 444 - Cardiff

W: menzies.co.uk/creditor-services

Operating across seven UK offices, Menzies LLP is an accountancy

firm delivering traditional services combined with strategic

commercial thinking. Our services include: advisory, audit,

corporate and personal tax, corporate finance, forensic accounting,

outsourcing, wealth management and business recovery –

the latter of which includes our specialist offering developed

specifically for creditors. For more information on this, or to see

how the Menzies Creditor Services team can assist you, please

visit: www.menzies.co.uk/creditor-services. Bethan Evans, Partner

and Head of Menzies Creditor Services, email: bevans@

menzies.co.uk and phone: +44 (0)2920 447512

LEGAL

SERRALA

Serrala UK Ltd, 125 Wharfdale Road

Winnersh Triangle, Wokingham

Berkshire RG41 5RB

E: r.hammons@serrala.com W: www.serrala.com

T +44 118 207 0450 M +44 7788 564722

Serrala optimizes the Universe of Payments for organisations seeking

efficient cash visibility and secure financial processes. As an SAP

Partner, Serrala supports over 3,500 companies worldwide. With

more than 30 years of experience and thousands of successful

customer projects, including solutions for the entire order-tocash

process, Serrala provides credit managers and receivables

professionals with the solutions they need to successfully protect

their business against credit risk exposure and bad debt loss.

identeco – Business Support Toolkit

Compass House, Waterside, Hanbury Road, Bromsgrove,

Worcestershire B60 4FD

Telephone: 01527 549 531 Email: info@identeco.co.uk

Web: www.identeco.co.uk

identeco’s Business Support Toolkit is an online portal connecting

its subscribers to a range of business services that help them to

engage with new prospects, understand their customers and

mitigate risk. Annual subscription is £79.95 per year for unlimited

access. Providing company information and financial reports,

director and shareholder structures as well as a unique financial

health rating, balance sheets, ratio analysis, and any detrimental

data that might be associated with a company. Other services also

included in the subscription include a business names database,

acquisition targets, a data audit service as well as unlimited,

bespoke marketing and telesales listings for any sector.

FINANCIAL PR

Shoosmiths

Email: paula.swain@shoosmiths.co.uk

Tel: 03700 86 3000 W: www.shoosmiths.co.uk

Shoosmiths’ highly experienced team will work closely with credit

teams to recover commercial debts as quickly and cost effectively as

possible. We have an in depth knowledge of all areas of debt recovery,

including:

• Pre-litigation services to effect early recovery and keep costs down

• Litigation service

• Post-litigation services including enforcement

• Insolvency

As a client of Shoosmiths, you will find us quick to relate to your goals,

and adept at advising you on the most effective way of achieving them.

PAYMENT SOLUTIONS

Redwood Collections Ltd

0208 288 3555

enquiry@redwoodcollections.com

Airport House, Purley Way, Croydon, CR0 0XZ

“Redwood Collections offers a complete portfolio of debt collection

services ranging from sensitive client-debtor mediation through to

legal and insolvency action.

Incorporated in 2009, we are pleased to represent in excess of

11,000 clients. Whatever your debt collection needs, we have the

expertise and resources to deliver a fast, efficient and cost-effective

solution.”

DATA AND ANALYTICS

Dun & Bradstreet

Marlow International, Parkway Marlow

Buckinghamshire SL7 1AJ

Telephone: (0800) 001-234 Website: www.dnb.co.uk

Dun & Bradstreet Finance Solutions enable modern finance

leaders and credit professionals to improve business performance

through more effective risk management, identification of growth

opportunities, and better integration of data and insights across the

business. Powered by our Data Cloud, our solutions provide access

to the world’s most comprehensive commercial data and insights

- supplying a continually updated view of business relationships

that helps finance and credit teams stay ahead of market shifts and

customer changes. Learn more here:

www.dnb.co.uk/modernfinance

Gravity Global

Floor 6/7, Gravity Global, 69 Wilson St, London, EC2A 2BB

T: +44(0)207 330 8888. E: sfeast@gravityglobal.com

W: www.gravityglobal.com

Gravity is an award winning full service PR and advertising

business that is regularly benchmarked as being one of the best

in its field. It has a particular expertise in the credit sector, building

long-term relationships with some of the industry’s best-known

brands working on often challenging briefs. As the partner agency for

the Credit Services Association (CSA) for the past 22 years, and the

Chartered Institute of Credit Management since 2006, it understands

the key issues affecting the credit industry and what works and what

doesn’t in supporting its clients in the media and beyond.

FORUMS

FORUMS INTERNATIONAL

T: +44 (0)1246 555055

E: info@forumsinternational.co.uk

W: www.forumsinternational.co.uk

Forums International Ltd have been running Credit and Industry

Forums since 1991. We cover a range of industry sectors and

International trading, attendance is for Credit Professionals of all

levels. Our forums are not just meetings but communities which

aim to prepare our members for the challenges ahead. Attending

for the first time is free for you to gauge the benefits and meet the

members and we only have pre-approved Partners, so you will never

intentionally be sold to.

Bottomline Technologies

115 Chatham Street, Reading

Berks RG1 7JX | UK

T: 0870 081 8250 E: emea-info@bottomline.com

W: www.bottomline.com/uk

Bottomline Technologies (NASDAQ: EPAY) helps businesses

pay and get paid. Businesses and banks rely on Bottomline for

domestic and international payments, effective cash management

tools, automated workflows for payment processing and bill

review and state of the art fraud detection, behavioural analytics

and regulatory compliance. Businesses around the world depend

on Bottomline solutions to help them pay and get paid, including

some of the world’s largest systemic banks, private and publicly

traded companies and Insurers. Every day, we help our customers

by making complex business payments simple, secure and seamless.

American Express

76 Buckingham Palace Road,

London. SW1W 9TQ

T: +44 (0)1273 696933

W: www.americanexpress.com

American Express is working in partnership with the CICM and is

a globally recognised provider of payment solutions to businesses.

Specialising in providing flexible collection capabilities to drive a

number of company objectives including:

•Accelerate cashflow •Improved DSO •Reduce risk

•Offer extended terms to customers

•Provide an additional line of bank independent credit to drive

growth •Create competitive advantage with your customers

As experts in the field of payments and with a global reach,

American Express is working with credit managers to drive growth

within businesses of all sectors. By creating an additional lever to

help support supplier/client relationships American Express is proud

to be an innovator in the business payments space.

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / March 2020 / PAGE 82


PAYMENT SOLUTIONS

ARE YOU A LEADER

OR FOLLOWER?

Key IVR

T: +44 (0) 1302 513 000

E: sales@keyivr.com

W: www.keyivr.com

Key IVR are proud to have joined the Chartered Institute of Credit

Management’s Corporate partnership scheme. The CICM is a

recognised and trusted professional entity within credit management

and a perfect partner for Key IVR. We are delighted to be providing

our services to the CICM to assist with their membership collection

activities. Key IVR provides a suite of products to assist companies

across the globe with credit management. Our service is based

around giving the end-user the means to make a payment when and

how they choose. Using automated collection methods, such as a

secure telephone payment line (IVR), web and SMS allows companies

to free up valuable staff time away from typical debt collection.

RECRUITMENT

Hays Credit Management

107 Cheapside, London, EC2V 6DN

T: 07834 260029

E: karen.young@hays.com

W: www.hays.co.uk/creditcontrol

Hays Credit Management is working in partnership with the CICM

and specialise in placing experts into credit control jobs and credit

management jobs. Hays understands the demands of this challenging

environment and the skills required to thrive within it. Whatever

your needs, we have temporary, permanent and contract based

opportunities to find your ideal role. Our candidate registration process

is unrivalled, including face-to-face screening interviews and a credit

control skills test developed exclusively for Hays by the CICM. We offer

CICM members a priority service and can provide advice across a wide

spectrum of job search and recruitment issues.

PORTFOLIO

CREDIT CONTROL

Portfolio Credit Control

1 Finsbury Square, London. EC2A 1AE

T: 0207 650 3199

E: recruitment@portfoliocreditcontrol.com

W: www.portfoliocreditcontrol.com

Portfolio Credit Control, solely specialises in the recruitment of

permanent, temporary and contract Credit Control, Accounts

Receivable and Collections staff. Part of an award winning recruiter

we speak to and meet credit controllers all day everyday understanding

their skills and backgrounds to provide you with tried and tested credit

control professionals. We have achieved enormous growth because we

offer a uniquely specialist approach to our clients, with a commitment

to service delivery that exceeds your expectations every single time.

CICMQ accreditation is a proven model

that has consistently delivered dramatic

improvements in cashflow and efficiency

CICMQ is the hallmark of industry

leading organisations

The CICM Best Practice Network is where

CICMQ accredited organisations come

together to develop, share and celebrate

best practice in credit and collections

BE A LEADER – JOIN THE CICM BEST

PRACTICE NETWORK TODAY

To find out more about flexible options

to gain CICMQ accreditation

E: cicmq@cicm.com T: 01780 722900

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / March 2020 / PAGE 83


There are easier ways to achieve

peace of mind.

Like buying credit reports

from Cedar Rose.

cedar-rose.com

+357 25 346630

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