Magazine article Business Credit

Operating at Optimum Efficiency

Magazine article Business Credit

Operating at Optimum Efficiency

Article excerpt

This environment in commercial credit is undoubtedly the most interesting and, yes, most frightening we have seen in decades. The credit and collections professional has become a more integral part of a company's cash management team than perhaps ever before. Now is the time when it behooves us, as credit professionals, to re-examine our work processes to make sure that we are operating on all cylinders. Whether you are an "old dog in the fight" or a rookie on the job, I believe that we can all find ways in which to improve or hone our credit and collection skills.

In my work with credit departments and credit personnel, I have discovered several areas in which a credit professional can shift the way in which he/she performs his/her job that will result in greater productivity. In this volatile environment, we must learn how to work smarter, not harder. Let me share just a few of these hints.

Very often we lose direction in our jobs. In the midst of working day in and day out, having to do more with less, we actually forget our real purpose. Take time to rediscover your purpose. Develop a goal. At this point, this should be a long-range goal. Is your goal to advance in your company? Is your goal to perform your job in such a way that it gains you recognition with upper management? Or is your goal to simply get the edge to keep your job in this uncertain time? Whatever your goal, write it down. Look at it. Read it. Re-write it. Believe it. When you actually write a goal, it becomes real. Now, keep that goal in a place of prominence for you to review periodically. In setting a goal, you now have a clearly defined purpose. Psychologists agree that goal setting provides one with a focus and direction in a task.

Now determine how you are to accomplish your goal. Be specific. It is time to make a list. One of the biggest stumbling blocks for most people is the ability to manage their time. In this time of intense collections, it becomes imperative for you to manage your time efficiently. Making a "to do" list allows you, once again, to visualize your tasks at hand in order to accomplish them. If you have never tried to work with a "to do" list, don't "buck" it until you try it. Take a few minutes at the beginning of your day, or at the end of the previous day, to list all of the tasks that you wish to accomplish in that day. As you complete each task, mark it off your list. This serves two purposes. First, and most obviously, you are able to not only view what you have done that day, but also what needs to be done in the time you have remaining. But more importantly, marking off completed tasks on your list becomes a mental "pat on the back." It is proven that completing a task becomes a motivator to complete further, and sometimes, more complex tasks. In addition, it allows you to stay on top of things so that you control your time rather than your time controlling you. Once you begin to operate with a "to do" list, it will not be long until it becomes your habit. Stephen Covey, in Seven Habits for Highly Effective People, defines a habit as the intersection of knowledge, skill and desire. Desire to improve your time management.

Now that you have set goals and are utilizing your "to do" list, it is time to get organized. …

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