Credit Management January February 2024

The CICM magazine for consumer and commercial credit professionals

The CICM magazine for consumer and commercial credit professionals


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CM<br />

JANUARY/FEBRUARY <strong>2024</strong><br />



Ring of<br />

Bright Water<br />

What does the credit<br />

community expect from<br />

the year ahead?<br />

Sean Feast FCICM talks<br />

to Rob Thompson of the<br />

CCUA. Page 16<br />

How does the CICM<br />

interact with its European<br />

peers? Page 20

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Editor’s column<br />

MAKING A<br />



HAPPY New Year (if it’s not already<br />

a dim and distant memory) and<br />

welcome to this new edition of your<br />

magazine.<br />

The sharp-eyed among you will notice<br />

that we’ve been making some changes.<br />

Fashion, so my children and Mrs Feast keep telling me, is<br />

constantly changing, and we need to move with the times.<br />

Whereas I don’t entirely subscribe to that opinion (I still<br />

have a posh coat my father bought me for my 21st birthday<br />

that looks as good as new), a refresh now and again never did<br />

anyone any harm.<br />

Andrew Morris, our Art Editor, has evolved some of the regular<br />

sections and feature pages to make them even smarter and more<br />

accessible, allowing the content more space to breathe and<br />

hopefully making it an even more comfortable and enjoyable<br />

read. We will be evolving more designs in the issues that follow.<br />

Meanwhile, news at the start of this year has been dominated<br />

by the Post Office Horizon software scandal. I take a personal<br />

interest partly because the KC who represented the wronged<br />

sub-postmasters was an old school chum and he did a rather<br />

splendid job. (Which made me wonder who’d play me in a<br />

film of my life?)<br />

But there is also a rather uncomfortable parallel to be drawn<br />

with our world of credit. As an industry insider pointed out<br />

to me recently, the Post Office is a public corporation of the<br />

Department for Business and Trade. The alacrity the Post<br />

Office (and therefore the Government) showed in pursuing<br />

‘theft’ from these sub-postmasters – which turned out to be<br />

completely erroneous and based on inaccurate information<br />

– contrasts starkly with the apparent lack of ambition and<br />

glacial progress the Government is showing in attempting to<br />

hold fraudulent CBIL and BBIL debtors to account.<br />

According to Bloomberg, the same UK Government that<br />

appeared to have few qualms about sending an individual to<br />

jail for a few thousand pounds has paid £1.41bn (to lenders that<br />

issued small business loans during the COVID-19 pandemic)<br />

that are now suspected of being fraudulent. Despite repeated<br />

attempts by some of those in the credit community to discuss<br />

how some of this debt mountain may be recovered, at present<br />

their treaties appear to be falling on deaf ears.<br />

The numbers are truly staggering. Barclays, the largest lender<br />

in the COVID loans programme, estimates that six percent<br />

of its loans are now considered possible fraud. Starling Bank,<br />

which lent £1.6bn under BBLs, has flagged around £97m of<br />

its drawn loans as potential fraud. Will it ever be returned, I<br />

wonder, and will the Government ever listen to viable solutions<br />

that could help?<br />

The solution, of course, if you really want the Government to<br />

take notice, is to make a prime-time TV drama. Which makes<br />

me return to the question of who would play the part of the<br />

Managing Editor of <strong>Credit</strong> <strong>Management</strong> who first floated the<br />

idea. Answers on a postcard please…<br />

Brave | Curious | Resilient / www.cicm.com / <strong>January</strong> & <strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong> / PAGE 3


<strong>January</strong> & <strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong> issue<br />

08 – HAPPY NEW YEAR<br />

What does the credit community expect from the<br />

year ahead?<br />


What happens to all the marginally profitable<br />

companies when they are starved of cheap credit<br />

that has been keeping them alive?<br />


As the lending industry looking ahead to the new<br />

year, what trends to practice, technology and<br />

regulation should you be aware of?<br />


Sean Feast FCICM talks to Rob Thompson FCICM<br />

about the courts, a pink moped, and the merits of<br />

the Talbot Sunbeam Lotus.<br />


How does the CICM interact with its<br />

European peers?<br />


Just because you can use Artificial Intelligence,<br />

doesn’t mean you should.<br />

24 – SKILLS TEST<br />

Finding the right talent with the appropriate skills<br />

continues to be a challenge.<br />


Looking at the year ahead and the future of the<br />

enforcement profession.<br />


A young, talented professional chose credit<br />

management over accountancy and has never<br />

looked back.<br />

Malaysia<br />


The need to prevent acts of harassment at work,<br />

changes to spent conviction disclosure, and a case<br />

of roles in a redundancy process.<br />

12<br />


What happens to all the marginally<br />

profitable companies when they are<br />

starved of cheap credit?<br />

08<br />


Brave | Curious | Resilient / www.cicm.com / <strong>January</strong> & <strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong> / PAGE 4


President: Stephen Baister FCICM<br />

Chief Executive: Sue Chapple FCICM<br />

Executive Board: Chair Debbie Nolan FCICM(Grad)<br />

Vice Chair: Neil Jinks FCICM<br />

Treasurer: Glen Bullivant FCICM<br />

Larry Coltman FCICM / Allan Poole MCICM<br />

34<br />


Advisory Council: Caroline Asquith-Turnbull FCICM<br />

Laurie Beagle FCICM / Glen Bullivant FCICM<br />

Brendan Clarkson FCICM / Larry Coltman FCICM<br />

Peter Gent FCICM(Grad / Victoria Herd FCICM(Grad)<br />

Laural Jefferies FCICM / Neil Jinks FCICM<br />

Martin Kirby FCICM / Charles Mayhew FCICM<br />

Hans Meijer FCICM / Debbie Nolan FCICM(Grad)<br />

Amanda Phelan FCICM / Allan Poole MCICM<br />

Phil Roberts FCICM / Chris Sanders FCICM<br />

Paula Swain FCICM / Jamie Thornton MCICM<br />

Mark Taylor MCICM / Atul Vadher FCICM(Grad)<br />

22<br />



16<br />



Sean Feast FCICM<br />

talks to Rob<br />

Thompson FCICM.<br />

View our digital version online at www.cicm.com.<br />

Log on to the Members’ area, and click on the<br />

tab labelled ‘<strong>Credit</strong> <strong>Management</strong> magazine.’<br />

<strong>Credit</strong> <strong>Management</strong> is distributed to the entire<br />

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as additional subscribers<br />

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Telephone: 01780 722900<br />

Email: editorial@cicm.com<br />

Website: www.cicm.com<br />

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Managing Editor: Sean Feast FCICM<br />

Deputy Editor: Iona Yadallee<br />

Art Editor: Andrew Morris<br />

Telephone: 01780 722910<br />

Email: andrew.morris@cicm.com<br />

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Melanie York<br />

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Reproduction in whole or part is forbidden without specific permission.<br />

Opinions expressed in this magazine do not, unless stated, reflect those<br />

of the Chartered Institute of <strong>Credit</strong> <strong>Management</strong>. The Editor reserves<br />

the right to abbreviate letters if necessary. The Institute is registered as a<br />

charity. The mark ‘<strong>Credit</strong> <strong>Management</strong>’ is a registered trade mark of the<br />

Chartered Institute of <strong>Credit</strong> <strong>Management</strong>.<br />

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

Brave | Curious | Resilient / www.cicm.com / <strong>January</strong> & <strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong> / PAGE 5

THE NEWS<br />

CMNEWS<br />

A round-up of news stories from the<br />

world of consumer and commercial credit.<br />


CICM welcomes changes<br />

to Companies House<br />

COMPANIES House will<br />

have more investigative<br />

and enforcement powers<br />

than ever before following<br />

the granting of royal assent<br />

to the Economic Crime and Corporate<br />

Transparency Act, improving the accuracy<br />

and quality of data, tackling economic<br />

crime and driving confidence in the UK<br />

economy.<br />

The Act will introduce new statutory<br />

objectives for Companies House to ensure<br />

that anyone who is required to deliver<br />

a document to the registrar does so (and<br />

that the requirements for proper delivery<br />

are complied with), as well as ensuring<br />

information contained in the register is<br />

accurate and that the register contains<br />

everything it ought to contain.<br />

The act will help ensure that records kept<br />

by the registrar do not create a false or<br />

misleading impression to members of the<br />

public and prevent companies and others<br />

from carrying out unlawful activities or<br />

facilitating the carrying out by others of<br />

unlawful activities.<br />

Sue Chapple FCICM, Chief Executive of<br />

the CICM, says that some of the changes<br />

the industry has been crying out for are<br />

now within touching distance: “CICM has<br />

been an active supporter of Companies<br />

House from the beginning. But we have also<br />

never been afraid to express concerns<br />

where they have been warranted in<br />

supporting our members in using data<br />

to take informed decisions to mitigate<br />

risk and support business growth.<br />

“A Bill which seeks to significantly<br />

improve the validity and reliability<br />

of information held by Companies<br />

House has to be a good thing and is<br />

arguably long overdue. Of course,<br />

it could have gone further, but we<br />

“CICM has<br />

been an active<br />

supporter of<br />

Companies<br />

House from the<br />

beginning. But we<br />

have also never<br />

been afraid to<br />

express concerns<br />

where they have<br />

been warranted<br />

in supporting our<br />

members’’<br />

should celebrate small victories where<br />

they present themselves and giving<br />

Companies House greater powers<br />

of investigation and enforcement<br />

alongside more robust initial<br />

identity verification requirements<br />

for new and existing directors<br />

are both positive steps in the<br />

right direction.<br />

“Our members have to<br />

know that the information<br />

kept at Companies House can be relied<br />

upon, subject to their own professional<br />

insight and expertise in interpreting the<br />

information they are given. This is even<br />

more important in the current financial<br />

climate.”<br />

Robert Brooker, Director of PKF GM<br />

and an expert in forensic accounting and<br />

fraud, similarly welcomes the news: “It will<br />

provide the capability to cross reference<br />

and share data with third parties, enabling<br />

Companies House to (hopefully) become<br />

more robust with regards to company<br />

registrations thereby preventing fraudulent<br />

directors and companies from operating,<br />

as opposed to currently whereby no due<br />

diligence is undertaken, let alone utilising<br />

other dependable data.<br />

“This will enable Companies House to<br />

act more effectively when people tell them<br />

their personal information has been used<br />

without consent. This will make a real<br />

difference to individuals. Currently it’s so<br />

very slow and farcical as they write to the<br />

victims address to confirm if the fraudulent<br />

company exists, after the victim has<br />

already reported that the company and its<br />

Directors do not reside at their residential<br />

address!”<br />

Robert is positive that the changes will<br />

have a constructive impact on the number<br />

of fraudulent companies being registered<br />

for nefarious purposes and the knock on<br />

effect of further fraudulent activity will<br />

help reduce the volume of fraud in the UK:<br />

“My only caveat is I don’t think we should<br />

underestimate the size of the task ahead<br />

as the data is currently so vast and out of<br />

date, with hundreds of new companies<br />

being added every day. I am concerned that<br />

so much may be lost in the ether and in<br />

fact we may take one step forward and two<br />

steps back.”<br />

Brave | Curious | Resilient / www.cicm.com / <strong>January</strong> & <strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong> / PAGE 6


A Decade of Excellence<br />

in <strong>Credit</strong> <strong>Management</strong><br />

WORLDLINE IT Services UK Limited’s<br />

<strong>Credit</strong> <strong>Management</strong> team, under the<br />

leadership of Tracey Evans and Sarah<br />

Wright, has achieved the prestigious<br />

CICMQ accreditation. Having renewed its<br />

accreditation twice, the team has held the<br />

accreditation for an impressive nine years.<br />

Worldline is a global leader in digital<br />

payments and transactional services, and<br />

its CICMQ Assessment Report reflects<br />

Worldline's commitment to shaping a<br />

new world of payments and transactions,<br />

earning them a high Merit grade which was<br />

just shy of a Distinction.<br />

As the Business Unit Director of <strong>Credit</strong><br />

& Commercial for Worldline UK&I, Tracey<br />

Evans spearheaded the accreditation<br />

process, showcasing her 17 years of<br />

dedication to the organisation. Having<br />

evolved from an Accounts Receivable<br />

management role to her current position as<br />

the Business Unit Director, Tracey's journey<br />

demonstrates Worldline's commitment to<br />

employee development and growth.<br />

Similarly, Sarah Wright, the <strong>Credit</strong> Risk<br />

STERIS attains CICMQ accreditation<br />

THE Accounts Receivable Team of STERIS<br />

in Derbyshire has achieved CICMQ<br />

accreditation, earning a commendable high<br />

Merit grade. This milestone underscores<br />

the team's exceptional performance in<br />

Stakeholder Engagement and <strong>Credit</strong> Policy,<br />

marking a testament to their commitment<br />

to excellence.<br />

Guiding the rigorous accreditation<br />

process was Linda Belton MCICM (Grad),<br />

<strong>Credit</strong> & Risk Manager for STERIS, a<br />

leading global provider of products and<br />

services that support patient care with an<br />

emphasis on infection prevention.<br />

The presentation of the CICMQ Award<br />

by Luke Sculthorp FCICM, CICM Head of<br />

Strategic Relationships, marked a moment<br />

of pride for STERIS. As part of the<br />

CICM Senior Leadership Team, Luke<br />

commended the company's dedication to<br />

excellence.<br />

Initiated in September 2019, the<br />

transformation of STERIS's Accounts<br />

Receivable Team aimed to enhance team<br />

dynamics, streamline processes, and excel<br />

in remote stakeholder management.<br />

Embracing the STERIS lean culture, the<br />

team underwent a complete re-engineering<br />

process, implementing standardised<br />

automated quality processes that yielded<br />

outstanding financial results.<br />

The transformation focused on<br />

individual and collective development,<br />

KPI implementation, and benchmarking<br />

performance to elevate service levels for<br />

internal and external stakeholders.<br />

Invevo becomes CICM partner<br />

THE CICM has partnered with Invevo<br />

to give members access to an expert in<br />

receivables process improvement and<br />

discover the benefits of an end-to-end<br />

integrated system for streamlining credit<br />

management, receivables automation,<br />

collections and dispute management.<br />

Richard Moreton, Founder & CEO<br />

at Invevo, believes this partnership will<br />

Manager, has played a pivotal role in the<br />

evolution of the <strong>Credit</strong> <strong>Management</strong> team,<br />

overseeing three schemes to managing the<br />

day-to-day activities of a robust team, and<br />

developing her own professional career.<br />

Tracey Evans, says everyone in the team<br />

made this re-accreditation possible: “I am<br />

extremely proud of each and every member<br />

of our <strong>Credit</strong> <strong>Management</strong> team, and the<br />

part they’ve all played in this achievement.<br />

In particular I would like to highlight<br />

the critical role that our <strong>Credit</strong> Risk<br />

Manager, Sarah Wright, played in the<br />

preparation for our CICMQ assessment<br />

this year. It is a fantastic achievement<br />

to once again secure the CICMQ<br />

accreditation, and a further evolution of<br />

our journey in developing and maintaining<br />

quality <strong>Credit</strong> <strong>Management</strong> policies and<br />

processes.”<br />

CEO Johnny Astbury and other key<br />

stakeholders, including Julie Hillman,<br />

Saj Patel, Tony Burgess, Ade Bailey, and<br />

Patricia Cliff, stand as pillars of support in<br />

this journey.<br />

support more digital transformation within<br />

the credit management industry: “some<br />

companies are still working with outdated<br />

and inefficient systems that aren’t built for<br />

purpose. We are on a mission to change<br />

this, streamlining financial operations<br />

with our no-cost configuration to provide<br />

tailored workspaces with the correct tools<br />

for credit teams to get the job done.”<br />

Christmas fair<br />

RISING costs forced young people to<br />

use buy now, pay later (BNPL) to afford<br />

Christmas in 2023 as a quarter (23 percent) of<br />

young people admitted they were planning<br />

on buying their Christmas dinner this year<br />

using BNPL, according to new research from<br />

responsible lender, <strong>Credit</strong>spring. Many were<br />

also reliant on BNPL - an unregulated form<br />

of borrowing - to buy gifts for loved ones,<br />

with three in ten (28 percent) 18-34-yearolds<br />

saying they would use BNPL to buy<br />

their Christmas presents.<br />

Finance fulfilled<br />

A Northamptonshire family-run<br />

manufacturer has received over £600,000 of<br />

financing from Metro Bank to help it achieve<br />

its aspirations to be the most responsible<br />

closed-loop maker and supplier in the UK.<br />

Fill/Refill formulates, designs and creates a<br />

range of eco-friendly body, hair, laundry and<br />

household cleaning products in returnable<br />

and refillable screen-printed glass bottles<br />

and bulk containers.<br />

Driving growth<br />

AN increasing number of businesses are<br />

seeking asset finance to drive business<br />

growth, according to the latest survey by<br />

Allica Bank, the digital relationship bank<br />

dedicated to serving established British<br />

SMEs. Just under half (43 percent) of the<br />

asset finance brokers said they have seen<br />

an increase in demand from their clients,<br />

with just under a third of those reporting<br />

at least a 10 percent increase in applications.<br />

Demand is principally driven by more<br />

businesses seeking finance to invest in new<br />

machinery (45 percent), while over a third<br />

of businesses (36 percent) are looking to<br />

refinance their existing assets.<br />

Optimum return<br />

BRISTOL-based invoice finance provider<br />

Optimum Finance has appointed Steve<br />

Chapman to manage and lead its risk and<br />

recoveries activity as the business looks<br />

to build on its successes in 2023. Steve<br />

joins Optimum with more than 40 years’<br />

experience within Invoice Finance and<br />

the financial services, much of which was<br />

spent with the Lloyds Banking Group. More<br />

recently he worked for Hitachi Capital PLC.<br />

He returns to the industry having taken<br />

early retirement in 2020.<br />

Branch AGMs<br />

CICM Branch AGM season is upon us,<br />

and all Committees are due to convene<br />

by 31 March <strong>2024</strong>. Look out for more<br />

information across CICM channels and by<br />

visiting https://www.cicm.com/branches/<br />

Brave | Curious | Resilient / www.cicm.com / <strong>January</strong> & <strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong> / PAGE 7


HAPPY<br />

NEW YEAR?<br />

What does the credit community<br />

expect from the year ahead?<br />


EVERY New Year starts with a sense of optimism<br />

and hope, even though 2023 ended with a<br />

mild sense of foreboding. So what can we<br />

expect over the next 12 months in the world<br />

of credit? Will we see a tightening of credit<br />

availability? A lengthening of payment terms?<br />

An increase in the number of business failures?<br />

And what about the economy in general and will certain sectors<br />

fair better than others?<br />

Oliver Collinge, an Insolvency Practitioner and Director of the<br />

Restructuring team within PKF GM sets the scene: “Corporate<br />

insolvencies ended the year at close to the record high they reached<br />

in the spring,” he says. “As with that earlier peak, though, the vast<br />

bulk of these are liquidations of smaller companies so the statistics<br />

are deceptive – redundancies (as reported by the ONS) remain at<br />

fairly low levels, suggesting these insolvency numbers aren’t having<br />

a significant macro-economic impact.<br />

“As regards next year the outlook is mixed. Some of the major<br />

pressures which businesses were facing this time last year<br />

have receded: inflation has fallen significantly - CPI halved<br />

from 9.2 percent in Dec 22 to 4.6 percent (in October 2023) -<br />

and supply chain pressures have eased markedly. “That said,<br />

interest rates are higher than a year ago and there is higher<br />

leverage in the economy than pre-pandemic as businesses<br />

continue to repay COVID-related debt: of total COVID<br />

borrowing (i.e. via Government backed schemes such as<br />

BBLS and CBILS) £31bn of the original £77bn lent remains<br />

outstanding (this excludes amounts written off due to fraud and<br />

insolvency).”<br />

Oliver believes the impact of these higher rates on consumer<br />

spending is also likely to become more pronounced in <strong>2024</strong> as<br />

more fixed rate mortgages have to be refinanced at these new,<br />

higher levels: “Throw in continuing geopolitical uncertainty,” he<br />

continues, “and elections on both sides of the Atlantic later in the<br />

year and it’s easy to be pessimistic about <strong>2024</strong>.”<br />

In terms of insolvency numbers, Oliver expects the volume to<br />

fall, but the make-up of those numbers to change: “Broadly I<br />

would expect a reduction in the headline insolvency numbers but<br />

possibly more ‘meaningful’ failures (i.e. failures of large businesses<br />

as opposed to large numbers of micro-company failures distorting<br />

the picture as we’ve seen this year) as the impact of higher mortgage<br />

rates on consumer spending continues to be a drag on growth<br />

and the increased cost of debt service continues to whittle away<br />

cash reserves.”<br />

Ant Persse FCICM, CEO of Optimum Finance, similarly believes<br />

there will be a number of high-profile failures to come: “When<br />

that happens there is often a ripple effect to smaller businesses<br />

who are part of the supply chain and they may be impacted by<br />

bad debts as a result,” he says.<br />

He concurs that the increase in base rates will impact those<br />

businesses looking to refinance: “Many will have taken term loans<br />

during the COVID pandemic which are set for renewal and these<br />

will be at a higher rate,” he explains. “Many are still seeing the<br />

impact on cashflow of having to repay their COVID loans and<br />

deferred HMRC payments, despite many being granted what<br />

might be considered a reasonable ‘Time to Pay’.”<br />

Andrew Birkwood FCICM, Founder and CEO of SME debt<br />

purchaser, Azzurro Associates, characterises last year as challenging:<br />

“In the end, however, the impact on expected performance was<br />

comparatively benign, albeit the economy and particularly the<br />

higher interest rate environment has impacted SMEs ability to<br />

refinance their way out of their premium cost credit. As a result,<br />

many SMEs are tending toward negotiating a restructure of their<br />

credit terms, leading to extensions and longer term repayment plans<br />

with their creditors – some of which are then being sold to firms<br />

such as Azzurro. From our perspective, the market is beginning<br />

to show signs of maturity as regular ‘flow’ debt sales become the<br />

norm, and price volatility has settled.”<br />

In terms of access to credit, Andrew says that SMEs have a<br />

substantial array of options to choose from today with regard<br />

to the right mix of credit in their business: “From term loans to<br />

business credit cards to embedded finance, the fintechs are leading<br />

the charge in innovating the challenge of providing fast access<br />

to credit for SMEs. This trend will continue this year, enabling<br />

businesses to manage their cash flow demands in a sophisticated<br />

manner.”<br />

Brave | Curious | Resilient / www.cicm.com / <strong>January</strong> & <strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong> / PAGE 8


Unprecedented challenges<br />

Some sectors will undoubtedly be more impacted than<br />

others. Simon Johnson MCICM(Grad), Director of UK<br />

<strong>Credit</strong> <strong>Management</strong> at SIG, is a CICM Think Tank expert<br />

on the construction industry. In his update in 2022/2023<br />

he spoke about the unprecedented challenges within the<br />

UK construction industry with double digit material price<br />

increases on fixed price contracts (average +26 percent), and<br />

issues with the supply chain, labour availability and cost.<br />

He also highlighted issues around rising energy costs and<br />

borrowing rates due to monetary policy which also added<br />

significant costs for a sub-contractor last year.<br />

More recently, however, some of those risks appear to be<br />

subsiding, albeit that staffing costs/availability, energy costs<br />

and borrowing rates remain key. Some customers are also<br />

taking steps to mitigate these risks through, for example,<br />

contract price increase clauses to offset ongoing inflationary<br />

pressures. “Additional challenges for <strong>2024</strong> relate to the<br />

ongoing and inevitable credit tightening from insurers and<br />

banks in a stagnating market with higher borrowing costs<br />

and lower lender appetite impacting customer’s ability to<br />

raise finance,” he explains. “This finance restriction will<br />

make it harder for customers to trade though a higher cost<br />

and/or fluctuating turnover period.”<br />

Simon says that suppliers will also be taking a more cautious<br />

approach to supplies, particularly those historically reliant<br />

on insurance cover, or alternatively they may have to take<br />

more uninsured risks to maintain share: “Alternative funders<br />

(e.g. crowd funding/invoice discounting/buy now pay later)<br />

will have additional opportunities if they can navigate the<br />

risk levels,” he says.<br />

“When that happens<br />

there is often a ripple<br />

effect to smaller<br />

businesses who are<br />

part of the supply<br />

chain and they may be<br />

impacted by bad debts<br />

as a result.”<br />

Ant Persse agrees: “With the reduction in governmental<br />

funding support for businesses it is vital that businesses<br />

are made aware of supporting funding solutions that can<br />

genuinely help them,” he adds.<br />

Simon says that he is already hearing from customers that<br />

main contractor payment behaviours are deteriorating with<br />

later payments and more frequent valuation deductions,<br />

albeit further detail suggests this could be loss-making<br />

contract specific.<br />

“With COVID support now well and truly over and COVID<br />

loans in pay back mode (noting construction has highest<br />

default rate) the lending tightening is making additional<br />

finance more difficult to obtain. Where it is available,<br />

Simon believes it is considerably more expensive and<br />

often requires personal guarantees (PGs): “This continues<br />

to elevate risk levels further in what has historically been<br />

the highest risk sector in the UK,” he adds.<br />

Brave | Curious | Resilient / www.cicm.com / <strong>January</strong> & <strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong> / PAGE 9<br />

continues on page 10 >


“With medium term UK growth prospects muted, and inflation<br />

and finance costs remaining above historical averages, closer<br />

attention to multiple risks will be required by credit providers.<br />

This will involve more frequent and faster review of ‘red flags’ for<br />

increasing customer volumes.”<br />

Andrew Birkwood maintains that the provision of PGs continues<br />

to be a strong value element of the SME lending value chain:<br />

“Large SME lenders that historically have not required PGs, are<br />

considering their inclusion in <strong>2024</strong> lending,” he explains. “Obliging<br />

a director to provide security for a business loan helps create many<br />

of the right behaviours – such as weeding out frivolous borrowing<br />

and creating a store of value (to repay the credit) in the event of<br />

business insolvency.”<br />

Construction insolvencies<br />

When it comes to business failures, construction industry<br />

insolvencies last year matched the peaks of the last financial<br />

crash. “These were heavily weighted to the drylining, specialist<br />

sub-contractor and modular/offsite sectors,” Simon explains, “the<br />

latter due to investor nervousness.<br />

“The root causes tended to be legacy fixed price contracts rolling<br />

into 2023, additional project delays or re-design (post contract) and<br />

a number of major Tier One and Tier Two contractor insolvencies<br />

(e.g. the £700m turnover Buckingham Group) with the usual supply<br />

chain domino effect that this causes. “Construction will also have<br />

to endure fluctuating order pipelines in various sectors which<br />

could provide some significant turnover challenges for customers,<br />

particularly adding risks to those carrying higher fixed costs. This<br />

can lead customers to start buying work to maintain turnover.<br />

Pressure on businesses is not only limited to those that are<br />

most often in the headlines. Some sectors which have typically<br />

remained below the radar are now coming to the fore. CICM<br />

Think Tank specialist Nigel Fields FCICM, GPO O2C Global<br />

Finance Operations Transformation at NBCUniversal Media and<br />

a former Executive Director of Twentieth Century Fox, believes<br />

that the media entertainment industry could be in for a rough<br />

ride in <strong>2024</strong>: “The Hollywood actor and writer strikes that took<br />

place in 2023 will have a significant financial impact on the media<br />

entertainment businesses, both in the US and globally,” he explains.<br />

“Estimates are it could cost the industry at least $4bn globally.<br />

This will affect various businesses that rely upon the movie<br />

industry to make money including set design shops, craft services,<br />

janitorial contractors, transportation services, drivers, catering<br />

companies as an example. This has caused a ripple effect across<br />

the UK film industry, with workers struggling to pay rent and<br />

some smaller support businesses shutting down. The UK film<br />

industry contributed £12.6 billion to the UK economy in 2019<br />

(pre-COVID).”<br />

Strike disruption<br />

As has been widely reported, the strike has disrupted the production<br />

and release of many films and TV shows, resulting in lost revenue<br />

and missed deadlines: “There has already been a decline in the<br />

theatrical (cinema) box office by over 25 percent since 2019,”<br />

Nigel says, “and this has further limited the available funds for<br />

all the studios.<br />

“Cinema operators will be mostly adversely affected by the strike<br />

as it has resulted in the delay or cancellation of many film releases,<br />

which then leads to a decline in cinema attendance and revenue.<br />

“According to a report by the UK Cinema Association, the UK<br />

cinema industry has lost an estimated £1.3bn in revenue due to the<br />

Brave | Curious | Resilient / www.cicm.com / <strong>January</strong> & <strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong> / PAGE 10


pandemic and the strike. The report also states that the number<br />

of cinema admissions in the UK has fallen by 60 percent since<br />

2019. This decline in cinema attendance has and will lead to more<br />

insolvencies and the closure of many cinemas across the UK.”<br />

TV operators have also been affected by the strike as it has also<br />

resulted in the delay or cancellation of many TV shows, which<br />

again has led to a decline in TV viewership and revenue. According<br />

to a report by The Guardian, the late-night variety shows, which<br />

rely on writers to craft topical jokes based on up-to-the-minute<br />

headlines, halted production and had to air reruns due to the<br />

strike: “The decline in TV viewership may also see the closure<br />

of TV channels across the UK,” Nigel continues. “The strike has<br />

also badly affected the advertising industry, as advertisers want to<br />

avoid paying higher premiums to reach smaller audiences through<br />

traditional linear platforms.”<br />

When it comes to<br />

business failures,<br />

construction industry<br />

insolvencies last year<br />

matched the peaks<br />

of the last financial<br />

crash.<br />

An agreement now reached between the actors and writers<br />

is expected to bring some relief to the industry, as it includes<br />

meaningful gains and protections for writers. However, it is still<br />

unclear how long it will take for the industry to recover from the<br />

strike’s impact: “The studios will need to find ways to address the<br />

unions’ demands while maintaining financial viability,” he adds.<br />

“Both parties will need to inevitably find a way forward.”<br />

Unpredictable economy<br />

Gary Brown MCICM, Founder and CEO of Debt Register, sponsors<br />

of the CICM British <strong>Credit</strong> Awards, senses the unpredictability<br />

of the UK economy will be across the board: “I believe that the<br />

business economy in <strong>2024</strong> will in the main stay unpredictable,<br />

with the cost-of-living increase still ongoing and higher interest<br />

rates playing their part. But then in 2023, a few experts predicted<br />

a storm, and you could argue we only got showers.”<br />

Gary recognises there has been an increase in insolvencies and<br />

believes that many are the knock-on effect from bounce back loans<br />

and furlough entrepreneurs that never took flight: “I do believe<br />

that there will be higher risks, and more casualties to come, but to<br />

what extent is difficult to say with any certainty; the economists<br />

predict that we will have reasonably flat growth in <strong>2024</strong>.”<br />

When it comes to payments, Gary highlights trends of concern:<br />

“The signs will be slowing of payments, as companies that have debt<br />

products maturing in <strong>2024</strong> will have to pay considerably more to<br />

refinance, and they may look to off-set that burden by extending<br />

their credit terms,” he explains. “Ultimately the credit professional<br />

needs to be vigilant and escalate accounts sooner rather than later.”<br />

Andrew Birkwood says he is entering <strong>2024</strong> with a cautiously<br />

optimistic view on the economy and likely performance of credit<br />

portfolios: “We are seeing steadily increasing levels of lending from<br />

major fintechs – both in terms of overall lending, and individual<br />

SME credit balances,” he explains.<br />

“Balances being lent are continuing to grow, as SME lenders become<br />

more confident with the performance of their underwriting models<br />

and downstream performance (including debt sale pricing of<br />

defaulted customers). The (likely) ‘dovish’ interest rate environment<br />

we are entering and steady confidence levels, seem to indicate an<br />

improved outlook for the year for the UK. This of course has to<br />

be seen in the context of several significant macro challenges (the<br />

conflicts in the Ukraine and Gaza and the upcoming elections<br />

in the UK and US) which could present a banana skin or two.”<br />

Ant Persse agrees that we are living in uncertain times: “It makes<br />

the need for planning for the unexpected more important than<br />

ever,” he says.<br />

As well as financial and economic trends, Ant also sees emerging<br />

trends in sustainability, customer experience and AI: “Green is the<br />

new black,” he continues, “and when it comes to recruitment and<br />

staff retention, more and more prospective employees are looking<br />

beyond just the pay packet to how an organisation is meetings its<br />

environmental responsibilities. “Companies will increasingly see<br />

the need to embrace AI,” he adds. “AI can have a positive impact<br />

on increasing automation and improving efficiency, and this will<br />

also help ensure that every customer interaction is a delightful one.”<br />

Ebb and flow<br />

Perhaps capturing and articulating many of these concerns and<br />

challenges is Think Tank expert Craig Evans, CEO of Company<br />

Watch: “In 2023, the business landscape saw the ebb and flow of<br />

company credit risks against the backdrop of evolving insolvency<br />

levels,” he explains.<br />

“The delicate equilibrium between economic revival and persistent<br />

uncertainties played a defining role in shaping business solvency.<br />

Sectors such as construction, retail, and hospitality faced heightened<br />

challenges, evidenced by increased insolvency rates. In response,<br />

businesses pivoted toward robust risk management strategies,<br />

prioritising data analytics for proactive insights.<br />

“Resilient companies,” he continues, “recognising the imperative<br />

of innovation, embraced cutting-edge financial practices and tools<br />

to fortify themselves against insolvency threats.”<br />

As we enter <strong>2024</strong>, Craig believes that the path forward demands<br />

vigilance and strategic foresight: “Navigating the insolvency<br />

landscape requires businesses to leverage the latest tools and insights,<br />

fostering adaptability in an ever-shifting economic environment,”<br />

he concludes. “Thriving amidst uncertainties will necessitate a<br />

proactive and innovative approach to financial resilience.”<br />

Brave | Curious | Resilient / www.cicm.com / <strong>January</strong> & <strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong> / PAGE 11


BEWARE<br />



What happens to all the marginally profitable<br />

companies when they are starved of cheap credit<br />

that has been keeping them alive?<br />


THEY might sound like something you<br />

would expect to find in a horror film,<br />

but zombie companies represent a<br />

very real and growing problem that<br />

could pose risks for credit managers.<br />

The definition of a zombie company,<br />

according to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation<br />

and Development (OECD), is one that can’t cover the<br />

interest on its borrowing from operating profit for three<br />

years in a row. Basically, they are companies that are<br />

teetering on the brink of insolvency and a single, shock<br />

event could tip them over the edge.<br />

With UK interest rates set at 5.25 percent, and the rate<br />

of inflation well above the Bank of England’s 2.0 percent<br />

target, zombie companies are facing considerable financial<br />

pressure. Future decisions regarding interest rates could<br />

play a crucial role in shaping their fate, especially those<br />

that are walking the tightrope of financial viability. In<br />

fact, high interest rates are already having a significant<br />

impact – corporate insolvency figures for the first half<br />

of 2023 were 15 percent higher than the first six months<br />

of the year.<br />

Inflationary squeeze<br />

Inflation has led to significant price rises affecting many<br />

goods and services, and is posing a major threat to<br />

zombie companies. As prices increase, the purchasing<br />

power of consumers diminishes, impacting demand for<br />

products and services. As they are already operating<br />

on thin profit margins, zombie companies may find it<br />

challenging to pass on increased costs to consumers.<br />

This squeeze on their profitability limits their capacity to<br />

invest in research and development or necessary upgrades,<br />

which means they start to stagnate and are unable to grow.<br />

In addition, inflation erodes the real value of debt.<br />

For companies with substantial outstanding loans, the<br />

burden of repayment becomes heavier in an inflationary<br />

environment. Central banks often respond to inflation<br />

by raising rates. This double whammy exacerbates the<br />

financial strain on zombie companies, creating a precarious<br />

situation that can lead to insolvency.<br />

The rise of zombie companies and their struggles against<br />

inflation and raised interest rates can have far-reaching<br />

consequences for the broader economy. These firms often<br />

represent a sizeable proportion of the business landscape,<br />

and their inability to contribute significantly to growth<br />

can act as a drag on the economy as a whole.<br />

Economic threat<br />

This has a potential domino effect, causing zombie<br />

companies to topple into insolvency, potentially posing<br />

a systemic risk to financial institutions. Banks holding a<br />

significant amount of debt from struggling firms may find<br />

their own stability in jeopardy, amplifying the potential<br />

economic fallout.<br />

The fate of zombie companies is intertwined with the<br />

overall resilience of the UK economy, making it critical<br />

that their demands are carefully considered, and strategic<br />

responses are made.<br />

For more information on the areas covered within this<br />

article, please contact the business recovery team at Menzies:<br />

www.menzies.co.uk/creditor-services.<br />

Brave | Curious | Resilient / www.cicm.com / <strong>January</strong> & <strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong> / PAGE 12


Author: Alexandra Davies is a senior<br />

manager in the business recovery team<br />

at accountancy firm, Menzies LLP.<br />

This has a potential domino<br />

effect, causing zombie<br />

companies to topple into<br />

insolvency, potentially<br />

posing a systemic risk to<br />

financial institutions.<br />

Brave | Curious | Resilient / www.cicm.com / <strong>January</strong> & <strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong> / PAGE 13


WHERE<br />



As the lending industry looks ahead to the new year, what trends<br />

to practice, technology and regulation should you be aware of ?<br />


I<br />

am very sorry to say it, but there are reasons to<br />

consider that it is not starting well. In this case, I<br />

mean the fate of the consumer lending industry.<br />

After all, one of the major industry stories from<br />

2023 was the collapse of the Morses Club and its<br />

sister-company Shelby Finance. The doorstep<br />

lender’s failure sees 101 members of staff looking<br />

for a new job.<br />

Analyst, Anna Anthony, UK Financial Services Managing<br />

Partner at EY, did not seek to cover up the concerns: “The<br />

series of economic shocks in recent years and the current<br />

cost of living pressures are having a significant impact on<br />

both households and businesses. Those most affected are<br />

the vulnerable in society and small businesses which may<br />

have limited financial cushions of support to fall back on.<br />

Stretched affordability will affect loan demand across all<br />

fronts and banks should be preparing for low and, in some<br />

cases, negative lending growth rates.” She concludes: “Banks<br />

also face the prospect of the number of loan defaults rising<br />

amid the economic downturn.”<br />

However, she also sees grounds for cautious optimism. Default<br />

rates are expected to be much lower than recorded after the<br />

financial crisis and given the sector’s much higher relative<br />

level of capitalisation, banks are in a strong position to help<br />

consumers and businesses through this difficult period.<br />

Technology<br />

Meanwhile, away from the fate of individual lenders,<br />

proliferation of new technologies is opening banks<br />

to risks they may have never had to grapple with before. Open<br />

Banking and the increase in partnerships with technology<br />

partners, for example, can expose banks’ infrastructure to<br />

new vulnerabilities and cyberattacks. Fourth-party risks<br />

are also becoming more of a threat as banks engage in more<br />

partnerships with service providers that have their own<br />

vendors.<br />

The speed with which such threats take shape is also<br />

accelerating. Generative AI has gained the sophistication<br />

needed to create ‘deepfakes’, which makes it more challenging<br />

for financial institutions to differentiate human customers<br />

from digital media imitating their likenesses. Collectively,<br />

this fast-moving risk environment is proving to be a huge<br />

obstacle to maintaining customer trust.<br />

Looking ahead to <strong>2024</strong> and beyond, UK Finance, in<br />

collaboration with Oliver Wyman, has undertaken a study<br />

of the state of AI adoption. UK financial institutions see a<br />

substantial opportunity in artificial intelligence (AI), with 90<br />

percent of lenders surveyed already leveraging Predictive AI<br />

in back-office functions, yielding tangible benefits.<br />

Although Generative AI is relatively new, more than 60<br />

percent believed it has the potential to deliver significant cost<br />

savings and improvements to operational effectiveness. There<br />

is an appetite within institutions to harness the potential of<br />

this transformative technology, which will necessitate a reevaluation<br />

of business processes, employee skills, and staffing<br />

considerations.<br />

In addition, organisations will need to address the potential<br />

impact of compute-intensive AI systems, which consume<br />

significant resources and take up a large amount of space on<br />

sustainability targets for supply chains.<br />

As a highly regulated sector, financial institutions are<br />

proceeding carefully with their adoption of AI. For now,<br />

more than 70 percent of Generative AI use cases are in the<br />

proof of concept or pilot phase.<br />

Brave | Curious | Resilient / www.cicm.com / <strong>January</strong> & <strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong> / PAGE 14


The initial wave of adoption will provide valuable insights, but<br />

getting a return on investment will always be reliant on data<br />

quality and seamless integration into existing systems, a process<br />

which could take three to five years. Truly transformative<br />

applications are still unknown but are likely to stem from<br />

Predictive and Generative AI being used together.<br />

The learning curve is steep, however, and numerous<br />

unanswered questions remain as we head into the new year.<br />

While best practice in AI risk was emerging globally, the<br />

advent of Generative AI has surfaced additional risks, such<br />

as ‘hallucinations’, and accentuated the challenge of needing<br />

to procure models from external providers. Most institutions<br />

believe they are well equipped to identify, monitor, and<br />

mitigate the risks, with 60 percent telling UK Finance that they<br />

are already leveraging existing risk-management capabilities<br />

and adjusting their frameworks to include Generative AI.<br />

“Banks also face the<br />

prospect of the number<br />

of loan defaults rising<br />

amid the economic<br />

downturn.”<br />

Interest rates<br />

But maybe there is a wider perspective to observe here. After<br />

all, the Bank of England is expected to lower its policy rate in<br />

the first half of <strong>2024</strong> after reaching a peak of 5.75 percent at the<br />

end of 2023. Analysts Deloitte consider the story to be similar<br />

to the Bank of Canada: rates should decline in the second half of<br />

<strong>2024</strong> after surpassing 5 percent, as per the Canadian Economic<br />

Quarterly Forecast by TD Economics.<br />

The proliferation of new technologies is opening banks to risks<br />

they may have never had to grapple with before. Open banking<br />

and the increase in partnerships with technology partners, for<br />

example, can expose banks’ infrastructure to new vulnerabilities<br />

and cyber-attacks. Fourth-party risks are also becoming more<br />

of a threat as banks engage in more partnerships with service<br />

providers that have their own vendors.<br />

Regulation<br />

In terms of regulation, whisper it gently, but concerns over<br />

Consumer Duty may finally be coming to an end, with<br />

the industry appearing to have adapted well to the new<br />

environment. The last part of the regulation is due to be<br />

introduced as Consumer Duty comes into force for closed<br />

products at the end of July <strong>2024</strong>.<br />

On a more global scale, US federal banking regulators put a<br />

spotlight on how other regulators would no doubt follow by<br />

releasing a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPR) on Basel III<br />

final reforms. The proposed changes are aimed at improving<br />

the “strength and resiliency” of the US banking system and<br />

will impact the regulatory capital frameworks for banks above<br />

US$100bn in assets (about 36 banks).<br />

Smaller banks with significant trading activity will also be<br />

subject to the new risk framework. These changes are estimated<br />

to result in a 16 percent increase to CET1 (common equity tier 1)<br />

capital levels and a 20 percent increase to RWA (risk-weighted<br />

assets) for large bank-holding companies. Where the US leads,<br />

one expects, the UK will be obliged to follow.<br />

Tackling financial crime<br />

Within the UK, one regulator will retain its position of primacy:<br />

the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). It is maintaining<br />

financial crime as a significant focus.<br />

Over the past year it has worked to improve cross-organisational<br />

response to financial crime. In <strong>2024</strong>, it says that it will aim to<br />

build upon these relationships, increasingly using data-led<br />

approaches to act quickly to identify and close down weaknesses<br />

in the system and disrupt those seeking to cause harm.<br />

However, it emphasises that any efforts to tackle financial<br />

crime will only be successful if the response is system-wide,<br />

including across public and private partners.<br />

Conclusion<br />

So, there will, no doubt, be both dangers and opportunities as<br />

we head into the new year. But it is precisely these kinds of risks<br />

that the lending industry is so adept at weighing and developing<br />

the best route forward for stakeholders and customers. As a<br />

result, the future could look quite bright.<br />

As Anna Anthony at EY puts it: “While the economic<br />

environment is likely to be tough over the next few months,<br />

economic conditions are expected to improve over the course<br />

of <strong>2024</strong>. This is likely to have a positive impact on consumer<br />

and business confidence – and lending growth – as we head<br />

into <strong>2024</strong>.”<br />

Brave | Curious | Resilient / www.cicm.com / <strong>January</strong> & <strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong> / PAGE 15


Brave | Curious | Resilient / www.cicm.com / <strong>January</strong> & <strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong> / PAGE 16


DRIVEN<br />


Sean Feast FCICM talks to Rob Thompson FCICM about the<br />

courts, a pink moped, and the merits of the Talbot Sunbeam Lotus.<br />

ROB Thompson had little idea<br />

what he wanted to do after<br />

school. He knew he didn’t want to<br />

go to university and a CASCAID<br />

careers test suggested he was<br />

ideally suited to becoming a Legal<br />

Executive or Solicitor. He ignored<br />

the advice and started working in Halfords fixing bikes.<br />

Born in Maidstone and educated at the local grammar<br />

school, Rob’s father was a research manager for Kent<br />

Police while his mother had a number of different jobs,<br />

including as a secretary for Mencap. Early memories are<br />

therefore of being dragged out on various excursions in<br />

the Mencap minibus.<br />

On leaving school and starting at Halfords, he kept his<br />

eye out for jobs through the local employment agency:<br />

“One day they called me and said there was a job going as<br />

an office junior at a local firm of solicitors,” he explains.<br />

“I thought it sounded interesting, and although it didn’t<br />

pay as much money, I took it. I thought it might lead to<br />

better things….which it did.”<br />

A pre-requisite of employment was that Rob was willing<br />

to ride a pink moped as his company vehicle: “The moped<br />

was for the banking, the mail and that sort of thing,” he<br />

says.<br />

“A number of them had been stolen in the past so the<br />

Practise Manager came up with the genius idea of buying<br />

one that was pink, because no-one in their right mind<br />

would steal a pink moped. What he hadn’t worked out<br />

was that nobody wanted to ride one either and it wasn’t<br />

a great recruitment tool!”<br />

Landing on his feet<br />

At Brachers, Rob landed on his feet. It was the start of<br />

a career within the business that has so far lasted more<br />

than 30 years. Always keen to progress, Rob was often<br />

given some of the more difficult or less glamorous tasks,<br />

like reconciliation of accounts, and actively sought out<br />

a role in debt collection and recoveries: “I was doing the<br />

jobs that kept others awake at night,” he laughs, “and as<br />

such made myself quite valuable.”<br />

While working, Rob was given leave to study for his Legal<br />

Executive qualification: “The first year was at Chatham<br />

and there were about 30 of us, but when we returned for<br />

the second year there were only about four of us left so<br />

the course moved to Bromley. I’m not sure some of those<br />

on the course should really have been there.”<br />

Having passed his exams, Rob completed his two-years<br />

of post-qualifying experience, becoming a Fellow, and<br />

continuing to get stuck into any challenge that came<br />

his way. This included some of the more difficult legal<br />

cases, such as defended actions: “I was engaged in the<br />

kind of work that was going to trial or appeal, or that<br />

was particularly publicly sensitive, and in time had<br />

worked across virtually every role in the team. When I<br />

took on a management position, the team knew there<br />

was nothing they could hide from me as I had been there<br />

and done it. More importantly, it meant I could be more<br />

supportive and understanding of any difficulties they<br />

faced.”<br />

Rob says that the role of collectors has evolved<br />

significantly in recent years, especially in an age of<br />

vulnerability: “Today they have to be a bit of everything,<br />

including counsellors,” he says. “They have to be aware of<br />

mental health issues and other potential vulnerabilities,<br />

and that’s very different from how it was in the past.<br />

There are now more processes to follow and more<br />

structure. That makes it easier in some ways, but there<br />

are far more things to remember and get right and<br />

it’s therefore a different kind of pressure. It’s right to<br />

follow compliance but there are always people on the<br />

edges of situations where following a process without<br />

some degree of flexibility may not be completely<br />

appropriate, so that also requires a high level of<br />

understanding.”<br />

Collections and recoveries<br />

Today Rob is one of two Partners leading the debt<br />

collections and recoveries business, in charge of a team<br />

of around 40, making it one of the biggest solicitorbased<br />

operations in the south of England. His focus is<br />

on performance, ensuring the right tactics are being<br />

used at the right time while his colleague looks after<br />

systems, processes and compliance.<br />

Brave | Curious | Resilient / www.cicm.com / <strong>January</strong> & <strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong> / PAGE 17<br />

continues on page 18 >


The firm acts for a wide range of clients and is instructed<br />

to recover both consumer and commercial debt. There is a<br />

specialism in financial services work, including credit cards. Due<br />

to this, Brachers is one of the few Solicitor firms to be authorised<br />

directly by the Financial Conduct Authority for debt collecting<br />

and debt administration. While the commercial side is not a<br />

directly FCA regulated environment, Rob tends to follow the<br />

same ethos.<br />

“Of course, we put the customer at the heart of everything we<br />

do but at the same time we have to collect money from them.<br />

The two can be compatible, and working within the context of<br />

affordability in accordance with Financial Conduct Authority<br />

authorisation actually helped increase the industry’s collections<br />

performance. That said, it’s something we’ve always known.<br />

“We always start from a position of being friendly and<br />

approachable and are actually very proud of the fact that on<br />

work which is placed with us for potential legal action, 75<br />

percent of our collections is achieved without actually having to<br />

take any legal action at all. It’s all about effective communication<br />

and engagement. I often think that going to court is almost like<br />

you have failed, whereas if you can avoid the court then everyone<br />

wins. That said, there will always be the ‘won’t pays’, of course,<br />

and the debtors who simply won’t engage.”<br />

From his early days as a qualified Legal Executive, Rob has<br />

been involved with the Civil Court Users Association (CCUA),<br />

keeping abreast of industry developments. In 2007, he started to<br />

play a more active role, notably within the Association’s Legal<br />

and Technical Committee. Today, as National Chair, he helps<br />

lead the Association and its members in campaigning for a<br />

better courts’ service: “I’ve never been as busy with the CCUA as<br />

I’ve been in the last six months, just in terms of dealing with our<br />

members’ issues,” he explains.<br />

“If I was starting<br />

out again, it’s<br />

more likely I<br />

would have<br />

looked at a CICM<br />

qualification<br />

as it has more<br />

bearing on what<br />

we do as an<br />

industry now.”<br />

“I go home in the evening, and I switch on my CCUA laptop and<br />

I'm usually there for two or three hours every day, firefighting<br />

problems about cases that have just come to a grinding halt and<br />

gone nowhere for a year or more. Although I am very grateful<br />

that we have an incredibly good relationship with the Ministry<br />

of Justice (MoJ), His Majesty’s Courts and Tribunal Service<br />

(HMCTS) and their senior representatives throughout the<br />

country, I shouldn’t have to be seeking their help so often to get<br />

things resolved.”<br />

Lost skills<br />

Rob thinks it’s clear that the court services are under-resourced<br />

and many of the skills seem to have been lost: “The pandemic<br />

understandably caused a number of issues, as it did for everyone.<br />

However, it is difficult to accept such a poor system when court<br />

fees are so high, as well as being front loaded. It can cost more<br />

than the price of a small car just to issue a claim form. It’s also<br />

frustrating to be told that resourcing is an issue when we are<br />

also told that every year £100m or more of civil court fees are<br />

used elsewhere to help subsidise the family and criminal courts.”<br />

Rob is also scathing about ongoing reforms: “It has been a<br />

terrible damp squib,” he says. “Originally floated back in 2016,<br />

a five-year project with a billion-pound budget is now eight<br />

years on and with very little to show for it in terms of genuine<br />

reform. Yes, there has been some centralisation, digitalisation,<br />

and streamlining but most of the benefit has been cost savings<br />

Brave | Curious | Resilient / www.cicm.com / <strong>January</strong> & <strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong> / PAGE 18


“That would help better focus enforcement efforts around people<br />

who can actually pay but are choosing not to, and that would be<br />

a tremendous benefit to everybody involved. If that was to be<br />

introduced, and it could be done in a very proportionate way,<br />

the judgment creditor wouldn't need to have the details of where<br />

the person worked. There's no point in having a good justice<br />

system if you can't enforce a judgment.”<br />

The other area in need of reform is enforcement against goods:<br />

“At the moment we have almost a dual system where you can<br />

transfer certain cases up to the High Court, but only if it's more<br />

than £600, and only if it's not Consumer <strong>Credit</strong> Act regulated.<br />

The problem with that is that most creditors won't go near<br />

the county court bailiff because they know it's a total waste of<br />

money. So effectively, many creditors have nowhere to go. It<br />

needs opening up more widely to the private sector.”<br />

to HMCTS rather than genuine benefits to the court user. In<br />

terms of the radical reform that we were hoping for, we haven't<br />

seen anything.”<br />

Lack of progress is especially disappointing, Rob says, after the<br />

civil structure review by Lord Justice Briggs: “He agreed with<br />

us on the points we'd been making for some time, particularly<br />

as regards the improvements that were needed for enforcement.<br />

Again, this is a frustration of mine, because rather than<br />

concentrating on areas like enforcement from the outset, which<br />

could have made a real difference, they insisted on what looks<br />

like reinventing the wheel on the front end of the legal action<br />

and fixing something that wasn’t broken.<br />

“I think when we look back on it all, the reforms were really<br />

simply about introducing an online court, but that was not how<br />

it was positioned at the start. There has not been any fundamental<br />

reform and that’s a huge, missed opportunity. Existing processes<br />

have simply been pulled into an online environment, maybe<br />

with a few tweaks here or there, but not fundamental reform.<br />

“We get told,” Rob continues, “that they're working towards the<br />

court system that's fit for 2050 but then, as an example, we've still<br />

got things like the Attachment of Earnings Act. That dates back<br />

to 1971 and most of the notices, orders and forms and everything<br />

used in that process haven't really changed in all that time.”<br />

Enforcement issues<br />

Rob says there are some areas they are looking at that could<br />

be helpful: “I am pleased that MoJ are finally looking at some<br />

of the things that we've been talking about for a long time,<br />

like the information orders under the Tribunals, Courts and<br />

Enforcement Act 2007 where potentially, HMCTS could<br />

seek details from HM Revenue and Customs as to whether a<br />

judgment debtor who's not engaging is actually employed or not.<br />

Notwithstanding the pressures of work, and his role with the<br />

CCUA, Rob also finds time to engage closely with the CICM,<br />

not least as a member of the CICM Think Tank: “I came away<br />

from a Think Tank recently and was discussing the likely<br />

substantial fall in inflation with my wife. When later in the week<br />

they announced on the news that inflation had fallen as if it<br />

should be some sort of surprise, she thought I was some sort of<br />

economics guru, but I admitted that I was just repeating what I<br />

had learned from the experts in the Think Tank,” he laughs.<br />

He admits that his engagement with the CICM is perhaps<br />

something he should have done earlier in his career: “Some<br />

of the skills we have are nothing to do with the legal side of<br />

being a solicitor or a Legal Executive, they are more about your<br />

ability to effectively communicate, understand and resolve<br />

issues, collect money and be good on the phone,” he says. “If I<br />

was starting out again, it’s more likely I would have looked at a<br />

CICM qualification as it has more bearing on what we do as an<br />

industry now.”<br />

Fast cars<br />

Away from work, Rob finds time to relax with a hobby that<br />

many others might find stressful: “I drive and co-drive rally<br />

cars,” he explains, “most recently co-driving a historic Talbot<br />

Sunbeam Lotus which is always good fun. We won the historic<br />

championship in the Flanders International Rally Challenge in<br />

2018.”<br />

Rob has loved motorsport since being taken by his father to<br />

the few British Grand Prix held at Brands Hatch, with fond<br />

memories of Nigel Mansell in a JPS Lotus. Rallying, however,<br />

is his real passion: “I also compete in Targa rallying in an old<br />

Rover 214 with my son Aidan as the navigator, which is a great<br />

experience to share. He’s 17 now and has been rallying with me<br />

since he was 12. He was second overall navigator in the British<br />

Trials and Rally Drivers Association Targa championship in<br />

2022. “The person in the left-hand seat is always the boss!”<br />

Brave | Curious | Resilient / www.cicm.com / <strong>January</strong> & <strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong> / PAGE 19

FECMA<br />


UNION<br />

How does the CICM interact with its European peers?<br />


THE Federation of European <strong>Credit</strong><br />

<strong>Management</strong> Associations (FECMA) was<br />

established in 1986 on the initiative of the<br />

late Sir Roger Cork, President of the then<br />

Institute of <strong>Credit</strong> <strong>Management</strong>. On his<br />

frequent travels and contacts with colleagues<br />

in Europe, Sir Roger had encountered a<br />

good many credit professionals and their respective national<br />

credit management associations and he saw that there was a great<br />

opportunity for promoting best practice and credit professionalism<br />

across the European mainland.<br />

FECMA was the umbrella organisation to bring together the<br />

various national associations to share knowledge and experience<br />

and to increase awareness across the European business community.<br />

The idea was well received, and member associations are now from<br />

Austria (BvCM), Belgium (IvKM), Denmark (DK-R), France<br />

(AFDCC), Germany (BvCM), Greece (HARIMA), Hungary<br />

(HCMA), Italy (ACMI), Malta (MACM), Netherlands (VVCM),<br />

Poland (PICM), Spain (AGC), Sweden (S K), Switzerland<br />

(ACMAS), and United Kingdom (CICM).<br />

Although the membership structures within the national<br />

associations may vary, all share the same not-for-profit aims –<br />

the promotion of best practice and professionalism. FECMA is<br />

itself a not-for-profit body, governed by a Council made up of<br />

representatives from each of the national associations. In the<br />

beginning, those representatives were the President or Chair<br />

of each association, but for the benefit of continuity it was soon<br />

agreed that each association could appoint a representative who<br />

need not necessarily be an association President or Chair. This has<br />

allowed the development of a good working relationship between<br />

Council members as well as building up high levels of trust and<br />

confidence.<br />

Association meetings<br />

The FECMA Council meets twice a year, on other occasions when<br />

specific topics need more consultation and discussion. It tries to<br />

align the face-to-face meetings with national associations’ annual<br />

conferences. Of course, although such conferences are presented in<br />

the host language, it is often the case that presenters’ PowerPoints<br />

are in English and easy to follow. Good examples are statistics on<br />

economic activity, insolvency rates, and credit insurance. In <strong>2024</strong><br />

the Council meetings will be held in April in Malta, coinciding<br />

with the MACM Annual Conference, and in October in Germany,<br />

alongside the BvCM Bundeskongress in Dortmund. FECMA also<br />

hosts webinars on a variety of topics, but the flagship events are<br />

the pan-European <strong>Credit</strong> Congresses which are held in English,<br />

regardless of the host country, because experience has shown that<br />

as the principal business language, English is widely understood in<br />

the credit community.<br />

Annual conferences and pan-European congresses are a huge<br />

networking opportunity. Most events include an evening dinner<br />

where hosts, sponsors, speakers and delegates mix. These gatherings<br />

often allow an exploration of the host city and local culture – indeed<br />

the hosts for FECMA Council meetings invariably build into the<br />

programme some social events, which are especially popular with<br />

partners or spouses.<br />

Last year was extremely busy for FECMA members and for the<br />

FECMA Council itself. The MACM Annual Conference in Valletta<br />

covered a range of topics including a review of Malta’s insolvency<br />

laws and the challenges facing Maltese businesses in recruiting staff<br />

for credit and collections.<br />

Last year’s pan-European <strong>Credit</strong> Congress, in Athens, was branded<br />

as ‘<strong>Credit</strong> <strong>Management</strong> in Challenging Times’. Topics included<br />

the credit insurance in a troubled environment, the resurgence of<br />

a mini banking crisis and credit risk modelling. Indeed, the latter<br />

topic prompted an invitation from Cyprus for a FECMA Council<br />

member to speak at a credit risk conference being held in Nicosia<br />

in November 2023 and generated interest in the Cypriot business<br />

and credit community to look at establishing their own association<br />

in the future with a view to joining FECMA.<br />

The HCMA Conference in Budapest in October included a<br />

fascinating, if disturbing presentation by a time-served-convicted<br />

fraudster on cybercrime – a poacher turned gamekeeper delivering<br />

a fascinating insight into our own vulnerabilities.<br />

The following FECMA Council meeting proved to be lively in so<br />

far as the main topic for discussion was the Revision to the EU Late<br />

Payment Directive. A ‘Regulation’, not a new Directive, likely to<br />

come into force in early 2025, and which imposes a mandatory 30-<br />

day credit period in all B2B transactions – no exceptions, and EU<br />

states will have to establish their own bodies to enforce. This seems<br />

to have taken everybody by surprise and it is unlikely that we have<br />

heard the last of it.<br />

FECMA does not govern or regulate – it simply provides a<br />

meaningful arena for like-minded credit professionals to share,<br />

grow and learn from each other. In today’s fragmented and strife<br />

torn world, at least one group of professionals can try to make<br />

things better for everyone.<br />

Brave | Curious | Resilient / www.cicm.com / <strong>January</strong> & <strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong> / PAGE 20

Thursday 1st <strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong><br />

Royal Lancaster London<br />


OUR <strong>2024</strong> FINALISTS!<br />

A HUGE THANK YOU TO OUR <strong>2024</strong> JUDGES<br />

Look out for our next edition to see this years winners!<br />

##BCA<strong>2024</strong><br />

Make sure to follow us on our socials for on the night updates!<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

Brave | Curious | Resilient / www.cicm.com / <strong>January</strong> & <strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong> / PAGE 21




Just because you can use Artificial Intelligence,<br />

doesn’t mean you should.<br />


THE Bard still influences our everyday<br />

language, hundreds of years after his<br />

work was published. Will humans be<br />

quoting the Bard or an AI derivative<br />

in a hundred years’ time? In trying to<br />

answer that question one is reminded<br />

of the anonymous maxim: making<br />

predictions is difficult, especially about the future!<br />

Initially we were sceptical that AI could bring significant<br />

improvements to our human powered call centre. The credit<br />

industry is tasked with managing difficult interactions<br />

and pretty much always with pesky, messy, and often<br />

unpredictable humans. Could AI take the place of a human<br />

in handling difficult situations, and can it make better<br />

decisions than humans? More importantly, should it?<br />

If the question is simply ‘Can AI make ‘better’ decisions<br />

than a human’ then, the jury is still out. If the question is<br />

whether we should allow AI to take a decision in the first<br />

place, the answer is unequivocally ‘no’. Imagine if an airline<br />

were to put a monkey in the pilot’s seat of a fully loaded<br />

Boeing 747 and the plane crashes. No one is going to blame<br />

the monkey!<br />

AI in voice recognition<br />

AI has found its way into high-volume voice recognition<br />

for interactive call routing. For smaller or niche call centre<br />

undertakings, however, the current voice interactive<br />

applications do not appear to offer sufficient value for our<br />

purposes although the technology is progressing and will<br />

likely become ubiquitous.<br />

To help visualise our journey with AI so far, consider the<br />

following thought experiment: Take a laptop and laser<br />

printer back to the 1960’s and plug it in on a desk of a<br />

100-strong typing pool. The most accurate and quickest<br />

typist in the pool would type a letter, press print, and<br />

conclude there is little or no benefit. The benefit of error<br />

correction whilst typing would not help a competent<br />

typist. If a lesser typist were then given the equipment and<br />

shown spell check, they would soon catch up with the most<br />

competent typist. Now imagine showing someone templates<br />

and mail merge. Within just a handful of days that person<br />

would be able to produce more accurate letters than the rest<br />

of the typing pool put together.<br />

Most companies, even if they don’t realise it, can have literally<br />

thousands of algorithms running quietly in the background.<br />

Algorithms are so prevalent that we barely think of them<br />

in those terms. Starting with something as basic as ‘If days<br />

O/D >30, print reminder’ algorithms quickly grow arms and<br />

legs and even appear to produce spooky outputs that could<br />

require hours to figure out why a particular dunning letter<br />

was sent or why was a customer’s account was placed on<br />

stop after posting a payment!<br />

Tangible benefits<br />

Creating, testing, and improving algorithms is the AI use<br />

case we have found particularly beneficial. AI has helped<br />

us make changes with immediate and tangible benefits in<br />

numerous areas. Reductions of suspense payments, data<br />

matching and even work list distributions have all been<br />

improved. In fact, all our critical algorithms have in some<br />

way been touched by AI, bringing benefits that may be<br />

extremely subtle or huge improvements in accuracy and<br />

resulting in hours being saved every day.<br />

Training material is often just text with a smattering<br />

of stock photos, or even, 1990s clip art. By using AI, we<br />

have overhauled our training material and created high<br />

quality and engaging material. This then quickly translates<br />

to all internal communications and we now create<br />

captivating images, text and even quality videos supporting<br />

internal messaging. A previously generic template to<br />

convey mundane information now looks like a poster for<br />

the latest blockbuster movie in less time than it takes<br />

to say AI.<br />

Brave | Curious | Resilient / www.cicm.com / <strong>January</strong> & <strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong> / PAGE 22


The added value of using AI for internal communications<br />

is difficult to quantify. The added value could be viewed as<br />

drinking cheap plonk out of a fine cut crystal glass rather than<br />

a paper cup.<br />

If you have been working in an office long enough to read this<br />

article, you will inevitably have used a spreadsheet. The initial<br />

thrill of dragging <strong>January</strong> to fill in 12 months soon becomes<br />

a yawn moment. Once that has been mastered, progress to<br />

formulas can start to verge on program level skills. It is easy to<br />

spend hours creating the correct syntax and only to realise you<br />

were using a comma rather than a semicolon. Tasks ranging<br />

from creating the Secret Santa planner to working out and<br />

visually representing next year’s staff holidays is a walk in the<br />

park with AI.<br />

Having AI is like having a smart geek on call 24/7 who knows<br />

the answer and never says they are too busy or asks why you<br />

would even need it. The value of creating better spreadsheets<br />

more quickly is once again similarly measurable to the cut glass<br />

versus paper cup.<br />

Getting fuzzy<br />

Fuzzy search lists and data matching is not ground-breaking<br />

although most fuzzy lookup searches have a static list that<br />

degrades slowly over time. AI has allowed us to recognise<br />

that Alan, Allen and Davis, Davies are [sic.] different, but<br />

the same, and then later realise Alun might also be the same.<br />

Improvements to our fuzzy matching has generated actual<br />

measurable value of thousands of pounds that would otherwise<br />

have been lost.<br />

In the last year or so we have pointed AI at every nook and<br />

cranny in the operation and have found some great nuggets.<br />

We have also found some dead ends. Pointing AI at sections<br />

of our customer records has so far yielded ideas with no<br />

tangible or measurable value. Empowering administration<br />

staff with AI has produced numerous functional innovations.<br />

The improvements in the images we use is like having Picasso<br />

working here on an internship, and algorithm development has<br />

been at the pace of twice as many IT staff.<br />

Having AI is<br />

like having a<br />

smart geek<br />

on call 24/7<br />

who knows the<br />

answer and<br />

never says they<br />

are too busy<br />

or asks why<br />

you would even<br />

need it.<br />

The societal view of AI seems to range on a spectrum, with AI<br />

being likened to the introduction of steam powered machines<br />

during the industrial revolution. Others think a fully conscious<br />

terminator is inevitable or that when someone asks AI to make<br />

a paperclip it will accidentally convert the entire universe to<br />

paperclips!<br />

From our perspective, we believe we are at the printing and<br />

document saving stage of our 1960 typist thought experiment.<br />

We hope to figure out how to use templates soon and the<br />

quantum leap of mail merge could be just over the horizon.<br />

Author: lan Davis is CEO of MIL Collections.<br />

Brave | Curious | Resilient / www.cicm.com / <strong>January</strong> & <strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong> / PAGE 23




Salary and recruitment trends<br />

for the year ahead.<br />


AS the new year begins, it’s the<br />

perfect time to reflect on the<br />

last 12 months and explore the<br />

factors that have had a significant<br />

impact on the ever-evolving world<br />

of work, from the rising cost of<br />

living to an uptake of skills-based<br />

hiring. Our <strong>2024</strong> UK Salary and Recruiting Trends guide<br />

reveals what the year entailed for accountancy and finance<br />

employers and credit professionals, as well as their outlook<br />

for the year ahead.<br />

Most credit professionals are<br />

satisfied in their current role<br />

Despite the lingering sense of economic uncertainty,<br />

optimism towards the economic climate is steadily on<br />

the rise. More accountancy and finance employers are<br />

optimistic about the wider economy and the employment<br />

opportunities it may create within the next two to five<br />

years, increasing from 33 percent in last year’s survey to<br />

over a third (38 percent) in our latest research.<br />

The same number of credit professionals (38 percent) are<br />

hopeful about the impact the wider economic landscape<br />

might have on future employment opportunities.<br />

Positively, two thirds (66 percent) of credit professionals<br />

are satisfied in their current job and over half (56 percent)<br />

are confident there is scope for career progression within<br />

their organisation. There are many exciting opportunities<br />

for professionals embarking on, or well on their way with,<br />

a career in credit control and management.<br />

Skills shortages persist<br />

across accountancy<br />

Finding the right talent in a skills short market continues<br />

to be a challenge many hiring managers must overcome;<br />

the majority (88 percent) of accountancy employers<br />

experienced skills shortages in the past year, only a<br />

slight decrease from the year before (90 percent). Whilst<br />

employers have faced skills shortages across the finance<br />

sector, our research shows that the skills gap has been most<br />

noticeable within credit management (92 percent) and<br />

part-qualified accountancy (90 percent).<br />

Soft skills remain highly sought after by accountancy<br />

employers, particularly communication and interpersonal<br />

skills and an ability to problem-solve, adopt change and<br />

learn and upskill. In order to take their career to the next<br />

level, credit professionals are especially eager to build<br />

on their ability to learn and upskill and their people<br />

management skills.<br />

With the ever-growing role technology plays in our<br />

everyday lives and workplaces, digital skills continue to<br />

be of upmost importance. However, Artificial Intelligence<br />

(AI) is yet to take off amongst credit professionals, as 95<br />

percent have not used an AI tool in their current role and<br />

76 percent say their employer is not helping to prepare<br />

them for the use of AI. If employers want to utilise the<br />

opportunities AI could bring, upskilling their staff will be<br />

essential for keeping up with the pace of change.<br />

Skills and potential could<br />

overtake degrees<br />

On the topic of skills, our research shows that employers<br />

are increasingly turning to skills-based hiring to switch<br />

up their recruitment process. More than half (54 percent)<br />

of accountancy employers believe it’s not important<br />

for a job applicant to have a degree, followed by 38<br />

percent who say a degree is quite important, but not an<br />

essential requirement, when assessing a candidate’s<br />

suitability. Although achieving a degree will undoubtedly<br />

equip credit professionals with an invaluable skillset to<br />

utilise throughout their career, degrees are no longer the<br />

be-all and end-all for employability within the accountancy<br />

sector.<br />

Brave | Curious | Resilient / www.cicm.com / <strong>January</strong> & <strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong> / PAGE 24


With that being said, the cost-of-living crisis is inevitably taking<br />

its toll on professionals far and wide, yet over half (58 percent)<br />

of credit professionals say they have not received a cost-ofliving<br />

pay rise in the last 12 months. The rising cost-of-living has<br />

sparked concerns over job security but has similarly prompted<br />

some professionals to seek a better salary.<br />

Almost a third (31 percent) of those working in credit have<br />

moved jobs in the last 12 months, compared to 44 percent<br />

who haven’t moved but have considered it and a quarter (25<br />

percent) who haven’t moved nor considered it. Whilst over half<br />

(53 percent) of professionals say the current cost of living isn’t<br />

affecting their decision to move job, 25 percent say they’re now<br />

more inclined to move and 22 percent say they’re less inclined.<br />

Of those professionals who intend to move jobs in the near<br />

future, half (50 percent) describe being more inclined to do so as<br />

their current salary does not cover their living expenses.<br />

Benefits and flexible working<br />

important to credit professionals<br />

Pay is a top priority for credit professionals today, but it’s not<br />

the only incentive deemed crucial when considering a new role.<br />

Aside from salary, a benefits package (30 percent) is the most<br />

important factor when assessing a new role, followed by worklife<br />

balance (21 percent) and job security (21 percent).<br />

According to our research, hiring plans are on the up, as 70<br />

percent of finance employers intend on recruiting staff over the<br />

next 12 months, compared to 62 percent last year. Hiring for<br />

potential is another approach many employers would consider<br />

taking to source a range of talent.<br />

An aptitude and willingness to learn is thought to be of<br />

greater importance than existing skills by 77 percent of finance<br />

employers. On top of this, most (78 percent) accountancy<br />

employers say they are likely to hire a professional who does not<br />

possess all the required skills, with the intention of upskilling<br />

them, which is an effective way to attract a diverse talent pool,<br />

create opportunities and bridge the skills gap.<br />

Rising cost-of-living could<br />

prompt job moves<br />

The majority (90 percent) of employers across the accountancy<br />

and finance sector increased their staffs’ salaries over the past<br />

year, which is similar to the previous year (89 percent). As such,<br />

more than two thirds (68 percent) of credit professionals have<br />

had a salary increase in the last 12 months. We have also witnessed<br />

an increase in salary satisfaction amongst credit professionals,<br />

from 59 percent last year to 63 percent in our latest research.<br />

When it comes to workplace patterns, most (57 percent) credit<br />

professionals are working in a hybrid way, versus over a quarter<br />

(28 percent) who are based fully in the office and only 15 percent<br />

who work entirely remotely. Flexible working offerings continue<br />

to be held in high regard by credit professionals as, although 48<br />

percent would consider accepting a job in the future that didn’t<br />

allow hybrid working, over half (52 percent) would decline a job<br />

that did not offer this flexibility.<br />

As well as this, an organisation’s commitment to sustainability is<br />

important to a large majority (91 percent) of credit professionals<br />

when weighing up a job opportunity, closely followed by 88<br />

percent of professionals working in credit who say it’s crucial for<br />

a prospective company to have a strong sense of purpose.<br />

Final thoughts<br />

Whilst 48 percent of credit professionals are not considering<br />

a career change in the next 12 months, more (52 percent) are<br />

contemplating a move. Therefore, it’s a prime opportunity for<br />

employers to take on board what professionals value most, in<br />

order to attract and retain talent in a skills short market.<br />

Despite the hurdles finance employers and credit professionals<br />

have had to navigate and overcome in the last 12 months, there<br />

are many reasons to enter the new year with a positive mindset,<br />

and hopefully our research will arm you with invaluable insights<br />

to help you succeed in the year ahead.<br />

Author: Natascha Whitehead is Senior Business Director<br />

at Hays specialising in <strong>Credit</strong> <strong>Management</strong><br />

Brave | Curious | Resilient / www.cicm.com / <strong>January</strong> & <strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong> / PAGE 25




If we want AI to work in debt collection, don’t<br />

we have to get the underlying data right first?<br />


Brave | Curious | Resilient / www.cicm.com / <strong>January</strong> & <strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong> / PAGE 26


I think it’s really<br />

more process<br />

automation at the<br />

very best, rather<br />

than machines<br />

learning anything<br />

– not saying<br />

automating<br />

processes can’t be<br />

really useful.<br />

I<br />

don’t know about you, but whenever I<br />

hear someone talk about AI, or Artificial<br />

Intelligence, I feel somewhat sceptical, even<br />

scathing sometimes. When I was a young lad,<br />

I remember watching Tomorrow’s World on<br />

the Beeb, learning all about something called<br />

an ‘Information Superhighway’ that had been<br />

invented and was going to change our lives. I was living in<br />

an era that was also forecasting robots would in the future<br />

do everything for us, our houses and clothes would all look<br />

incredibly futuristic, and we’d be travelling in cars hovering<br />

above the road powered by some magical new power<br />

source. To say I’m disappointed, might be overstating it a<br />

bit as things have largely stayed reassuringly similar, albeit<br />

the ‘Internet’ as we now know it, has revolutionised life<br />

enormously.<br />

So, when I hear companies hailing the advent of AI in<br />

financial services, I’m still expecting great things like I was<br />

promised by Raymond Baxter and Judith Hann all those<br />

years ago. In reality, I don’t think we are yet seeing any<br />

‘artificial intelligence’ of the type we were promised back<br />

then. I think it’s really more process automation at the very<br />

best, rather than machines learning anything – not saying<br />

automating processes can’t be really useful, of course.<br />

Bear with me for a moment if I sound like I’m going off<br />

on a tangent here, but I’m similarly under-impressed<br />

by ChatGPT if I’m honest – whilst I don’t understand<br />

whether it really is AI or not, I’m not yet in the slightest<br />

impressed with the results it churns out. The problem is that<br />

whilst ChatGPT may for all I know, be incredibly clever, not<br />

all the information it looks at is… terribly accurate. Most of<br />

it has been put there by humans and without any validation.<br />

In talking to a couple of my developer-colleagues at<br />

Trustfolio, both much cleverer than me, they tell me that<br />

ChatGPT is actually really good at churning out highquality<br />

computer programming code when it is asked to do<br />

so. So why is it really good at that and yet not when I asked<br />

it to write some text describing how a specific debt solution<br />

works for an article I was writing, or when I tried to get it<br />

to write a business policy for me? To start with the results<br />

looked impressive, but once I started reading in detail, they<br />

were both quite useless.<br />

Discussing this with my clever colleagues, we decided that<br />

it’s all down to the data available. It’s likely, they think, that<br />

the code ChatGPT can produce, is drawing on good quality<br />

data placed on the internet by people who know what they<br />

are doing, whereas a lot of general so called ‘facts’ are written<br />

by a wide variety of people, some good and some not quite so<br />

good. I believe the latest version of ChatGPT can pass a bar<br />

exam at law school. Maybe it’s learned from a better source<br />

of information than the debt-solutions descriptions I was<br />

looking for earlier.<br />

But that all made me think. If we want AI to work in debt<br />

collection, don’t we have to get the underlying data right<br />

first?<br />

What worries me, especially in the debt solution and debt<br />

collection space, is the lack of quality, meaningful data being<br />

shared between creditors, advisers, debt collectors and the<br />

like. The way data is exchanged is a problem too with a lot<br />

of paper being physically posted between organisations still,<br />

or at best, electronic exchange of word documents, PDFs,<br />

excel spreadsheets and in the case of one or two advice<br />

organisations, electronic portals of varying descriptions and<br />

levels of sophistication.<br />

When I joined Trustfolio I spoke with a lot of debt advisers,<br />

collectors, buyers and creditors about the way IVA proposals<br />

and debt management plan proposals were being exchanged<br />

between organisations. What I learned was that in most<br />

organisations, there’s a ‘cottage industry’ approach to<br />

making all this work – lots of people dealing with the wide<br />

variety of data transmission methods and data sets, very<br />

little consistency, and lots of room for error and delays.<br />

What I’ve learned since, is that the way forward is to digitise<br />

as much of this as possible, taking a receiving data using<br />

APIs – data straight from systems, not spreadsheets – and<br />

as soon as we can. And ideally all via one independent route.<br />

It’ll increase accuracy, improve efficiency, and allow us to<br />

use the tools that are available to us – even AI. But it’s not<br />

a quick fix. There’s a lot of work to do in standardising the<br />

data that is collected and exchanged, never mind how the<br />

data is actually exchanged. The question is whether there is a<br />

desire to change this quickly enough.<br />

One thing that might speed the process up could be the<br />

FCA’s Consumer Duty – are authorised firms delivering the<br />

right outcomes to customers, and can they demonstrate that?<br />

The FCA places a lot of weight on management information<br />

and analysis of data to prove the right outcomes are being<br />

achieved. Can authorised firms do that with the data they<br />

hold, now? If they’re not even ready to do that, they’re not in<br />

my opinion, ready to use AI.<br />

Author: Peter Wallwork FCICM, Trustfolio.<br />

Brave | Curious | Resilient / www.cicm.com / <strong>January</strong> & <strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong> / PAGE 27

#<br />



Based on<br />



THE YEAR<br />


AWARDS 2023<br />

Congratulations to all<br />

the winners & nominees!<br />

Portfolio <strong>Credit</strong> Control, part of the Portfolio Group,<br />

are proud to be the only true specialist <strong>Credit</strong> Control<br />

recruitment agency in the UK.<br />

Contact one of our specialist recruitment consultants to<br />

fill your vacancy or find your next career move!<br />

Scan with your phone to fill your<br />

vacancy or find your next career move<br />

at www.portfoliocreditcontrol.com<br />

LONDON 020 7650 3199<br />


MANCHESTER 0161 523 5585<br />


www.portfoliocreditcontrol.com<br />


CICM Members’ Financial Support Fund is here<br />

to support members of the CICM in times of need<br />

The CICM Members' Financial Support Fund was<br />

established to help members who are in conditions<br />

of need, hardship or financial distress.<br />

Some examples of how CICM has helped its<br />

members are:<br />

Any member, or former member, finding themselves<br />

in difficult circumstances and requiring financial<br />

assistance, please apply today – we are here to help.<br />

Visit the Member Support page of the CICM<br />

website, or email governance@cicm.com for more<br />

information.<br />

Financed the purchase of a mobility scooter for a<br />

disabled member.<br />

Helped finance the studies of the daughter of a<br />

member who became unexpectedly ill.<br />

Financed the purchase of computer equipment to<br />

assist an unemployed member set up a business.<br />

Contributed towards the purchase of an orthopedic<br />

bed for one member whose condition was thereby<br />

greatly eased.<br />

Helped with payment for a drug, not available on<br />

the NHS, for medical treatment of another member.<br />


The <strong>2024</strong> CICM<br />

Elections are<br />

coming soon...<br />

Could you act as a true advocate and<br />

ambassador for the CICM and take your seat<br />

at the Advisory Council table?<br />

Register your interest by visiting:<br />

https://www.mi-nomination.com/cicm<br />

CICM<br />

Branch AGMs<br />

CICM Branch AGM season is upon us,<br />

and all Committees are due to convene<br />

by 31 March <strong>2024</strong>.<br />

Look out for more information across<br />

CICM channels and by visiting:<br />

https://www.cicm.com/branches<br />

If you have any questions about the process,<br />

or what it means to be a CICM Advisory Council<br />

member, email: elections@cicm.com<br />



Brave | Curious | Resilient / www.cicm.com / <strong>January</strong> & <strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong> / PAGE 29

Introducing our<br />


For further information and to discuss the opportunities of entering into a<br />

Corporate Partnership with the CICM, please contact luke.sculthorp@cicm.com<br />

My DSO Manager is an intelligent SaaS AR and<br />

credit management solution for SMEs to international<br />

enterprises, helping AR analysts manage risk,<br />

maximize cash collection and streamline the credit-tocash<br />

cycle, by a real-time insight to KPIs.<br />

Due to its inventive in-house IT teams and their tight<br />

collaboration with support staff, many of whom were<br />

credit managers at large firms, it can quickly integrate<br />

any ERP data and customize as needed.<br />

T: +33 (0)458003676<br />

E: contact@mydsomanager.com<br />

W: www.mydsomanager.com<br />

Quadient AR by YayPay makes it easy for B2B<br />

finance teams to stay ahead of accounts receivable<br />

and get paid faster – from anywhere.<br />

Integrating with your ERP, CRM, and billing<br />

systems, YayPay presents your real-time data<br />

through cloud-based dashboards. Automation<br />

improves productivity by 3X and accelerates<br />

collections by up to 34 percent. Predictive analytics<br />

provide insight into payor behavior and an online<br />

portal enables customers to access their accounts<br />

and pay at any time.<br />

T: +44 (0)7465 423 538<br />

E: marketing@yaypay.com<br />

W: www.quadient.com/en-gb/ar-automation<br />

Esker’s Accounts Receivable (AR) solution removes<br />

the all-too-common obstacles preventing today’s<br />

businesses from collecting receivables in a<br />

timely manner. From credit management to cash<br />

allocation, Esker automates each step of the orderto-cash<br />

cycle. Esker’s automated AR system helps<br />

companies modernise without replacing their<br />

core billing and collections processes. By simply<br />

automating what should be automated, customers<br />

get the post-sale experience they deserve and your<br />

team gets the tools they need.<br />

T: +44 (0)1332 548176<br />

E: sam.townsend@esker.co.uk<br />

W: www.esker.co.uk<br />

The UK’s No1 Insolvency Score, available as a<br />

platform to help businesses manage risk and<br />

achieve growth. The only independently owned<br />

UK credit referencing agency for businesses. We<br />

have modernised the way companies consume<br />

data, to power businesses decisions with the most<br />

important data taken in real-time feeds, ensuring<br />

our customers are always the first to know. Enabling<br />

them to deliver best in class sales, credit risk<br />

management and compliance.<br />

T: +44 (0)330 460 9877<br />

E: sales@redflagalert.com<br />

W: www.redflagalert.com<br />

Our <strong>Credit</strong>or Services team can advise on the best<br />

way for you to protect your position when one of<br />

your debtors enters, or is approaching, insolvency<br />

proceedings. Our services include assisting with<br />

retention of title claims, providing representation at<br />

creditor meetings, forensic investigations, raising<br />

finance, financial restructuring and removing the<br />

administrative burden – this includes completing<br />

and lodging claim forms, monitoring dividend<br />

prospects and analysing all Insolvency Reports and<br />

correspondence.<br />

T: +44 (0)2073 875 868 - London<br />

T: +44 (0)2920 495 444 - Cardiff<br />

W: menzies.co.uk/creditor-services<br />

HighRadius provides a cloud-based Integrated<br />

Receivable Platform, powered by machine learning<br />

and AI. Our Technology empowers enterprise<br />

organisations to reduce cycle time in the order-tocash<br />

process and increase working capital availability<br />

by automating receivables and payments processes<br />

across credit, electronic billing and payment<br />

processing, cash application, deductions, and<br />

collections.<br />

T: +44 (0) 203 997 9400<br />

E: infoemea@highradius.com<br />

W: www.highradius.com<br />

American Express® is a globally recognised<br />

provider of business payment solutions, providing<br />

flexible capabilities to help companies drive<br />

growth. These solutions support buyers and<br />

suppliers across the supply chain with working<br />

capital and cashflow.<br />

By creating an additional lever to help support<br />

supplier/client relationships American Express is<br />

proud to be an innovator in the business payments<br />

space.<br />

T: +44 (0)1273 696933<br />

W: www.americanexpress.com<br />

Tinubu Square is a trusted source of trade credit<br />

intelligence for credit insurers and for corporate<br />

customers. The company’s B2B <strong>Credit</strong> Risk<br />

Intelligence solutions include the Tinubu Risk<br />

<strong>Management</strong> Center, a cloud-based SaaS platform;<br />

the Tinubu <strong>Credit</strong> Intelligence service and the<br />

Tinubu Risk Analyst advisory service. Over 250<br />

companies rely on Tinubu Square to protect their<br />

greatest assets: customer receivables.<br />

T: +44 (0)207 469 2577 /<br />

E: uksales@tinubu.com<br />

W: www.tinubu.com.<br />

Building on our mature and hugely successful<br />

product and world class support service, we are<br />

re-imagining our risk awareness module in 2019 to<br />

allow for hugely flexible automated worklists and<br />

advanced visibility of areas of risk. Alongside full<br />

integration with all credit scoring agencies (e.g.<br />

<strong>Credit</strong>safe), this makes Credica a single port-of-call<br />

for analysis and automation. Impressive results<br />

and ROI are inevitable for our customers that also<br />

have an active input into our product development<br />

and evolution.<br />

T: 01235 856400<br />

E: info@credica.co.uk<br />

W: www.credica.co.uk<br />

Brave | Curious | Resilient / www.cicm.com / <strong>January</strong> & <strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong> / PAGE 30

Each of our Corporate Partners is carefully selected for<br />

their commitment to the profession, best practice in the<br />

<strong>Credit</strong> Industry and the quality of services they provide.<br />

We are delighted to showcase them here.<br />

They're waiting to talk to you...<br />

Hays <strong>Credit</strong> <strong>Management</strong> is a national specialist<br />

division dedicated exclusively to the recruitment of<br />

credit management and receivables professionals,<br />

at all levels, in the public and private sectors. As<br />

the CICM’s only Premium Corporate Partner, we<br />

are best placed to help all clients’ and candidates’<br />

recruitment needs as well providing guidance on<br />

CV writing, career advice, salary bench-marking,<br />

marketing of vacancies, advertising and campaign<br />

led recruitment, competency-based interviewing,<br />

career and recruitment trends.<br />

T: 07834 260029<br />

E: karen.young@hays.com<br />

W: www.hays.co.uk/creditcontrol<br />

Court Enforcement Services is the market<br />

leading and fastest growing High Court Enforcement<br />

company. Since forming in 2014, we have managed<br />

over 100,000 High Court Writs and recovered more<br />

than £187 million for our clients, all debt fairly<br />

collected. We help lawyers and creditors across all<br />

sectors to recover unpaid CCJ’s sooner rather than<br />

later. We achieve 39 percent early engagement<br />

resulting in market-leading recovery rates. Our<br />

multi-award-winning technology provides real-time<br />

reporting 24/7.<br />

T: 07759 122503<br />

E: s.evans@courtenforcementservices.co.uk<br />

W: www.courtenforcementservices.co.uk<br />

Shoosmiths’ highly experienced team will work<br />

closely with credit teams to recover commercial<br />

debts as quickly and cost effectively as possible.<br />

We have an in depth knowledge of all areas of debt<br />

recovery, including:<br />

• Pre-litigation services to effect early recovery and<br />

keep costs down • Litigation service • Insolvency<br />

• Post-litigation services including enforcement<br />

As a client of Shoosmiths, you will find us quick to<br />

relate to your goals, and adept at advising you on the<br />

most effective way of achieving them.<br />

T: 03700 86 3000<br />

E: paula.swain@shoosmiths.co.uk<br />

W: www.shoosmiths.co.uk<br />

Forums International has been running <strong>Credit</strong> and<br />

Industry Forums since 1991 covering a range of<br />

industry sectors and international trading. Attendance<br />

is for credit professionals of all levels. Our forums<br />

are not just meetings but communities which<br />

aim to prepare our members for the challenges<br />

ahead. Attending for the first time is free for you to<br />

gauge the benefits and meet the members and we<br />

only have pre-approved Partners, so you will never<br />

intentionally be sold to.<br />

HighRadius provides a cloud-based Integrated<br />

Receivable Platform, powered by machine learning<br />

and AI. Our Technology empowers enterprise<br />

organisations to reduce cycle time in the order-tocash<br />

process and increase working capital availability<br />

by automating receivables and payments processes<br />

across credit, electronic billing and payment<br />

processing, cash application, deductions, and<br />

collections.<br />

Top Service Ltd. The only credit information and<br />

debt recovery service provider specifically for the<br />

UK construction industry. Our payment experiences<br />

are the most up to date credit information available<br />

and enable construction businesses to confidently<br />

assess credit risk and make the best, most informed<br />

credit decisions. Coupled with our range of effective<br />

debt recovery solutions, quite simply our members<br />

stay one step ahead and experience less debt and<br />

more cash.<br />

T: +44 (0)1246 555055<br />

E: info@forumsinternational.co.uk<br />

W: www.forumsinternational.co.uk<br />

T: +44 (0) 203 997 9400<br />

E: infoemea@highradius.com<br />

W: www.highradius.com<br />

T: +44 1527 503990<br />

E: membership@top-service.co.uk<br />

W: www.top-service.co.uk<br />

Key IVR provide a suite of products to assist companies<br />

across Europe with credit management. The<br />

service gives the end-user the means to make a<br />

payment when and how they choose. Key IVR also<br />

provides a state-of-the-art outbound platform<br />

delivering automated messages by voice and SMS.<br />

In a credit management environment, these services<br />

are used to cost-effectively contact debtors and<br />

connect them back into a contact centre or<br />

automated payment line.<br />

TCN is an industry leader in call centre technology<br />

with offices around the world including, the United<br />

Kingdom, the United States, Romania, Canada,<br />

India and Australia. TCN has met the global<br />

communication needs of its diverse customers.<br />

Utilising best-practice solutions and 24/7 technical<br />

support, TCN empowers clients to drive consumer<br />

interactions through omni-channel, inbound and<br />

outbound communications. TCN’s call centre<br />

platform is entirely web-based and available<br />

on-demand with unlimited capacity.<br />

Invevo is a cloud-based platform specialising<br />

in credit management and accounts receivable<br />

process automation. It streamlines operational<br />

tasks, offers in-depth analytics via dashboards,<br />

and allows quick workflow adjustments at zero<br />

cost. Integrated with existing systems like ERP<br />

and CRM, Invevo serves as a single source for key<br />

insights, helping you make data-driven decisions<br />

to improve cash and operational performance.<br />

T: +44 (0) 1302 513 000<br />

E: sales@keyivr.com<br />

W: www.keyivr.com<br />

T: +44 (0) 800-088-5089<br />

E: spencer.taylor@tcn.com<br />

W: www.tcn.com<br />

T: +44 7817 613 825<br />

E: info@invevo.com<br />

W: www.invevo.com<br />

Brave | Curious | Resilient / www.cicm.com / <strong>January</strong> & <strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong> / PAGE 31


A YEAR OF<br />


Looking at the year ahead and the<br />

future of the enforcement profession.<br />


IT seems like <strong>2024</strong> is shaping up to be a year of progress for<br />

enforcement. With several government consultations either<br />

ongoing or concluded, it looks like we can expect some<br />

clarity on pressing issues like enforcement fees and body<br />

worn video in the coming months. However, there is still a<br />

way to go if we want to ensure a sustainable enforcement<br />

profession that safeguards UK plc.<br />

Uplifts to enforcement fees<br />

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) recently concluded a comprehensive<br />

consultation on enforcement fees. Following a decade-long period of<br />

fee stagnation, the prospect of uplifts has been met with a collective<br />

sense of welcome relief within the enforcement profession.<br />

While the proposed five percent uplift to the Compliance Fee falls<br />

below what we would have liked to see, we eagerly anticipate further<br />

collaboration with the MoJ on the other measures proposed in their<br />

consultation paper. Our shared objective is to ensure that the diligent<br />

efforts of Enforcement Agents are not only acknowledged but also<br />

fairly remunerated. This ongoing dialogue seeks to strike an essential<br />

balance between recognising the importance of a sustainable and<br />

viable enforcement sector for all involved.<br />

Body worn video<br />

Many enforcement businesses and self-employed Enforcement Agents<br />

already use body worn cameras during their visits. However, without<br />

regulation, their usage will be inconsistent. The enforcement profession<br />

needs those regulations to ensure that all footage is captured and saved<br />

according to the same procedures.<br />

While this has been an ongoing topic for some time, we are eagerly<br />

anticipating the release of the Government’s consultation on Body<br />

worn video and we are hopeful this will be released soon.<br />

Brave | Curious | Resilient / www.cicm.com / <strong>January</strong> & <strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong> / PAGE 32


Our shared objective is to<br />

ensure that the diligent efforts of<br />

Enforcement Agents are not only<br />

acknowledged but also fairly<br />

remunerated.<br />

Technology to drive efficiency<br />

As a forward-thinking Association, we are working with<br />

His Majesty’s Court and Tribunal Service (HMCTS) on its<br />

digital transformation process to help drive the efficiency<br />

offered by technology and transform outdated processes to<br />

ensure a better service for creditors.<br />

While HCEOA is encouraging its members to continue to<br />

invest in improvements to their systems, and welcomes the<br />

move to be able to apply for a writ by email as opposed<br />

to post, what’s really needed is a digitisation plan for writ<br />

enforcement.We’re hopeful <strong>2024</strong> will be the year government<br />

takes action to modernise and digitise some of its services.<br />

Enforcement Conduct Board<br />

(ECB)<br />

Since the launch of the ECB’s Accreditation scheme in<br />

September 2023 there has been an excellent response<br />

from High Court enforcement businesses, with the firms<br />

accredited making up 97.5 percent of the market share of<br />

High Court Writs of Control.<br />

The ECB has outlined its operational plan to develop the<br />

accreditation scheme and evolve its activities next year to<br />

include complaints handling, and active monitoring of a new<br />

set of standards which it will be developing in consultation<br />

with the debt advice sector and the enforcement industry<br />

(including HCEOA) over the next few months.<br />

I know our members are very much looking forward to<br />

seeing the results of this work, and we would also support<br />

statutory underpinning for the ECB which would allow it to<br />

continue its agile approach to independent oversight of the<br />

enforcement profession.<br />

Dealing with increased<br />

judgment numbers and values<br />

The latest figures released from Registry Trust covering Q3<br />

of 2023 show that both the number of judgments and the<br />

total value of those judgments increased compared to the<br />

same period last year.<br />

The total value of judgments across all jurisdictions in the<br />

British Isles in Q3 2023 was £547 million – that’s a year-onyear<br />

increase of 18 percent. The figures also show that the<br />

total number of judgments in England and Wales increased<br />

by 15 percent.<br />

Within the context of the current cost of living challenges,<br />

these figures are likely to increase over the coming years.<br />

While the total value of judgments surged, there was also<br />

a worrying 5.8 percent decrease in 'satisfied' judgments<br />

which calls for critical examination. In a time of economic<br />

strain, understanding the challenges preventing satisfaction<br />

becomes paramount, highlighting the urgent need for an<br />

enforcement system that is flexible and sympathetic to the<br />

needs of creditors and debtors alike.<br />

We have been campaigning for some time to allow creditors<br />

the freedom of choice to choose to transfer debts under £600<br />

to the High Court for enforcement. While this would not<br />

be the answer for every creditor, it would help to alleviate<br />

some of the burden on the County Courts and could have a<br />

role in increasing future satisfaction of judgments.<br />

While we’re hopeful that <strong>2024</strong> will be a year of progress on<br />

these long-awaited issues, the enforcement profession will<br />

be holding its collective breath while we wait to find out<br />

whether government will allow us to move forward with<br />

pace, or halt the progress that has been made, to ensure<br />

creditors and debtors are receiving the sympathetic and<br />

flexible service they deserve.<br />

Author: Alan J. Smith FCICM is Chair of the<br />

High Court Enforcement Officers Association (HCEOA)<br />

Brave | Curious | Resilient / www.cicm.com / <strong>January</strong> & <strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong> / PAGE 33


Malaysia is a Southeast Asian country occupying parts of the Malay Peninsula and the<br />

island of Borneo. It’s known for its beaches, rainforests and mix of Malay, Chinese, Indian<br />

and European cultural influences. The capital is Kuala Lumpur.<br />

A split nation<br />

working as one<br />

FANS of Entrapment will have enjoyed<br />

watching the late Sean Connery and the very<br />

much alive Catherine Zeta-Jones scale a key<br />

landmark – the 88-floor Petronas Twin Towers<br />

in Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia.<br />

But as befits these country profiles it’s important to record<br />

that Malaysia is, of course, much more than a single iconic<br />

location. Its wildlife is well known for big cats, such as tigers<br />

and leopards, the Malayan tapir as well as endangered Borneo<br />

pygmy elephants and Borneo orangutans.<br />

It possesses the Taman Negara, a national park in Peninsular<br />

Malaysia and one of the oldest deciduous forests in the world -<br />

estimated to be more than 130m years old, and Mount Tahan,<br />

within the Taman Negara National Forest, the highest point<br />

in Peninsular Malaysia at 2187 m.<br />

With a multi-ethnic and multi-religious population, it is one<br />

of the wealthiest and most developed countries in southeast<br />

Asia, outranked in GDP only by Singapore and oil-rich Brunei<br />

(IMF 2023 October Database).<br />

It’s also a country split, geographically that is. In the east and<br />

south it shares borders with Indonesia and Brunei, and in the<br />

west, across the South China Sea, Thailand.<br />

The Portuguese took Malacca in 1511 which was later ceded<br />

to the Dutch in 1641. The British came to the area by leasing<br />

Penang Island from the Sultan of Kedah before taking<br />

control of Singapore in 1819 and Malacca in 1824. The British<br />

integrated all the Malayan administrations which were<br />

previously managed by Malay rulers with the help of state<br />

dignitaries.<br />

Nationalism appeared with greater levels of education but<br />

Japanese occupation between 1941 and 1945 stymied that.<br />

Post war, the British established the Malayan Union in 1946<br />

and unity between the three major ethnic groups - Malays,<br />

Chinese and Indians - led to the London Agreement <strong>February</strong><br />

1956 and independence August 1957. The unification of<br />

Malaya with the former Crown colonies in Borneo followed<br />

in September 1963.<br />

Brave | Curious | Resilient / www.cicm.com / <strong>January</strong> & <strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong> / PAGE 34

on Malaysia...<br />

Geography and demographics<br />

As countryreports.org outlines, Peninsular Malaysia<br />

extends south for 800km from Thailand’s Isthmus of Kra<br />

to Singapore and the Indonesian Archipelago. Sabah and<br />

Sarawak, the States of East Malaysia, lie 600km to the east<br />

across the South China Sea.<br />

A central mountain range divides Peninsular Malaysia with<br />

coastal plains on either side. Most of the population lives<br />

in the plains and foothills of the western coast along the<br />

Straits of Malacca. As for the east, it has fewer people.<br />

Primary forest covers 60 percent of Malaysia which<br />

contains diminishing but still vast timber reserves. Overall,<br />

its landmass is 328,657 sq.km which dwarfs that for the UK<br />

at 242,495 sq.km. The World Bank notes that the population<br />

grew from 7.83m in 1960 to 13.22m in 1980, 22.95m in 2000,<br />

and 33.2m in 2020.<br />

As the government outlines, based on 2016 data, the<br />

Malaysian population consists of multiple races, religions,<br />

and race. The largest group consist of Malays, Chinese and<br />

Indians. Orang Asli are the natives in Peninsular Malaysia<br />

and are divided into three major groups – the Negrito,<br />

Senoi and Proto-Malay. Sabah’s population consists of 32<br />

ethnic groups with the major ethnic being Kadazandusun.<br />

The Sarawak population consists of 27 ethnic groups and<br />

Iban is the major ethnic group.<br />

Brave | Curious | Resilient / www.cicm.com /<strong>January</strong> & <strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong> / PAGE 35<br />

continues on page 36 >


In 2015, 61.8 percent of Malaysians were<br />

indigenous; 21.4 percent Chinese; 6.4 percent<br />

Indian; 0.9 percent were ‘others’; and Non-<br />

Malaysian Resident made up 9.6 percent of the<br />

population, 24.9 percent were aged 0 to 14; 69.2<br />

percent aged 15 to 64 years; and just 5.8 percent<br />

were 65 or older.<br />

And on religion, the US State Department<br />

points to the 2020 census where 63.5 percent<br />

of the population practice Islam; 18.7 percent<br />

Buddhism; 9.1 percent Christianity; 6.1 percent<br />

Hinduism; 9 percent other religious groups that<br />

include animists, Confucianists, Taoists, Sikhs,<br />

Jehovah’s Witnesses, The Church of Jesus Christ<br />

of Latter-day Saints (Church of Jesus Christ),<br />

and Baha’is. Others are 2.6 percent.<br />

Malaysia may well<br />

be split across a sea<br />

but with its overall<br />

geographic location and<br />

resources the country is<br />

well worth a look.<br />

Rural areas – especially in the peninsular<br />

east coast of the country – are predominantly<br />

Muslim, while the states of Sabah and Sarawak<br />

on the island of Borneo have relatively higher<br />

numbers of non-Muslims. With such a diverse<br />

population being sensitive to local customs is<br />

essential.<br />

In terms of the east-west population split, the<br />

east is the poorer relation with fewer people and<br />

less industrialisation.<br />

According to Current Population Estimates,<br />

Malaysia, 2014-2016, 79 percent of the populace<br />

are concentrated in Peninsular Malaysia, which<br />

has an area of 131,598 sq. km – just under 40<br />

percent of the total area of Malaysia.<br />

A 2015 document from Munich Personal<br />

RePEc Archive, Is There Any Regional Price<br />

Disparity in Peninsular Malaysia?, commented<br />

that “peninsular Malaysia is generally more<br />

economically developed… the west coast is more<br />

developed, urbanised, and separated from the<br />

more rural east coast by a mountain range.”<br />

Peninsular Malaysia can be divided into four<br />

regions – the northern, central, southern regions<br />

on the west coast and eastern region on the east<br />

coast of Peninsular Malaysia.<br />

The central region is home to the capital,<br />

Kuala Lumpur, and has the highest population<br />

density and the most developed infrastructure.<br />

It contains Malaysia's biggest airport – the<br />

Kuala Lumpur International Airport and the<br />

largest seaport in the country – Port Klang. The<br />

archive notes that due to its strategic location<br />

and government policy almost half of Malaysia’s<br />

container trade – albeit in 2013 - is handled<br />

by this seaport, which is located 38 km away<br />

from Kuala Lumpur. The port was ranked 14th<br />

by volume for 2022 in One Hundred<br />

Container Ports 2023 published by Lloyd's List.<br />

Handling 13.2m twenty-foot equivalent units<br />

(TEU) it’s a hair behind Antwerp’s 13.5m TEU.<br />

Brave | Curious | Resilient / www.cicm.com / <strong>January</strong> & <strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong> / PAGE 36


It is generally believed that the price of goods in<br />

east coast and East Malaysia is more expensive<br />

than in the west coast. The central region has<br />

the advantage of lower transportation costs<br />

but these may be offset by the higher cost of<br />

doing business here; rentals and wages in the<br />

central region are higher than in other parts<br />

of Malaysia.<br />

The Malaysian Aviation Commission noted in<br />

2023, “East Malaysia is less populated and less<br />

industrialised, but its land mass is larger, and it<br />

has more natural resources – primarily timber,<br />

oil and gas. The state of Sarawak stretches some<br />

800 km along the northwest coast of Borneo<br />

and directly adjoins the state of Sabah to the<br />

north-east. Sarawak offers a mix of historic,<br />

cultural, and natural attractions while Sabah<br />

lures visitors to its rich wildlife, national<br />

parks, scenic islands and beaches.”<br />

Notably, Sarawak and Sabah are the largest and<br />

second largest states in Malaysia at 124,450 sq.<br />

km. and 73,620 sq. km respectively compared<br />

to Peninsular Malaysia’s total 130,590 sq. km.<br />

The two states are also the second and fourth<br />

most populous states in Malaysia, with 3.83m<br />

in Sabah and 2.82m in Sarawak, compared to<br />

the nation’s total population of 33.2m (based<br />

on Population of States from Ministry of<br />

Statistics Ministry of Statistics of Malaysia,<br />

2021).<br />

The Malaysian Aviation Commission considers<br />

air transport essential for connections to<br />

Sarawak and Sabah. It makes the point that<br />

Sarawak’s road network is poor with most of<br />

the road infrastructure connecting the cities<br />

along the coast. Fifty per cent of the roads in<br />

Sabah and 30 per cent in Sarawak are gravel or<br />

earth roads.<br />

In contrast, in 2012 the Malaysian government<br />

wrote in Inside Malaysia, that “Malaysia<br />

has a well-developed infrastructure system,<br />

apart from a few shortcomings in remote<br />

areas.” Back then it reported that there were<br />

94,500km of primary and secondary roads.<br />

But only 70,970km were paved. According<br />

to Malaysian Road Statistics 2021 by Public<br />

Works Department (JKR) Malaysia, federal<br />

roads then comprised 20,017km and state<br />

roads 247,027km (December 2021)<br />

Urban transport is undergoing a major<br />

programme with new metro lines being built<br />

in major cities, as well as the expansion and<br />

upgrade of existing urban transport systems<br />

in Greater Kuala Lumpur. This will involve<br />

an integrated urban heavy metro system with<br />

more than 100 stations planned over a distance<br />

of 156 km and two radial north-south lines and<br />

a circular line with a 20 km radius around<br />

Kuala Lumpur, and the extension of light<br />

metro services.<br />

Economy and industry<br />

A 2023 HSBC International Business Guide<br />

outlines a key attraction to Malaysia –<br />

businesses that locate themselves in Malaysia<br />

find it relatively easy to connect to some<br />

680m people in the region – on top of a large<br />

domestic population. Further, Malaysia has<br />

an abundance of natural resources including<br />

oil, rubber, timber, minerals, and palm oil.<br />

Notably, in 2020, Malaysia accounted for 25.8<br />

percent and 34.3 percent of world’s palm oil<br />

production and exports, respectively.<br />

It’s 2022 GDP – according to data from the<br />

World Bank (2022) – was $336bn generated by<br />

services (51.5 percent), industry (37.7 percent)<br />

and agriculture (9.6 percent). It’s placed 21st<br />

in the global ranking for exports ($273bn) and<br />

25th for imports ($207bn).<br />

ASEAN, the Association of Southeast Asian<br />

Nations, features ten economies including the<br />

Philippines, Thailand, and Malaysia – each<br />

of which has been posting strong growth.<br />

China is a key export partner to ASEAN and<br />

Malaysia; it has been Malaysia’s largest trading<br />

partner for 12 consecutive years.<br />

Services<br />

A 2021 document from the Journal of<br />

Postgraduate Current Business Research<br />

outlined the Malaysian service sector which<br />

generated then some RM335.6bn in revenue.<br />

It also recorded that some 3.7m people were<br />

engaged in the sector with a major subsector<br />

involving wholesale & retail trade, food<br />

& beverages, and accommodation which<br />

generated, for Q2 2020, RM 266.5m. The second<br />

highest revenue contributor to the service<br />

sector was information & communication<br />

and transportation & storage which generated<br />

RM51.9m for the quarter. This is followed<br />

by health, education & art, entertainment<br />

& recreation as the third-ranking subsector<br />

which earned RM9.6m in Q2 2020. At the time<br />

of writing, £1 buys RM5.92 (14 December 2023).<br />

Where the data becomes interesting – and<br />

this proves the point that statistics can be<br />

meaningless – is that Statista claims that<br />

“approximately 9.72m people were employed<br />

in the services industry in Malaysia in 2022.”<br />

That’s nearly a three-fold disparity on the<br />

referenced research document above.<br />

Free Malaysia Today (FMT) noted, in<br />

September 2021, that overall, certainly post-<br />

COVID, that there was plenty of scope to<br />

grow the sector, especially in areas such as<br />

Brave | Curious | Resilient / www.cicm.com / <strong>January</strong> & <strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong> / PAGE 37<br />

continues on page 38 >


IT, healthcare, telecommunication and infrastructure, fastmoving<br />

consumer goods, housing, finance companies and<br />

machinery accessories.<br />

Further, while the sector predominantly comprises Islamic<br />

banking, finance, telecommunications and tourism, there are<br />

firms engaged in warehousing and transportation services,<br />

information services, securities as well as other investment<br />

and professional services. FMT believed that “the healthcare<br />

sector is going to be a major sector that will stimulate<br />

economic growth and contribute to employment.”<br />

Manufacturing<br />

The HSBC document points out that multinational<br />

corporations from more than 40 countries have invested<br />

in over 5000 companies in manufacturing and services in<br />

Malaysia.<br />

International consultant, the SNECI Group, detailed in<br />

<strong>February</strong> 2023 the key growth sectors for the manufacturing<br />

sector. Aeronautics is one that is identified as is important<br />

since the Government wants it to put the country in pole<br />

position. The Malaysia Aerospace Industry Blueprint 2030<br />

seeks revenue of $12bn a year and the creation of 32,000 high<br />

value-added jobs by 2030.<br />

world. The value of Malaysia’s agricultural exports increased<br />

by more than 30 percent in 2021, with palm oil and palmbased<br />

products as its major export commodities.<br />

Food crops, including rice, fruits, and vegetables were<br />

the second most important commodities. However, the<br />

country’s production of food crops was not enough to meet<br />

local demands. Malaysia’s imports of rice reached more than<br />

1m metric tons in 2021, making up about 30 percent of the<br />

country’s demand for the staple food commodity.<br />

Livestock is key to Malaysia. Poultry’s contribution to GDP<br />

reached around RM10bn in 2021; chicken is the most popular<br />

type of meat among the Malaysian population of which<br />

63.5 percent are Muslims. Overall, the value of the sector to<br />

Malaysia is RM 98.9bn and some 1.86m are employed in it.<br />

Summary<br />

Malaysia may well be split across a sea but with its overall<br />

geographic location and resources the country is well worth a<br />

look. But as noted earlier, visitors need to be alive the cultural<br />

sensitivities that a diverse population brings.<br />

Author: Adam Bernstein is a freelance<br />

finance writer for CM magazine.<br />

In terms of oil and gas, Malaysia ranks 28th in the world for<br />

oil reserves and 24th for gas (Statistical Review of World<br />

Energy - British Petroleum, June 2023). It’s the second largest<br />

producer of crude oil in ASEAN and the 5th largest exporter<br />

of liquefied natural gas in the world (Statista 2022).<br />

And then there’s electronics which SNECI says has<br />

contributed approximately 22 percent of GDP in the last<br />

five years through 49,000 manufacturing companies, most<br />

of which are SMEs. Firms are involved in aeronautics,<br />

automobile and general electronics. The Government’s desire<br />

is to increase the number of highly skilled employees, and the<br />

share of the manufacturing sector in the Malaysian economy,<br />

to become one of the 30 most innovative economies in the<br />

world. The 2023 Global Innovation Index currently ranks it<br />

36th.<br />

Pharmaceuticals in Malaysia is predicted, between 2017-2027,<br />

to grow around 9 percent a year. SNECI says that the network<br />

of para-pharmacies and independent pharmacies, medical<br />

biotechnology and pharmaceuticals are all growth sectors.<br />

Beyond that, firms typically produce antibiotics, generic<br />

injectables, analgesics and dietary supplements. The market<br />

is mainly based on imported drugs as there is a strong<br />

demand for branded products. Foreign laboratories represent<br />

62 percent of the pharmaceutical market, notably from the<br />

United States, Germany and France.<br />

Agriculture<br />

With regard to this sector, Statista has commented that the<br />

agriculture industry in Malaysia relies heavily on farming and<br />

its cash crops, palm oil and rubber. These crops are grown<br />

mainly for their commercial value to be exported around the<br />

Brave | Curious | Resilient / www.cicm.com / <strong>January</strong> & <strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong> / PAGE 38

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Brave | Curious | Resilient / www.cicm.com / <strong>January</strong> & <strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong> / PAGE 39




A young, talented professional chose credit<br />

management over accountancy and has never<br />

looked back.<br />


WHEN Hayley Earle ACICM<br />

left school, she had ambitions<br />

to become a chartered<br />

accountant. Having a talent<br />

for numbers, she applied<br />

to the University of West<br />

of England and started her<br />

degree course. However, in her second year, she took an option in<br />

credit management, run in partnership with the CICM, where she<br />

found her real passion and the start of a successful career.<br />

“The tutor was just so passionate and engaging it changed my<br />

mind about what I wanted to study and what I would do after<br />

university,” she says. This was during the 2008 credit crunch, so it<br />

was relevant, meaningful and exciting. “So I took another module<br />

in my third year, which was credit risk analysis, which I loved. I<br />

have not looked back since.”<br />

Today, Hayley is Head of <strong>Credit</strong> and Collections for Amey Group<br />

Services, a leading provider of full life-cycle engineering, operations<br />

and decarbonisation solutions for transport infrastructure and<br />

complex facilities. She attributes her success not to her inherited<br />

numeracy skills but to the communications skills she has learned<br />

along the way, and planning her career carefully.<br />

Getting to know people<br />

Through her university courses and the CICM qualifications,<br />

which she completed later, Hayley began to realise how much<br />

she enjoyed working with other people. She also recognised how<br />

the communications skills she was being taught could impact the<br />

effectiveness of the credit management team and, ultimately, the<br />

business.<br />

“Understanding clients and what makes people tick, along with<br />

their customers’ payment processes so that they pay when they<br />

are contractually due, determines how to get the desired outcome<br />

for the business,” Hayley continues. “Getting paid ahead of your<br />

competitors, for example, is about pulling all stakeholders together<br />

and getting them on board.” In order to build that understanding,<br />

listening to customers and stakeholders within the business and<br />

the team – and listening well – is critical. She was given one piece<br />

of advice early in her career, which she shares with her team today:<br />

“Just listen until the other person stops talking,” she says, “rather<br />

than trying to insert your opinion or trying to give your advice.”<br />

Through her CICM training, she learned that technique works<br />

even with angry customers on the telephone: “Eventually when<br />

they hear that you're not speaking, they will feel truly listened to,”<br />

she says.<br />

Today, Hayley takes the same approach with all her stakeholders<br />

the business and her team. However, she admits learning to listen<br />

isn't easy: “People’s instinct is to try and jump in first because<br />

you always have assumptions of what people are going to do and<br />

say,” she explains. “But if you listen, there are always nuggets of<br />

information that you pick up on and can pass onto the team.”<br />

As well as listening, Hayley has also learned that good<br />

communication consists of using the appropriate style of language<br />

when writing emails or having telephone conversations with<br />

clients and internal stakeholders: “We were taught to tell rather<br />

than ask. It's amazing how changing a few words can impact the<br />

message you're trying give,” she says. “Using active rather than<br />

passive language can make a real difference in the results.”<br />

Challenging times<br />

When it came to the biggest challenge of her career those<br />

communication skills would prove vital. Hayley was originally<br />

working in Oxford close to her hometown. Then, the credit<br />

function was relocated to Liverpool where she was asked to<br />

become the new Head of <strong>Credit</strong> and form a new team. Two<br />

weeks after starting with the team in Liverpool, the pandemic<br />

hit.<br />

Hayley immediately noticed one significant difference the<br />

lockdowns made: the ability to listen to the team within the<br />

work environment: “When I was a junior,” she says, “I listened<br />

to senior staff, or my peers speaking. You would pick up so<br />

much information even though you weren't involved in the<br />

conversation.”<br />

Brave | Curious | Resilient / www.cicm.com / <strong>January</strong> & <strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong> / PAGE 40


Remote working made that impossible, so Hayley and her<br />

team had to work that much harder: “We had to learn in this<br />

virtual world, and train people via teams, with our CICMQ<br />

accreditation coming up for renewal.” And Hayley was the only<br />

member of the team with experience of working within Amey.<br />

Achieving the CICMQ accreditation relies on communicating<br />

to get people from within the team and across the business to<br />

work towards the same goal and the new ways of working could<br />

have been a significant barrier to the team's success. But Hayley<br />

started by being very open and inclusive: “As a manager or a<br />

leader, you always feel like you have to be the person to speak. But<br />

you also need to listen to their thoughts and opinions. The team<br />

must be on the same page if you are trying to change specific<br />

processes. I always gather the team's opinions on anything new<br />

we may be doing and genuinely listen. Ultimately that helps us<br />

work together and succeed.”<br />

“The tutor was just so<br />

passionate and engaging<br />

it changed my mind about<br />

what I wanted to study<br />

and what I would do<br />

after university, this was<br />

during the 2008 credit<br />

crunch, so it was relevant,<br />

meaningful and exciting.”<br />

Winning ways<br />

Her team, she discovered, were keen to continue the legacy of the<br />

old team’s approach, but also build new foundations to improve<br />

Amey's credit function. Hayley was keen to get the whole team<br />

involved. She divided the assessment project into different<br />

sections and shared the tasks among them. Crucially she gave<br />

some of them the chance to lead. “So, instead of me, we had two<br />

junior members of the team project-leading it,” she explains.<br />

“Giving people that responsibility means everything is done as a<br />

team rather than just you as a manager simply telling them what<br />

they are doing.”<br />

Hayley was keen to give junior team members the experience<br />

of talking to and completing tasks through their peers without<br />

having line management authority. “Trying to win over your<br />

peers who work alongside you can sometimes be challenging, so<br />

it's a good learning curve for them,” she says.<br />

The team also learned through the process how essential it is<br />

to complete specific tasks at certain times because they could<br />

see and understand more clearly how their individual actions<br />

impacts the whole team’s performance. It certainly made<br />

a difference; Amey’s unallocated cash was reduced from a<br />

high of £20 million to £1 million in just twelve months. Their<br />

involvement also created a highly enthusiastic team, which<br />

was clearly apparent during Amey’s CICMQ assessment and<br />

contributed to their success.<br />

Brave | Curious | Resilient / www.cicm.com / <strong>January</strong> & <strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong> / PAGE 41<br />

continues on page 42 >


Business Partners<br />

Hayley thinks the credit team's enthusiasm also resulted from a<br />

better understanding of how important their individual role is to the<br />

company’s success: “I think we're so undervalued in many businesses<br />

as a credit profession, and we need to be better at communicating<br />

our worth within the organisations in which we work. It's about<br />

educating stakeholders that cash is king; the business couldn’t<br />

survive without cash,” she adds.<br />

In Amey, many different businesses are reporting into one group<br />

credit function. Internally the credit control team must continually<br />

sell itself and the professional service it provides internally, to<br />

change perceptions, that credit management doesn’t ruin customer<br />

relations, it can actually improve them.<br />

“Some units still don’t realise that credit control can help them to<br />

preserve those commercial relationships,” Hayley explains. “When<br />

payment is due, we have those difficult conversations with those<br />

clients so the commercial side of the business can go on with their<br />

day-to-day and continue generating new business.”<br />

She makes it clear to her stakeholders that although the credit team<br />

holds the payment relationship with the clients’ accounts payable<br />

teams, the commercial side of the business still retains control of<br />

the overall relationship.<br />

Invest in yourself<br />

That process of educating the business and bringing internal<br />

stakeholders on board is continuous, as the credit function changes<br />

with the introduction of new technology-driven processes are<br />

introduced. Now the credit function is becoming more integrated<br />

with those parts of the business that are issuing invoices and<br />

payment requests so that Hayley’s team can ensure the customers<br />

have all the paperwork they need to facilitate fast payment.<br />

‘‘We need to<br />

be better at<br />

communicating<br />

our worth within<br />

the organisations<br />

in which we<br />

work. It's about<br />

educating<br />

stakeholders that<br />

cash is king.’’<br />

Hayley Earle ACICM Head of <strong>Credit</strong> and Collections<br />

for Amey Group Services<br />

That education is as continuous as the need to educate yourself,<br />

according to Hayley: “I've been fortunate because I think I have<br />

always shown that I'm enthusiastic and want to learn.”<br />

She has always demonstrated that thirst for knowledge by asking<br />

questions and firmly believes no question is a stupid question. Her<br />

enquiring attitude has led her to become involved in many different<br />

projects over the years, which have pushed and challenged her, and<br />

ultimately helped her progress in her career. She advises anyone<br />

who wants to achieve to do the same and get involved in projects<br />

whenever possible.<br />

But the best piece of advice she received and shares with others is<br />

to know exactly where you want to get to, how to get there and<br />

to tell people, so they can help you. She suggests everyone has a<br />

plan of where they want to be in three months, a year, or five years'<br />

time. “Always know what you are working towards and create a road<br />

map,” she says. “Invest in yourself. It’s the best thing I've ever done.”<br />

Brave | Curious | Resilient / www.cicm.com / <strong>January</strong> & <strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong> / PAGE 42

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Our clients rate our service extremely highly on our<br />

annual survey covering 80% of our caseload -you<br />

can rely on us, the largest independent High Court<br />

enforcement company.<br />

More Authorised HCEOs than any other with over<br />

400 years combined experience<br />

Excellent client service and agents covering all<br />

of England and Wales<br />

Multiple industry awards for our technology<br />

and training<br />

To find out more or instruct us<br />

08450 999 666<br />

www.hcegroup.co.uk<br />

Brave | Curious | Resilient / www.cicm.com / <strong>January</strong> & <strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong> / PAGE 43

International Trade<br />

Monthly round-up of the latest stories<br />

in global trade by Andrea Kirkby.<br />

More UKEF support<br />

for SME exporters<br />

UK Export Finance (UKEF) has announced<br />

new measures to help SME exporters to<br />

access more opportunities.<br />

In doing so, UKEF has expanded<br />

its ‘auto-inclusion’ scheme that gives<br />

businesses fast-track access to finance<br />

products such as the General Export<br />

Facility which provides partial guarantees<br />

to banks to help UK exporters with trade<br />

finance facilities. There are two facility<br />

types supported – cash facilities such as<br />

trade loans, and contingent obligation<br />

facilities such as bonding and letter of<br />

credit lines.<br />

As a result, SME exporters should be<br />

able to get Government-backed support<br />

faster without intervention from the UKEF.<br />

At the same time, the maximum support<br />

UKEF can offer under auto-inclusion has<br />

doubled from £5m to £10m. Loans under<br />

the General Export Facility have also<br />

increased from two to five years which<br />

means more flexible repayment terms if<br />

required.<br />

In addition, an agreement between<br />

the UKEF and HSBC India may help SMEs<br />

export to that market. A Letter of Intent<br />

under the UKEF’s Standard Buyer Loan<br />

Guarantee programme could involve up to<br />

£100m in potential loans for Indian buyers<br />

purchasing goods and services from UK<br />

firms.<br />


AS if we need to be told. Sales of<br />

beauty products and make-up are<br />

soaring in the working-from-home era<br />

as people spend more time looking at<br />

themselves on video calls – so says a<br />

report in The Times.<br />

Beauty retailer Space NK reckons<br />

that ‘Zoom boom’ has led to a 39<br />

percent increase in make-up sales<br />

in the six months to the end of<br />

September. Andy Lightfoot, CEO of<br />

the company, has said that “when you<br />

are in a meeting room, you can’t see<br />

yourself… “but Zoom has made people<br />

a lot more conscious about how they<br />

look.”<br />

Working from home has also led<br />

to a rise in multiple contract working<br />

– where an employee misleadingly<br />

holds down two or more jobs at the<br />

same time. Even so, the point is very<br />

clear – exporters involved in beauty<br />

and grooming products might want to<br />

tweak their advertising to attract the<br />

self-conscious buyer that works from<br />

home.<br />

Zombie apocalypse?<br />

THE Financial Times recently commented<br />

on the rising risk of zombie firms –<br />

businesses that can just about service their<br />

debts but do no more. It said that after a<br />

decade of ‘rock-bottom’ interest rates, a<br />

wave of creative destruction may be no<br />

bad thing.<br />

It appears that corporate bankruptcies<br />

in the US are due to hit their highest level<br />

since 2010; they are surging in England,<br />

Wales and the eurozone, too. This is set<br />

to continue as businesses are forced to<br />

refinance on higher rates, as bills rise,<br />

and demand slows. The reality is that<br />

many would have already gone to the wall<br />

without COVID-era support. Most grew<br />

because of low interest rates, but ‘sap’<br />

productivity by ‘lowering investment and<br />

employment for more efficient businesses’.<br />

Regardless, the collapse of weak firms<br />

could spread to those that are more<br />

efficient which ‘would be problematic’.<br />

While it’s up to regulators to monitor<br />

private markets, and insolvency services<br />

to ensure firms can ‘fail well, and fast’, it’s<br />

imperative that businesses are alive to<br />

the financial health of not only who they<br />

sell to but also those within their supply<br />

chain – an unexpected failure could be<br />

problematic.<br />

Brave | Curious | Resilient / www.cicm.com / <strong>January</strong> & <strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong> / PAGE 44

Chase the money<br />

THINK tank CapX detailed in a recent post<br />

just why firms should make a beeline for<br />

regions where the money is. In particular, it<br />

highlighted the benefit of targeting Texas.<br />

CapX noted that near Austin, Texas, is<br />

a ‘mammoth’ 10m sq.ft. factory that is<br />

about ten times the size of the largest<br />

Amazon logistics facility in Britain. Called<br />

Giga Texas it’s the headquarters of Tesla.<br />

Valued at $618bn the company employs<br />

20,000 workers and expects to hire an<br />

additional 40,000. Elon Musk has bought<br />

the land to house them on subsidised<br />

rents.<br />

CapX explained that in 2022, Texas<br />

overtook New York to become the most<br />

populous state for Fortune 500 company<br />

HQs. Oracle, Hewlett Packard, Caterpillar,<br />

Chevron and Breyer Capital have moved or<br />

are moving to Texas. Apple, Amazon and<br />

others have announced their intention to<br />

follow suit.<br />

While California is the largest state in<br />

the US by GDP the ground is shifting.<br />

Between 2000 and 2021, GDP growth in<br />

the metropolitan areas of Austin, Dallas<br />

and Midland far outpaced growth in San<br />

Francisco, Atlanta and Boston. Houston<br />

grew 50 percent more than the economy<br />

of New York and nearly twice as much as<br />

Chicago’s.<br />

It helps that Texas levies no corporation,<br />

capital gains or personal income taxes.<br />

And then there are conservative budgets<br />

and low housing costs. Beyond that it<br />

appears that the quality of life in Texas is<br />

better and safer. So, what does this mean<br />

for exporters? Go where the money is… to<br />

Texas.<br />



OFFICE for National Statistics data<br />

has found that the UK’s trade deficit<br />

narrowed by more than anticipated<br />

over the three months to September.<br />

The value of goods and services<br />

imported to the UK reached £217.7bn<br />

over the quarter. However, exports<br />

jumped by £200m over the same<br />

period, leaving the trade balance,<br />

the difference between exports and<br />

imports, at minus £6bn in the third<br />

quarter.<br />

The goods trade balance with<br />

countries in the EU remained in deficit<br />

at £31.6bn, representing most of the<br />

UK’s total goods deficit of £44.2bn.<br />

Imports from the EU declined £3.3bn<br />

over the last quarter.<br />

Total services exports climbed<br />

£2.1bn to £117.8bn in the three<br />

months to September, lifting the trade<br />

balance to a surplus of £38.3bn.<br />

High LOW TREND<br />

GBP.EUR 1.16699 1.14733 Up<br />

GBP.USD 1.28186 1.25990 Flat<br />

GBP.CHF 1.10422 1.06531 Down<br />

GBP.AUD 1.9320 1.85935 Up<br />

GBP.CAD 1.71648 1.67452 Up<br />

GBP.JPY 188.060 178.783 Up<br />

Europe’s plans for packaging<br />

THE Financial Times, in a piece that ought<br />

to ‘interest’ exporters, noted that a recent<br />

vote in the European Parliament saw<br />

MEPs approve a law that will make all EU<br />

packaging recyclable by 2030 which could<br />

also ban all ‘ultra-light’ plastic bags and<br />

harmful chemicals in packaging.<br />

The proposal is 118 pages long because<br />

of the difficulties in reducing the EU’s<br />

annual packaging waste which is thought<br />

to exceeds 80m tonnes. It is wide ranging<br />

and will affect companies across the board<br />

from takeaway restaurants to hotels<br />

and medical appliance manufacturers.<br />

For the latest<br />

exchange rates visit<br />

www.currenciesdirect.com<br />

or call 020 7874 9400<br />

Currency Exchange Rates<br />

17th December to 17th <strong>January</strong>.<br />

This data was taken on 18th<br />

<strong>January</strong> and refers to the month<br />

previous to/leading up to<br />

17th <strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong>.<br />

Getting the law in place will be tricky since<br />

countries with green agendas are already<br />

seeking exemptions.<br />

Mandatory reuse targets could reduce<br />

the use of cardboard. The problem is that<br />

while recycling is a positive, it requires<br />

great use of water and systems for<br />

returning and washing containers. While<br />

the rules will have to be negotiated with<br />

the EU’s 27 member states before they<br />

become law, the direction of travel is clear.<br />

If you want to keep exporting with minimal<br />

intervention packaging is one area where<br />

changes should be made soon.<br />

While the rules will have to be<br />

negotiated with the EU’s 27 member states<br />

before they become law, the direction of<br />

travel is clear.<br />


A recent story on Nikkei Asia detailed<br />

how ‘India’s trash-filled cities contrast<br />

with its stellar economic growth’. While<br />

Indians only produce an estimated 120g<br />

of waste each a day (the US average is<br />

3kg), authorities do not handle it well<br />

and waste generation is expected to<br />

‘grow exponentially’ as its economy<br />

and population rapidly expand. At<br />

present, only around two-thirds of<br />

waste is handled by local authorities,<br />

leaving around 53,000 tonnes to be<br />

dumped on land or in water daily. The<br />

national government provides guidelines<br />

but ‘little oversight’, while India’s<br />

municipalities have little taxing power<br />

and are largely dependent on state<br />

governments.<br />

In spite of all of this, some are<br />

handling waste well. A few cities make<br />

a profit from waste-generated biogas,<br />

recycling and compost initiatives. Not<br />

unsurprisingly, households only seem to<br />

care about rubbish when it costs.<br />

Even so, for British firms with wasterelated<br />

solutions there’s a ready-made<br />

market on the Indian sub-continent (and<br />

elsewhere for that matter).<br />

Brave | Curious | Resilient / www.cicm.com / <strong>January</strong> & <strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong> / PAGE 45




The latest late payment figures show signs of encouragement.<br />


ALTHOUGH not a clean sweep across<br />

the board, the latest late payment<br />

statistics are packed with positives,<br />

with a number of sectors and regions<br />

across the UK and Ireland making<br />

improvements in their payments<br />

performance. The average DBT<br />

across UK regions decreased by 1.4 days, but increased by<br />

0.5 days across UK sectors. Over in Ireland, the average DBT<br />

figure dropped by 0.1 and 1.4 days respectively across regions<br />

and sectors. Average DBT across the four provinces of Ireland<br />

reduced by 3.5 days.<br />

Sector Spotlight<br />

If anyone is letting the side down, it’s the UK sector standings,<br />

with more of the 22 sectors going backwards (12) rather than<br />

forwards (nine), resulting in a gradual increase to the average<br />

DBT figure. Of those on the slide, the International Bodies<br />

sector has seen the biggest rise, with an increase of 16.8 days<br />

taking its overall DBT to 29.0 days, making it the worst<br />

performing sector by a considerable margin.<br />

Looking at the positives, no sector made a bigger improvement<br />

to late payments than the Other Services sector (which<br />

includes dry cleaners, hairdressers, and other beauty services<br />

through to membership organisations), which cut its DBT by<br />

8.3 days. The Business Admin & Support also made strides<br />

forward, reducing its DBT by 8.1 days.<br />

Over in Ireland, the outlook is bright, with only four of the<br />

20 sectors seeing increases to DBT, three saw no change (each<br />

remaining on zero days DBT overall), with the remaining 13<br />

sectors all making improvements. The Energy Supply sector<br />

made the biggest improvement, reducing its DBT by 12.3<br />

days, taking its overall DBT to 10.0 days. The Wholesale and<br />

Retail Trade; Repair of Motor Vehicles and Motorcycles (-11.0<br />

days), Water & Waste (-9.0 days) and Construction (-6.4 days)<br />

sectors also took positive steps in the right direction.<br />

Regional Spotlight<br />

The picture across UK regions is similarly bright, with nine<br />

of the 11 regions making cuts to DBT and the remaining two<br />

regions, Northern Ireland and Yorkshire and Humberside,<br />

seeing only minor increases of 1.6 and 0.3 days respectively.<br />

It’s tight at the top of the rankings, with Wales taking top<br />

spot with an overall DBT of 10.3 days following a reduction of<br />

1.9 days, but there is just 0.2 days between the East Midlands<br />

and South West in joint-second with an overall DBT of 11.5<br />

days and the West Midlands in fifth spot with an overall DBT<br />

of 11.7 days.<br />

Over in Ireland, there is more of an even split of counties on<br />

the up (11) and counties on the decline (12), with the remaining<br />

three seeing no change to DBT. Donegal took the biggest leap<br />

in the right direction, slicing its DBT by an impressive 26.8<br />

days, taking its overall figure to 4.8 days.<br />

Elsewhere, Meath (-10.1 day), Wexford (-8.5 days) and Louth<br />

(-7.3 days) all made important reductions to late payments.<br />

County Tipperary is quickly sliding in the opposite direction,<br />

however, and falls down the rankings following an increase<br />

of 21.0 days to its DBT, far and away the biggest jump across<br />

Ireland.<br />

Across the four Irish provinces, three made reductions to<br />

DBT, with only Munster going the wrong way (+2.1 days).<br />

Ulster saw the biggest improvement, cutting its DBT by 13.8<br />

days, taking it to the top of the standings with an overall DBT<br />

of 2.0 days. Connacht isn’t too far behind, with an overall<br />

DBT of 5.3 days following a reduction of 1.6 days.<br />

Brave | Curious | Resilient / www.cicm.com / <strong>January</strong> & <strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong> / PAGE 47


Data supplied by the <strong>Credit</strong>safe Group<br />

Top Five Prompter Payers<br />

RegionDecember 23 Change from November 23<br />

Wales 10.3 -1.9<br />

East Midlands 11.5 -1.8<br />

South East 11.5 -0.4<br />

London 11.6 -4.8<br />

West Midlands 11.7 -3.6<br />

Bottom Five Poorest Payers<br />

Region December 23 Change from November 23<br />

Northern Ireland 16.1 1.6<br />

Scotland 13.2 -0.3<br />

South West 12.2 -0.4<br />

East Anglia 12.1 -3.1<br />

North West 12.1 -1.1<br />

Top Five Prompter Payers<br />

Sector December 23 Change from November 23<br />

Water & Waste 6.2 0.1<br />

Entertainment 6.5 -3.5<br />

Business from Home 8.4 -1.5<br />

Education 8.6 1.8<br />

Real Estate 8.6 -3<br />

Bottom Five Poorest Payers<br />

Sector December 23 Change from November 23<br />

International Bodies 29 16.8<br />

Financial and Insurance 19.6 3.2<br />

Public Administration 16.8 3.3<br />

Manufacturing 16.7 0<br />

Dormant 15.8 1.6<br />

Getting worse<br />

International Bodies 16.8<br />

IT and Comms 5.1<br />

Energy Supply 3.9<br />

Public Administration 3.3<br />

Financial and Insurance 3.2<br />

Hospitality 3.2<br />

Professional and Scientific 1.9<br />

Education 1.8<br />

Dormant 1.6<br />

Mining and Quarrying 1<br />

Health & Social 0.2<br />

Water & Waste 0.1<br />

Getting better<br />

Other Service -8.3<br />

Business Admin & Support -8.1<br />

Entertainment -3.5<br />

Real Estate -3<br />

Wholesale and retail trade -3<br />

Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing -1.6<br />

Transportation and Storage -1.6<br />


-0.3 DBT<br />

Business from Home -1.5<br />

Construction -1.3<br />



1.6 DBT<br />

SOUTH<br />

WEST<br />

-0.4 DBT<br />

WALES<br />

-1.9 DBT<br />

NORTH<br />

WEST<br />

-1.1 DBT<br />

WEST<br />


-3.6 DBT<br />



0.3 DBT<br />

EAST<br />


-1.8 DBT<br />

LONDON<br />

-4.8 DBT<br />

SOUTH<br />

EAST<br />

-0.4 DBT<br />

EAST<br />

ANGLIA<br />

-3.1 DBT<br />

Manufacturing<br />

Region<br />

Getting Better – Getting Worse<br />

-4.8<br />

-3.6<br />

-3.1<br />

-1.9<br />

-1.8<br />

-1.1<br />

-0.4<br />

-0.4<br />

-0.3<br />

1.6<br />

0.3<br />

No change<br />

London<br />

West Midlands<br />

East Anglia<br />

Wales<br />

East Midlands<br />

North West<br />

South East<br />

South West<br />

Scotland<br />

Northern Ireland<br />

Yorkshire and Humberside<br />

Brave | Curious | Resilient / www.cicm.com / <strong>January</strong> & <strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong> / PAGE 48


ULSTER<br />

-13.8 DBT<br />


-1.6 DBT<br />


2 DBT<br />


0 DBT<br />

CAVAN<br />

0.2 DBT<br />

Getting worse<br />


2.1 DBT<br />


0 DBT<br />


21 DBT<br />

LAOI<br />

2 DBT<br />


0 DBT<br />


-0.1 DBT<br />

LOUTH<br />

0 DBT<br />

DUBLIN<br />

-0.4 DBT<br />

IT and Comms 21.3<br />

Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing 10.5<br />

Health & Social 8.2<br />

Entertainment 4.2<br />

Getting better<br />

Top Five Prompter Payers – Ireland<br />

Region December 23 Change from November 23<br />

Monaghan 0 0<br />

Cavan 0.2 0.2<br />

Clare 1.5 -1.5<br />

Laois 2 2<br />

Leitrim 2 2<br />

Bottom Five Poorest Payers – Ireland<br />

Region December 23 Change from November 23<br />

Westmeath 120 0<br />

Dublin 26.9 -0.4<br />

Kilkenny 21.3 -1<br />

Carlow 21 -1<br />

Tipperary 21 21<br />

Top Four Prompter Payers – Irish Provinces<br />

Region December 23 Change from November 23<br />

Ulster 2 -13.8<br />

Connacht 5.3 -1.6<br />

Munster 7.3 2.1<br />

Leinster 15.4 -0.6<br />

Energy Supply -12.3<br />

Wholesale and retail trade -11<br />

Water & Waste -9<br />

Construction -6.4<br />

Mining and Quarrying -5.5<br />

Transportation and Storage -4.8<br />

Financial and Insurance -4.5<br />

Business Admin & Support -4.3<br />

Other Service -4.2<br />

Hospitality -3.4<br />

Real Estate -3.2<br />

Professional and Scientific -2.3<br />

Manufacturing -1.6<br />

Top Five Prompter Payers – Ireland<br />

Sector December 23 Change from November 23<br />

Education 0 0<br />

International Bodies 0 0<br />

Mining and Quarrying 0 -5.5<br />

Public Administration 0 0<br />

Hospitality 4.3 -3.4<br />

Bottom Five Poorest Payers – Ireland<br />

Nothing changed<br />

Education 0<br />

International Bodies 0<br />

Public Administration 0<br />

Sector December 23 Change from November 23<br />

IT and Comms 24.7 21.3<br />

Financial and Insurance 18.2 -4.5<br />

Entertainment 17.7 4.2<br />

Business Admin & Support 16.6 -4.3<br />

Manufacturing 15.4 -1.6<br />

Brave | Curious | Resilient / www.cicm.com / <strong>January</strong> & <strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong> / PAGE 49






Chertsey, £35k<br />

Due to internal restructuring, this role is a long term temporary<br />

contract. Dealing with a ledger of key accounts, you’ll be<br />

working in a challenging position that is heavily query and<br />

dispute focused. The ideal candidate will excel at building<br />

relationships and will enjoy reconciling large customer<br />

accounts and resolving complex issues. Ref: 4509375<br />

Contact natascha.whitehead@hays.com<br />

or 07770 786 433<br />


Central London, £45k<br />

You’ll be leading the billing team in a global media and<br />

advertising agency. This exciting position is ideal for someone<br />

with experience in billings and people management who is<br />

interested in driving continuous improvement and support to<br />

the team. If you enjoy investigating queries and have strong<br />

attention to detail, this organisation is keen to hear from you.<br />

Ref: 4510629<br />

Contact robert.johnson@hays.com<br />

or 020 34650 020<br />


Manchester City Centre, £26k-£28k<br />

A legal company based in Manchester City Centre are seeking<br />

an experienced <strong>Credit</strong> Controller due to company growth.<br />

Reporting to the <strong>Credit</strong> Manager, you’ll work alongside an<br />

additional <strong>Credit</strong> Controller, manage a ledger, chase overdue<br />

accounts and allocate cash and client query resolution.<br />

Proficiency in Excel is required (pivot tables and v-lookups).<br />

Experience in the legal industry preferred but not essential.<br />

This position has an immediate start. Ref: MA2109<br />

Contact joanna.taylor-coburn@hays.com<br />

or 0161 926 8605<br />


City of London, £35k-£40k<br />

Join a rapidly growing insurance firm in the heart of London.<br />

This new position has been created due to sustained growth<br />

within the business and presents the possibility of long-term<br />

progression for the successful applicant. If you are from an<br />

insurance collections background and are looking for a change<br />

of company, get in touch today.<br />

Ref: 4510403<br />

Contact james.godden@hays.com<br />

or 03330 103 415<br />

hays.co.uk/credit-control-jobs<br />

© Copyright Hays plc <strong>2024</strong>. The HAYS word, the H devices, Brave HAYS WORKING | Curious FOR | Resilient YOUR TOMORROW / www.cicm.com and Powering / <strong>January</strong> the world & <strong>February</strong> of work and <strong>2024</strong> associated / PAGE 50logos and artwork are trademarks of Hays plc.<br />

The H devices are original designs protected by registration in many countries. All rights are reserved. CM-1364078224


Birmingham, £27k + £300 monthly bonus<br />

A large company based in Birmingham is currently recruiting<br />

a <strong>Credit</strong> Controller on a permanent basis. In the role, you’ll join<br />

a well-established credit team and be responsible for liaising<br />

with customers regarding overdue invoices and managing a<br />

ledger of over 500 accounts.<br />

Ref: 4490208<br />

Contact henry.brook@hays.com<br />

or 0333 010 7517<br />


Andover, £28k<br />

Join a growing manufacturing business as a part of a small<br />

finance team. You’ll take responsibility for all credit control<br />

and sales ledger duties. This varied role will include running<br />

credit checks, opening accounts, collecting invoices, allocating<br />

payments and reconciling accounts.<br />

Ref: 4513442<br />

Contact natascha.whitehead@hays.com<br />

or 07770 786 433<br />

This is just a small selection of the many opportunities<br />

we have available for credit professionals. To find out<br />

more, visit our website or contact Natascha Whitehead,<br />

<strong>Credit</strong> <strong>Management</strong> UK Lead at Hays on 07770 786 433.<br />

Brave | Curious | Resilient / www.cicm.com / <strong>January</strong> & <strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong> / PAGE 51




The need to prevent acts of harassment at work,<br />

changes to spent conviction disclosure, and a case of<br />

roles in a redundancy process.<br />


THE Government has shortened the period of<br />

time before which certain criminal offences<br />

can be considered ‘spent.’ The change will<br />

reduce the length of time individuals must<br />

declare certain criminal convictions in some<br />

job applications.<br />

In terms of spent convictions, the government announced changes<br />

to the rehabilitation periods that apply to certain criminal offences<br />

by making amendments to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974<br />

(ROA 1974). A rehabilitation period is the period of time before<br />

which an offence can be considered 'spent'. Job applicants do not<br />

have to disclose spent convictions unless they are applying for a role<br />

that is exempt from the ROA 1974.<br />

Previously, custodial sentences of four years or more would never<br />

become spent. This meant that some offenders would need to disclose<br />

convictions for the rest of their lives when seeking employment,<br />

applying for courses, insurance and housing. The Government<br />

identified this as a significant barrier to the rehabilitation of<br />

offenders.<br />

Less serious offences attracting custodial sentences of four years<br />

or more will now become spent seven years after the sentence has<br />

been completed (where the individual was over 18 at the time the<br />

sentence was imposed) or three and a half years after the sentence<br />

has been completed (where the individual was under 18 when the<br />

sentence was imposed). In both cases, the individual must not have<br />

re-offended within this timeframe.<br />

More serious ‘specified offences’ are excluded from this change, and<br />

it remains the case that they can never become spent. Specified<br />

offences are therefore disclosable to employers and will always be<br />

included in Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) certificates.<br />

Stricter disclosure rules will continue to apply to jobs which involve<br />

working with vulnerable groups as such work is exempt from the<br />

ROA 1974. Employers in the education, health care and social care<br />

sectors remain entitled to ask about and take into account spent<br />

convictions when making appointment decisions, unless a conviction<br />

has been designated as 'protected' under the DBS filtering rules.<br />

Brave | Curious | Resilient / www.cicm.com / <strong>January</strong> & <strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong> / PAGE 52


Enhanced anti-harassment duties<br />

THE Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Act<br />

introduces a new duty on employers to take reasonable steps to<br />

prevent the sexual harassment of staff in the workplace.<br />

Under the Equality Act 2010 as it stands, employers are liable<br />

for acts of harassment carried out by employees in the course of<br />

their employment, even where the employer is unaware of the<br />

employee's conduct prior to the complaint. The current law<br />

relies on employees bringing unwanted conduct to the attention<br />

of their employers, and employers having a defence available<br />

if they can show they took 'all reasonable steps' to prevent the<br />

harassment.<br />

The new Act’s main function is to introduce a new duty on<br />

employers in respect of sexual harassment. When the Act comes<br />

into force later this year, employers will be subject to a new<br />

duty to take 'reasonable steps' to prevent employees from being<br />

sexually harassed at work by the employer or its staff.<br />



WHERE an employer proposes to dismiss 20 or more<br />

staff as redundant within 90 days, it must give notice<br />

to the Secretary of State at least 30 days before the first<br />

dismissal takes effect. An employer who fails to give this<br />

notice commits an offence if the failure can be attributed<br />

to particular people associated with the employer,<br />

including its ‘officers’.<br />

In the case of R (on the application of Palmer) v Northern<br />

Derbyshire Magistrates' Court, Mr Palmer was appointed as<br />

a company administrator for West Coast Capital (USC)<br />

Ltd, a company that was being placed into administration.<br />

The sole director of the company was Mr Forsey.<br />

No prior warning<br />

of the redundancies<br />

was given to the<br />

Secretary of State<br />

as required under<br />

Trade Union and<br />

Labour Relations<br />

(Consolidation) Act<br />

1992 (TULRCA).<br />

The day after the company went into administration,<br />

Palmer gave the company's warehouse employees a letter<br />

informing them they were at risk of redundancy. Shortly<br />

afterwards, they received a further letter signed by him<br />

informing them they were dismissed with immediate<br />

effect. No prior warning of the redundancies was given to<br />

the Secretary of State as required under Trade Union and<br />

Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 (TULRCA).<br />

Both Palmer and Forsey were charged with an offence in<br />

respect of this failure to serve notice.<br />

Palmer argued that he had not committed an offence<br />

and that as an administrator he was not an ‘officer’ of<br />

the company within the meaning of TULRCA. The<br />

Magistrates Court held Palmer was an officer, and his<br />

claim for judicial review was dismissed. He appealed to<br />

the Supreme Court.<br />

The Supreme Court allowed the appeal. It is not the<br />

intention of the insolvency legislative framework for<br />

an administrator to be an officer of a company, and<br />

nor is there any caselaw authority for this proposition.<br />

An ‘officer’ for these purposes under TULRCA is<br />

restricted to individuals similar to directors, managers or<br />

secretaries. The Supreme Court did not consider there to<br />

be any policy reason that would justify a departure from<br />

this approach.<br />

Author: Gareth Edwards is a partner<br />

in the employment team at VWV.<br />

Brave | Curious | Resilient / www.cicm.com / <strong>January</strong> & <strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong> / PAGE 53




creditorservices@menzies.co.uk<br />

menzies.co.uk/creditor-services<br />

Many firms are now embracing Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) as a fundamental aspect of<br />

their business strategy and recognise the significance of DEIB in shaping decision-making processes across<br />

various business functions, such as people management, operations, supply chain and procurement. But what<br />

does good DEIB look like and how can we measure its effectiveness?<br />

This was the theme for the latest Brighter Thinking Roundtable, hosted jointly by Menzies LLP and the Chartered<br />

Institute of <strong>Credit</strong> <strong>Management</strong> (CICM) at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. Senior-level executives from ten<br />

organisations attended the event to share their experiences of DEIB and its significance to their businesses.<br />

DEIB in the workplace have emerged as crucial components for business success, not just ethically but also<br />

financially. The roundtable discussion raised a number of issues; from concerns about decreasing diversity scores, to<br />

the importance of cultural sensitivity, neurodiversity, and the impact of workplace culture on Artificial Intelligence (AI)<br />

adoption. One significant conclusion, however, was that the DEIB agenda could be promoted and developed without<br />

damaging profit.<br />


A recurring concern among speakers<br />

was the lack of diversity in their<br />

businesses, with one individual<br />

noting a decline in their company’s<br />

diversity score since the last<br />

assessment in March. Diversity<br />

encompasses various aspects<br />

such as race, gender, disability<br />

and more, and their predominantly<br />

British and white senior management<br />

team raised questions about<br />

representation at the senior level.<br />

Annual reports from the business<br />

emphasised the impact of<br />

diversity on business outcomes<br />

and strategies. Specific groups,<br />

like employees aged 20-25 with<br />

low satisfaction scores, called for<br />

improved communication on DEIB.<br />

Across the firms in attendance,<br />

all agreed that the importance of<br />

DEIB is significant in attracting and<br />

retaining the younger generation.<br />



The group agreed that sustainable<br />

practices are likely to attract diverse<br />

talent and foster an inclusive<br />

environment. Simple changes<br />

included avoiding alcoholic drinks<br />

in team photos or organising more<br />

inclusive activities and events that<br />

do not involve alcohol at all. This<br />

all contributes to a more inclusive<br />

environment.<br />





Cultural relevance and fit are crucial<br />

factors. A unique suggestion from<br />

one attendee involved expanding<br />

offices to reach different cultures;<br />

a strategy that extends far beyond<br />

traditional recruitment methods but<br />

one that may be significantly more<br />

effective in improving inclusion. It is<br />

also imperative that businesses are<br />

tailoring job descriptions to attract<br />

diverse candidates, including those<br />

with neurodiverse conditions.<br />



Project SEARCH, an internship<br />

programme for individuals with<br />

neurodiverse conditions, was<br />

discussed as a great example of<br />

a project that enables inclusivity.<br />

Project SEARCH aims to support<br />

10,000 young adults with a learning<br />

disability, or autism spectrum<br />

condition, or both, in the UK into<br />

paid employment by 2030. The<br />

charity has supported almost 2,000<br />

people into paid employment to date.<br />

A great initiative to ensure inclusivity<br />

is being fostered throughout<br />

your organisation.<br />

It was discussed that some<br />

businesses may consider<br />

working with neurodiverse<br />

individuals challenging as there<br />

is no one solution in providing<br />

accommodations; it all depends<br />

on the individual. That may seem<br />

daunting for some businesses but,<br />

give a neurodiverse person the<br />

remit and authority to change their<br />

environment to suit themselves and<br />

they can thrive. The long-term vision<br />

and sustainability of a business may<br />

rely on undiagnosed neurodiversity<br />

already. Making a home for<br />

difference will support the future.<br />


Many speakers found employee<br />

resource groups to be effective in<br />

supporting people. These groups<br />

play a crucial role in creating a<br />

sense of belonging and fostering<br />

a supportive environment. They<br />

provide a collective voice and it<br />

helps their voice to be heard. They

need not be limited to protected<br />

characteristics. One business in<br />

attendance was considering an<br />

employee resource group for<br />

working parents.<br />

With diversity bringing a variety of<br />

individuals to the table who have not<br />

been there previously, it was noted<br />






Cultural sensitivity was highlighted as<br />

a key element of DEIB. Asking about<br />

backgrounds and cultures in a nonjudgmental<br />

way fosters inclusivity.<br />

The importance of hosting learning<br />

sessions, led by members of a<br />

particular community, was deemed a<br />

good way of facilitating a discussion.<br />

Unconscious bias was also widely<br />

discussed - a term that describes the<br />

associations we hold outside of our<br />

control and conscious awareness.<br />

This affects everyone and is triggered<br />

by our brains automatically making<br />

assessments and quick judgements<br />

without consciously knowing we<br />

are doing so. Acknowledging and<br />

understanding the presence of<br />

unconscious biases, and reflecting<br />

on your own biases, is crucial in any<br />

firm’s diversity journey.<br />



Resilience was discussed in<br />

relation to discrimination against<br />

marginalised groups and individuals<br />

with disabilities. It is a skill only<br />

easily available to an individual<br />

with a certain level of resilience<br />

already. Expecting resilience from all<br />

colleagues is unreasonable. Just as<br />

important was allowing colleagues<br />

to be authentic. No one is obliged to<br />

declare disability or heritage, but their<br />

workplace should enable them to<br />

safely do so.<br />

Work-life balance, flexibility, and<br />

open-mindedness were deemed<br />

crucial for employee well-being.<br />

The challenges of balancing work<br />

and childcare, especially for working<br />

parents, highlighted the need for<br />

businesses to provide support.<br />



The development of technology<br />

continues to support difference<br />

whilst providing an opportunity<br />

to discriminate. It needs to be<br />

implemented sensitively. It may<br />

mean that lower-paid roles in a<br />

business continue to be replaced<br />

by technology but this is likely to<br />

decrease diversity.<br />

Inclusive decision-making through<br />

the involvement of placement<br />

students and a shadow board of<br />

employees at the beginning of their<br />

career was suggested as a strategy<br />

to ensure diverse perspectives in<br />

decision-making processes.<br />


While clients may not explicitly<br />

request diversity initiatives, they<br />

are fundamental for future business<br />

success. All agreed that building a<br />

workforce all clients can relate to will<br />

increase profitability in the long-term.<br />


In summary, diversity and inclusion<br />

are not just moral imperatives but<br />

integral to the long-term success<br />

of any business. The points above<br />

underscore the need for businesses<br />

to adopt a holistic approach to<br />

DEIB, from recruitment and client<br />

relationships to neurodiversity and<br />

workplace culture. Striking a balance<br />

between diversity goals and<br />

business success is not only possible<br />

but essential for sustainable growth<br />

in a rapidly evolving global business<br />

landscape. Businesses must<br />

prioritise DEIB efforts, recognising<br />

that diversity is not a compromise<br />

but a catalyst for innovation and<br />

prosperity.<br />

This report is based on<br />

a roundtable event for<br />

employers and credit<br />

management professionals,<br />

chaired by the CICM and<br />

hosted by accountancy firm,<br />

Menzies LLP.<br />

Menzies LLP’s <strong>Credit</strong>or<br />

Services team offers<br />

complimentary support and<br />

advice to credit managers and<br />

businesses of all sizes, across<br />

industry sectors. Where<br />

possible, the firm’s experts<br />

provide practical solutions for<br />

improving cash management<br />

and operational resilience.<br />

Early engagement is key to<br />

improving outcomes.<br />

For further information on<br />

our complimentary creditor<br />

services offering, please get in<br />

touch.<br />



bevans@menzies.co.uk<br />

+44 (0)29 2044 7512<br />



jcullen@menzies.co.uk<br />

+44 (0)29 2044 7510


Training courses that offer high-quality approaches<br />

to credit-related topics and practical skills<br />

Now, more than ever, the <strong>Credit</strong> <strong>Management</strong> and Collections industry<br />

is seeing drastic changes and impacts that affect the day-to-day roles of<br />

<strong>Credit</strong> and Collections teams.<br />

CICM Training offers high-quality approaches to credit-related topics.<br />

Granting you the practical skills and necessary tools to use in your<br />

workplace and the ever-changing industry. A highly qualified trainer, with<br />

an array of credit management experience, will grant you the knowledge,<br />

improved results, and greater confidence you need for your teams to<br />

succeed in the <strong>Credit</strong> <strong>Management</strong> profession.<br />

Get trained with your<br />

professional body and the only<br />

Chartered organisation that delivers<br />

<strong>Credit</strong> <strong>Management</strong> training<br />

Brave | Curious | Resilient / www.cicm.com / <strong>January</strong> & <strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong> / PAGE 56

On-Demand | Online | Face-to-Face<br />


CICM Training courses can be delivered through a variety<br />

of options, ensuring a range of opportunities for your<br />

teams to be trained on the most up-to-date methods in<br />

CICM On-Demand<br />

Training<br />

CICM Online<br />

Training<br />

CICM Face-to-Face<br />

Training<br />

On-Demand training can be viewed anytime, anywhere with our downloadable<br />

training videos.<br />

Online training will be for those who find it easy to learn from the space<br />

of their home or office.<br />

Face-to-face training It’s been a long time coming but now you can mingle and<br />

learn together in the same room as your colleagues and peers.<br />


CICM have a collection of training courses to meet the needs of your <strong>Credit</strong> and<br />

Collections’ teams. Take a look at the courses below and start training towards<br />

the CICM Professional Standard.<br />

Advanced Skills in Collections • Best Practice Approach to Collections<br />

Best Practice Skills to Assess <strong>Credit</strong> Risk • Collect that Cash • <strong>Credit</strong> Bootcamp<br />

Effective Communication in the <strong>Credit</strong> Role • Emergency Guide to <strong>Credit</strong><br />

Harness your leadership Style • Know Your Customer • Managing Insolvency<br />

Reflect and Develop • Set Targets that Work<br />

For more details, visit our website, scan the<br />

barcode or contact us at info@cicm.com<br />

Brave | Curious | Resilient / www.cicm.com / <strong>January</strong> & <strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong> / PAGE 57

Within the intricate tapestry of modern business, the role of credit management emerges as the financial<br />

backbone of stability and growth. Its multifaceted responsibilities span the art of optimizing cash flow, mitigating<br />

potential risks, nurturing client relationships, and ensuring regulatory compliance.<br />

While outlining the key principles for successful credit collection may seem straightforward, putting them into practice<br />

becomes challenging when dealing with a large number of customers, accounting documents, internal and<br />

external contacts, and various digital portals. <strong>Credit</strong> managers handle crucial data for their work, requiring them to<br />

connect with diverse systems for invoice access, sales review, action tracking, and communication.<br />

However, at its core lies a critical element—efficient time management. This complex function not only consumes<br />

significant time but also hampers credit managers’ efficiency in addressing core job-related matters. Recent industry<br />

polls highlight a prevalent challenge: businesses struggle with time-consuming administrative tasks in credit<br />

management, hindering strategic growth initiatives.<br />

Customized digital solutions change the game for credit managers in today’s fast-paced environment. Innovative<br />

digital credit management solutions assess risk, resolve disputes, and seamlessly monitor performance.<br />

They transform the commercial ecosystem by promoting crosstouchpoint<br />

collaboration and efficiency. Timing isn’t just a factor; it’s<br />

the thread that weaves efficiency into credit management’s core,<br />

enabling companies to thrive.<br />

“the true game<br />

changer isn’t<br />

solely about<br />

aggregating<br />

data; it’s<br />

about the<br />

quality of<br />

that data“<br />

Bertrand MAZUIR<br />

Founder of My DSO Manager<br />

Swift technology integration assures minimal interruption, employee<br />

engagement, adaptability, cost-efficiency, competitiveness, and<br />

speedy ROI, as well as time management.<br />

What sets innovative tech providers apart is their ability to sculpt platforms<br />

that streamline processes, automate operations, and provide<br />

real-time access to critical data. These solutions go beyond mere<br />

functionality; they become an indispensable tool, freeing up many<br />

hours for credit managers to concentrate on high-impact strategies,<br />

thereby elevating financial success.<br />

Real-time insights, another<br />

cornerstone of advanced solutions,<br />

offer a profound advantage.<br />

They help identify anomalies, such<br />

as incomplete client information<br />

or violations of credit policies. Integrating<br />

these insights reduces<br />

the time spent on manual error<br />

detection, leading to quicker and<br />

more informed decision-making.<br />

Bertrand MAZUIR<br />

Founder of My DSO Manager<br />

As the business landscape continues to evolve, the synergy between credit<br />

managers and bespoke digital solutions becomes the blueprint for sustainable<br />

financial growth and resilience in today’s ever-changing dynamics.<br />

Author<br />

Brave | Curious | Resilient / www.cicm.com / <strong>January</strong> & <strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong> / PAGE 58<br />

However, the true game-changer<br />

isn’t solely about aggregating<br />

data; it’s about the quality of that<br />

data. Account receivables-related<br />

data in companies suffers<br />

from inaccuracies, leading to<br />

inefficiencies and potential risks.<br />

Premium digital solutions now<br />

identify these pitfalls, enhancing<br />

data quality and system settings.<br />

This overhaul empowers more<br />

automation, liberating credit managers<br />

to prioritize key talks and<br />

interventions. In essence, the digital<br />

revolution in credit management<br />

isn’t just a convenience; it’s<br />

a transformative force. By amalgamating<br />

efficiency, impeccable<br />

data quality, and real-time insights,<br />

these solutions transform<br />

the credit management era from<br />

a reactive to a proactive powerhouse.


Do you know someone who would<br />

benefit from CICM membership?<br />

Or have you considered applying to upgrade your membership?<br />

See our website www.cicm.com/membership-types for more<br />

information, or call us on 01780 722903<br />

MCICM<br />

Graham Kingson MCICM<br />

Manpreet Rai MCICM<br />


Congratulations to the following, who successfully achieved Diplomas<br />

Level 5 Diploma in <strong>Credit</strong> & Collections <strong>Management</strong> MCICM (Grad)<br />

Toni West Danielle Barrow Gillian Brades<br />

Level 3 Diploma in <strong>Credit</strong> & Collections<br />

Lauren Daly Louise Close Ceri Edwards Chloe Smith<br />

Level 3 Diploma in <strong>Credit</strong> & Collections (ACICM)<br />

Craig Bishop<br />

John Brooker<br />

Nikki Carney<br />

Yuen Ting Chan<br />

Laura Cleaver<br />

Garry Gold<br />

Tracy Grimshaw<br />

Craig Healey<br />

David Johns<br />

Christina Ritson<br />

Chloe Savage<br />

Telford Whitfield<br />

Brave | Curious | Resilient / www.cicm.com / <strong>January</strong> & <strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong> / PAGE 59

Cr£ditWho?<br />

CICM Directory of Services<br />




Guildways<br />

T: +44 3333 409000<br />

E: info@guildways.com<br />

W: www.guildways.com<br />

Guildways is a UK & International debt collection specialist with over<br />

25 years experience. Guildways prides itself on operating to the<br />

highest ethical standards and professional service levels. We are<br />

experienced in collecting B2B and B2C debts. Our service includes:<br />

• A complete No collection, No Fee commission based service<br />

• 10% plus VAT commission for UK debts<br />

• Commission from 22% plus VAT for International debts<br />

• 24/7 online access to your cases through our CaseManager portal<br />

• Direct online account-to-account payments, to speed up<br />

collections and minimise costs<br />

If you are unable to locate your customer, we also offer a no trace, no<br />

fee, trace and collect service.<br />

For more information, visit: www.guildways.com<br />

CoCredo<br />

Missenden Abbey, Great Missenden, Bucks, HP16 0BD<br />

T: 01494 790600<br />

E: customerservice@cocredo.com<br />

W: www.cocredo.co.uk<br />

For over 20 years, CoCredo, one of the UK's leading <strong>Credit</strong> Report<br />

companies, has helped thousands of business customers minimise<br />

their bad debt. Our data is compiled and constantly updated from<br />

various prominent UK and international suppliers, encompassing<br />

235 countries, so our clients can access the latest information in an<br />

easy-to-read report. Our product and service solutions are tailored<br />

to meet our clients' needs, including market-leading Dual Reports<br />

and integrated XML solutions, monitoring, and our D.N.A. <strong>Credit</strong><br />

Risk <strong>Management</strong> tool that reduce costs and boost cashflow.<br />

Since 2014, we have been finalists and winners of Small Business<br />

and <strong>Credit</strong> Awards. Our clients appreciate our involvement in their<br />

customer journey, resulting in a 99% client retention rate.<br />


Cedar Rose Int. Services Ltd<br />

Tel: (+357) 25 346630 (Cyprus Office)<br />

(+971) 4 374 5758 (UAE Office)<br />

E: info@cedar-rose.com W: www.cedar-rose.com<br />

Follow us on LinkedIn<br />

Cedar Rose stands at the forefront of global leadership in the<br />

provision of premium compliance, due diligence investigations,<br />

and identity verification services for both individuals and<br />

companies. As a distinguished recipient of numerous awards, its<br />

reputation is founded on unparalleled excellence and precision.<br />

Originally specializing in the Middle East and North Africa,<br />

Cedar Rose has now expanded its horizons, offering insights<br />

on entities and persons across the globe. With its innovative<br />

CRiS Intelligence Platform, clients gain immediate access to an<br />

expansive database of over 384 million companies.<br />

Cedar Rose offers a holistic range of data-driven solutions tailored<br />

to meet diverse needs. Its offerings range from automation<br />

solutions that streamline onboarding and monitoring processes,<br />

to in-depth compliance investigations, and advanced electronic<br />

identity verification for KYC and KYB requirements.<br />

MIL Collections Ltd.<br />

Palace Building, Quay Street, Truro,TR1 2HE<br />

M: 07961578739 E: GaryL@milcollections.co.uk<br />

W: www.milai.co.uk<br />

From our dedicated office in Truro, Cornwall, our team of over 50<br />

staff work tirelessly to ensure our clients expectations are not just<br />

met but exceeded.<br />

We offer clients an experienced, dedicated and regulated<br />

collection service. From small sundry invoices through to complex<br />

property cases and overseas jurisdictions we can help our clients<br />

recover what is due to them in a fair and timely manner.<br />

Added to the ISO certification, MIL is a pioneer bringing AI to the<br />

collections world with a platform dedicated to ensure customers<br />

are treated fairly and clients work is managed effectively.<br />


Lovetts Solicitors<br />

Lovetts, Bramley House, The Guildway,<br />

Old Portsmouth Road,<br />

Guildford, Surrey, GU3 1LR<br />

T: 01483 347001<br />

E: info@lovetts.co.uk<br />

W: www.lovetts.co.uk<br />

With more than 25yrs experience in UK & international business<br />

debt collection and recovery, Lovetts Solicitors collects £40m+<br />

every year on behalf of our clients. Services include:<br />

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

of cases)<br />

• Advice and dispute resolution<br />

• Legal proceedings and enforcement<br />

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

CaseManager<br />

Don’t just take our word for it, here’s some recent customer<br />

feedback: “All our service expectations have been exceeded.<br />

The online system is particularly useful and extremely easy to<br />

use. Lovetts has a recognisable brand that generates successful<br />

results.”<br />

HighRadius<br />

T: +44 (0) 203 997 9400<br />

E: infoemea@highradius.com<br />

W: www.highradius.com<br />

HighRadius provides a cloud-based Integrated Receivable<br />

Platform, powered by machine learning and AI. Our Technology<br />

empowers enterprise organisations to reduce cycle time in the<br />

order-to-cash process and increase working capital availability by<br />

automating receivables and payments processes across credit,<br />

electronic billing and payment processing, cash application,<br />

deductions, and collections.<br />

Tinubu Square UK<br />

Holland House, 4 Bury Street,<br />

London EC3A 5AW<br />

T: +44 (0)207 469 2577 /<br />

E: uksales@tinubu.com<br />

W: www.tinubu.com<br />

Founded in 2000, Tinubu Square is a software vendor, enabler<br />

of the <strong>Credit</strong> Insurance, Surety and Trade Finance digital<br />

transformation.<br />

Tinubu Square enables organizations across the world to<br />

significantly reduce their exposure to risk and their financial,<br />

operational and technical costs with best-in-class technology<br />

solutions and services. Tinubu Square provides SaaS solutions<br />

and services to different businesses including credit insurers,<br />

receivables financing organizations and multinational corporations.<br />

Tinubu Square has built an ecosystem of customers in over 20<br />

countries worldwide and has a global presence with offices in<br />

Paris, London, New York, Montreal and Singapore.<br />

Credica Ltd<br />

Building 168, Maxell Avenue, Harwell Oxford, Oxon. OX11 0QT<br />

T: 01235 856400E: info@credica.co.uk W: www.credica.co.uk<br />

Our highly configurable and extremely cost effective Collections<br />

and Query <strong>Management</strong> System has been designed with 3 goals<br />

in mind:<br />

•To improve your cashflow • To reduce your cost to collect<br />

• To provide meaningful analysis of your business<br />

Evolving over 15 years and driven by the input of 1000s of<br />

<strong>Credit</strong> Professionals across the UK and Europe, our system is<br />

successfully providing significant and measurable benefits for our<br />

diverse portfolio of clients.<br />

We would love to hear from you if you feel you would benefit from<br />

our ‘no nonsense’ and human approach to computer software.<br />

Data Interconnect Ltd<br />

45-50 Shrivenham Hundred Business Park,<br />

Majors Road, Watchfield. Swindon, SN6 8TZ<br />

T: +44 (0)1367 245777<br />

E: sales@datainterconnect.co.uk<br />

W: www.datainterconnect.com<br />

We are dedicated to helping finance teams take the cost,<br />

complexity and compliance issues out of Accounts Receivable<br />

processes. Corrivo is our reliable, easy-to-use SaaS platform<br />

for the continuous improvement of AR metrics and KPIs in a<br />

user-friendly interface. <strong>Credit</strong> Controllers can manage more<br />

accounts with better results and customers can self-serve on<br />

mobile-responsive portals where they can query, pay, download<br />

and view invoices and related documentation e.g. Proofs of<br />

Delivery Corrivo is the only AR platform with integrated invoice<br />

finance options for both buyer and supplier that flexes credit<br />

terms without degrading DSO. Call for a demo.<br />

ESKER<br />

Sam Townsend Head of Marketing<br />

Northern Europe Esker Ltd.<br />

T: +44 (0)1332 548176 M: +44 (0)791 2772 302<br />

W: www.esker.co.uk LinkedIn: Esker – Northern Europe<br />

Twitter: @EskerNEurope blog.esker.co.uk<br />

Esker’s Accounts Receivable (AR) solution removes the all-toocommon<br />

obstacles preventing today’s businesses from collecting<br />

receivables in a timely manner. From credit management to cash<br />

allocation, Esker automates each step of the order-to-cash cycle.<br />

Esker’s automated AR system helps companies modernise<br />

without replacing their core billing and collections processes. By<br />

simply automating what should be automated, customers get the<br />

post-sale experience they deserve and your team gets the tools<br />

they need.<br />

Brave | Curious | Resilient / www.cicm.com / <strong>January</strong> & <strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong> / PAGE 60



paul@centuryone.uk 01727 739 196<br />




My DSO Manager<br />

22, Chemin du Vieux Chêne,<br />

Bâtiment D, Meylan, FRANCE<br />

T: +33 (0)458003676<br />

E: contact@mydsomanager.com<br />

W: www.mydsomanager.com<br />

My DSO Manager is an all-in-one intelligent SaaS accounts<br />

receivable and credit management system that provides realtime<br />

insight and scalability from SMEs to international multientity<br />

companies. It helps AR analysts, accounting or finance<br />

managers, and any client-facing employee, manage risk and<br />

maximize cash collection.<br />

It can swiftly integrate any kind of data from any ERP and<br />

implement any customization due to its creative, competent IT<br />

teams that are headquartered inside the firm and collaborate<br />

closely with support employees, many of whom were formerly<br />

credit managers at big corporations.<br />

The feature-rich functions, automated reminders, alerts, and<br />

numerous services connected to the solution, such as EDM/<br />

CRMs/insurance/e-payment/BI platforms etc., along with a<br />

reasonable pricing system, have simplified the credit-to-cash<br />

cycle by monitoring daily KPIs like DSO, aging balance, overdues/<br />

past-dues, customer behavior, and cash forecast.<br />

My DSO Manager's worldwide clientele are its real ambassadors,<br />

who assist the company in expanding on an ongoing basis.<br />


Serrala UK Ltd, 125 Wharfdale Road<br />

Winnersh Triangle, Wokingham<br />

Berkshire RG41 5RB<br />

E: r.hammons@serrala.com W: www.serrala.com<br />

T +44 118 207 0450 M +44 7788 564722<br />

Serrala optimizes the Universe of Payments for organisations<br />

seeking efficient cash visibility and secure financial processes.<br />

As an SAP Partner, Serrala supports over 3,500 companies<br />

worldwide. With more than 30 years of experience and<br />

thousands of successful customer projects, including solutions<br />

for the entire order-to-cash process, Serrala provides credit<br />

managers and receivables professionals with the solutions they<br />

need to successfully protect their business against credit risk<br />

exposure and bad debt loss.<br />

Top Service Ltd<br />

Top Service Ltd, 2&3 Regents Court, Far Moor Lane<br />

Redditch, Worcestershire. B98 0SD<br />

T: 01527 503990<br />

E: membership@top-service.co.uk<br />

W: www.top-service.co.uk<br />

The only credit information and debt recovery service provider<br />

specifically for the UK construction industry. Our payment<br />

experiences are the most up to date credit information available<br />

and enable construction businesses to confidently assess credit<br />

risk & make the best, most informed credit decisions. Coupled<br />

with our range of effective debt recovery solutions, quite simply<br />

our members stay one step ahead & experience less debt & more<br />

cash.<br />

Cr£ditWho?<br />

CICM Directory of Services<br />




TCN<br />

T: +44 (0) 800-088-5089<br />

E : spencer.taylor@tcn.com<br />

W: www.tcn.com<br />

TCN is a leading provider of cloud-based call centre technology<br />

for enterprises, contact centres, BPOs, and collection<br />

agencies worldwide. Founded in 1999, TCN combines a deep<br />

understanding of the needs of call centre users with a highly<br />

affordable delivery model, ensuring immediate access to robust<br />

call centre technology, such as SMS, email, predictive dialler,<br />

IVR, call recording, and business analytics required to optimise<br />

operations while adhering to callers’ requests.<br />

Its “always-on” cloud-based delivery model provides customers<br />

with immediate access to the latest version of the TCN solution, as<br />

well as the ability to quickly and easily scale and adjust to evolving<br />

business needs. TCN serves various Fortune 500 companies and<br />

enterprises in multiple industries, including newspaper, collection,<br />

education, healthcare, automotive, political, customer service, and<br />

marketing. For more information, visit www.tcn.com or follow on<br />

Twitter @tcn.<br />

Invevo<br />

Daniel Gregory<br />

T: 07843591646<br />

E : daniel@invevo.com<br />

W: www.invevo.com<br />

Invevo is a fully integrated, cloud-based provider of credit<br />

management and accounts receivable automation solutions,<br />

offering dynamic features to optimise operational efficiency and<br />

improve cash performance.<br />

Our flexible platform empowers organisations to:<br />

- Automate the manual and repetitive work allowing your team to<br />

focus on the value-added activities<br />

- Discover financial and operational insights through beautiful,<br />

data-rich dashboards<br />

- Test and adjust workflow strategies immediately through zero-cost<br />

configuration<br />

- Mitigate customer global risk through integrated credit reporting via<br />

credit agencies or open banking<br />

Invevo integrates with your existing systems (ERP, CRM, accounting,<br />

billing) to present the insights you need to make strategic decisions<br />

through one system that acts as a single source of truth. Access<br />

the undiscovered analytics and improve performance across your<br />

portfolio through data-driven actions.<br />


Court Enforcement Services<br />

Samuel Evans – Director of Business Development<br />

T: 07759 122503<br />

E : s.evans@courtenforcementservices.co.uk<br />

W: www.courtenforcementservices.co.uk<br />

Court Enforcement Services is the market leading and fastest<br />

growing High Court Enforcement company. Since forming in 2014,<br />

we have managed over 100,000 High Court Writs and recovered<br />

more than £187 million for our clients, all debt fairly collected. We<br />

help lawyers and creditors across all sectors to recover unpaid<br />

CCJ’s sooner rather than later. We achieve 39% early engagement<br />

resulting in market-leading recovery rates. Our multi-awardwinning<br />

technology provides real-time reporting 24/7. We work in<br />

close partnership to expertly resolve matters with a fast, fair and<br />

personable approach. We work hard to achieve the best results<br />

and protect your reputation.<br />

Brave | Curious | Resilient / www.cicm.com / <strong>January</strong> & <strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong> / PAGE 61<br />

High Court Enforcement Group Limited<br />

Client Services, Helix, 1st Floor, Edmund St, Liverpool, L3 9NY<br />

T: 08450 999 666<br />

E: clientservices@hcegroup.co.uk<br />

W: hcegroup.co.uk<br />

Putting creditors first<br />

We are the largest independent High Court enforcement company,<br />

with more authorised officers than anyone else. We are privately<br />

owned, which allows us to manage our business in a way that<br />

puts our clients first. Clients trust us to deliver and service is<br />

paramount. We cover all aspects of enforcement – writs of control,<br />

possessions, process serving and landlord issues – and are<br />

committed to meeting and exceeding clients’ expectations.<br />


Gravity Global<br />

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

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

W: www.gravityglobal.com<br />

Gravity is an award winning full service PR and advertising<br />

business that is regularly benchmarked as being one of the<br />

best in its field. It has a particular expertise in the credit sector,<br />

building long-term relationships with some of the industry’s bestknown<br />

brands working on often challenging briefs. As the partner<br />

agency for the <strong>Credit</strong> Services Association (CSA) for the past 22<br />

years, and the Chartered Institute of <strong>Credit</strong> <strong>Management</strong> since<br />

2006, it understands the key issues affecting the credit industry<br />

and what works and what doesn’t in supporting its clients in the<br />

media and beyond.<br />

FORUMS<br />


T: +44 (0)1260 275716<br />

E: info@forumsinternational.co.uk<br />

W: www.forumsinternational.co.uk<br />

Forums International Ltd have been running <strong>Credit</strong> and Industry<br />

Forums since 1991. We cover a range of industry sectors and<br />

International trading, attendance is for <strong>Credit</strong> Professionals of all<br />

levels. Our forums are not just meetings but communities which<br />

aim to prepare our members for the challenges ahead. Attending<br />

for the first time is free for you to gauge the benefits and meet the<br />

members and we only have pre-approved Partners, so you will<br />

never intentionally be sold to.<br />


Menzies<br />

T: +44 (0)2073 875 868 - London<br />

T: +44 (0)2920 495 444 - Cardiff<br />

W: menzies.co.uk/creditor-services<br />

Our <strong>Credit</strong>or Services team can advise on the best way for you<br />

to protect your position when one of your debtors enters, or<br />

is approaching, insolvency proceedings. Our services include<br />

assisting with retention of title claims, providing representation<br />

at creditor meetings, forensic investigations, raising finance,<br />

financial restructuring and removing the administrative burden<br />

– this includes completing and lodging claim forms, monitoring<br />

dividend prospects and analysing all Insolvency Reports and<br />

correspondence.<br />

For more information on how the Menzies <strong>Credit</strong>or Services<br />

team can assist, please contact Bethan Evans, Licensed<br />

Insolvency Practitioner, at bevans@menzies.co.uk or call<br />

+44 (0)2920 447 512.<br />

continues on page 58 >

Cr£ditWho?<br />

CICM Directory of Services<br />



paul@centuryone.uk 01727 739 196<br />




Red Flag Alert Technology Group Limited<br />

49 Peter Street, Manchester, M2 3NG<br />

T: 0330 460 9877<br />

E: sales@redflagalert.com<br />

W: www.redflagalert.com<br />

The UK’s No1 Insolvency Score is available as platform<br />

designed to help businesses manage risk and achieve growth<br />

using real-time data. The only independently owned UK credit<br />

referencing agency for businesses. We have modernised the<br />

way companies consume data, via Graph QL API and apps for<br />

many CRM / ERP systems to power businesses decisions with<br />

the most important data taken in real-time feeds, ensuring our<br />

customers are always the first to know.<br />

Red Flag Alert has a powerful portfolio management tool<br />

enabling you to monitor all your customers and suppliers so<br />

you and your teams can receive email alerts on data events<br />

i.e. CCJ, Petitions, Accounts, Directors, amongst 84 alerts<br />

produced and tailored to your business.<br />

Red Flag Alert works towards growing and protecting<br />

businesses using advanced machine learning and AI technology<br />

data to provide businesses with information to deliver best in<br />

class sales, credit risk management and compliance.<br />

LEGAL<br />

Shoosmiths<br />

Email: paula.swain@shoosmiths.co.uk<br />

Tel: 03700 86 3000 W: www.shoosmiths.co.uk<br />

Shoosmiths’ highly experienced team will work closely with credit<br />

teams to recover commercial debts as quickly and cost effectively<br />

as possible. We have an in depth knowledge of all areas of debt<br />

recovery, including:<br />

•Pre-litigation services to effect early recovery and keep costs<br />

down •Litigation service •Insolvency<br />

•Post-litigation services including enforcement<br />

As a client of Shoosmiths, you will find us quick to relate to your<br />

goals, and adept at advising you on the most effective way of<br />

achieving them.<br />


American Express<br />

76 Buckingham Palace Road,<br />

London. SW1W 9TQ<br />

T: +44 (0)1273 696933<br />

W: www.americanexpress.com<br />

American Express is working in partnership with the CICM and is a<br />

globally recognised provider of payment solutions to businesses.<br />

Specialising in providing flexible collection capabilities to drive a<br />

number of company objectives including:<br />

• Accelerate cashflow • Improved DSO • Reduce risk<br />

• Offer extended terms to customers<br />

• Provide an additional line of bank independent credit to drive<br />

growth • Create competitive advantage with your customers<br />

As experts in the field of payments and with a global reach,<br />

American Express is working with credit managers to drive<br />

growth within businesses of all sectors. By creating an additional<br />

lever to help support supplier/client relationships American<br />

Express is proud to be an innovator in the business payments<br />

space.<br />

Key IVR<br />

T: +44 (0) 1302 513 000 E: sales@keyivr.com<br />

W: www.keyivr.com<br />

Key IVR are proud to have joined the Chartered Institute of<br />

<strong>Credit</strong> <strong>Management</strong>’s Corporate partnership scheme. The<br />

CICM is a recognised and trusted professional entity within<br />

credit management and a perfect partner for Key IVR. We are<br />

delighted to be providing our services to the CICM to assist with<br />

their membership collection activities. Key IVR provides a suite<br />

of products to assist companies across the globe with credit<br />

management. Our service is based around giving the end-user<br />

the means to make a payment when and how they choose. Using<br />

automated collection methods, such as a secure telephone<br />

payment line (IVR), web and SMS allows companies to free up<br />

valuable staff time away from typical debt collection.<br />

Quadient AR by YayPay<br />

T: +44 20 8502 8476<br />

E: r.harash@quadient.com<br />

W: www.quadient.com/en-gb/ar-automation<br />

Quadient AR by YayPay makes it easy for B2B finance teams<br />

to stay ahead of accounts receivable and get paid faster – from<br />

anywhere. Integrating with your existing ERP, CRM, accounting<br />

and billing systems, YayPay organizes and presents real-time data<br />

through meaningful, cloud-based dashboards. These increase<br />

visibility across your AR portfolio and provide your team with a<br />

single source of truth, so they can access the information they<br />

need to work productively, no matter where they are based.<br />

Automated capabilities improve team efficiency by 3X and<br />

accelerate the collections process by making communications<br />

customizable and consistent. This enables you to collect cash<br />

up to 34 percent faster and removes the need to add additional<br />

resources as your business grows.<br />

Predictive analytics provide insight into future payer behavior to<br />

improve cash flow management and a secure, online payment<br />

portal enables customers to access their accounts and pay at any<br />

time, from anywhere.<br />

Hays <strong>Credit</strong> <strong>Management</strong><br />

107 Cheapside, London, EC2V 6DN<br />

T: 07834 260029<br />

E: karen.young@hays.com<br />

W: www.hays.co.uk/creditcontrol<br />

Hays <strong>Credit</strong> <strong>Management</strong> is working in partnership with the CICM<br />

and specialise in placing experts into credit control jobs and<br />

credit management jobs. Hays understands the demands of this<br />

challenging environment and the skills required to thrive within<br />

it. Whatever your needs, we have temporary, permanent and<br />

contract based opportunities to find your ideal role. Our candidate<br />

registration process is unrivalled, including face-to-face screening<br />

interviews and a credit control skills test developed exclusively for<br />

Hays by the CICM. We offer CICM members a priority service and<br />

can provide advice across a wide spectrum of job search and<br />

recruitment issues.<br />



Portfolio <strong>Credit</strong> Control<br />

1 Finsbury Square, London. EC2A 1AE<br />

T: 0207 650 3199<br />

E: recruitment@portfoliocreditcontrol.com<br />

W: www.portfoliocreditcontrol.com<br />

Cr£ditWho?<br />

CICM Directory of Services<br />

Portfolio <strong>Credit</strong> Control, a 5* Trustpilot rated agency, solely<br />

specialises in the recruitment of Permanent, Temporary & Contract<br />

<strong>Credit</strong> Control, Accounts Receivable and Collections staff<br />

including remote workers. Part of The Portfolio Group, an awardwinning<br />

Recruiter, we speak to <strong>Credit</strong> Controllers every day and<br />

understand their skills meaning we are perfectly placed to provide<br />

your business with talented <strong>Credit</strong> Control professionals. Offering<br />

a highly tailored approach to recruitment, we use a hybrid of faceto-face<br />

and remote briefings, interviews and feedback options.<br />

We provide both candidates & clients with a commitment to deliver<br />

that will exceed your expectations every single time.<br />



paul@centuryone.uk<br />

01727 739 196<br />

Brave | Curious | Resilient / www.cicm.com / <strong>January</strong> & <strong>February</strong> <strong>2024</strong> / PAGE 62

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Moneyknows no borders—neither do we

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